Posted: Aug 21, 2023 in Minecraft
For the longest time, and still to this day, the only socially acceptable, reliable source for downloading and sharing unofficial Minecraft-modded content is CurseForge. Curseforge is the world’s largest mod repository which serves popular games and their communities. But recently, a new platform has started gaining traction and is making headway in the Minecraft community. This new platform, Modrinth, is quite the contentious topic among debates surrounding modded Minecraft and the implications of having more than one place for mods. So, is Modrinth worth it?
For context, it is important to understand what Curseforge is before comparing it to Modrinth. Curseforge is a gaming website where you can download mods and add-ons for a multitude of games. In this case, we’re primarily discussing Minecraft and its state on Curseforge.
Authors are allowed to upload their modded content to Curseforge and can receive points depending on the success of their mod (determined by popularity) which can be redeemed for certain items on the Curseforge site. Curseforge is owned by Overwolf and is hosted on the streaming and social media platform, Twitch. It is also available as a desktop app that can be used as a custom launcher for Minecraft for easier installation and utility of mods/modpacks.
To begin, it’s important to understand the origin of Modrinth. Modrinth describes itself as “the place for Minecraft mods, plugins, data packs, resource packs, modpacks, and shaders. A one-stop shop for anything and everything related to Minecraft. Discover, play, and share Minecraft content through an open-source platform built for the community.
Before the inception of Modrinth, Curseforge had already existed for hosting mods. Nevertheless, the platform suffered from issues of being overly specialized, outmoded, or indirectly reliant on an indifferent dominant third-party entity. This resulted in constant struggles for both mod authors and players alike. This fueled a desire for a more satisfactory solution, whether entirely novel or revitalized from existing foundations.
While there was a good foundation for meaningful competition the true catalyst behind Modrinth’s emergence was the Fabric project. This project became a prime example of a community-driven alternative. Grounded in principles of democracy and open-source collaboration, the Fabric project actively engaged with the community, fostering contributions and welcoming third-party initiatives. Through their actions, they showcased to the modding community the potential for growth, adaptability, inclusivity, cooperation, and genuine concern for the collective welfare. For lack of a better explanation, it was about the little guy stickin’ it to big corpo!…in a sense…
Eventually, after lots of issues and difficulties, the Modrinth community developed their open-source, independent project into a full-fledged platform. Modrinth launched its Beta on November 30th, 2020 as a feature-complete modding website and has since continued development until this day.
What does Modrinth actually offer as a platform compared to Curseforge? Well, when it comes to features, they are both almost identical. They allow for the search and sharing of modded Minecraft content with a series of filters which, in theory, allow for a more streamlined experience when it comes to catering to the gameplay. However, I believe there are just a few critical differences between Modrinth and Curseforge, that being their search tools, proprietary mod launchers, and mod author revenue.
Firstly, when it comes to the search tools, Modrinth is widely considered to be superior in every way. Modrinth is the faster, cleaner, and more reliable website that allows the user to filter mods by mod loader and version, as well as being open source. The website performs much better than Curseforge’s launcher or website when it comes to browsing and just discovering new content. Although, it should be noted that since Modrinth is newer it has less content overall.
Second, the mod launcher. Curseforge has its own launcher which can be used as a replacement for the Vanilla Minecraft launcher which allows you to more easily and readily play modpacks, modded Minecraft, and Vanilla all without the need to rummage around files. This is known as the Curseforge App, and it is by far the most popular means of playing modded Minecraft at the moment. Modrinth does have its own launcher, known as the Modrinth App, which has recently launched as a Beta and it supposedly works fairly well. This launcher, however, is dependent on its platform’s library of mods, so it will most certainly have less content available to play with. The Modrinth App may also have some issues, as it has just recently released on August 5th, 2023 as opposed to Curseforge’s launcher which has been the status quo for years.
Lastly, we should go over author revenue. To me, this is the most obvious reason why Modrinth is growing in popularity at an exponential rate. Modrinth’s platform boasts about how its mod authors receive 100% of the revenue generated from their mod’s downloads and popularity. Compared to Curseforge, which offers a significantly smaller profit share for its creators, is a large contributor to the ‘battle’ between the two. In fact, due to this discrepancy, many popular mods and their creators have moved exclusively to Modrinth, refusing to release newer versions of their mods on Curseforge. Now, I don’t think I’ll be providing any commentary on what is right or wrong for any party involved, but depending on the player, they may feel more comfortable downloading and using mods on Modrinth due to it being the ‘morally superior’ platform.
Regardless of which platform is actually better than the other, historically speaking it is better for more than one option to exist as competition breeds improvement. If either Curseforge or Modrinth were to exist on their own, I believe the platform would stagnate and falter, but both of them competing with each other leads to the smaller improvements that we see, such as the improved search filters and higher author revenue. In any case, I’m just gonna use both! With all that being said, have a great day!