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Best way to play Minecraft?


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I have never played Minecraft before but my son (8) is quite interested (spurred on by recent family Minecraft Dungeons sessions on the Switch).

My son has a personal iMac 2012 which he uses for basic 'work' (Zoom etc). In the same room is an old HTPC attached to the TV (i7 920 with GTX 970). I have my Windows gaming PC and my wife's Windows gaming PC which is in our office, plus a bunch of laptops (MacBook Pro 2019, MacBook Pro 2011).


  • What edition - Bedrock or Java?
  • What's the best way to host the server, self-host locally on a single computer, or on a LAN or online? Pay for Realms?
  • Any tips or advice on how to get started?
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Bedrock is the version that is on the consoles like the switch. Java has support for texture packs and mods and gets the new updates before Bedrock.

So if you want to play with your switch and pc together then bedrock, but if you only want to play between pcs then Java for sure,

Don't buy Realms, if you can run a server off one of the pcs then its free. On the minecraft site there is a guide how to set up a server. But a LAN would be easier if you are all on the same network.

You could try creative mode first and build something together as a start as well


Have fun!


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Since he mentioned iMac and MacBook, it's important to know that Bedrock can only run on Windows 10. Java Edition supports Windows, MacOS and Linux.

I'd call Bedrock the "kid version", since it's more stripped down in features compared to Java, and getting access to w.i.p versions is a nightmare on Bedrock. If you want to play on older versions of the game, or want to play alot of custom maps, Java is the only choice for the former, and the superior choice for the latter. 

On the other hand, Bedrock is much more optimized than Java, as such it will perform better on lower-end hardware. Java will tend to chug quite a bit pretty often, and the render distance will have a very big impact on performance. Bedrock can go way above the render distance of Java (32 chunks for Java vs 72 chunks for Bedrock). 

For multiplayer, if local multiplayer is all you want, Java is your best bet, but if you want to play with friends online outside of servers, then Bedrock is a simpler and better solution.

In my opinion, the best overall experience is playing the Java Edition, with more options, mods, servers... It's a much cleaner experience.

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I, too, didn't play minecraft up until this June. My last experience with it was in 2010 with its alpha build where you could just place and mine blocks. For me, Java is the ultimate experience and the easiest to set up for multiplayer. I play in my local LAN with my brother, both running Windows 10 machines and Java x64bit edition.

Because I wanted to have something more of a multiplayer experience, I didn't rely on the native server, but went for an external dedicated server named SpigotMC. It's one of the many forks of craftbukkit, which is an external framework for hosting minecraft. It's just a java executable you have to run in the background on a machine to act as a dedicated server. Because the server is extremely lightweight and Minecraft itself is quite light, I use my potato (5 year-old crappy) machine as both the dedicated server and for playing (I start the server, minimize it, then start the game and connect to the localhost through direct connect). What those external servers add for the experience, are the plugins which make the game extremely enjoyable (RPG progression like Skyrim, easy manipulation of gameplay elements like enchanting, smithing, etc, useful things like adding name tags to things so you know what is dropped, etc).

On top of that, since Minecraft might look a bit blocky/plain to some people, there are some graphic packs and shader packs you can drag and drop in a folder and activated in-game which make the game completely different to the advertised screenshots. Nothing more than eye-candy, but it's there (see attached screenshot for an example). With my potato pc and running the server on it simultaneously as playing the game, I get consistent FPS even with the graphic additions.


As for starting out, the game explains itself as you do things. It gets kinda complicated for the smithing/enchanting/advanced crafting for a young kid, but nothing too serious a family can enjoy. You could very well skip all the RPG stuff and stick to the construction/management of a settlement or house. For me, my best Minecraft moments weren't adventuring, they were just fishing or tending to my garden and farm relaxing after a stress day.

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  • 1 month later...

Thanks for the responses all - 

I decided to get Minecraft Java edition based on the responses here. However once I got to the website I realised I actually purchased Minecraft in 2014. However, I had never migrated my account to the newer Mojang account system and couldn't login or reset my password. I emailed support and chased several times - it took from August 27th to October 7th (41 days!) to finally get my account back. Obviously we live in strange times but 41 days is really really long time to be locked out of a game - especially one of the most popular games on the planet. 

Anyway I'll try to report back to see what my son thinks of the game! Right now he's in the middle of a Plants vs Zombies 1 phase but will try to introduce Minecraft to him very soon.

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