Minecraft: Java Edition 1.18 Experimental Snapshot 5 arrives with lots of tweaks, like cooler mountains

Minecraft Caves And Cliffs Update 1.18 Experimental Snapshot 5 Image
Minecraft Caves And Cliffs Update 1.18 Experimental Snapshot 5 Image (Image credit: Mojang Studios | Twitter)

What you need to know

  • Minecraft is poised to release one of its biggest releases yet with 1.18 'Caves and Cliffs Update' Part Two.
  • Mojang Studios is working hard on the update, which will include a ton of major changes, feature additions, and more.
  • A line of Experimental Snapshots gives hardcore Minecraft players a sneak peek at early development for this update.
  • 1.18 Experimental Snapshot 5 is now available for Minecraft: Java Edition with lots of changes for world generation.

As 2021 marches on, we get ever closer to the hopeful release of Minecraft's Caves and Cliffs Update, which will finish with a bang with 1.18 Part Two. The second half of the Caves and Cliffs Update will include sweeping alterations to Minecraft's fundamentals, mostly pertaining to world generation, and such requires a ton of tweaking and development time. To help Mojang Studios collect feedback, they've been releasing Experimental Snapshots for Minecraft: Java Editions players, which require more work to install and are rougher around the edges, but showcase larger and more in-development changes.

Mojang Studios just released Minecraft: Java Edition 1.18 Experimental Snapshot 5 to players, and there are plenty of changes to be excited about here. Mountains are now more...peak-y, with increased average height but tweaks to enable easier building at higher altitudes. Plenty of other parts of world generation have been altered as well, including rivers, caves, ores, and other biomes. These world generation changes require a ton of attention and tweaking, so every Experimental Snapshot is a constant fight for balance with players. Experimental Snapshot 5 includes plenty of changes versus Experimental Snapshot 4 from earlier this month.

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The full changelog for Minecraft: Java Edition 1.18 Experimental Snapshot 5 includes:


  • Peakier peaks! In some areas mountains have jagged peaks, like in the beloved bedrock beta mountains
  • Made mountain areas and peak biomes slightly larger on average
  • Raised the average mountain height, fixing an unintentional change from snapshot 4 that made mountains lower and smoother. But then we had to lower the mountain height again to fit the peakier peaks, so maybe it evens out. We deliberately avoid having peaks or mountains that go above y260 or so, because we want players to have space to build cool stuff on the peaks. So any peaks that try to sneak too high up get mercilessly cut off into a plateau
  • Fossils with diamonds no longer generate above deepslate level
  • Moved swamps slightly more inland, since they were leaking murky swamp water into the ocean. Oceans are happy about this, swamps are a bit grumpy. Also swamp trees can grow in slightly deeper water than before, so swamp lakes should be less barren
  • Cave carvers can carve through red sand and calcite, so those blocks aren't left hanging in the air
  • Tweaked the depth of rivers and the steepness of river banks. They are less likely to be super deep or get choked off in flat areas. Also rivers integrate better with swamps, the river tends to get shallow and merge with the swamp instead of carving through. Swamps like that, feels less disruptive
  • Small lakes features are no longer placed in dry and hot biomes (desert, savanna, badlands). Reduced the number of lake feature placements in other biomes
  • Small hills and overhangs (3D noise in tech speak) generate more often in flat areas, like in snapshot 3. This was accidentally removed in snapshot 4, causing flat areas to be a bit too flat and featureless
  • Reduced the amount of shattered terrain and shattered savanna biome, replacing some of that space with flatter beaches instead
  • Water springs can generate in more types of blocks such as dirt and snow, increasing the likelihood of small mountain streams and waterfalls. Also added springs to lush caves
  • Made badlands slightly smaller on average. Just a bit. But don't worry they still tend to be quite big
  • Added (well, re-added) jungle edge biome. If we keep it we'll probably rename it though, because it isn't really an edge biome anymore
  • Tweaked mushroom fields biome so it matches the shape of the islands better
  • Dripstone caves biome place stone surface instead of grass surface when leaking out of cave entrances. This should make dripstone cave entrances less grassy
  • Removed the height-based spawning change that was made in snapshot 3. We appreciate the community discussions about this. We decided to undo the change for now and will come back to this when we have more time


Source: Mojang Studios (Image credit: Source: Mojang Studios)
  1. Download this zip file
  2. Unpack the folder into your "versions" folder of your local Minecraft application data folder
    • Windows: Press Win + R and type %appdata%\.minecraft and press Ok
    • Mac OS X: In Finder, in the Go menu, select "Go to Folder" and enter ~/Library/Application Support/minecraft
    • Linux: ~/.minecraft or /home/<your username>/.minecraft/
  3. Create a new launch configuration in the launcher and select the pending 1.18_experimental-snapshot-5.zip version
  4. Start the game and the remaining files will be downloaded
  5. Play in a new world! This version is not compatible with other snapshots!
  6. Submit feedback on this site

Changes from 1.17

Source: Mojang Studios (Image credit: Source: Mojang Studios)
  • New world height and depth
  • New mountain biomes (lofty peaks, snowcapped peaks, grove, meadow, and snowy slopes)
  • New cave generation (cheese, spaghetti, and noodle caves)
  • Local water levels and lava levels in the underground
  • New cave biomes generate naturally underground and inside mountains (lush caves, dripstone caves)
  • Natural variation in terrain shape and elevation, independently from biomes. For example, forests and deserts could form up on a hill without needing a special biome just for that
  • New ore distribution
  • Large ore veins
  • Integrated mountains, caves, and cave entrances
  • Monsters will only spawn in complete darkness
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.