Minecraft, as one of the best games on Xbox, is a constantly evolving game, gaining meaningful new features and changes continuously over the years since its debut. The Minecraft of today is not the same game as ten years ago, or even last year. This means we're always looking to the next chapter in Minecraft's long and colorful story. After the colossal success that is the Nether Update, we now know what the next major update for Minecraft will be. The 1.17 and 1.18 Caves and Cliffs Update will be two separate releases under the same umbrella and theme, dramatically changing Minecraft in 2021.
The Caves and Cliffs Update is heading to Minecraft in two parts later this year. As the name implies, this update will focus on revamping the tallest peaks and the lowest caves in Minecraft with new ways to play and a whole lot more.
Here's everything we know (and everything you should know), from new features to release dates, about the 1.17 and 1.18 Caves and Cliffs Update for Minecraft.
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What is the Caves and Cliffs Update for Minecraft?
The Caves and Cliffs update was officially announced at Minecraft Live 2020 and combines massive changes for two integral parts of Minecraft: caves that tunnel deep underground and mountains that tower high into the air. The first part of this has been heavily requested by the Minecraft players for years, while the latter was already known about when the community voted for mountains to be updated at Minecon 2019.
Mojang Studios decided to shake things up this time around, however, by forgoing a smaller "in-between" update like the Buzzy Bees Update and instead leaped from the massive Nether Update to the even more extensive Caves and Cliffs Update. The Caves and Cliffs Update will still be split into two parts, however.
The Caves and Cliffs Update for Minecraft has two primary goals:
- Reimagine mountains with more dramatic, visually appealing vistas and new reasons for players to visit
- Evolve caves and mining with new features, mechanics, and more ways for players to have fun
The Caves and Cliffs Update aims to do this with massively altered world generation for mountain biomes and cave systems, brand-new cave biomes, and a whole suite of brand-new features, mobs, ores, items, and so much more. The Caves and Cliffs Update's headlining features are enough to excite any Minecraft player on their own, but countless more minor additions and improvements surround them.
Because of the Caves and Cliffs Update scale, however, it's going to take longer than average for this update to be completed. Mojang Studios is already hard at work on the Caves and Cliffs Update and is testing numerous features through Minecraft: Bedrock Edition betas and Minecraft: Java Edition snapshots. We, the players, will be able to witness the Caves and Cliffs Update develop over time and even help shape its path with feedback.
When is the release date for the Caves and Cliffs Update for Minecraft?
Update: As of April 14, 2021, the Caves and Cliffs Update for Minecraft has been split into two parts and delayed. The below section has been updated to reflect this.
The Caves and Cliffs Update for Minecraft, previously one major release containing a mind-boggling number of new features and content, is now two separate releases spread out over the course of a year. Just as Mojang Studios is always looking forward to how to improve Minecraft next, Minecraft players are always looking forward to the next update for their favorite game. We'll keep this section updated constantly as we learn new information about release dates for both halves of the Caves and Cliffs Update.
You can also bookmark our ultimate guide to when the Caves and Cliffs Update for Minecraft will release for faster access to the information you're looking for.
1.17 Caves and Cliffs Update Part One
Part One of the Caves and Cliffs Update, which falls under the 1.17 version number umbrella, is the smaller and less ambitious half of the larger Caves and Cliffs Update. Unlike Part Two, which was massively delayed by the Caves and Cliffs Update split, Part One is actually arriving earlier than many players speculated it would. It's official: the 1.17 Caves and Cliffs Update Part One releases for Minecraft on June 8, 2021, and will bring with it a ton of new features and enhancements for players to look forward to.
This shirks expectations from the update's earlier release window of "Summer 2021," which suggested to many a July or August release frame. Instead, Mojang Studios has already finalized the feature set for 1.17 Caves and Cliffs Update and will release it for all platforms simultaneously on June 8, including Minecraft: Bedrock Edition and Minecraft: Java Edition.
As for what kinds of features players can expect in Part One of the Caves and Cliffs Update, the first half is understandably less exciting on the surface. There's still a lot to look forward to, however, as the 1.17 Caves and Cliffs Update Part One release will add three new mobs to the game and up to 91 new blocks and items, most of which will be discoverable and obtainable in regular Minecraft Survival mode. This includes axolotl, mountain goats, deepslate, new copper ore, crystals, and craftable items like spyglasses and more.
We won't see any new cave or mountain biomes in this update, and the world generation isn't being updated with the gorgeous new cave systems or mountain vistas. Still, you'll be able to acquire new items and blocks from these biomes, like the lush cave biomes, through other means!
The 1.17 Caves and Cliffs Update Part One contains more than enough sweet new content and quality-of-life improvements to tide players over until the arrival of the much more grand 1.18 Part Two arriving at the end of this year.
1.18 Caves and Cliffs Update Part Two
- 1.18 Caves and Cliffs Update Part Two releases in Winter 2021
Part Two of the Caves and Cliffs Update, the larger and arguably more exciting half, falls under the 1.18 version number umbrella. The second half of the Caves and Cliffs Update was split away from the initial release and delayed until near the end of the year, or Winter 2021. As of right now, there is no definitive release date, and only a generic window in which we can look for more information. When 1.18 Caves and Cliffs Update Part Two does arrive, however, it will include the vast majority of the new features that players are looking forward to in the largest release for Minecraft yet.
While it may be frustrating that Part Two of the Caves and Cliffs Update was delayed, delays for video games in general are much more common in recent times. A look at every major video game delay shows a long list of projects that players will have to wait longer for, and that's alright. Mojang Studios is working hard to deliver 1.18 Caves and Cliffs Update Part Two to Minecraft players all over the world, with the quality and stability they expect. To make this happen (and protect the health of Mojang employees), it's going to take a little while longer.
If you're looking for a quick recap for what's expected to be included in 1.18 Caves and Cliffs Update Part Two, there's a lot to unpack. The biggest new features will be massive updates to world generation, including doubling the size (height and depth) of Minecraft worlds, adding incredible amounts of variation for mountain biomes, and introducing several new types of cave generations and cave biomes like lush and dripstone caves. There will also be more new mobs, blocks, craftable items, and more features than you can shake a stick at.
One thing that's not expected with Part Two of the Caves and Cliffs Update is the intriguing archaeology system, which has unfortunately been indefinitely delayed. Mojang Studios has confirmed that this completely new mechanic for Minecraft isn't arriving with the Caves and Cliffs Update at all, and no new release window or release date has been provided (although we're expecting it to come sometime in 2022, possibly as a smaller release of its own).
The 1.18 Caves and Cliffs Update Part Two by itself is already one of the most significant releases for Minecraft in recent years, and it arrives near the end of 2021. Mojang Studios is already working on it in the background and has tested several features with insiders over the last few months.
How can I watch the trailers for the Caves and Cliffs Update for Minecraft?
Caves and Cliffs Update first look
Caves and Cliffs Update art
Ask Mojang #11: All About Caves & Cliffs
How We Make Minecraft: Caves, Cliffs, & Other Updates
Ask Mojang #14: Coding to the Classics
Dev Diaries: World Generation
Caves and Cliffs Update split & delay
Dev Diaries: Caves & Cliffs Mobs
Caves and Cliffs Update Special: Blocks
Caves and Cliffs Update Special: Mobs
Caves and Cliffs Update Special: Looking Forward
Caves and Cliffs Update Part One official release trailer
What new features & changes are in 1.17 Caves and Cliffs Update Part One for Minecraft?
While Part One of the Caves and Cliffs Update may be the considerably skinnier half of the Caves and Cliffs Update duo, don't believe for a moment that there's nothing here worth getting excited about. Mojang Studios still made sure to pack this release with lots of new features, including some that will still affect your Minecraft experience when underground or atop mountains. Mostly, expect new mobs and a huge list of new blocks and items.
Here's an overview of all the new features and changes coming in 1.17 Caves and Cliffs Update Part One for Minecraft.
One of the biggest additions heading to Minecraft with the 1.17 release of the Caves and Cliffs Update are three brand-new mobs for players to discover and find unique uses for. All three mobs comfortably subscribe to the "caves and cliffs" theme of Minecraft's newest update, and each provides reasons for players to seek them out.
Axolotl are passive mobs that are vying for the spot of "cutest mob in Minecraft" (move aside bees?) with their adorable faces and assortment of colors. Axolotl come in a variety of different colors, including an extremely rare "blue" variety.
- Axolotl location. If you want to find axolotl, you'll have to go underground and scour dark underground water sources in caves and tunnels. Axolotl don't appear just anywhere and prefer dark and hidden corners of the world where you'll need a torch to see.
- Axolotl behavior. Axolotl, like most new additions to Minecraft, aim to bring something truly unique to the table. In this aspect, axolotl absolutely deliver with special behaviors and interactions you won't see anywhere else in Minecraft.
- Axolotl are passive mobs, so they're not dangerous to humans
- Axolotl hunt tropical fish, fish, glow squid, and squid actively
- Axolotl will battle drowned and guardians with the right incentive, making them valuable underwater allies
- Axolotl can play dead when in danger, which allows them to avoid further damage and regain health
- Killing any mob that an axolotl is battling grants perks like regeneration
- Axolotl can be lured and bred with buckets of tropical fish
- Axolotl can be picked up and transported in buckets, and will not de-spawn if they are
- Axolotl can be led with leads
Another new mob being added in the Caves and Cliffs Update for Minecraft is the mountain goat. Mountain goats conclude the trifecta of new features arriving with the Caves and Cliffs Update for mountains, alongside powder snow and fancy new world generation. If you're very lucky, you may find a rare goat variant that "screams."
- Mountain goat location. As the name implies, mountain goats are only found in high places. More specifically, you can find goats on top of mountains, surrounded by snow and sparse trees. When Part Two of the Caves and Cliffs Update arrives, it'll be even harder to reach the abode of mountain goats.
- Mountain goat behavior. As mountains are their domain, goats are uniquely qualified to scale them and survive within them, even with the addition of tricky powder snow patches in the Caves and Cliffs Update. Mountain goats also have their own series of unique behaviors to set them apart from other Minecraft mobs.
- Goats are neutral mobs, so they'll attack players only if they're antagonized (but will flee if attacked, usually)
- Goats are extremely adept at climbing, and can jump up to 10 blocks high when they're scaling mountains
- Goats are wary of powder snow, and will actively try to avoid walking in it
- Goats will periodically attempt to ram any mobs in the vicinity that don't move (screaming goats attack more frequently), dealing substantial knockback
- Goats can be milked with a bucket, just like cows
- Goats can be lured and bred with wheat
The victor of the Minecraft Live mob vote, the glow squid is the latest mob addition to the Caves and Cliffs Update for Minecraft. This swimmy boi shines brightly underwater, and is an entirely passive mob.
- Glow squid location. If you're looking for the elusive glow squid, you'll need to head underground to find it (just like axolotl!). Glow squid only appear where they can shine brightest, which means underground water sources are where you should head.
- Glow squid behavior. While you'd hope that glow squid are as exciting as axolotl or mountain goats, they unfortunately mirror regular squids in a few too many ways. This makes the list of their behaviors slightly more paltry than other new mobs arriving in the Caves and Cliffs Update.
- Glow squid are passive mobs, and don't interact with the players in any way, really
- Glow squid tend to wander aimlessly, and can even accidentally beach themselves
- When attacked, glow squid can release a cloud of ink and swim away quickly
- When killed, glow squid drop glow ink sacs, which are useful for crafting
- Glow squid do appear to glow, as the name implies, but they don't actually light anything up
Blocks & items
Alongside some exciting new mobs to join the growing Minecraft ecosystem, 1.17 Caves and Cliffs Update Part One is also adding up to 91 new blocks and items for players. Despite many of these blocks being tied to future Caves and Cliffs Update features, like the lush cave biome, you can still find many of these blocks and items in Survival mode of Minecraft through different means. The ones you can't find naturally will be available in Creative mode until Part Two of the Caves and Cliffs Update.
It may be the Caves and Cliffs Update, but it certainly feels like the caves are getting the majority of the new blocks and features. Even in the first half of the Caves and Cliffs Update, before the massive changes to the world generation, a ton of new blocks and items are arriving.
- Budding amethyst & amethyst. Amethyst Geodes are a kind of "sub-biome," and are populated pretty much entirely by budding amethyst blocks and the amethyst crystals they grow. Amethyst Geodes are quite rare, will appear in the first half of the Caves and Cliffs Update, and can be a great find for players.
- Budding amethyst blocks cannot be mined at all in Survival mode, and only exist to grow amethyst crystals over time slowly
- Amethyst has four stages of growth, with amethyst buds slowly growing in size to become amethyst clusters in their final stage
- Mining amethyst clusters drops amethyst shards, which can be used for crafting the new spyglass and more
- Copper ore. For the first time since the introduction of emeralds, a new ore is being added to the Overworld in Minecraft. Copper joins other smeltable metals like iron and gold, but this ore isn't meant to be just another tier of armor and tools. Copper has very specific and unique usages in Minecraft, and is special in the fact that it actually ages.
- Copper ages over time through oxidization, and will shift from the traditional copper hue to green, transitioning through several stages
- Copper blocks can be waxed with honeycomb from bees to freeze the oxidization process at its current stage
- Copper drops a raw copper variant that needs to be smelted into an ingot to be used
- There are a ton of new crafting recipes for copper, including building blocks and new items like the lightning rod
- Copper can be found naturally in the world, and is less common than ore but more common than gold
- Deepslate. Deepslate is one of the biggest single new blocks being added in the Caves and Cliffs Update, as it's going to completely replace stone at the lowest levels of the world in a new cave biome coming in 1.18 Part Two known as the "Deep Dark." Before the second half of the Caves and Cliffs Update arrives, however, deepslate will instead semi-randomly replace regular stone at some levels.
- Deepslate is tougher than stone, and takes a little bit longer to mine
- Mining deepslate drops the cobbled deepstone variant, similar to cobblestone
- Cobbled deepslate can be used for crafting anything that cobblestone can, including stairs, walls, slabs, and more
- Deepslate features a much darker texture than stone, and has unique variants for every ore
- Dripstone & pointed dripstone. The headlining feature of the new Dripstone Cave biome is, well, dripstone. Dripstone Caves aren't arriving in the first half of the Caves and Cliffs Update, so there's a good chance dripstone will be one of the few blocks only findable through Creative in 1.17 Part One of the Caves and Cliffs Update.
- Dripstone blocks slowly create pointed dripstone over time, otherwise known as stalagmites and stalactites
- Pointed dripstone can be mined and repurposed, and has a couple of uses
- Pointed dripstone deals increased fall damage when players or mobs fall on it
- Pointed dripstone drips water or lava when there's a source block directly above it. You can even use it to refill cauldrons
- Glow lichen. The only living block arriving in the Caves and Cliffs Update that isn't connected to the delayed Lush Caves biome, glow lichen can appear on cave walls and surfaces.
- Glow lichen gives off a gentle glow and can light its surroundings quite effectively
- Players can harvest glow lichen with shears
- Players can cause glow lichen to grow to surrounding compatible blocks using bone meal
- Raw ore. With the Caves and Cliffs Update, Mojang Studios is changing a fundamental behavior that has existed in Minecraft since practically the very beginning. While coal, diamond, emerald, and other ore blocks drop their final form when mined, iron and gold have always needed to be smelted before use. Now, iron, gold, and copper will drop raw ore when mined. This is more consistent and makes it easier to tell your ore apart from other blocks quickly.
- Raw ore is consistent with the appearance and behavior of diamonds, coal, emeralds, and other ores that don't need to be smelted
- Raw ore can be smelted to make ingots, which will be necessary for crafting
- Blocks of ore can still be obtained using a Silk Touch pickaxe, but won't behave the same anymore
Lush Caves blocks
Like most of the other new cave biomes, Lush Caves will not be appearing in Caves and Cliffs Update Part One. However, the vast majority of the new blocks that are coming with Lush Caves can still be found in the first half of the update, even in Survival mode. If you spot a moss block in a cave (more on it below), be sure to use bone meal on it to cause Lush Cave blocks to bloom in the surrounding area.
- Azalea leaves & flowering azalea leaves. Azalea leaves and flowering azalea leaves are new blocks that appear in Lush Caves. They look really nice, and make for great "bushes," making them great decoration blocks.
- Azalea leaves can be used as furnace fuel
- You can put azalea leaves and flowering azalea leaves in flower pots for decoration
- Using bone meal on azalea leaves has a chance to create a full-grown azalea tree
- Azalea trees. You can grow full-size azalea trees if you use bone meal on azalea leaves or flowering azalea leaves. These trees will grow on top of Lush Caves when 1.18 Part Two releases (hinting where nearby Lush Caves are to players), but in Part One will instead be player-grown only.
- Azalea trees drop oak wood and aren't unique because of their wood
- Azalea trees convert regular dirt below them into rooted dirt
- Azalea trees have a chance of growing hanging roots and spore blossoms from rooted dirt
- As expected, azalea trees are made of azalea leaves and flowering azalea leaves
- Cave vines & glow berries. Cave vines have a chance of growing on blocks in lush caves and can grow glow berries (you can also bone-meal cave vines to grow glow berries). This will add some much-needed variety to Minecraft's caves and provide another underground light source.
- Glow berries give off a decent source of light
- Glow berries can be eaten as food
- Glow berries can be used to lure and breed foxes like sweet berries can
- If you have glow berries, you can also use them to grow cave vines on the underside of most blocks
- Cave vines are climbable like normal vines
- Cave vines can be mined using shears
- Hanging roots & spore blossoms. Hanging roots have a chance to grow out of rooted dirt blocks, and can feature flowery spore blossoms. These blocks are mostly decorative, but they do look quite nice.
- Spore blossoms and hanging roots go hand-in-hand, and only appear from rooted dirt
- Hanging roots can be mined with shears and moved
- Moss blocks. Moss blocks are exactly what their name implies, and are pivotal in Part One of the Caves and Cliffs Update. While Lush Caves will eventually be added to Minecraft naturally, moss blocks are a stopgap that lets players find many Lush Cave blocks before that happens.
- Moss blocks can be rarely found in caves, can be obtained from wandering traders, and have a chance to appear in shipwrecks
- If you use bone meal on a moss block, it converts nearby blocks into moss blocks and can grow random Lush Cave blocks
- You can craft moss carpet from moss blocks, which behaves identically to other kinds of carpet
- Small dripleaf & big dripleaf. Dripleaf is a new kind of foliage that, like other blocks here, will only appear in Lush Cave biomes (or by bone mealing moss blocks). Dripleaf has exciting propositions for parkour maps in Minecraft, and as a quick tool for climbing.
- Small dripleaf is purely decorative, but big dripleaf has a purpose
- Players can use bone meal on small dripleaf to grow big dripleaf
- Big dripleaf can be climbed, and is effective for obstacle courses and quickly gaining elevation
- After a period of time, big dripleaf will collapse under weight and drop whatever is standing on it
- Big dripleaf will revert back to its original posture slowly so it can be climbed again
- Rooted dirt. Finally, we have rooted dirt. This block appears to be identical to dirt on the surface, but it sets itself apart in several ways like other dirt variants.
- Rooted dirt only appears underneath azalea trees
- Hanging roots and spore blossoms have a chance to grow out of rooted dirt
- Rooted dirt can be mined by players
Mountains aren't getting anything too exciting in Part One of the Caves and Cliffs Updates, relegated down to one new mob and one new block without the beautiful updated world generation expected in 1.18 Part Two. Still, the one new block that is coming to mountains in the Caves and Cliffs Update is definitely worth a second look, especially if you're planning any trips to higher elevations in Minecraft.
- Powder snow. The aforementioned powder snow block is being added to mountain tops and is a deceptively dangerous block. Besides its goal to make mountains appear more diverse and interesting, powder snow also possesses unique attributes.
- Players and other mobs can fall and become trapped in powder snow, similar to cobwebs
- Mobs trapped in powder snow will begin to freeze, taking periodic damage
- Players can avoid falling into powder snow by wearing leather boots
- Wearing any kind of leather armor also prevents freezing in powder snow, including for mobs
- Powder snow can be collected with cauldrons when it's snowing, or picked up with buckets
- Some mobs like strays, polar bears, and snow golems are immune to powder snow freezing damage
- Skeletons that become trapped in powder snow will eventually become strays
- Mountain goats will actively avoid powder snow
The addition of lots of new blocks in Minecraft also, of course, signifies the arrival of lots of new crafting recipes to master and find new uses for. 1.17 Caves and Cliffs Update Part One does not disappoint in this aspect, with a ton of new items being added based on all the new blocks. Players can expect new ways to build, meaningful and helpful additions, and more.
- Building blocks. Minecraft players love to get new blocks to build with, and the Caves and Cliffs Update doesn't want to disappoint its millions of creative builders. Deepslate and copper will have many craftable building blocks, including new stairs, slabs, and more.
- Glow item frames. Using glow ink sacs from glow squid, players will be able to craft glow item frames. Any item placed in a glow item frame will be helpfully illuminated and more visible. If you want the final touch on decorations in your home, this is it.
- Glow text signs. Similar to glow item frames, glow text signs use glow ink sacs to make an existing item a little bit better. As the name implies, glow text signs are illuminated and fully readable even in the dark, which can be extremely useful for nighttime or adventure maps.
- Lightning rods. Lightning storms in Minecraft are loud, beautiful, and kind of terrifying. When you build in a mountain biome or above a certain altitude, flammable blocks like wood and wool can be struck with lightning and set on fire. No more! The lightning rod, crafted with the new copper ore, attracts all lightning strikes in a certain radius, gives a redstone signal when struck, and can even de-oxidate copper in the immediate area.
- Moss carpet. Moss carpet is a new decorative block that you can use to adorn your floor with a lovely mossy texture. Moss carpet is crafted using moss blocks.
- Potted azalea & potted flowering azalea. If you're bored of the same old flowers and fancy the look of a few bushes, look no further than potted azalea. Take azalea leaves or flowering azalea leaves and a flower pot, and you have a whole new look.
- Spyglass. Another addition to Minecraft in the Caves and Cliffs Update is the spyglass, which is crafted using amethyst shards from Amethyst Geodes and copper. Spyglasses allow you to see far off in the distance, which can be extremely useful for scouting new locations or structures.
Other changes & additions
- Amethyst Geodes. Amethyst Geodes aren't exactly full biomes, but they are still an excellent addition in 1.17 Caves and Cliffs Update Part One in the absence of more substantial biomes like Lush or Dripstone Caves. Amethyst Geodes are beautiful, rare, and worth keeping an eye out for.
- Amethyst Geodes are constructed primarily out of budding amethyst, which can't be mined or moved
- Players can harvest amethyst shards from Amethyst Geodes, which can be used to craft the spyglass
- Since amethyst shards can only be found in Amethyst Geodes and appear over time, it's worth remembering where you find any Amethyst Geodes
- Updated ore textures. Ore textures in Minecraft have remained practically unchanged since the game's debut, only differentiated by color, but this isn't great for accessibility. To make ores more visually distinct, interesting, and accessible, Mojang has updated all of the ore textures in the Caves and Cliffs Update.
- Diamond is the only ore that hasn't been altered, and keeps its signature look and feel
- Every other ore has a fresh new texture and appearance, and can be recognized even without color
- There are also new ore variants for deepslate, which use the same updated textures but with a darker feel
There are lots of images from 1.17 Caves and Cliffs Update Part One that we just couldn't fit in above, but you can check them all out below.