I could go to DOOM forums and complain how that game could be so much more if there were quests and character development and all that.
I could go to Skyrim forums and complain how that game could be so much more if I could dig my own tunnels through mountains or build castles of my own design. (Cookie-cutter Hearthfire houses don't count)
I could go to XCOM forums and complain how that game could be so much more if I could control my soldiers is FPS mode, blasting aliens real time instead of all this turn-based nonsense.
Yes, you have every right to criticize games if they don't meet your standards. But I would like to mention that I completely disagree with your examples of opinions. DOOM isn't meant to be heavily story-based; it's a shooter where you progress through levels and just have fun shooting demons. Skyrim isn't meant to be a sandbox where you build castles and dig tunnels, it's a first-person, open-world fantasy RPG where you follow a story. I don't know about XCOM, I don't know what that is.
"Oh, well, Minecraft isn't MEANT to be story-based, it's just a sandbox, so your opinion is wrong." You might say.
Two points. Firstly, the difference between the games of your examples and Minecraft is that those games still have a game. Skyrim has a story that you progress through with bosses and strict leveling and progression of your power and abilities. DOOM involves progression through levels and a loose story you follow. I have no idea what XCOM I can safely assume it has essential components of a game. Minecraft, meanwhile, has no purpose to play it at all. It has two bosses, both of whom are not essential to beat and are not part of any game system actually worthwhile, and there hasn't been a new boss in nearly a decade. Player progression just doesn't exist; it's just an aimless, pointless sandbox with barely any sense of basic game structure. It's a purposeless, contentless game. It's fun for its sandbox, but once you get bored of that, which you will, unless you don't mind time-wasters, what is there you can really do? Games still need a purpose for them, no matter how tight or loose. They don't even have to be stories; there are retro-esque games out there with no strict story if any, but still have basic game progression (e.g. a 2D platformer with different levels that get increasingly difficult, a puzzle game that tests your brainpower, a simple shooter where you just blast enemies and progress).
Secondly, that's exactly what I'm against: its whole purpose is just "sandbox". There has to be more than that, that's pathetic. Terraria is a sandbox but still has epic bosses and cool gear you can equip and progression systems in place to assist players in preparing for fights and stuff. When you get bored of the basic sandbox, you can go out there and defeat Eldritch beings with your superpowered gear and progress in a vague "plot". Hytale is going to be a sandbox, but it's still going to seemingly have progression systems with cool dungeons and bosses to explore and defeat, with a general goal. What does Minecraft have?
Wow, it took them 9 years to add sea anemones to caves...Omg they're adding frogs in the next update!!!! OMG MOJANG you shouldn't have!!
So you don't 'get' Minecraft. That's fine. Imagination is not a universal trait.
If I sell you a collection of dust bunnies from my couch, and you start railing on me how they're not worth it and have no point to them, you're simply NOT getting it. You need your ~IMAGINATION~ to create things with those dust bunnies. They can all be arranged in an infinite orientation. It's literally LEGO if you think about it! Oh, well, I guess some just don't have the power of ~IMAGINATION~ to understand these dust bunnies.
There are millions of people who 'get' Minecraft and like it the way it is, without some convoluted 'story' or 'progression' getting in the way.
The "story" does NOT have to be required. I thought I emphasized that, though I guess not enough. I understand the game is a sandbox, it can stay that way. What I advocate for is a game you CAN play and progress through. In Terraria, you don't really HAVE to beat the bosses, but you can, and most players DO do that because progression is entertaining and the reason why video games are even played in the first place. People today still try to beat the Ender Dragon, because their gamer senses tell them "hey, this is the end of the game, you can beat it!" when really the only purpose that fight serves is so you can access elytras and shulker shells.
Minecraft is doing quite well without them, WAY better than a lot of games with 'story' and 'progression'.
I'm going to say this up front: Minecraft is not popular for it's "aimless" sandbox gameplay. Minecraft is popular BECAUSE IT'S MINECRAFT. It's the ultra gigachad game that EVERYONE plays and everyone KNOWS everyone plays, so they play it just cuz it's MiNeCrAfT.
There are a lot of games out there that rip off Minecraft in the sandbox genre. If the whole "Minecraft is popular cuz no purpose" narrative is true, then where are the masses of fans praising THOSE games. You can "do whatever you want" in those rip-offs, yet 5 minutes in and you're already bored. With Minecraft, it would be the same. To give credit where credit is due, Minecraft has 1000000x more content than them, and it's much harder to get bored of the game (I myself have periods where I actually have mild fun playing Minecraft), but it's still completely possible, and you will get bored eventually (unless you established an actual emotional connection to your world or you're a popular YouTuber who HAS to keep on playing if you don't want to lose your career).
If Terraria is so much more up your alley, go play Terraria.
"If you don't like the game, just don't play it!" How many times does the Internet have to make fun of this argument? I don't think you understand how much I love Minecraft and THAT'S the reason why I made this post.
I want to see it grow and succeed. But its potential is being squandered; with the eventual release of Hytale, it's probably going to blow Minecraft out of the park. It will have actual dungeons and bosses and cool things to do. Minecraft is truly an ocean that is as deep as a puddle. I adore it for its level of sandbox and showcase of how free a sandbox could be, but that's all it has to offer. I mention Terraria because it can serve as a good example of what Minecraft can be: a sandbox but still with cool, progressional stuff to do that can keep you entertained.