[A post I started in April 2016!]
Some time ago (before April 2016 evidently) I decided to give Minecraft Realms a try. Realms is a service accessible through the Minecraft application itself. It’s a server that you control through your account rather than a possibly dodgy affair somewhere in the internet.
It’s that third button on the Minecraft splash screen.
I should say that I am referring to the PC (Mac or Windows) version of Minecraft Realms since I have taken so long to post on this, Mojang has now set up Realms for Pocket Edition as well. As of yet you can’t be on the same Realm with Pocket Edition and the PC edition (or a console version for that matter) however Mojang seems to be working towards making this possible in the future. If you want to play together on a Realm you need to have the same version of Minecraft.
- Always on. No more calls to “turn on the server Dad” or “the server’s down Dad”.
- Fairly straight ahead integration with the Minecraft application. It may be that there are the same number of clicks necessary to get to a public server through “Multiplayer” however you don’t need to fish through a long list of server names.
- Low cost. It’s about $10.39 CAD if you choose the ongoing cost. 30, 90 and 180 day charges are slightly more than this per month. The only change to this charge I have seen since starting on the recurring charge is that the monthly cost has gone down(!).
- You can upload your old maps and you have three “slots” to use that you can switch back and forth. You can also start from a selection of contructed maps or just start a random map as you do in single player.
- Your maps are automatically backed up every hour if there has a been a change made and you can restore them to a recent back-up with a click. (Useful if a mostly unintentional fire breaks out in game.) You can download the map you have been playing on in case you don’t trust the backups or you want to edit your map.
- The fourth “slot” is set up for a selection of minecraft mini-games. These vary over time as the game gets upgraded (see below). Unlike the other map slots they are reset each time you start them but this is just the nature of mini-games. Your map progress is saved each time so you can switch between your map and a mini-game easily and quickly.
- Easy administration of players. You start out with just the account you made the realm with and then add players by invitation. A list of active players is available through the interface for Realms in the application.
- Realms uses latest stable version of Minecraft released by Mojang when you are playing. This may make things difficult for some who are hanging in with older OS versions and computers.
- Due to #1 mini games that are made to work in certain versions may be removed from Realms when they become incompatible with the latest released version. This makes for variety in min-games but perhaps will be disappointing if you have a favourite.
- You can’t add mods to a Realm at this time. (This may actually be a pro for parents who would prefer not to deal with them.)
I found the transition smooth. Uploading our old map was easy although we would up starting a new world using one of the starter templates available. It’s been a lot easier to deal with since then and I have been able to encourage the use of Realms mini-games instead of this found on possibly dingy servers elsewhere.