Well, for survial, I normally just go with maybe Rei's Minimap and maybe one or two other ones, but when I do big builds i like to have like WorldEdit and a couple other ones to help me build awesome stuff haha
In SP, no mods. They make no sense to me, they break every time it updates, and I can't get most of them to work anyway
In public SMP servers, you MUST at least have Bukkit. Otherwise it would be griefed WAAAAAAAAAAY too easily. You need AT A MINIMUM spawn protection, chat protection (auto-kick for spammers :-P), ranks for mod, admin, etc instead of going straight to op.
Private servers, however, I don't really care. Bukkit tends to lag my puny little AMD Sempron 3000+ that I use for a 3 player LAN server, but it handles Vanilla without ever going under 18 per tick.
Performance boost mods, and texture enhancers (optifine and mcpatcher do). I hate content adding mods, content is useless or deleted after MC updates, so why bother. Mojang is also adding a lot of features from the top mods anyways, so I just wait for them, then its a brand new game every time!
Even if I hadn't started using mods in 1.6, I would have definitely done so in 1.7 because of how I mostly play the game; caves were nerfed in 1.7 so you no longer have huge epic cave complexes or cave systems that you don't have to dig to find. I still play my main world in 1.6.2 because MCP and the mods I use haven't updated yet (didn't bother with 1.6.4 because it only added the structure fixes); I also used JBE to edit the cave generator class in 1.7.2 to make even more caves than pre-1.7, if not the variety (including ravines) I made with my cave mod for 1.6.2:
Yes, that's 1.7.2 with Swiss cheese everywhere (I used a texture pack I made to make ground see-through so I can easily see what's happening in-game when I mess around with cave generation)
The only mod I've ever actually downloaded (which I deleted soon after) was Pixelmon, considering I lost my DS and that was one of the few ways I could bring back the nostalgic feeling of capturing and dealing with Pokemon.
However, I got tired of the mod very soon seeing as if there's no challenge involved.
I never use mods (except bukkit servers with plugins).
I honestly never liked cheating in minecraft
Using mods does not equal cheating. I like using FTB for multiplayer and building my own packs for single player. It's just too dang hard to find a server that has all the mods you like unless you're doing it with friends.
I play vanilla and modded occasionally. I play vanilla with the knowledge that there's no world-breaking glitches, that I'll always be able to update to the latest version, and that the game is balanced (More-so than modded servers anyways).
I play certain mods in single player because I really like the content some of them add. Thaumcraft 4 adds a ton of content that imo remains interesting even after you've made most of the items in the mod. Although, right now, I'm waiting until most mods update to 1.7 since I know how large of a chance there is that some mods will require new worlds upon updating for such a large update.
I can honestly say there are quite a lot of "un-modded" servers around, but a lot don't publicise this because they're more for private, maturer players. But, there are many bukkit servers now as bukkit has become a huge need for all servers.
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Things I support (or at least think are cool suggestions)!
I actually do, but only because my computer is very old and can't handle most of them. On top of that, I like playing a simple game of mining and crafting. It's fun to go back to the basics, relearning the game and try to improve upon skills you have yet to master. I am currently playing an Alpha 1.2.4_01 jar I set aside and this time I intend to stick with it and my end goal is going to be getting a full set of diamond armor.
I personal like to play unmodded usually, mods tend to make things to complicated and with no directions it makes it more annoying then fun. Minecraft unmodded is very fun and yet very simple in alot of ways.