I'm sorry I haven't read the whole post, but if you're complaining about the high amount of caves, most of the people I know love that, it's one of the best parts of minecraft, they're amazing!
How about being a little more open-minded? Some of us like smaller sized caves, so I think they should return to the game, making both the seemingly-endless-cave lovers happy, and the cave-size variety lovers like me happy as well.
An easy solution: allow the player to choose the magnitude of cave generation at the beginning of each world. Can be done with a dedicated option or can be slipped into the difficulty choices (easy=many caves, no monsters, difficult=fewer caves, tougher monsters).
It makes sense for difficulty to control the difficulty of the ENTIRE game, and not just monsters...I'm new to Minecraft and Im already a bit confused - (how would learning this games recipes be possible without internet?)
The vastness and seemingly infinite-ness of these caves (be it with mineshafts, ravines, etc) are at times overwhelming. And yes that anxiety feeling to collect/light/harvest everything in caves exists, very much so, and gets exhausting for some of us. As said before, these caves generally get boring after you've figured out how they work. The lack of [possible friendly, hostile, or neutral] bats/cavelife, stalactites, stalagmites, columns, glowing minerals, etc - refer to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cave.
Its just my opinion, but I think by decreasing availability and increasing their variation/realism could take the Minecraft world to a whole new level of respect. All im saying is the "whoa" factor doesn't last long when you realize that the gigantic caves youve unearthed usually means long hours of boring repetition, and you know what's going to happen every time.
I know it seems like the caves and ravines are making the game seem easy and useless, but make some use of the resources. Look on the bright side, at least you'll have an endless supply of of coal, and with the iron, you can make iron armor and iron tools. I would be happy if I were you.
Are you really happy with obtaining endless supply that easily? The bright side is great, I agree with you on that, but it's not that great in the long run. All iron everything is cool and all, but it doesn't make the game better, just easier, and eventually it gets boring (to me of course).
Think long-term, not short-term: A few days after you get all the iron, coal, gold, etc your heart could desire you get really bored of the cave system...you realize your endless cave is 5% explored and the other 95% is probably not going to be as exciting to mine through once you've been through it the first few times. You'll care about it once you realize that obtaining all that stuff isn't as fun as it used to be. I don't know about you but I'm not a fan of easy and dull. This game is too great imo for it to feel unbalanced.
And ask yourself, how often is survival mode really about surviving?
When I find a cave I just continue my tunnel on the other side of it on the same coordinate. Some times I build up an enclosed tunnel through the cave.
I find it provides a challenge to building a controlled and localized mining operation. Sure if you wander through the caves you come back with a hoard of loot but you've also been all over everywhere and probably backtracked 500 times, it isn't very organized, and some times you forget where you've been, unlike cutting nice patterns into stone (or filling in where it is missing)
I don't think there's luck with caves as of recent updates. If you're digging deep enough then in all regular situations and worlds they are there, in vast availabilities; by programming, not luck.
I'm not saying remove the giant caves completely, but having some varying smaller caves that actually end without branching off into another cave might help some of us feel more achieved and completed when we take the loot home - if that's important to the gamemakers of course.
The Meaning of Life, the Universe, and Everything.
What it sounds like to me is that the massive number of caves is only half the problem. Ore generation is the other half. Caves or no caves, iron and coal are so prevalent, and that is part of the reason why you can go into any random cave and walk out with your inventory so full of iron and coal that you never need to go mining again for them. Getting iron is supposed to be an achievement, a groundbreaking thing that changes the tide of the game from the world's favor to the player's. There needs to be less iron and coal, ie 1.7.3 levels.
The cave generation is the other half. There were two parts to the changes made in cave generation. One was that the caves were made so that dead ends were rarer. That's not a bad thing. Going into a promising looking cave just to see a stone wall in your face twenty blocks in is annoying. However, the bad part is that now, not only are caves endless, but there are a ton of them. Caves should be reasonably rare. Caves shouldn't be part of the everyday game like hitting mobs or building. Caves should be a special achievement, something you don't expect to hit whenever digging. It should be a surprise to run into a cave. Ravines should be even rarer. There are so many that they're just an eyesore.
The amount of iron and coal hasn't changed between 1.7.3 and now. I did a crude check of my old world and a new world with MCEdit and the 1.7.3 world actually had more Iron than my new world. The reason for that is probably the new ravines and mines preventing the "growth" of resources. (You need to know how Minecraft adds resources to a world to understand what I mean.). I don't think the number of caves has changed, but a new world does have more air in them. Again, probably because of ravines and mines.
It would be more "easier" if lava wasn't an option
Take my story for example
I was looking for lapiz many hours,i had silk touch,so it instantly destroyed that block,but there was the that frecking lava,it got flipped in it,T-T,i rage quit then...
I believe a bumping is in order. I believe Mojang needs to focus on such issues rather than adding new stuff. I understand it is grateful to have a developer comment on one of the terrain threads but the reply was somewhat irrelevant. This needs to be made more serious.