Minecraft Dungeons breaks down Ancient Hunts and Apocalypse Plus changes in 'Flames of the Nether' DLC

Minecraft Dungeons Flames Of The Nether Dlc Image
Minecraft Dungeons Flames Of The Nether Dlc Image (Image credit: Mojang Studios | Twitter)

What you need to know

  • The next Minecraft Dungeons expansion is 'Flames of the Nether,' a massive DLC coming next week.
  • Alongside the 'Flames of the Nether' paid expansion, Minecraft Dungeons is releasing a major free update with tons of changes.
  • These changes are focused on endgame content, with new Ancient Hunt procedural missions, changes to Apocalypse Plus difficulty mode, and more.
  • In a new dev blog, Mojang Studios breaks down these new features, including balancing changes and new enchantments coming with the update.

Minecraft Dungeons isn't the same game it was when it released and has added a ton of new content, quality-of-life improvements, and feature changes since its launch. The next step for Mojang Studios' ARPG co-op focused spin-off of Minecraft is the positively humungous Minecraft Dungeons Flames of the Nether DLC. Coming on February 24, Flames of the Nether includes six new missions, with tons of new mobs to fight, loot to unlock, and content to play through. Alongside the paid portion of Flames of the Nether, though, is an equally-massive free update coming to all Minecraft Dungeons players.

In a new developer blog post, Mojang Studios has provided additional details on all the big features coming in this free update. Most notably: Ancient Hunts and Apocalypse Plus mode. If you want to learn more about the Flames of the Nether DLC for Minecraft Dungeons, you can also check out the recently release dev diary.

There's a lot of information to unpack here, so let's get started:

Ancient Hunts

Ancient Hunts are player-influenced, procedurally-generated missions that are high-risk, high-reward. These missions will provide a ton of nearly endless endgame content for players to experience while rewarding them with some of the most powerful gear in the game.

With Ancient Hunts:

  • Players permanently sacrifice gear and enchantments points to open Ancient Hunts
  • What's sacrificed to open the Ancient Hunt directly influences how the mission generates and what rewards players can earn
  • Ancient Hunts are also procedurally generated, so no two will be the same
  • Ancient Hunts will feature a mixture of old and new content, including from the base game, expansions, and Flames of the Nether
  • When playing Ancient Hunts, players can find lucrative secrets and rare rewards
  • Ancient Hunts expand on the in-game economy by giving players new ways to use their items and unused enchantment points
  • Players have a chance to find super-powerful Ancient Mobs in Ancient Hunts, which have a chance to drop extremely rare and powerful loot
  • Ancient Hunts can either be played in one session or over multiple sessions, once they're opened

Gilded gear

While Ancient Hunts can provide a wide variety of potential rewards for players in the endgame, Gilded gear is the most lucrative and desirable. This powerful gear can only be found in Ancient Hunts and will be the rarest and most valuable loot in the game.

With Gilded gear:

  • Gilded gear comes in common, rare, and Unique varieties of all kinds of weapons, bows, and armor
  • Unlike standard gear, which maxes out at three enchantment slots, Gilded gear can have a fourth random enchantment slot
  • The trade-off for such powerful gear is that all enchantments on Gilded gear will cost more
  • Gilded gear will be very difficult to obtain but will be the most powerful equipment in the entire game
  • To obtain Gilded gear, players will have to find and defeat Ancient Mobs inside of Ancient Hunts
  • Every Ancient Mob has its own loot table, so specific mobs will drop specific Gilded gear
  • To find certain Gilded gear, players will have to input the right combination of items to get the right Ancient Hunt, and defeat the right Ancient Mob

Apocalypse Plus

In an earlier update, Minecraft Dungeons added the Apocalypse Plus difficulty. This mode added a further twenty levels of challenge for players and massively raised the maximum power level for heroes and gear. However, players found that difficulty spiked abnormally fast towards the end of Apocalypse Plus, while a select few players found exploits to reach the end relatively easily. With Flames of the Nether, Mojang Studios is making a ton of changes and further increasing the endgame in Minecraft Dungeons.

With Apocalypse Plus:

  • The existing 20 levels of difficulty are being compressed down to 10
  • An additional 15 levels of difficulty are being added on top of those 10, bringing the total to 25
  • The gap between difficulty levels is being increased, so players spend more time at each level
  • The maximum power level for gear will be increased to around 250 at Apocalypse Plus 25
  • The challenge of Apocalypse Plus is being rebalanced to be more consistent and spike less sharply at the end
  • New "milestones" are being added to unlock additional Apocalypse Plus levels:
    • Every third mission, players will be tasked with completing "boss missions" to progress
    • Every additional milestone afterward will require defeating more boss missions to unlock new levels
    • This prevents players from abusing shorter missions to progress through Apocalypse Plus mode faster

Balancing and other changes

Alongside all these changes, Minecraft Dungeons is introducing brand-new enchantments to the game, with a bunch of new enchantments targeted specifically towards pet and companion builds. There will also be new "damage" enchantments for thunder, poison, fire, souls, and more.

There will also be balances and tweaks to existing enchantments, to make the game more fair and consistent overall.

Endgame changes

The idea behind all of these changes is to provide a ton more content for players in the Minecraft Dungeons endgame. By mixing Ancient Hunts with Apocalypse Plus, players will be able to achieve new heights in power, find more ways to play, and be able to spend even more time reaching the top of Minecraft Dungeons. This is the missing piece that has prevented long-term investment in Minecraft Dungeons, and now Mojang Studios has finally added it.

With these changes, it'll also be easy for Mojang Studios to make additional changes to Ancient Hunts and Apocalypse Plus, and add further levels to it, if necessary.

If you haven't played Minecraft Dungeons yet, it's available as a part of Xbox Game Pass, and is even one of the Best Games for Xbox Cloud Gaming on Android. To get the most out of Minecraft Dungeons, consider investing in one of the Best Headsets for Xbox Series X|S, that way you can always keep in touch with your teammates.

Minecraft Dungeons


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.