Minecraft just wrapped up Minecon 2019, and it was a huge show with tons of epic announcements. We got public access info for Minecraft Earth, a cinematic intro for Minecraft Dungeons, and news about upcoming updates to Minecraft itself.
Here are our top five best features on their way to Minecraft for the rest of 2019, and into 2020.
Block 'em up
The biggest game of all time
Minecraft is on the up and up, with tons of new content and features on the horizon. Now is as good a time as any to jump in!
1. Nether Update
The big one is the update to Minecraft's Nether dimension, which will receive a much-needed coat of new hellish paint, and a bunch of new features. The Nether Update will add two new biomes to the Nether, Soulsand Valley which is a hostile terrain complete with giant prehistoric skeletons, and Netherwart Forest, where alien mushrooms tower into the darkness.
We're also getting a new civilization within the Nether, dubbed Piglins. These non-zombified Pigmen barter gold for items, and will only ignore players who endow themselves in gold armor. However, if you attempt to take from their chests, be prepared for a fight. Piglins also hunt a new beast, which is yet to be named, but resembles a demonic boar perfectly suited for Nether living.
For everything we know so far about the Nether update, see our comprehensive coverage.
2. Mountain update
At Minecon, Microsoft held a vote on which biome would get some love first among mountains, badlands, and swamps. Badlands (sadly...) got routed, with swamps, and mountains duking it out for the top spot. In the end, mountains emerged victoriously, and we already know a little bit about what the future update will contain.
Biome updates generally contain new mobs, new mechanics, and refreshed terrain generation. For the mountain update, the Minecraft team said they were (jokingly) looking at "snowier snow," with deeper types of snow terrain, improved landscapes to deliver "majestic views," and at least one new mob, which will be goats. This update will likely come after the Nether update, which is slated for the first half of 2020.
3. Bees, bees, bees
BEEEEEEEEEES. The next mini-update to Minecraft will be the inclusion of bees, coming before the 2019 holiday season. Bees not only look fuzzy and cute, but bring a ton of new mechanics that will have cascading effects across the whole game. When bees fly between their beehives and flowers to collect nectar, they drop pollen on nearby crops, accelerating their growth. The bees update will also come with a new honey block, which has sticky properties.
For more on what bees mean for Minecraft, head over here
4. Character Creator
In addition to bees, another more immediate update is the Minecraft Character Creator, which is currently available to beta testers. The Character Creator effectively allows you to create your own skins without having to learn how to use skinny and modeling features, using a wide variety of cosmetic options and representation. A lot of the costumes and clothes we've seen so far are also 3D, rather than simple overlays for Alex and Steve.
Microsoft says there will be over 100 items for free, along with some premium cosmetic options for those willing to pony up the dough.
5. Improved scripting tools
For Minecraft marketplace developers, programming students, and hobbyists, Mojang is making it easier to rapidly build and tweak maps and mechanics with an array of new scripting tools. We have the editing stick, which will allow devs to very rapidly change the parameters of any block in the world. There will also be a TNT wand, allowing devs to rapidly shape the terrain, and new ways to package assets into an expandable block, allowing for fast copy-and-pasting of buildings and so on.
These tools should lead to more refined custom experiences in the Minecraft marketplace while making life easier for devs.
Minecraft is on the up and up
Recently crowned the biggest game of all time, Minecraft is showing no signs of slowing down. Between Minecraft itself, Minecraft Dungeons, Minecraft Earth, and a few other "secret" projects we've heard about, you can bet that this franchise is going to go from strength to strength, with no shortage of content on the horizon.
Awesome Minecraft merch
Love Minecraft? We're fairly certain you'll love these accessories equally.
Minecraft Sprites Premium T-Shirt (opens in new tab) ($19 at Amazon)
Show off your Minecraft pride with this premium tee from Jinx, showcasing many of Minecraft's iconic mobs.
Minecraft Lego: The End Battle (opens in new tab) ($20 at Amazon)
Who doesn't want a Lego Ender Dragon?
Minecraft for Nintendo Switch (opens in new tab) ($30 at Amazon)
Minecraft for Nintendo Switch features full cross-play between Xbox, Windows 10, mobile phones, and even VR!
Minecraft shades (opens in new tab) ($8 at Amazon)
You might think you're cool, but are you cool enough to wear these?
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Jez Corden is the Managing Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!
I'm amazed by all these awesome refinements and updates Mojang is bringing to Minecraft! The microtransactions in the beta Character Creator is annoying but unfortunately expected. Microsoft won't turn down a potential stream of revenue. As long as Mojang continues to add free skin customization items, I'll be okay with the microtransactions.
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