Posted by Sean on July 5th, 2011
Project: Nether Delta
The bridge has been completed and the foundation has been laid, and at this point I can begin constructing the framework for the structure itself. Now, I can put a lot of distance between myself and the giant lake of fire that I’ve become well-acquainted with recently. Unfortunately, I will be working against gravity, and gravity is a harsh mistress. I’ve also decided to name this fortress “The Citadel” because that sounds a hell of a lot cooler than “Nether Delta”.
Phase 3: The Tower Walls
After hour upon hour of mining out tunnels, carefully digging around magma, falling in magma, getting knocked into magma, and being covered with magma, I have completed the most magma-centric portion of my grand adventure.
The next task I had to perform is the construction of the tower’s outer walls. I originally wanted to construct a giant replica of Half Life 2′s massive tower made of pure obsidian. Then, in a burst of unusually rational thought, I contemplated the amount of time required to mine several thousand blocks of raw obsidian. My imagination, not content to leave me only partially horrified, spun dark scenarios of Ghasts and magma. I watched myself, desperately clutching a full stack of Obsidian, crying out in rage and dismay as the accursed magma lake (likely in league with the Ghasts) claimed an hour’s effort obsidian mining.
Cobblestone will be fine.
I jumped directly out of my shelter, bow drawn and mind steeled for the assault that usually greeted my emergence onto the Nether’s open caverns. Yet it was not the shrieks of Ghasts opening fire that greeted me, but silence. The Nether seemed utterly devoid of its flying denizens. Instead of heroically fighting demons with a bow and arrow, I was just some jackass posing on a rock in the middle of a lifeless lake of magma.
This was a good omen to me, at first. Much of my time building structures in the wide open spaces of the Nether were spent dodging fireballs or recovering from instances where I failed to dodge fireballs. No Ghast airstrikes? I can devote my entire brain to building instead of behaving like a rodent grabbing food from a cat dish.
Carefully making my way around the outside of the cap I build in the lava lake, I placed a cobblestone border in the shape of the tower wall layer by layer, each level completed without interference from my previously omnipresent flying antagonists. The tower’s superstructure began to rise out of the magma lake with pleasantly surprising speed. After hours of placing cobblestone and returning to a nearby supply depot to restock, the external shell of the tower itself was almost two thirds complete.
As the state of the tower’s construction improved, my own mental state began to waver. Having lived in the Nether for so long, the constant sound of Ghasts was soothing ambiance. To me, their alien cooing was like the sound of crickets on a summer night. The quiet – absolute, perfect silence – was filled with my own contemplative thoughts. Why were the Ghasts absent? Had my massive fortresses somehow gentrified this portion of the Nether, forcing the Ghasts to migrate to less expensive areas? Had the world I spent the last six months inhabiting started to break down, like fruit left in the summer sun? Was my Minecraft installation somehow bugged? If so, am I wrong to so take advantage of their absence? Perhaps the Ghasts are attending some kind of national Ghast convention, or a concert or something. What kind of convention would a bunch of Ghasts attend? Burning Man?
While contemplating exactly how Ghasts would be able to purchase tickets to Burning Man, attend Burning Man, and where they could have heard about Burning Man, I stopped paying proper attention to my surroundings and casually strolled directly off of the scaffold I was constructing. The magma lake claimed another two dozen stacks of cobblestone and the Ghasts had found a way to kill me again, this time without even being present.
Tired and irritated at the thought of having to travel back and forth from Nether Alpha in order to restock, I opened an exploratory portal in the empty shell of The Citadel. I was hoping to use it to quickly replace my supplies of Fuel and Cobblestone instead of spending five minutes sitting in a minecart watching netherrack pass by. I emerged in a large cave system, but at this point I was weary of poorly-lit stone passageways. I immediately carved a small staircase toward the surface, emerging on the hillside of a lush green paradise.
I had spent the last several weeks staring at netherrack, cobblestone, lava, and incoming fireballs. Now, my eyes panned across clear sky and rolling hills for what seemed like the first time. No endless fields of fire, no giant pools of molten rock! No need to dart from crater to crater across a vast no-man’s-land while balls of fire rained down from above! Overcome with the childlike wonder that I felt after seeing my first Minecraft world, I disregarded the last few morsels of my common sense and simply climbed to the tallest hill I could find to survey this new, virginal landscape. A single, manly tear rolled down my cheek as I watched the slowly-setting sun creep toward the horizon.
As I turned around to return to the portal, I realized that I had no idea where the hell I was, and it was about to get dark. As darkness spread across the landscape, I realized that my chances of finding it in the near future were slim at best. It looks like I’m about to go on an unscheduled camping trip.