Minecraft is more than a game–it’s a phenomena. While the base game (or “vanilla” Minecraft) is still a lot of fun, if you’ve played it for hundreds or thousands of hours, you might want something new. 

The following are the five best Minecraft modpacks to transform it into a brand-new game. 

1. R.A.D. Roguelike Adventure and Dungeons

Minecraft generates a vast world full of ore, monsters, and caves, but there are rarely any benefits to exploring beyond a certain point. Once you find the resources you need and establish a base, you’re set. Even the loot found in old mine shafts and strongholds doesn’t hold much appeal.

Roguelike Adventure and Dungeons, or R.A.D., solves this problem by shifting the focus of the game from building to exploration and combat. It introduces multiple leveling systems, dimensional doorways, and a host of new enemies–many of which are incredibly dangerous, even for high-level players.

In fact, enemies grow stronger the longer you spend in-game. Not even the ground itself is safe. Plants like the Cinderbloom can randomly set you ablaze just by walking over them. R.A.D. is a complex Minecraft modpack that brings all of the difficulty of its namesake into the world of Minecraft.

It’s a fun pack to spend time in, but it will take you some time to learn how the different mechanics work. Thankfully, R.A.D. has comprehensive in-game guides you can refer to when confused about how things work. 

2. Sky Factory 4

Sky Factory is one of the most well-known Minecraft modpacks out there. Based on the “skyblock” premise, players start off on a single block in the sky and must expand outward. In Sky Factory 4, trees make up the primary method of gathering resources, and the pack introduces a variety of different trees: sand trees, coal trees, iron trees, etc. 

Players utilize these trees to gather the resources they need until their base can grow more, and then other in-game resources can be added. Mods like Mekanism, Tinkerers, Better Advancements, and more make up the entirety of the modpack and bring the Minecraft world to life in brand new ways.

The primary goal is to work through a huge list of achievements. This list also acts as a pseudo guide, pointing players to what steps they should take next. However, Sky Factory 4 isn’t a short Minecraft modpack. It will take hours upon hours of play to reach even mid-game, but each phase of the mod feels completely different.

The first part of Sky Factory 4 is focused on resource gathering, but players can eventually automate the majority of this and move on to exploring new dimensions, improving their armor, and much more. There’s a reason why Sky Factory 4 is commonly featured on Twitch streams–it’s a lot of fun to play, and just as much fun to watch. 

3. Stoneblock 2

Stoneblock is kind of the modpack-opposite to Sky Factory. Rather than starting on a single block in the sky, you begin in a single room deep beneath the earth, surrounded on all sides by stone. With no tools but your fists, you must build equipment and progress through a series of quests.

Like Sky Factory, there are a huge number of mods included in Stoneblock. For each quest you complete, you are given a reward. Most of these are random, and often you will receive items you have absolutely no use for at that moment (although they will come in handy later.) This is another progression-focused modpack that can be a bit brain-bending at times.

There are multiple dimensions to explore, mobs to fight, and treasures to find. While an adventure underground might seem depressing, there is so much variety in the gameplay that you’ll forget that you are so far from the sun. 

Stoneblock presents a unique challenge that will keep you playing long into the night. Word of advice: invest in torches early. Underground is dark, and mobs spawn in dimly lit areas. Nothing says, “Welcome to Minecraft,” quite like a surprise Creeper in the middle of your base.

4. RLCraft

If you have mastered the base game of Minecraft and you’re looking for something new, RLCraft is the way to go. This Minecraft modpack provides a brutally difficult challenge, particularly at the start. It has a focus on survival and requires you to manage your food, water, temperature, and other factors.

If you find water, you have to purify it. Food needs to be cooked. RLCraft doesn’t use the traditional Minecraft health system, either. Each body part has its own health system, as well as an overall system for your body and head. A fall might result in damage to your feet, while an attack from an enemy might damage your arms.

If a critical area is damaged, you can die regardless of how much health the rest of the body has. This places a stronger emphasis on armor and ensuring the soft parts of the body are protected. 

The modpack also has an extensive skill system that you can level up over time, choosing the abilities that best suit your playstyle. There are many new mobs, both hostile and non-hostile, to discover, as well as a different crafting system. Auto-pickup of items is disabled; instead, you must manually pick up every drop. 

RLCraft is not the best modpack for beginners due to the incredible difficulty curve, but it’s a solid choice for experienced players that want a new challenge.

5. Pixelmon

Pokemon? In Minecraft? Who would have thought? That’s exactly what Pixelmon is, though. You choose a starting Pokemon and set off on your journey. Sounds simple enough, but the Pixelmon modpack is challenging. The first goal is to find a town, because you will absolutely need a Pokemon Center. Your starter will go down fast.

Pixelmon is best played multiplayer rather than single player, but the good news is that there are multiple servers to choose from. You can build and craft in Pixelmon, just like in normal Minecraft; in fact, you have to. You can purchase Pokeballs from Pokemarts, but at the start of the game they are expensive.

You can encounter a huge variety of Pokemon, rendered in a style that makes them look as big as they are supposed to be. For example, Kangaskan and Suicune are massive, versus a Patrat or an Ekans which are both small. Catch them all, take on gyms, and even ride Pokemon around the world. 

If you love Minecraft and you love Pokemon, find a public server and play Pixelmon. While there are a few weird glitches, it’s an interesting experience that’s worth trying out for yourself.