it would be great to be able to assign game automated workers to mine for ore etc in your mine and other tasks. Even things as the most basic level would be neat. Just to have some form of useful workers....
Never would have thought of that but wouldn't that defeat the purpose of Minecraft ? They would only work for a certain number of hours then have to go home to rest. It would make sense that you would need to pay them some form of currency Iron or Gold Ignot (not merely just be your servants ). They could start out as servants digging dirt but they would need to level up AKA get smarter), so they would dig deep. They could even keep an eye out for Lava, Water or Mobs, so they don't die. You could equip them with Armor / swords, etc to defend themselves. After so much experience, they would detect certain blocks (iron, gold, diamond, redstone, etc) and dig for them.
When they max out on digging, you could also get them to build. Maybe have a predetermined set of blueprints of bases or houses. But they would charge a higher price.
It doesn't defeat it if the purpose at all. I spend time building a town with the kids currently but it feels like there is not much to actually achieve or strive for. It would be nice to build things more functional with a purpose. Build a town, make it difficult to achieve but possible and then start working on your next town. Then connect them. Starting with workers seemed like a decent entry point for the developers.
I mean, they didn't have to make trees "grow" for us. We could have had to build each one. They didn't have to have functional moving minecarts. Pickaxes that dig faster, etc. So this is just another step to broaden the endless possibilities of the game.
Minecraft to me is not about the story, characters, or villains. It's about being handed endless possibilities of materials, animals, etc to build any world or story you have stored in your imagination starting from scrap (mining it etc). Adding additional functionality to that world as you work your way up certainly shouldn't defeat the purpose but just make it more fun
Prices etc as you stated would be fine. However they choose to get from point a to point b is fine with me... I would just like the ability. Nice suggestions...