The Minecraft 1.21 update is official, with automated crafting, trial dungeons, and a brand-new mob

Image of Minecraft 1.21.
(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

What you need to know

  • Minecraft Live is the perfect stage on which to announce the next major Minecraft update every year.
  • 2023 is no different, with Mojang Studios officially unveiling the initial set of features for the as-yet unnamed Minecraft 1.21 content update.
  • The update focuses on challenge and adventure, with new Trial Chambers with puzzles and combat challenges, with accompanying Trial Spawners, copper lightbulbs, and the new Breeze hostile mob.
  • There's also the Crafter, though, which actually brings automated crafting to Minecraft and is perfect for redstone engineers.

The moment we've all been waiting for is finally here. Sure, Minecraft Live is packed from beginning to end with new reveals and announcements for the entire Minecraft franchise, but many are most eager to see the first of the next major Minecraft content update. During this year's Minecraft Live event, that update falls under the 1.21 version number, and it's officially heading to players in mid-2024.

Mojang Studios' Agnes Larsson and Jens Bergensten took to the stage to confirm the first set of features to be included in next year's Minecraft content update, following the Minecraft 1.20 "Trails & Tales Update" released earlier in 2023. While more are likely to be confirmed later, Mojang Studios now only confirms features that are already in active development and near completion. The 1.21 update also lacks a name, which will come closer to release.

There was no mention of these features beginning to trickle out to passionate Minecraft testers through experimental snapshots and preview builds, but it likely won't be long before players can begin getting their hands on the earliest versions of these Minecraft 1.21 features. Mojang Studios develops every update alongside the Minecraft community, and it should be no different here.

Keep scrolling for an in-depth look at all the confirmed features for Minecraft 1.21, and plenty of screenshots to satiate your appetite. For other news and announcements concerning one of the best Xbox games of all time, stay tuned to Windows Central's live coverage of Minecraft Live 2023.

Trial Chambers & copper bulbs

The biggest single feature from the Minecraft 1.21 update are Trial Chambers. Actually, both of the next two features below this are related to Trial Chambers, too! So what are they? Trial Chambers are new Minecraft dungeons, procedurally generated underground out of copper and tuff block sets. They also prominently feature copper bulbs, a new light source coming to players in this update.

Trial Chambers are dimly lit, mysterious structures that provide unique challenges for players to overcome. You may have to watch out for traps and puzzles, navigate maze-like areas, and prove your valor through various combat trials. In exchange, you may earn some valuable rewards. Trial Chambers are meant to add another layer to the "adventure" aspect of Minecraft, giving action-oriented players more reason to explore.

They're also home to copper bulbs, a new light source and another way to utilize copper blocks. Copper bulbs, like other copper blocks, can oxidize over time. The more oxidized a copper bulb, the dimmer the light it gives off! Again, like other copper blocks, players can wax copper bulbs to permanently fix them to a specific oxidization layer, or scrape them with an axe to change it or strip wax. They look quite dashing, and seem to be able to be placed the same as redstone lanterns — just like any other building block!

Trial Spawners

Trial Spawners are a new kind of spawner, very different from the more traditional variant. Instead of endlessly spawning new mobs based on the ambient light around them, Trial Spawners will generate a specific number of mobs, then go dormant for an extended period of time before spawning the same set of mobs again.

Players can take on Trial Spawner challenges to defeat all the spawned mobs, in exchange for a reward. Instead of storing rewards in nearby chests, however, Trial Spawners actually produce the rewards themselves, placing the earned spoils on top after players have successfully vanquished all spawned mobs. There's no carefully mining holes through walls to take rewards out of chests, here. You'll have to overcome the Trial Spawner challenge.

If you believe Trial Spawners will be easy because you brought your friends, think again! These spawners are able to dynamically adjust how many mobs it spawns for its trial based on the number of nearby players. The more players there are, the more mobs will spawn.

The Breeze mob

Another layer of challenge added to both Trial Chambers and Trial Spawners is the introduction of a brand-new hostile mob. This is the Breeze, a mob that shares a lot of similarities with the fiery Blaze from the Nether. It features a similar shape, and is highly mobile with its impressive jumping capabilities. Instead of shooting fireballs at players, though, the Breeze utilizes the destructive power of wind.

The Breeze fires condensed balls of wind, which explode on contact with a player or entity. These wind attacks deal small amounts of damage in a radius of a few blocks surrounding the point of contact, and blow back everything in the area. These explosive projectiles can even interact with different blocks, like trapdoors and redstone contraptions. There's a new particle effect to differentiate the attacks from traditional explosions. While Breezes may not deal a huge amount of damage on their own, their ability to restrict your movement and possibly knock you off ledges or into traps makes them potentially deadly within Trial Chambers.

The Crafter

Possibly the most exciting addition for many Minecraft players is... The Crafter. Yes, it is what you think it is — official, automated crafting in Minecraft. The Crafter is a new tool that will allow players to setup systems to automatically craft a specific recipe. It'll feature a new, intuitive UI that allows players to customize the crafting grid and input ingredients to craft a specific tool or block.

Redstone engineers will be able to implement Crafters in their creations for true automated crafting. Now, other redstone tools like hoppers, dispensers, and the good ole' chest will have even more uses, all playing a role in mass-producing whatever players want. Setup once, then forget, only returning to pick up your latest batch of product.

More to come

Minecraft 1.21 is bound to include more than what was shown today, but this is a great start. (Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

While these features are all exciting additions to Minecraft 1.21, it's almost certainly not the complete picture of the update. Mojang Studios now only announces features when they're already almost complete and ready for testing, that way players aren't disappointed when promised features either don't arrive or arrive in a changed form (looking at you, archeology).

For one, we'll likely see the winner of the Minecraft Live 2023 Mob Vote be a part of Minecraft 1.21, which is the Armadillo. There are probably also other features and mechanics that Mojang Studios may be designing or prototyping, but just aren't quite ready to show to players yet. Minecraft 1.21 isn't officially releasing until sometime in mid-2024, so there's still a lot of development time between us and the complete feature list for Minecraft's next content update.

When Minecraft 1.21 does arrive, though, it'll release simultaneously for Minecraft: Bedrock Edition on Xbox, Windows PC, PlayStation, Switch, and mobile devices, as well as Minecraft: Java Edition on Windows PC, macOS, and Linux. Mojang Studios has been investing a lot into feature parity for vanilla Minecraft, too, so both versions of Minecraft should get near-identical versions of the 1.21 update.

We're sure to learn a lot more as Minecraft 1.21 continues development, especially as Mojang Studios begins to release snapshots or preview builds to the Minecraft community for testing and feedback. Considering the Minecraft 1.20 update, that's likely to begin happening very soon.

Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.