After a long trial of bug testing and fixes, Minecraft has finally got its Beta 1.8 update, and it’s brought about a few changes – good changes that is.
The dig-explore-build mechanics of the game remain the same, but various aspects – some subtle while others quite noticeable – have been changed to give a great (not to mention time-consuming) sandbox experience.
For starters, the terrain-generation system has been drastically enhanced, and the patchiness of the world has significantly been reduced. Minecraft’s biomes – the native ecosystems of the game – span a much, much larger area now. There are proper mountain ranges, massive prairies, and seemingly forever-lasting desert.
Spawn in a desert and you’ll be stuck there for a long while without any water, wildlife or wood. Rivers and ravines can now often become obstacles in your exploration, or perhaps be used as the perfect scenery for their neighboring architectural structures you created.
There are also pre-built towns that you can stumble across, occasionally populated with a few neat houses, well(s), a smithy, and other conventional things you expect to see in a town/village. You can expect to see these towns/villages to be further populated with NPCs, but for now they just lay there as attractive ghost-towns.
There is also a new bar next to the health bar, which shows the hunger. If it drops to the bottom, your character becomes ‘hungry’ and loses health over time. Obviously, the solution to this is finding stuff to eat; the chickens and pigs around the regular corners can keep the bar satisfied. When the hunger bar is full, you automatically heal over time.
The hunger bar also acts as a stamina bar, and that aspect is present because of an all-new sprint feature. Double-tapping the forward button makes you run faster, but the drop-rate of your hunger bar significantly increases during the interval. It’s especially useful during combat, but it also alters your field-of-view while in sprint-mode, which can become rather disturbing.
Speaking of combat, the addition of critical strikes and knockback really adds dynamism to threatening encounters, and combats generally last for lesser duration thanks to these features. You can use the sprint and knock back monsters, and also critically hit them to do extra damage.
The iconic feature of the Adventure Update is the Endermen. These are 3 block high spindle-bodied black creatures that move around blocks for apparently no real purpose. They’re mostly passive, but make the mistake of looking at one and it’ll turn around and stare you down with its morbid purple eyes. As long as you keep staring, all’s cool. But the moment you break eye-contact, it’ll start teleporting towards you and throw you around – not a pretty site.
These are more or less the major changes/additions in the Adventure Update. As far as the digging bit is concerned, you have a few new blocks to make, such as iron bars and glass planes, but more or less of it remains the same.
Overall the update has greatly improved the combat, biomes system, and the general feel of the game itself. It’s all the more reason to explore the blocky yet mesmerizing world of Minecraft.