Minecraft—the sandbox indie game that in the last year has taken the gaming community by storm. It’s not out of the ordinary to hear people who have spent countless hours in the game completely engrossed in their project of recreating the Death Star; known for its freedom to build and create, Minecraft is one of those hits. However, it has had an anything but normal development cycle.
The game began popularity in its earliest stages of development starting in alpha. It’s now (somewhat) regularly updated through patches and new content updates. Latest to hit the game is the 1.8(.1) Adventure Update.
The official trailer from development team Mojang outlines some of its new features and gameplay changes:
The Adventure Update is the second major update to the game—the first being the Halloween Update—and it promises to bring new experiences to the game, with new gameplay changes, mobs to kill, items to craft, and newly restructured world generation to explore. The Adventure Update is further proof that the game is steadily approaching a full release.
My only previous knowledge of what was to be included in 1.8 only spanned new items, new mobs, and the idea of strongholds and towns. What I discovered is a new game that just may cost me my grades for the semester.
The new XP system that was introduced is one of the features that most were looking forward to, but for now, it’s useless. The developers have said that the experience you gain from killing mobs will be used to (possibly) level up physical attributes in update 1.9. The XP bar (seen above in my screenshot of an underground chasm) looks to be the one thing that is going to finally give this sandbox of a game some direction. There are countless ways Mojang can implement this in the future, and that’s something fans will be anxious to discover at the future Minecraft Convention, Minecon.
The addition of randomly-generated towns and strongholds are also one of the lead excitement factors for 1.8. In my time, I was able to find one town and convert it for my own use….before being killed and then losing its location in the process, that is. At the time of publication, towns are not populated by their purpose, that being Non-playable Characters; they’re supposedly going to be giving you quests around the world.
Strongholds are much, much cooler new structural additions in the update. They are randomly-generated underground structures, filled with all sorts of goodies, from chests of food, to libraries, to rooms covered in cobwebs. They are rare, with only three being generated per world. I have not found one yet, but from the pictures and videos, I can tell that they’d make one cool mansion.
With the addition of hunger to gameplay, food doesn’t replenish your health anymore. Rather, it effects your hunger bar. If you keep this hunger bar nice and filled, then your hearts begin to refill. It mixes up how you deal with damage, now that you have to begin keeping a readily-available stock of food at home base. Remember to cook your food for maximum retention!
Before I wrap things up here, I’d like to touch base on what has become the source of my fear during my evenings: the new Enderman mob shows up at night, with its long legs and arms ready to do you harm. Hovering your “cross marker” on the Enderman will make him notice you. Move it away, and he’s after you, teleporting to get closer and also stealing random blocks along the way. If you’re near some water, jump in for a swim and you’ll be fine. Nothing has got me sitting up in my chair faster than seeing those white eyes staring through a forest.
The Adventure Update 1.8 is a healthy dose of new content for Minecraft. In the time since I last played the game, it has grown substantially, and it still retains its reputation of sucking the hours away from its fans. Even though 1.8 has come with its share of ever-present bugs (framerate was game breaking-bad until 1.8.1 was sent out, for instance), it has lived up to the expectations of many. With the addition of new biome restructuring, newly-generated worlds full of new environments, rivers, and canyons await your exploration.
There is much, much more to be seen and I haven’t touched them all (creative mode, server lists, and more, in game content!). So grab onto Notch’s beard and check it out for yourself!
Google Images search for the Enderman meme photo