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Minecraft Realms (Pocket/Windows 10 Edition)

Note: This is not a review for the game, itself. If you want a review of the game, Luke’s review is here

 

 

The game HAS changed a lot since that review was posted in March of 2016, so I cannot vouch for it being 100% accurate 14 months later.

 

Minecraft Realms

 

Minecraft Pocket Edition (or Windows 10 Edition - they’re effectively the same game) is a good time waster and is essentially a diet version of the Java client. It runs better than the Java client (and, without mods, it also looks better) and you can easily set custom skins in the client. Like the Java client, it also supports LAN play. However, unlike the Java client, there are no official server binaries, so officially, your other choices are Xbox Live or Realms.

 

Xbox Live requires can require adding friends, but unlike the Xbox console, you do not need a subscription for this service, because nobody would use it if they charged money for multiplayer on the PC. While this is a great thing for the superior PC platform as well as smart device users, it’s understandably a kick in the nuts for Xbox users.

 

You may know what Realms is, but then you may have never heard of it before. Realms is a service provided by Mojang where, for a monthly or yearly fee, they can host a game server. Although this service also uses Xbox Live, you do not need a Gold subscription. This service has also been promised for Xbox One users for some time, though I wouldn’t be surprised if they’d need to buy an Xbox Live Gold subscription to use it, because Microsoft is a corporation of dicks.

 

What do you get?

 

On the Java client, Realms has several nice, premium features:

  • Your world gets regularly backed up, and you can restore backups or download them individually.
  • You can have up to three worlds and select between the worlds.
  • You can also select mini game worlds like spleefing or 3D Minesweeper.
  • Creating new worlds is the same as creating a world in single player, plus there are world templates available.

 

On Pocket Edition, however, you get none of those features. You get one default world generated, and the only way to get any other type of world (flat, old, or a custom seed) is to upload that world and replace the one world you get. From within the Realm settings, the only thing you can customize is the difficulty, the game mode, and the use of cheats.

 

The interface is exactly the same between the Windows 10 and Pocket Edition, and if you’re signed on with the same Xbox Live account, you can access the same realms (and modify them if you own them).

 

However, restricting PC users to Microsoft’s latest version of Windows, Windows 10, is a rather large drawback, as many people are still using Windows 7 and Windows 8. While it does allow for multiplayer between the iOS, Android, and Windows 10 versions of Minecraft, the Java client runs on several different platforms, including, but not limited to, Windows 7, 8, and 10, as well as macOS and Linux. Java users cannot join Pocket Edition Realms, and vise versa.

 

Similar to the Java client, your render distance also is limited to 16 chunks regardless of the setting you use in your menu when on a Realms server. While 16 chunks is enough to see into the distance by a safe amount, you’ll have a far more difficult time doing things like hunting for biomes.

 

The Java client, without Realms, has numerous mods as well as mod packs available using custom launchers like the Technic launcher. However, both the Java and the Pocket Edition version of Realms are purely vanilla. Whether or not this is something you’d want to put money in every month is up to you.

 

How much does it cost?

 

Minecraft Realms has two tiers of servers. These tiers have the same exact features, but have differing player limits, and they are offered in one month, three month, or six month subscriptions. The Windows 10 edition does not use subscriptions and instead is a one-time fee for either one or six months.

 

  • 2 players: This will allow you to play with up to two other players concurrently. If you’re playing with a family or a couple friends, or you just want a world for yourself that you can access on all of your devices, then this is a very cheap solution that's perfect.

    This is $3.99 for 30 days ($0.133 per day or $0.0443 per slot per day), or
    this is $22.99 for 180 days ($0.1277 per day or $0.0426 per slot per day)
     
  • 10 players: This will allow you to play with ten other players concurrently. This is good if you have a small community, but larger communities will find the limit to be a bit cramped, and there just isn’t any bigger option. Currently, you also get one free 30 day trial for 10 players.

    This is $7.99 for 30 days ($0.266 per day or $0.0242 per slot per day), or
    this is $46.99 for 180 days ($0.2611 per day or $0.0237 per slot per day)

 

You don’t get a significantly better value for going 180 days over 30 days (you save only 95 cents by going with 180 days over 30 days). 10 players does have considerably better value, though. However, if you don’t need 180 days or you don’t need 10 players, the lower plans are much, much cheaper.

 

Currently, there is no limit for how many players you can whitelist at once. The player limit only applies to the number of players that can be active on the server.

 

Conclusion

 

Minecraft Realms, although very convenient, wasn’t amazing on the Java client due to the lack of modding support. However it has a greater (forced) use on the Pocket Edition, as it’s the only official way to get a persistent world running outside of running your PC 24/7.

 

Requiring an Xbox Live account isn’t bad, as you at least don’t have to buy an Xbox Live Gold subscription. However, Realms is invite-only, so you have to ask the owner to add the user to the Realm, first. Also, if you’re a PC user, the Windows 10 requirement, when most people are on Windows 7 or 8, may mean you’re better off just using the Java client unless you’re sure everyone has Windows 10 or they have the Pocket Edition.

 

Unfortunately, the fact that it has even less features than the Java version of Realms while costing exactly the same sort of makes it a hard pill to swallow, but it is at least convenient.

 

Pros:

  • Extremely easy to set up like the desktop version
  • Cross-platform with Windows 10 and Pocket Edition thanks to Xbox Live
  • Can upload and download your own world from the client

 

Cons:

  • No mods or plugins
  • No support for the console edition, the Java client, or versions of Windows prior to Windows 10
  • No official, free alternative aside from running the game 24/7 on your PC
  • Servers are invite-only
  • Limit of 10 players active at once (in addition to you)
  • Less features than the Java version
  • 16 chunk render distance

 

Alternatives:

  • The Java client - Has more features, modding support, and you don't even have to use Minecraft Realms to play online.
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