Minecraft Data Packs

A few weeks ago I found out about Minecraft’s data pack feature which was supposedly added a long time ago. The way I see it is basically just a more integrated version of older Minecraft mods that you can use on the regular client. I’ve played around with a few for a while, so this week I’ll be writing about some of the data packs that I use.

First, the data packs you can find are a lot more limited compared to other mods you might have used in the past that operate on seperate clients. Most of them are usually just pretty simple game modifications that are like automated command blocks for certain functions. There are also some more impressive ones that add new items, crafting recipes, and enchantments, but I found most of them to be a bit clunky and don’t always work properly.

One data pack that I find really useful is a timber data pack. There are a lot of different ones out there, but most of them do the same thing. When you destroy the bottom block of a tree, the rest of it also breaks. The one that I use right now also destroys all the leaves on the tree while giving you the drops like sticks, saplings, and apples. Personally, I don’t find this one too gamebreaking especially if you’re just playing on a single player world since your axe will still take the total durability damage for the amount of blocks destroyed. For me, it’s just a time saver since you need wood, but cutting down trees is pretty boring.

Another data pack I use is a veinminer data pack. This is another one that has a lot of different versions, but basically it allows you to mine a lot of ore at once. The one I’m using takes durability and applies any enchantments you might have on your pickaxe like fortune. I think this one is a pretty agreeable data pack that isn’t that special. It’s just another quality of life datapack that just makes things a bit easier.

The last datapack that I use is a gravestone data pack. Using this datapack is kind of like using the gamerul keepInventory, except it’s not as extreme. When you die, instead of all of your items dropping on the floor, a gravestone is placed down that stores all of your items until you come back to pick the up. I know part of the Minecraft experience is the risk of losing all of your items whenever you die, but most of the times now I don’t want to deal with that kind of issue. At the same time the gamerule keepInventory is a bit too cheating in my opinion since you keep all of your items even after you respawn. Just knowing that I’ll be able to go back to where I died and still find all of my items is good enough for me.

You can probably tell that most of the datapacks that I use are more quality of life things that aren’t too gamechanging. You could probably find all of them in most modded clients, but for me I just like having everything in default one. I did end up trying some other ones though like the custom enchantments and a gun datapack, but they added a lot of new and strange mechanics that weren’t really for me.

Overall, the option for data packs in Minecraft is really cool in my opinion. It’s a tool that players can use to modify their game experience without needing to download too many new things. The options are quite open so players can choose different things they want to add, and other people can try making their own unique data packs if they’d like. For now, I’ll probably continue using a few data packs in most of my singleplayer worlds. When I play multiplayer though, it’d probably be best to agree on whether we play completely standard, or add a few extra things.

CS: GO Operation Broken Fang

A couple days ago Valve released the new Operation Broken Fang when people were already speculating an upcoming update. This update is another one of Valve’s big updates where they include operation missions, skin collections, new game modes, and more. Operation Broken Fang brings a lot of interesting new things to the game, but I’ll just be covering the things I find the coolest.

The first thing that I really hope sticks around is the Broken Fang Premier mode which is basically a different kind of matchmaking system similar to Faceit. The premier mode works by matching 10 players into a game, but before it starts, there’s a pick and ban phase for maps. One team gets to choose whether they’d like to get the first two bans or pass in order to get to choose the side they start on. After that, one team will ban the first two maps, followed by three maps by the other team, and then one more map by the first team. Since there are seven maps in the pool, one map is left, and the team that banned second gets to choose their starting side. This system is one that probably should’ve existed a long time ago. Third-party services have already been doing this kind of matchmaking, and it makes for a more competitive experience. The only thing I feel is missing though are 128 tick servers, but it doesn’t seem like Valve is quite there yet.

A second feature that I also hope stays is the new Retakes game mode. This is another thing that third-party services like community servers have already been doing for a long time now. However, it’s still nice to see Valve making their own official game mode for it now. The idea of the game mode is that it puts the players in a situation where the Terrorist side has already planted the bomb at a site and the Counter-Terrorist side has to play out a retake in order to win the round. Each player can select from a few predetermined loadouts of equipment at the start of each round and sometime’s you’ll be given the option of a special kit that has a better gun or extra grenades. The only thing that I could probably see improving is a half time kind of system where players can switch sides because right now you’ll continually play on the same side for the duration of the game.

On to less of the gameplay side of things, there’s the new stats page associated with the operation. The stat page shows your own statistics on things like map win percentages, weapon stats, and heatmaps for things like damage and locations on maps. Personally, I feel like this is another feature that third-party websites already do a better job of, and it feels weird having this as a temporary thing just for the operation. I’d assume they also have plans of permanently integrating this into the game as they make improvements, but if not, it’s still cool that they added it for the operation.

One last feature that will probably help a lot in-game is a ping wheel where you can communicate things to your teammates without using your microphone. You can choose different preselected options for things like asking for a weapon, suggesting a certain bombsite, and even just pinging locations on the map. This is something that other games like Apex Legends and Valorant have done, and I think that since it’s worked out in those games, Valve probably thought it was a good idea to add it to CS: GO as well. Obviously, a ping wheel will never provide the same level of communication as voice chat, but it’s a good alternative for people who don’t want to talk or are just playing casually.

Overall, those were the main new features that stood out for me in Operation Broken Fang. There were other new things like the three new skin collections, graffitis, and the return of the operation missions, but I don’t really care too much about those things. In the end, I feel like Valve should definitely consider integrating some of these features and game modes permanently, even if they’re operation exclusive right now. Despite not receiving a lot of updates this year, I think this one definitely brings a lot of really nice additions to the game.