Minecraft Caves and Cliffs Update ImageSource: Mojang Studios

What you need to know

  • Minecraft: Java Edition, the legacy PC version of Minecraft, is also busy testing 1.18 'Caves and Cliffs Update' Part Two features.
  • Minecraft: Java Edition Snapshot 21w40a is now rolling out with a host of changes for world generation, ore distribution, and mob spawning.
  • The snapshot doesn't feature the largest changelog or significant fixes, but is still a solid release for testers.
  • This release comes after Minecraft: Bedrock Edition scored its first proper 1.18 beta build.

A day after Minecraft: Bedrock Edition earned its first 1.18 beta release, Mojang Studios is dropping a bomb on Minecraft: Java Edition players with the arrival of Minecraft: Java Edition Snapshot 21w40a. The new build doesn't look that impressive after a casual glance at its relatively short changelog, but actually features pretty significant alterations to several key pillars of the next major Minecraft update.

1.18 Caves and Cliffs Update Part Two is going to feature major changes to world generation, ore distribution, and mobs when it arrives later this year, and the latest Minecraft: Java Edition snapshot touches on all of these. It's recommended that you back up any world before loading it on this snapshot, if only because world generation is still changing rapidly in these builds.

Minecraft: Java Edition is one of the best PC games around, and it only continues to get better as Mojang works on their next massive release. That doesn't mean Mojang isn't also working behind the scenes on other projects, as I recently discussed what other games Mojang could be working on. Either from the Caves and Cliffs Update or from a new game altogether, new inspiration for the new Minecraft toys and gifts is bound to come.

The full changelog for Minecraft: Java Edition Snapshot 21w40a includes:

Features and changes

  • World generation tweaks
  • Changes to mob spawning
  • Copper Ore now drops 2-5 (from 2-3) Raw Copper items
  • In the Stonecutter, a Block of Copper can be converted to four Cut Copper
  • A bunch of biome variants with similar features but different shapes have been merged into one since the shape is controlled independently now
  • Renamed some biomes

World generation

Minecraft Caves And Cliffs Update 21w40a Ore DistributionSource: Mojang Studios

  • Updated ore distribution to make branch mining deep down more rewarding. Updated ore distribution chart
    • For example, added more unexposed diamonds
    • Iron ore now generates above 80, with more iron ore as you go higher
    • Extra gold generates below height -48
  • Non-cave biomes no longer change with height - so no more savannas in the sky and things like that
  • Tweaked the relative size of some biomes to match 1.17 a bit closer.
  • Increased the average size of most biomes (this also means biomes aren't in the same places as before)
  • Fixed some aquifer issues (a side effect of this is that aquifers are in different places now compared to last snapshot)
  • Slightly increased the frequency of underwater magma
  • Increased the amount of dungeons, especially below height 0
  • Gravel now generates below height 0
  • Villages are slightly more spread out
  • Removed water lake features, Aquifers provide local water levels

Mob spawns

  • Axolotls now only spawn in water, above clay blocks, in lush caves
  • Glowsquids now only spawn in water blocks, under height 30
  • Cod, Salmon, Pufferfish, Tropical Fish, Squid, and Dolphins now only spawn in water from height 50 to height 64
  • Tropical Fish now also spawn in lush caves at any height
  • Zombies once again spawn in dripstone caves – drowned can also spawn there however
  • Goats no longer spawn in stony peaks

Technical changes

  • Optimized AI for Axolotls, Goats, Hoglins, Zoglins, Piglins, Piglin Brutes and Villagers
  • Bedrock layers generate dependent on the world seed now

Fixed bugs

  • Large amounts of axolotls cause performance issues
  • Large amounts of goats causes performance issues
  • Banners without patterns do not render properly
  • Command blocks do not display command in their UI
  • No relief on treasure map or explorer maps
  • Opening world from 1.12.2 (or older) in latest snapshot regenerates random chunks
  • Sweet Berries generate much too often
  • Cave vines can generate without tip because prioritize_tip option is negated
  • Cave vines can generate into water
  • Entities bob their head up and down when targeting towards the player
  • Blue Orchid generation has decreased
  • version.json contains internal revision ID instead of game version ID