Ok, low key, the music. I love listening to soundtracks and would end up down a long rabbit hole and ended up on one of the Minecraft songs and was like, wow, this is kinda nice. If you like ambient music channel stuff, this is a really good one I listen to with the Minecraft stuff (not the creepy sounds, but just the nice ones). Link Removed (Just skip the ad, it links to the YouTube video). The video is titled "Minecraft Relaxing Music Box 10 hours (Rain + Visuals)" and it is my go to besides lofi stuff. Yeah, but I then found some let's play and was hooked! However... still don't know how to do half of what the game has to offer. I usually just make pretty things and end up putting it on peaceful more often because the creepers stress me out too much lol.
A sandbox I can play any way I want yes please. Other survival games haven't given me that feeling so I never check them out (Ark and others I've tried but I lose interest due to the block placing and break mechanics in Minecraft being so simple and accessible rather than awkward edge by edge or preset building pieces that other games have, they just aren't fun and the grinding in them can also annoy me. In Minecraft I never have to care to alter the rates of resource gathering when wanting to craft something like I do in Ark because they are way too little resources to gather in certain spots and requires hundreds sometimes to make 1 thing. With Minecraft I can need anything to fill in the 3x3 grid and whatever other components from there I may want to crafting if I'm up to it)
Mods I can expand upon the game in ways that actually interest me or add/remove features that the base game doesn't have or features I hate, I can play on older versions if I hate current update features and there is always a community for them. Whether Beta 1.7.3, 1.8.9, 1.12.2 or 1.7.10 as the major ones.
Java Edition offers me a way to play the game however I want. I enjoy linear games of different genres most (give me deeper combo based combat, tactical tile based combat, visual novels, or typical action adventure/shooter/racing and more genre experiences with good story, physics and interesting game mechanicsc I'll experience it) but I hate open world RPGs.
But Minecraft being an action adventure sandbox game with an open world I can interact and break with the world (mining, building and so on I mean). Breaking and Placing things in the environment after crafting something cool (a ore doubling block, a hopper, a powerful tool) is the main reason I play Minecraft, exploring recreated cities/alternate reality worlds is cool and all until you realise that all you do is NPC quests and the environment other than looks to me becomes boring if the missions are too far away and I don't want to waste 5 minutes travelling just to get an item, talk to an NPC for the next part of the quest and so on back and forth, and the if movement of the character and combat is boring I especially won't play. I won't play a racing game if I hate the physics, same with characters running, long attacking animations unless it's for heavy weapons and doesn't apply to lighter ones (so weapons need to be varied so I have options).
I hate NPC quests and collecting pointless things just for combat and gear upgrading/ticking off the checklist/key quest items. I like building mob farms, tech mod machines and getting a small amount of gear not hundreds like some mods offer.. So doing my own thing basically. Not doing quests to recycle the formula but using blocks and items to change the world myself not have the game change with an event in game I just did with talking to an NPC and a flag appeared, a cutscene happened or whatever.
So while Minecraft at times can seem like there is nothing to do I can find many things to do, while in open world RPG games I don't care about any of the characters, Devs go 'oh look we created a medieval, sci-fi, modern day recreation of said city from real life, apocalyptic and so on environment but you still have to do boring side quests, level up your gear, go to dungeons and what not'. Environmental hazards like in Biomutant or No Mans Sky are nice but then again I've not played those games much yet and I know they have a lot to them.
I just want a world I can interact with plain and simple, not have it be just platforms and islands with a theme to set your game in and NPC quests and boring other elements.
To me the world has to be interact-able (can be manipulated for building, mining, farming) and interesting which to me Minecraft is. I hate some updates and don't use many blocks in the game but for the things I do use I'll keep playing for that alone and mods are the main reason I play Minecraft, other than that I wouldn't be playing it right now as the updates don't have much that stand out to me that mods haven't already done or the resources required are more expensive in the base game so I use mods to get cheaper versions of the game thing and have been perfected before Mojang made them (shulker box, tinted glass, spyglass as good examples, all can be made cheaper, upgraded in the case of backpacks and are done better but I'm glad those types of features are in the game by Mojang at least).