I remember when Terraria was still a fresh concept in the minds of the creator, Re-Logic; it was most commonly refered to as the 2D Minecraft clone. At this time, Minecraft was all the rage for PC gamers–despite the fact that it just emerged into its Beta phase. Minecraft was totally unique, there were no other games quite like it, really. So to see Terraria pop up with the same basic concept of collecting, building, and surviving in a harsh environment, it’s easy to see why people were quick to jump at the comparison. However, anyone who has played Terraria would agree that it is absolutely nothing like Minecraft. In fact, I might even go so far as to say Minecraft borrowed a few ideas from Terraria.
The History of Terraria
Terraria was released on May 16th, 2011; before Minecraft even managed to crawl its way out of Beta. Back when it was released, there were more mobs than Minecraft, more crafting recipes, more block types, and even boss battles (which is something that Minecraft didn’t have at the time). Terraria was fun, but it quickly reached a point where you can’t progress any further after about twenty or so hours of gameplay. Now while that isn’t a bad length for a game by any means–especially for a sandbox game like Terraria–the game felt like it was simply lacking content.
By the time December rolled around, Re-Logic had just launched a huge content update that really set the bar high for fans. The Terraria 1.1 update introduced Hardmode: a new game mode that activated when the player destroys the Wall of Flesh lurking in the Underworld. A world with Hardmode enabled held new-and-improved monsters, harder bosses, new ores, stronger weapons and armor, wings, reforging, accessory combining, and much, much more. After an update like this, the possibilities of what could be next rushed through fans as they bombarded the forums with new ideas and concept art. However, the fun was not to last, because shortly after the 1.1 update rolled out, Re-Logic announced that they would no longer be working on the PC version of Terraria, and instead focus on porting it to different available consols (similar to Minecraft). Since then, Terraria has rolled out for Smart Phones, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and very recent rumors lead us to believe it’s coming out for the Nintendo Wii U and 3DS later this year.
Years later, after fans had given up all hope of Re-Logic returning to the PC version of the game, they announce the Terraria 1.2 patch, which was released at the end of September in 2013. This patch served to balance out Hardmode as well as add a massive amount of features to the base game, such as the increase in maximum health from 400 to 500, a blatant increase in inventory space, tons of new furniture options, and the introduction of new Hardmode areas and bosses.
Shortly after, they revealed the Halloween update, Terraria 1.2.1, which is most known for the addition of the terrifying Pumpkin Moon–one of the harder challenges currently available in the game. Terraria 1.2.2, the Christmas update, added the ever more terrifying Frost Moon. In Feburary of 2014, they released the Terraria 1.2.3 patch, which fixed many bugs and added a bunch of miscellaneous features that made Terraria a lot more customizable. Terraria’s 1.2.4 patch added a new NPC and a new boss, along with a few miscellaneous features that Re-Logic didn’t want to leave out of the game until Terraria 1.3.
Terraria – Eater of Souls
Now, you may be asking “Autumn, why did you just detail the history of Terraria to me?” I’m glad you asked, metaphorical person.
I have clocked over 250 hours into Terraria, according to Steam. What, you don’t believe me? Have a look for yourself.
Terraria is the Eater of Souls. It devours mine, but not in any form of consistency. Every time Re-Logic releases a patch that changes the game in a rather large way, Terraria always manages to find its way to the top of my must-play list. Each time Terraria gets updated, the game always feels so new and fresh. Props to the developers for making a game I always want to come back to. I’m still waiting for Minecraft to get to a point where it feels like a fresh enough game to me to go back, and I haven’t really played all that much since Beta.
Redigit–Terraria‘s equivalent of Notch–went on record stating that the Terraria 1.3 update may be the last one he works on before moving on to a project outside of the Terraria series, as well as the inevitable Terraria 2. Like Notch, Redigit is passing the game on to his peers to continue in his absence.
What sets Terraria apart from Minecraft?
Obvious points aside–Terraria is 2D while Minecraft is 3D—Terraria is a vastly different game from Minecraft. Just about the only thing they truly have in common is the fact that you have to collect your resources to build, and survive, somehow, in a crazy world of horrors. But that is where their similarities stop and their glorious differences begin.
Minecraft‘s world generation is essentially infinite–well, not really. It’s just that the world is so huge that you are unlikely to ever reach the border without taking the time out of your day to look for it. Even then, you can modify the game to extend these capabilities so it doesn’t really matter. Terraria, instead, generates the entire world for you before you even hop in, that way you don’t have to deal with all of the chunk loading. There are three world sizes, as of now: Large, Medium, and Small. Honestly, even Small worlds can seem rather sizable to a new player.
Terraria had bosses before Minecraft even released the concept for The End; it was always about the game, not just open survival. They started out with 3 notable bosses and have since expanded to a cast of 18 big-baddies-that-will-crush-your-teeth-in — and that’s just including the one’s appearing on the PC version. And believe me when I say there are huge gaps in difficulty at times.
Unlike Minecraft, Terraria has no peaceful worlds–and before you ask, yes monsters will break down your doors (during invasions). Almost everything in this world is out to get you. To defend yourself, you need to upgrade your health, mana, armor, weapons, and accessories for a wide array of effects that will net you the advantage you need in this unforgiving world. Unless you’re playing in Multiplayer, the only people who are on your side here are the various NPCs that move in around the player to help in their endeavors.
Terraria 1.3–the next content update–promises to boost the item count over 3000. Three-thousand items is a lot, and these currently include fleshed out furniture sets, many alchemical potions, a wide variety of crafting stations, chests, torch and light-source variety, dyes, paints, wallpapers, paintings, mob banners, display gear, wiring features, accessories, wings, pets, mounts, building materials, crafting items, a solid variety of armor, weapons, and more.
Minecraft is unique, and it will always be Minecraft. I will return to Minecraft because I can play the game differently than I play Terraria. In a way, it’s more peaceful. I wouldn’t trade either game for the other. Their gameplay, once fleshed out, is completely different from one another. Fans of one game aren’t necessarily guaranteed to enjoy the other. Terraria may be too extreme for some people. Minecraft could simply have too little items. Both games have special niches that they fit into. They are honestly nothing alike.
I’ve probably spent equal if not grander amounts of time in Minecraft than I have in Terraria, but to this day, Terraria has left a bigger impression on my heart. If I had the choice, I would choose to erase my memory of Minecraft so I can experience the wonder of the game once again. But once that wonder is gone, Minecraft has grown dull. I know there’s a huge modding community that keep the game alive and well, but for some reason, mods have always carried an odd stigma and I can’t bring myself to enjoying something that I placed there.