Fri, Sep 16, 2011 | 22:31 BST
Adventures ahoy: What’s in the Minecraft 1.8 update?
Mojang’s released version 1.8 for Minecraft, known as the Adventure Update, ahead of the game’s full release in November. What’s the big deal? Richard Cobbett delivers the idiot’s guide.
Minecraft Adventure Update
New enemies, new updates to the food system and a dedicated Creative Mode are just some of the major changes added.
The change in scale for the Biomes is also a key inclusion
Some of the more minor changes include new bricks, an all-new lighting system, craftables and more.
Full game launches on November 17.
Minecraft 1.8, officially called The Adventure Update, is now out, and the first real step towards answering that persistent question “So what’s the actual game?”.
For the most part though, the changes it makes to the core Survival Mode are closer to previews of things to come – levelling, NPCs and so on, which won’t truly come into their own for at least another patch, if not the game’s official launch in November.
Most of the stuff that makes a major impact to the here-and-now is on the building and world-generation side, including the addition of a dedicated Creative Mode that gives you unlimited stuff, one-click mining of any block you encounter, and the ability to fly at will. With these tools alone, Builders have never had it better, but you’ll find plenty of new stuff to explore regardless of how you choose to play.
The main change you’ll notice is the new scale of Minecraft’s biomes (specific area types, like deserts and forests), which are both larger than before, and carved up with brand new river and ravine geological features. Exploring, you’ll also find some brand new areas, including swamps, proper oceans, mountains, villages (empty, but due to be populated with NPCs in a later patch), and rare underground Strongholds where plenty of buried treasure awaits. At the moment, the map generator restricts you to just three of these per world, although this number is expected to rise or be unlocked entirely in the next big update.
The main change you’ll notice is the new scale of Minecraft’s biomes (specific area types, like deserts and forests), which are both larger than before, and carved up with brand new river and ravine geological features.
Strongholds are also where you’ll find one of Minecraft’s three new enemies, the Silverfish, which live in stone blocks and attack when disturbed by a careless pickaxe hit. Another newcomer, the Cave Spider, is scattered around abandoned mine shafts, dealing poisonous damage that can’t actually kill you, but can leave you crawling around on the edge of death, and easy pickings for other monsters. As of yet, there’s no antidote for this, making it extra-important to have some food on hand to get back up to fighting speed as quickly as possible.
Food is the first major change to Survival mode. Instead of simply shoving an apple in your face to heal a gaping wound, food now simply refills a dedicated food bar. When this is over 80% full, your health slowly regenerates on its own. As long as the bar is over 30% full, you can sprint around the world by double-tapping the W key, though this will very slowly drain it. When starvation makes it reach zero, you start actively taking hunger damage. Easy mode will charitably leave you a few hearts, Normal will let you starve to almost the point of death, while Hard will happily let you keel over. In all modes, you can also contract food poisoning by eating rotting flesh or raw chicken, which drains your food bar rather than directly sapping your health.
As far as the monsters go though, The Adventure Update’s real stars are the Endermen – three meter tall demonic creatures with spooky new powers. Run into them in the wild and they’re completely peaceful and content to just move a few blocks around and mind their own business, but only until you look directly at them. Do this, by letting your crosshair fall onto one, and they freeze, but only until you look away. As soon as you do, they go for your throat, jumping across the map in a series of teleports to get up close and personal with your gizzards. Luckily, as intimidating as they are, they’re allergic to water, fire and sunlight, making them relatively easy to handle if you can keep your cool. First time you meet them though, you probably won’t.
When you do get into a fight, you can now perform critical hits that deal 50% extra damage by attacking while falling, or by pulling your bow string all the way back before firing. A successful kill scores you experience orbs that fill another new bar on the HUD, letting you level up and… at the moment, that’s all. In future updates, climbing the levels will actually have some impact, such as letting you buy new skills or upgrade your assorted status bars. Losing them could be just as easy though. Minecraft creator Markus “Notch” Persson has previously spoken of his love of rogue-like games, which typically use permadeath to add tension, hinting that you could lose everything to a surprise attack from a passing Creeper. Or perhaps not. We’ll find out soon.
As far as the monsters go though, The Adventure Update’s real stars are the Endermen – three meter tall demonic creatures with spooky new powers.
Along with the big additions come many smaller changes, including new bricks and craftables like the Fence Gate and Glass Pane, a new lighting system, tall grass spreading, and a couple of new sliders in the Options menu that let you alter the field of view and brightness. The latter is especially useful when night falls, making it possible to see perfectly well if you’d rather have convenience than a spooky atmosphere.
The second part of the Adventure Update is due to fill in many of the blanks, including updating the Nether (a parallel hell dimension accessible via carefully constructed obsidian portals, which offers handy fast-travel if you can survive long enough to get out), the NPC villagers, bosses for the Strongholds instead of just the hidden Silverfish, animal breeding and a new armour system. None of this is guaranteed though, and there are usually some extra surprises. Visit the Upcoming Features page on the Minecraft Wiki to see what else to expect.
No official release date has been given for the next patch, Beta 1.9, but with the ‘full’ version of Minecraft due out on November 18th, we’re unlikely to be waiting too long to see it. That will be going live during the first official MineCon at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, roughly five minutes before lots of people who spent $99 on a ticket suddenly decide to slip back to their hotels for an early night.