I was lucky enough to spend some time this past week playing Minecraft Legends. Like many of you, I was unsure of what Minecraft Legends is. Is it an RTS? Maybe it’s just a fancy new version of Minecraft? Or something new that blends a few genres together? Like Eric said in his review, it’s hard to understand until you give the game a shot. After spending some time with Minecraft Legends, I have compiled a list of six lessons I think someone who’s interested in the game might want to know before jumping in. Since Minecraft Legends is launching on Game Pass, you’d be silly not to give the game at least a shot.
This is not your dad’s Minecraft
A few things that come to mind when I think of Minecraft are bricks, voxel art, and creepers. The only limit in Minecraft is your imagination. That’s not Minecraft Legends. Legends is an action-strategy video game. Your creativity is still useful but in a different way. Like Minecraft you have a map to explore, but it’s near as big, or as open as you’re used to. Instead of exploring the depths you’re going to spend most of your time leading battles against a new group of baddies, the piglins. You still create, but this time it’s units and the buildings they need to do battle with the piglins. This is a completely different experience than Minecraft, but still looks a lot like the classic game.
Minecraft Legends is not an RTS
While it may quack like a duck and occasionally walk like one Minecraft Legends isn’t an RTS. You can build units, and you can send them to battle, but there’s more to it than that. You have to be in the battles, your units go where you go. There’s a full-fledged campaign that does not play out in missions, instead you have a map showing you where you can attack the piglins. You don’t have only one base of operations, but several towns that need help, in addition to your home base. It’s a handful to say Minecraft Legends is a third-person real-time action strategy game, but that’s what it is.
It’s totally an RTS
I lied; it’s an RTS. I think Minecraft Legends could be to RTS as Fortnite was to shooters, a world-changing game for the genre moving forward. The way you gather resources is great, it’s important, and it gels so well with the Minecraft way of thinking. There are so many RTS tactics that you can apply, especially in the multiplayer to Legends, like Zerging.
Take time to learn the tech tree and prioritize resources
Since Minecraft Legends feels like an RTS, you need to take the time to learn the tech tree. Just because you can build it doesn’t mean you need to worry about it right now. Early game resources are better spent on the simple units that take wood and stone. Wait till the piglins become a little stronger later in the game. When it comes to multiplayer hitting your opponent hard and fast early on can help push you further in the long run. Just because you can mine redstone doesn’t mean you need to right away. Work on building up the reserves of the first two resources, wood and stone, they’re the most useful resource of the game.
The AI needs a little hand-holding
We live in a world where ChatGPT is going to take my job at any moment. Unfortunately, smarter than me AI hasn’t made its way into Minecraft Legends. In fact, the AI of your units is almost non-existent. At times, trying to get your units together can feel like hoarding cats. I found myself frequently sending in my units, only to die early on because they either attacked the wrong building, or just stood around letting the enemy units attack them without attacking back. It’s best to go into battle with your units instead of sending them off by themselves and hoping for the best. The same doesn’t hold true for the enemy AI. They start out as bumbling morons, but they quickly grow in size and difficulty, watch out. Prioritize who and what you attack. Focusing on taking down buildings that attack you and your units instead of buildings that create enemy units gave me the best results. I let my units attack buildings while I took care of the enemy units, often leading to easier fights.
Fake it till you make it
When all else fails just go with the flow. Minecraft Legends can feel intimidating in the first hour or so. The controls work well, but familiarizing yourself with them took me longer than it should have. Play around with what feels fun. I loved making a pile of stone units and a couple of golem healers and rushing into piglins bases and wiping out all the buildings. Make sure you build your tower defenses outside your city walls, that way they attack oncoming enemy units before they break in, not after (learned that one the hard way). Don’t be in a huge rush to build every building you have access to; you often don’t need them, especially when playing in multiplayer. In no time you’ll get the hang of Minecraft Legends.