I never built "grinders", or "farms", or anything like that so maybe I don't understand why people who do, do it. But bear with me. In my opinion the problem is how grindy it is to get large quantities of blocks for building, and how once an area is depleted (happens easily on SMP) there's really no other option but making a new base elsewhere (someone plays like that and it's fine, but someone hates it with a passion).
So I came up with an idea that was bombed on /r/minecraftsuggestions for attacking the freedom or farmers or whatever, anyway I might as well propose it here where there's more reasonable people, excuse me but it's true.
Now the idea: a gamemode, gamerule, whatever, that gives people who need lot of resources an alternative to abusing bad game design.
It would work exactly like Survival, with a big difference: once you obtain a new block with whatever mean, you can place that block an infinite amount of times, almost if you were in Creative. Example, you mine your first cobblestone with your wooden pickaxe; now every time you have cobblestone in your hotbar you can keep placing it forever. Unintended bonus: no more need for towers of chests full of building blocks, sorting systems and the like. Someone cares playing like that, I bet many don't.
Since I don't grind/farm I'm probably missing something, so maybe there should be a list a blocks that can't be reproduced infinitely no matter what. Or include items that are not blocks, and so on.
What does this accomplish?
Once you worked your way into the game enough to get a new resource, that resource is never going to deplete unless you don't lose it somehow. No more mining for weeks to build a quartz castle, but not an easy access to quartz before being able to reach the Nether either.
Also, it would be an experiment: do people abuse the game because it's their only choice to play how they want, or it's just to get an easy advantage over people who don't? Right now nobody really knows it and in my opinion it hurts the game because the developers have to cater to all the people without enough options to give each one of them the experience they desire. If such people are given an alternative maybe they will no longer make for an unbalanced MP experience with players who don't want to play like them.
There's no real need for a gamemode between Survival and Creative. Those who want to build can do so in Creative, and those who want to build within the constraints of Survival can do so in Survival. (Also, there's a list of non-renewable resources on the Minecraft Wiki for people who want to build in Survival)
That's a little simplistic. Many people feel like switching between Survival and Creative is cheating (not my word, theirs), and Creative makes you totally immortal, which is overkill for people who just want to build in a not-that-friendly environment. Also, renewability usually takes work, too much work for people who just want to start building without caring for such complications.
Anyway, what could go wrong if adding an option like that? I would use it.
I'm with you. I don't get farms. At least, not for playing in survival. I understand the appeal of wanting to experiment and build them for their own sake, but actually using them in survival just breaks the whole purpose of survival. I've never played with farms and even put them off limits for myself. To me, farms are an in-game way to gift yourself free items from creative. Might as well switch to creative and back to survival at that point. People don't want to admit that but that's what it is. A passive, "free" way of getting items without doing the intended way of getting it is just creative-mode item gifting.
I do agree that there seems like there could be something to better bridge the needs of these players, like a "survival lite" of sorts (bad formal name for it, but it's the concept), but I don't think your idea hits the mark. Getting something infinitely once you have it once is too close to creative, and wouldn't be appealing to those making farms in survival. Maybe every item drops extra items (think fortune, but for everything, so one log is giving 3 or 4, every mineral with fortune is giving 3 to 4 times the already bonus amount, etc.). You still have to do the usual survival routines regularly enough, but you get a pretty busted amount of most things so you don't have to do it as long or as often, so it gives those players something non-grindy while still feeling more like survival instead of creative or farms. Seems like the easiest answer to this. Might even be able to do this without a new "mode" but just put more thought into the difficulties. Like either make easy do this or make a new very easy. Problem with doing it through difficulty though is that some might want the harder combat aspects but the extra items, so a game rule or world option might be better.
It won't stop people from playing "traditional" survival and just building farms though, so I get the impression Mojang is unlikely to spend time and effort towards it, and will defer to letting the player make the choice for themselves. Which is fine, let players play how they want and let servers make their own rules.
It's unfortunate though that certain things were left unchanged, or even attempted to be changed and reverted, all because of farming though. Mojang should have had a bigger backbone on that one. Player doesn't deal a hit to something? It shouldn't be dropping anything then. Above nether roof? Stuff should start suffocating. Maybe even restrict block placement there (if the nether isn't going to be given a higher height, just give it its own height limit). Bedrock shouldn't even be breakable (or replaceable) in survival to begin with.
I'm with you. I don't get farms. At least, not for playing in survival. (,,,) People don't want to admit that but that's what it is. A passive, "free" way of getting items without doing the intended way of getting it is just creative-mode item gifting.
I used to think like that until I heard from some people why they do it, and it boils down to two different aspects:
Some people just want to build nice-looking stuff without the grind, but still enjoy having to deal with the other Survival challenges.
Some people also like building contraptions to see how much they can abuse the game, like it was a meta challenge in itself.
Those are people who can't just be satisfied by switching back and forth between Survival and Creative. Creative gives absolutely no challenges and makes the abuse of loopholes pointless.
Getting something infinitely once you have it once is too close to creative, and wouldn't be appealing to those making farms in survival. (...) It won't stop people from playing "traditional" survival and just building farms though, so I get the impression Mojang is unlikely to spend time and effort towards it (...) It's unfortunate though that certain things were left unchanged, or even attempted to be changed and reverted, all because of farming though.
I agree, but that beyond the point of this suggestion, it's meant for people who just don't want creative restrictions while surviving. I don't know how many of them are out there, but I guess there's million of children that would love to play like that because the more I hear about them, the more I believe they don't care for "farming", legitimate forms of automation, or other time-efficient reproduction methods. They just want to get in the game and start building.
People who want to abuse the game only to abuse the game will not be interested, yes, and that's beyond fixing until Mojang grows a pair, which this gamemode/whatever would give them the occasion to do: people who would cry outrage because Mojang wants them to grind would have no excuse to do so with a grindless alternative to the original Survival mode, which this suggestion would left untouched.
Maybe every item drops extra items
Unfortunately that won't work because there's blocks that would still require too much work too often. From a builder's perspective there's a huge unbalance in their palette between blocks that are everywhere and blocks they would rather use but there's too little and are not easily reproducible. If I need to build a whole Greek agora with temples and all, with quartz (the only things that can pass as marble), even a maxed out Fortune pickaxe won't cut it. Or an entire cursed forest full of spider cobwebs. Or a mediterranean city with lot of houses in all concrete colors. I have lot of examples because I tried and I had to give up.
From a builder's point of view there's no reason to work for getting blocks, that's basically what I learned. I could have made this suggestion give a full-fledged Creative inventory in Survival (so Creative without flying, immortality and invisibility to mobs), but this would detract the challenge of finding such blocks, that some people still enjoy: it still gives some satisfaction, for example, to build something out of obsidian because I had to go to the process of getting my first one, which is not that trivial, but then I don't have to bother anymore; I believe getting more of those same blocks is not fun in itself for such people.
The Meaning of Life, the Universe, and Everything.
Some where you're not.
That entirely defeats the survival element of the game. Not only that, but anything you build will not be nearly as satisfying as having done it in pure Survival. That said, you actually already have access to a similar experience as the one you described. Basically just jump to creative when you want to build, and back to survival when you're done.
The idea is to make a separate mode so that survival can become/remain survival.
There's a not insignificant amount of the modern playerbase that finds the game too grindy. Yet they refuse to play creative. This is resulting in survival being taken in a way that is splitting those two camps. Some players think survival is being "dumbed down". Others still find it too grindy.
The idea is there might be enough of a playerbase that an interim mode might solve this. I think Mojang is far more likely to try and just make survival appeal to the widest audience as possible before developing a new mode though.
Servers have historically solved the resource problem by providing regularly resetting "mining world" dimensions and/or having a shop system where players who don't want to grind for materials can buy them. The Testificate upgrades in 1.14 were kind of a nudge towards the latter in SSP, except they're too inefficient for bulk acquisition. If I want to make a big build using brick blocks, I'll be thinking in terms of how many stacks I'll need. Buying ten individual bricks at a time and then waiting for the mason to go to his station and restock once I've bought him out is just unrealistic without a trading hall full of masons and then you're back on the grind problem. Oh, and if you happen to like red sandstone? Pretty sure only the wandering traders carry red sand, good luck with that.
Maybe an "economy" gamemode would work where you build credit by doing ingame stuff then get bulk building mats from a menu GUI? It would move Minecraft more towards a base-building strategy game.
...I just had a neat idea for a modpack - buy/earn/find items that spawn pre-loaded schematic structures when used, and construct your base out of them. I know there are mods that can spawn at-will structures already (Prefab, Capsule). I wonder if anyone's ever done a modpack focused on that concept.
Bricks were actually not something I ever had an issue with through trading (keep in mind this was pre-1.20.2 and with the maximum reduced trade values, but as you mentioned post 1.14 I thought that was the time you were referring to). Keep in mind, you can make multiple traders and they reset once or twice a day. And you get multiple stacks of bricks (not brick blocks, though) at a time before they are exhausted.
Quartz is the one thing I found a bit slow to obtain, but still not quite to inefficient levels.