For the past two years, the game has been feeling too easy. Now this doesn't necessarily mean that i think that it lacks complexity, I just think that the mechanics as they exist in the current form don't require any kind of thought. When the game first launched people weren't used to crafting,surviving games so it was new and people didn't really know what to expect in a crafting system. But now anyone that's played a game in the past four years will immediately understand what to do. Also the survival aspects feel extremely bare-bones. I'm not saying it needs to be overly- complex, but it needs some more substance imo. Maybe some form of Freezing, Too hot, kind of temperature system kind of like games like ark or rust. And maybe make food more varied instead of ten different food varieties being viable all the time. I think farming could use some sprucing up after all these years. But i don't think mining needs much work other than adding ores, and maybe forms of cave biomes.
Those are just some ideas and thoughts Ive recently had. Most importantly i want other people to voice their opinions in the thread.
I think it's been easy for a long time, once you have full diamond enchanted armor you can basically just rush into dark caves without much worry.
A couple of times I have paused my caving to smelt my iron and craft blocks to conserve inventory slots and while I was messing around with the crafting table I've heard the hissing of a creeper behind me and thought, "Meh, no big deal, not worth the effort of trying to run away.", then the creeper goes "Boom" and I continue with my crafting.
There are mods that will do the kinds of things you are asking for.
Since the part of the game I most enjoy is producing large[-ish] builds and automated systems 'too easy' is not an issue and the preferred direction of expansion would be by expanding options [eg new kill mechanisms or new RS possibilities (the ability to move water sources by using waterlogged blocks in 1.13 being an example of the latter)].
For me, the pre-1.13 mobs admirably filled the role of requiring attention to mob-proofing when building/gathering resources without not making the mob proofing the primary (and very boring) challenge, as exemplified by the current versions of Drowned & MobB. [At present -proofing against either is possible only by creating very large, but exceedingly simple structures; placing several thousand of the same block in a regular pattern is not my idea of fun…]
Because of the focus on (comparatively) complex builds [and a miserly tendency toward compact and multipurpose builds] I don't find "…that the mechanics as they exist in the current form don't require any kind of thought".
While it is true that the ability [pre-1.13] to secure an area does allow for 'mindless' [or medatative, which term I prefer] logging or similar resource gathering, I see this as a reward for past effort [fencing and lighting the areas] which is also useful as enabling future efforts [the next build].
Part of the difference in attitude may also arise from my "very grindy playstyle" treating being damaged by a mob (ie armor is at less than full durability) as something to be avoided and evidence of a mistake in gameplay.
This could also be considered as a self imposed 'challenge' that prohibits the kind of blasé attitude expressed in Hexalobular's example.
The above suggests that the simplest solution is to set goals/restrictions for oneself beyond/in addition to what are enforced by the vanilla game.
While mods can provide a mechanical enforcement mechanism and/or add new features [less so outside of java], self- or community- imposed play resitrictions are certainly available for all systems and provide a considerable degree of flexability.
('Vegan' play [ while I dislike it as a form of social commentary ] does represent a challenging restiction on the availability of a number of common resources.)
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WARNING: I have an extemely "grindy" playstyle; YMMV — if this doesn't seem fun to you, mine what you can from it & bin the rest.