'The Nether Update' for Minecraft: The 1.16.2 update, and everything new you need to know

Minecraft Nether Update Java Image
Minecraft Nether Update Java Image (Image credit: Windows Central)

Nether Update logo

Source: Mojang (Image credit: Source: Mojang)

For those who don't know, the Nether is an otherworldly dimension that players can access in Minecraft by crafting a nether portal out of obsidian blocks. The Nether is far more dangerous than the Overworld, typically, with swarms of aggressive monsters, dangerous nether fortresses, and environmental hazards like lava. Unlike the Overworld, however, the Nether has become a bit outdated over the years, not receiving meaningful content or updates for quite a while. That all changes with 'the Nether Update,' which Microsoft and Mojang are aiming to ship before the end of the year.

Related: Everything you need to know about the Nether Update in one cheat sheet

What features will be in the Nether Update for Minecraft?

Minecraft Nether Update Java Image

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

The Nether Update will bring fresh mechanics, mobs, and biome features to the hellish dimension. With the many, many snapshot and beta releases showing off some of the changes we can expect, we now have a better idea of what's coming with the Nether Update. Mojang may also have some additional changes planned that we still don't know about, but we'll tackle that as it comes!

Related: How to prepare your old worlds for the Nether Update

Here's what we do know is coming:


Update, June 29, 2020: Out of nowhere, Mojang Studios is adding an all new mob to the Nether Update in a beta build for the Bedrock Edition—after the Nether Update is officially released and finished. The piglin brute is a super aggressive, very tough hostile mob that lives alongside piglins inside of bastion remnants. More information can be found here.

The Nether Update is introducing at least three new mobs, complete with new mechanics and features. Other mobs will be getting new homes as well, so that the entire dimension will feel more organized and alive. Here's what we know so far:

Minecraft Nether Update Java Image

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  • Piglins. These guys are a new type of mob that builds settlements and can trade with players. They are effectively unzombified zombie pigmen. The piglins are aggressive unless you're wearing a gold suit of armor since they are — you guessed it — obsessed with gold. You can barter with them for trading, introducing a new economy on top of what you get with villagers.

Related: How to find piglins in the Nether Update

  • Piglin bartering. The system being implemented with piglins is a little different to the one in the game right now and will be a bit more "Nether-y" and involve throwing items on the ground. Oh, and if you loot their chests, be prepared for some swift retribution. Piglins also hunt some of the new creatures in the Nether, such as hoglins.

Related: How to trade with piglins in the Nether Update

Minecraft Nether Update Java Image

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  • Zombified piglins. This is less a new mob, more an evolution of a pre-existing mob. The zombie pigmen are no more, and have instead been replaced with the zombified piglins, complete with a new model and adorable floppy ears.

Minecraft Nether Update Java Image

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  • Hoglins. New mobs abound, including hoglins (previously known as piglin beasts), which are more battle-hardened pig-type mobs that dwell in the Nether. Hoglins will provide, for the first time ever in the Nether, a food source for weary travelers.

Related: How to find hoglins in the Nether Update

  • Zoglins. The zombified versions of hoglins, these beasties are endlessly aggressive and bloodthirsty and attack absolutely everything in their path. Beware.

Minecraft Nether Update Java Image

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  • Striders. These are the newest addition to the Nether Update and are the first truly passive mob in the Nether. That means these guys don't want to kill you, which is a lovely change. You can even saddle these ponies up and ride them like, well, ponies. They're similar to pigs, though, in that you'll need to string their favorite food up on a stick to guide them.

Related: How to find striders in the Nether Update


Locations are often looked over versus more exciting additions like new mobs and biomes but are still a valuable addition to provide players with more to do and see. So far, two new locations are being added in the Nether Update, and both can offer valuable loot if you look hard enough.

Minecraft Nether Update Beta Ruined Portal

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  • Ruined portals. These disastrous areas hold evidence of a horrific accident in which a nether portal was ripped apart. They're rarely in good shape, but can be a good source of obsidian, gold blocks, treasure chests, and even the new crying obsidian block. There's many variants of the ruined portals, and they can appear in the Nether and the Overworld.

Minecraft Nether Update Java Image

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  • Bastion remnants. The official home of piglins and hoglins, these intimidating fortresses are huge, dark, and dangerous. Piglins are more protective here, and are liable to attack any would-be trespassers. These locations have multiple kinds of rooms and can have large amounts of treasure to loot, if you're willing to fight past the hordes of piglins.


One of the most obvious changes coming to the Nether is the entirety of the landscape. A bunch of new biomes of different colors, purposes, and forms are coming, and it's going to make the Nether a very different place from before. As of now, there are four different biomes being added. Here's what we know:

Related: How to find all the biomes in the Nether Update

Minecraft Nether Update Java Image

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  • Nether wastes. The Nether you know and love isn't going anywhere, it's just being downsized and rebranded. From here on out, the more traditional Nether will be known as the nether wastes, and other biomes will come to spice things up.

Minecraft Nether Update Java Image

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  • Crimson forests. Crimson forests are the exclusive home of hoglins, and are a frequent hang out for piglins as well. Vibrant reds and new foliage and vegetation make the crimson forests instantly recognizable.

Related: How to tame and breed hoglins in the Nether Update

Minecraft Nether Update Java Image

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  • Warped forests. The anathema to crimson forests, warped forests are the second new biome being added. You'll never find hoglins or piglins hanging out here, instead just more new vegetation and some new colors. You can also find the favorite food of the strider, one of the new mobs being added.

Minecraft Nether Update Java Image

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  • Soulsand valleys. You're not going to find new friends here, but you may be a little creeped out. The soulsand valleys are the place to find the new soul soil, as well as the soul sand you're familiar with. Soul soil is similar to netherrack in that it loves to be on fire, but it burns a cool blue instead.

Minecraft Nether Update Java Image

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  • Basalt deltas. The latest addition to the Nether Update, and my favorite, basalt deltas are modeled after volcanic landscapes with a lot of ash, rock, and lava. They're dark, angry, and the perfect place to build an epic castle unlike any other.

Related: Check out the new basalt delta biome and what people have been doing with them

Blocks and items

Minecraft Nether Update Java Image

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

If I included every tiny change and improvement coming in the Nether Update, we would be here for a very long time. Instead, let's tackle the important points:

  • Target block. This block can be used for hit detection in redstone contraptions. Or to practice your aim.
  • Lodestones. Lodestones are a craftable block that lets you redirect compasses from pointing North to pointing wherever the lodestone is. This will be extremely useful for navigation, and ensuring you can't become lost.
  • Blackstone. This block will become the Nether's version of cobblestone, and will be a suitable replacement in crafting recipes that normally require stone. That means tools, furnaces, and all of that good stuff can be crafted with blackstone. It even has multiple variants like gilded, polished, and cracked versions to spice up your designs.
  • Basalt. A new decorative rock that is common in soulsand valleys, and forms the basis for basalt deltas. It's an igneous-rock-style block formed when lava flows on soul soil next to ice. Looks pretty neat.
  • Crying obsidian. This variant of obsidian retains its durability but adds some ominous purple glowing and the ability to set your respawn point while you're in the Nether. That's right; you'll now be able to set a respawn point in the Nether by crafting a respawn anchor. Epic.
  • Soul soil. This is a close cousin of soul sand, except it also happens to burn with an intense blue flame. Common in soulsand valleys and basalt deltas.
  • Chain blocks. These decorative blocks are perfect for dungeons, moody castles, and haunted pirate ships. Or for people who just really like chains.
  • New block variants. Nether bricks and quartz are getting new variants like chiseled nether bricks and quartz bricks.
  • Lots of vegetation The Nether Update also intends to add a huge number of new vegetation and foliage to the Nether. By themselves, they're not exciting. All together? The Nether just got a lot more lively. This includes crimson and warped stems (a wood-like block,) crimson and warped nylium (a grass-like block that encourages fungi growth,) warped wart blocks, crimson and warped fungi, crimson and warped roots, shroomlights, nether sprouts, and weeping vines.
  • New items. Besides compasses to accompany the new lodestones, and all the things you can craft with netherite (more below,) you also get new soul soil campfires that burn blue instead of red and orange, and new banner patterns.


Minecraft Nether Update Java Image

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

One of the biggest new changes coming in the Nether Update is indubitably the inclusion of a new ore, one that promises to usurp diamond as the best in the game… Netherite! This elusive ore will be far more dangerous and difficult to obtain, but will return tools, weapons, and armor that are more durable, more efficient, more damaging, more resistant to knockback, and able to withstand greater levels of enchanting.

What can netherite do? Well:

  • Netherite can craft all the same tools, weapons and armor you're familiar with.
  • Netherite items float in lava instead of burning up.
  • Netherite tools are more efficient and more durable.
  • Netherite weapons are more durable and deal more damage.
  • Netherite armor is more protective and has greater knockback resistance.
  • Netherite has better enchantment values than diamond.
  • Finally, to quote Mojang: "…and it looks cool!"

Music, effects, and everything else

Minecraft Nether Update Java Image

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Update, June 29, 2020: Two features that were present in the Nether Update that didn't make themselves known were Achievement rewards and emotes. Players can now be rewarded with character creation cosmetic items or emotes when completing certain Achievements, and can also express themselves with emotes. New premium emotes will also be made available through the Marketplace. More information here.

Update, June 29, 2020: Just under a week before the Nether Update was officially released, Mojang Studios released the official soundtrack, complete with all the new music being added in the Nether Update, to Spotify for everyone to access and enjoy. If you're interested, you can find our full news post here detailing the release, with links to the playlist.

I always love to see the attention to detail in games, especially when it comes to the atmospheric qualities, like the soundtrack. Mojang isn't letting us down here, with new music to come, as well as a lot of other improvements.

  • New music for the Nether Update. Mojang brought on Lena Raine to compose three new songs that will play in the nether wastes, crimson forests, soulsand valleys, and basalt deltas. There's also a new disc you can only find in bastion remnant treasure chests called "pigstep," which is a song with some funk. Will we see even more? I hope so.

Related: Composer Lena Raine makes beautiful music for the Nether Update

  • New particle effects, sounds, and animations. Mojang has put in a ton of time to make the Nether Update feel a lot more alive, with new particle effects being seen in every biome. This is especially noticeable in the basalt deltas, where there's a thick fog of ash hovering in the air.
  • Changes to redstone wires. Redstone has been updated and tweaked slightly so that its visual appearance is more in-line with what it's doing, and the way it transmits power through and around blocks makes more sense. The changes are all about consistency, but will still undoubtedly effect some builds and contraptions.
  • Better transitions between biomes. Moving between weather patterns and biomes has always been a little abrupt in Minecraft. Mojang has been working to make everything blend together a lot better in the Nether Update.
  • Accessibility improvements. One thing I've noticed is that Mojang is also still improving how accessible Minecraft is, which is awesome. This means things like options to increase how long chat messages stay on-screen, as well as how much spacing there is between different entries.
  • Countless quality of life improvements. I'm bunching a lot of stuff in here, like making the wither spawnable with soul soil as well as soul sand, improvements to older game mechanics, stability, and, well, just a lot. The Nether Update is a massive update not just in the number of features it brings, but also just how much work is going in to make Minecraft a better game.

Related: The complete changelog for the Nether Update, all in one place

  • Parity between versions. There's a massive ravine between Minecraft: Java Edition and Minecraft: Bedrock Edition and the number of differences between the two games is innumerable and mind-boggling in scale. Every beta and snapshot seems to make some changes to decrease this gap, and version numbers will now be the same going forward to streamline development and make things easier to understand. Good stuff.

Related: Minecraft: Bedrock Edition is closer in parity to the Java Edition than ever before

Minecraft Nether Update Java Image

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

We're also now know what Advancements (Achievements on Xbox and Trophies on Playstation) will be added with the Nether Update, which is exciting. We don't know how many points or gold the new Achievements will be worth, but it means that Mojang has effectively locked in all the features they plan to add in the Nether Update, and are now focusing on polish.

Here are all the Advancements added in the Nether Update:

  • Hidden in the Depths. Obtain ancient debris, the "ore" equivalent for netherite.
  • Cover Me in Debris. Wear a full suit of netherite armor, which makes this one likely the hardest to achieve.
  • Country Lode, Take Me Home. Use a compass on a lodestone.
  • Who Is Cutting Onions? Obtain crying obsidian, the main ingredient for respawn anchors.
  • Not Quite "Nine" Lives. Fully charge a respawn anchor with glowstone.
  • This Boat Has Legs. Ride a strider and control it with fungus on a stick.
  • Hot Tourist Destinations. Visit all the biomes in the Nether.
  • Those Were the Days. Enter a bastion remnant.
  • War Pigs. Loot a chest in a bastion remnant.
  • Oh Shiny. Distract an angry piglin with gold.

Here are all the Achievements / Trophies added in the Nether Update:

  • Bullseye. Hit the center of a target block.
  • Cover me in Debris. Wear a full suit of netherite armor.
  • Oooh, Shiny! Distract a piglin with some gold.
  • Hot Tourist Destination. Visit every biome in the Nether.

Features and changes in 1.16.2

1.16.2 is a smaller update that sits under the Nether Update banner, and won't make any significant alterations to Minecraft. However, it does aim to make the Nether Update even better, with further polish, refinement, improvements on top of the original 1.16 launch. The new features list is small, with 1.16.2 focusing mostly on bug fixes and tweaks, but there are a few things to talk about here:

  • Piglin brutes. These aggressive mobs are a bigger, stronger variant of the piglins that can only be found inside of bastion remnants. They wield heavy duty axes and will attack anything and anyone that invades their homes. Even more dangerous is how their bloodlust overrides their love for gold, so these brutes can't be bribed. If you enter a bastion remnant, prepare for a fight!
  • New Achievements screen. If you like to keep track of your Achievements from inside of Minecraft, you may have lamented the poor UI and UX design before. This is going to change with 1.16.2, with a newly refreshed design making information easier to access, and additional detail screens being tested as well.
  • Custom worlds are easier to create. If you like creating custom worlds with Minecraft: Java Edition, the 1.16.2 update will feature some important changes for you, including support for custom biomes and more.

There will no doubt be more features as we get closer to launch, and we'll detail further as more information becomes available. Speaking of which...

When will the Nether Update release for Minecraft?

Minecraft Nether Update Java Image

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Update, June 29, 2020: As promised by Mojang Studios, the Nether Update began its gradual rollout to both the Bedrock and Java Editions of Minecraft starting June 23, 2020. Players all over the world should begin receiving the update, and can now jump in and enjoy the fruits of Mojang Studios' intense labor over the last six months. It's been a wild journey. More details here.

Update, June 15, 2020: With Minecraft: Java Edition getting its third Pre-Release build in the Nether Update branch, it was revealed that we're only a few weeks out from release. We'll keep you posted once we hear an exact date, but we're awfully close now. Original post here.

Microsoft says the Nether Update will ship during the first half of 2020, following the Buzzy Bees update, which launched on December 11, 2019. We'll update this article as soon as we have more information!

Related: When does the Nether Update release for Minecraft?

Release date for 1.16.2

The 1.16.2 update won't take more than a few weeks to release for the Nether Update, before Mojang Studios begins discussing the next major update (which could be the Mountain Update). I'd expect sometime in August, although it could be as soon as August 11, 2020 if this Java Edition snapshot is anything to go by. We'll keep you posted.

The timeline for the Nether Update's development

Minecraft Nether Update Java Image

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

If you want to follow along with how the Nether Update has changed and evolved, here are all the articles you need.

The Nether Update's 1.16.2 timeline

If you want to follow along with the 1.16.2 update for the Nether Update, which features new mobs, changes, and improvements to the original release, here are all the articles you'll need:

Are you excited for the Nether Update? What features and changes do you want Mojang to make to Minecraft? Let us know in the comments below!



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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.