Minecraft: Java Edition tests Warden, Deep Dark, and more in first The Wild Update snapshot

Minecraft The Wild Update The Deep Dark Experimental Snapshot 1 Image
Minecraft The Wild Update The Deep Dark Experimental Snapshot 1 Image (Image credit: Mojang Studios | Twitter)

What you need to know

  • The Wild Update is the next planned content update for Minecraft, and is expected to arrive at some point in 2022.
  • On Thursday, Mojang Studios finally released the first proper The Wild Update snapshot for Minecraft: Java Edition players.
  • Minecraft: Java Edition Deep Dark Experimental Snapshot 1 includes a ton of new features from The Wild Update, including the Deep Dark biome and Warden mob.
  • As an experimental snapshot, this release takes more work to access, and is liable to be less stable than other snapshots.

The Wild Update is slated to be the next major Minecraft release, arriving later in 2022 with new biomes, mobs, features, and quality-of-life improvements in tow. Mojang Studios has been tirelessly working behind the scenes to deliver the update to players, and has even tested some features with Minecraft: Bedrock Edition players, but the legacy Java Edition has yet to experience any The Wild Update content.

On Thursday, Mojang Studios finally shattered the silence with the first The Wild Update snapshot. Granted, this is an experimental snapshot that requires additional commitment to access and is practically guaranteed to feature more bugs, but it also includes a bevy of brand-new features from the upcoming release.

With this snapshot, interested players will be able to explore the Deep Dark biome and hidden Ancient Cities, avoid dangerous Wardens, test the various sculk blocks, and more. There's a lot packed into this release, with Mojang Studios aiming to collect feedback as they continue to develop and tweak The Wild Update. As an experimental snapshot, players will need to go through extra steps to get in, and be aware that new worlds will need to be created, and those worlds are exclusive to this snapshot.

Be sure to check out the changelog below for all the details on what's included in this experimental snapshot, as there's a lot to cover. This snapshot arrives shortly after the latest Minecraft: Bedrock Edition beta, and after the more accessible and mundane Minecraft: Java Edition snapshot released on Wednesday.

Minecraft: Java Edition is one of the best PC games of all time, and The Wild Update aims to improve it even further with a plethora of fresh content for players to explore. If you're not afraid to get your hands dirty, the Deep Dark Experimental Snapshot 1 is a great way to test what's coming next to one of the world's most successful games.

The full changelog for Minecraft: Java Edition Deep Dark Experimental Snapshot 1 includes:


  • Added Deep Dark biome to the Overworld
  • Added Ancient City structures to the Deep Dark
  • Added Darkness mob effect
  • Added Sculk, Sculk Veins, Sculk Catalyst and Sculk Shrieker blocks
  • Re-added Sculk Sensor to the Creative Mode menu
  • Sculk Sensors now always activate when stepped on, even when sneaking
  • Sculk Sensors can now only be obtained with Silk Touch, otherwise they drop XP
  • Added the Swift Sneak enchantment
  • Added Warden mob

Ancient City

  • Wander the halls of these long-abandoned structures in the Deep Dark depths to uncover some relics long forgotten
  • Ancient City structures spawn in the Deep Dark biome
  • In chests, guarded by sculk sensors and shriekers, you can find the new Swift Sneaking enchantment
  • You can also find a new mysterious block called Reinforced Deepslate here, which cannot be obtained in Survival
  • Mobs cannot spawn in Ancient Cities
  • Known issues:
    • Ancient City structures extend far beyond the Deep Dark biome, even though they start there
    • Aquifers can sometimes intersect with Ancient City structures and submerge / destroy big chunks of the structure


  • A new mob effect unique to the Warden and Sculk Shrieker, which will afflict you with it when nearby
  • Lowers the gamma down at an equivalent of "Moody" while having this effect
  • In periodic pulses, will lower the overall brightness of the world so that the darkness creeps up against light sources
  • When the Warden is around, torches will be more important than ever!
  • A new Accessibility slider has been added in your Options menu called "Darkness Effect"
  • Controls how dark the Darkness effect gets when a Warden or Sculk Shrieker gives it to you, but will not affect the fog distance

Deep Dark

  • Dig into the depths far underground to uncover the darkest biome in Minecraft — the Deep Dark
  • Dimly lit and eerie, the Deep Dark is sure to strike fear into the hearts of even the bravest player
  • The floor of the Deep Dark is covered in sculk
  • The only mob that calls the Deep Dark home is the Warden


  • The rattling tendrils of the Sculk Sensors had to come from somewhere, right? Introducing Sculk, a new family of blocks that dwells in the Deep Dark
  • Added Sculk block:
    • When Wool blocks are placed on a Sculk block, it will let nearby Sculk Sensors know, preventing that vibration from being occluded
  • Added Sculk Vein block:
    • These veins are found on the edge of Sculk patches
    • Similar to Glow Lichen, they can be placed in any orientation
    • Sculk Vein can be waterlogged
  • Added Sculk Shrieker block:
    • Notable for its boney appendages, this block responds to Sculk Sensors detecting vibrations by sending out a warning call to distant Wardens
    • Watch out when stepping on them, as they will feel that too and send out a call!
    • Initially it may take some time for a Warden to arrive, but you'll hear it responding in the distance…
    • Once it's close enough, a call from the Sculk Shrieker will summon the Warden nearby — be prepared!
    • Sculk Shriekers can be found generating in the Deep Dark or growing from Sculk Catalysts
  • Added Sculk Catalyst block:
    • A mysteriously soul-emitting block that blooms when mobs die within an 8 block radius
    • Mobs that perish in the presence of the catalyst will not drop their experience
    • Instead, a bubbling charge will be created at the place the mob perished
    • This charge from mobs will spread through Sculk Veins and Sculk blocks in random directions until they find a valid substrate they can convert into Sculk
    • The value of the charge is directly proportional to the amount of XP the perished mob would have dropped, and each time a block is converted into Sculk it will remove 1 value from that charge
    • This charge in the Sculk blocks and Sculk Veins will eventually decay, but it will decay much, much slower in the close vicinity of the Sculk Catalyst, and much faster away from its host
    • If the charge decays 4 blocks away from the catalyst, it has a chance of growing a Sculk Sensor or a Sculk Shrieker
    • Charges and their values also merge when they move to the same position
  • All Sculk family blocks require Silk Touch to acquire. Otherwise, they drop experience when mined
  • The efficient tool for all Sculk family blocks is the Hoe
  • Made Sculk Sensor available in creative mode

Swift Sneak

  • Imbue your boots with this shiny new enchantment to move as fast while crouching as you would normally walk!
  • This enchantment can be found exclusively in chests in Ancient Cities, and has three levels
  • When applied, it will increase your movement speed while crouching
  • Can only be applied to boots, and cannot be combined with Soul Speed, Frost Walker, or Depth Strider


  • The horror of the Deep Dark! A creature with no eyes, roughly resembling the Sculk that can be found throughout the Deep Dark, the Warden is an unstoppable force of nature that inhabits this biome
  • Just like Sculk Sensors, these terrifying creatures use vibrations as a means to navigate their environment
  • When vibrations aren't enough, they will also use a sense of smell to track down their prey — you can observe them sniffing their surroundings to get closer to unsuspecting players and mobs
  • To add to their myriad of ways to detect you, try not to get too close! If you collide with a Warden, it will notice you
  • In the Deep Dark, Wardens are everywhere — you just can't see them. They slumber beneath your feet, and only dig out when enough Sculk Shriekers have alerted them of your presence
  • Watch your step: the more vibrations a Warden detects, the angrier it will get. You can hear and see this from how fast the souls in its chest are beating
  • Once a mob has pushed beyond the Warden's anger threshold, it will face its prey and roar before charging
  • If, however, you keep the Warden from noticing you or getting angry for 60 seconds, it will dig back underground and despawn
  • They have a special interaction with thrown projectiles:
    • If the Warden receives two projectile vibrations within 5 seconds of one another, it will grow angrier at the shooter
    • If the Warden receives a projectile vibration more than 5 seconds from the last projectile, it will not grow angrier at the shooter
    • This allows you to strategically distract the Warden without it getting angry while you take loot from nearby chests
  • Unfortunately for all players, Wardens will also disable shields when they hit them with their fists
  • They do not drop any loot
  • Wardens are powerful creatures, and it is often better to sneak around one that has emerged instead of taking it head on — you've been warned

How to install

Source: Mojang Studios (Image credit: Source: Mojang Studios)

Installing the Deep Dark Experimental Snapshot 1 isn't as simple as other Minecraft: Java Edition snapshots. Here's what you need to know about installing and playing this experimental release:

General tips

  • Deep Dark Experimental Snapshot 1 can only play worlds created in this version of Minecraft
  • Worlds created in this version of Minecraft cannot be opened in other versions of Minecraft
  • Experimental snapshots may not include the latest features and fixes from main Java Edition snapshots


  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 1.19_deep_dark_experimental_snapshot-1 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
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.