Minecraft's Latest Update Adds Some Cool Stuff, But Still Falls Short

After much hinting, foreshadowing and teasing, the newest Minecraft snapshot is out, showing us at long last what the much vaunted "exploration update" has in store. The most exciting addition for this most recent update is the "shulker box", an item built out of the newly added shulker husks, that finally upgrades your storage capabilities. You can stuff the box full of whatever you want, and it keeps its inventory, even if you destroy the block, letting you use it as a sort of backpack. Players have wanted something like this for ages. Even if you're not a survival player, it has its uses as a decorative block or as a way to upgrade your storage system, so this is a very exciting change.

The other big addition is the Woodland Mansion, which is a procedurally generated dungeon that appears very rarely in wooded areas. The mansion is filled with tough new mobs that cast spells, summon baddies and attack you with weapons, making it very much an "end-game" destination (though if you're lucky enough to find one early it can give you a serious head start on your build).

Woodland Mansion shows that Mojang is getting more comfortable with their procedural generation — the mansion is a lot more detailed and complex than earlier structures — which means that we could be getting explorable dungeons or structures for every biome eventually (and not just igloos).

As a part of the Woodland Mansion addition, you can also now buy exploration maps from the new cartographer villager. These maps show you the location of the closest Ocean Monument or Woodland Mansion, allowing you to set up an expedition with an actual goal besides aimless wandering. This is more exciting because of what it might eventually allow, but it's still another tool in the explorer's toolbox.

For tinkerers, Mojang has finally added an Observer block (which has been in Pocket Edition for a while), a redstone contraption that updates based on the status of the block it is "observing". While this might not sound thrilling to everyone, it's opened up a whole new world of automated builds, including flying machines, transporters and farms.

In general, it's not as great of a change as it might seem because the block has been around for a while. But the best redstone contraptions are still on Java, and this addition adds another powerful tool for players who can already built immensely complicated and interesting machines in game.

Other additions include llamas, cursed items, ways to escape from The End and a useful console command. Exploration players will no doubt be happy, and there should be something for everyone to enjoy, but the big question is whether or not Mojang can continue to deliver updates with this level of content in a reasonable amount of time. In terms of exploration and progression, Minecraft is still pretty features-light when compared to games like Terraria and Starbound, so if Mojang wants to compete in that arena there's still a lot of work to do.



    I'm always surprised when I hear people still play Minecraft. There just isn't that much to the game, plenty of others to play instead.

    I'm also confused why Mojang spend money to develop and release new content updates etc when they don't earn extra revenue by doing so. People only buy the game once and it hit market saturation a long time ago. More content will get some back to play it for a time but Mojang earn no extra cash when they do.

      But that have made tons of cash already.

      I actually respect that their development seems to be a continued kindness to support the game that made their name.
      (And the game still sells as well, both surprisingly and unsurprisingly, not to mention the massive modding community)

      It's become an itch game for me, fire it up every couple of months.

        In the business world having made cash previously is not a viable argument to continue working on something if you won't make cash in the future.

        At this point years down the track it just seems odd they're still pushing out content.

          Well I don't play this game and have no intentions of doing so, but perhaps the active additions to the game are also helping new sales happen? Word of mouth, how much better it's gotten etc, news posts like this even, it gets the word around.

          You do have a point, but it is cool to see them still updating the game, not many devs do this and I'd like to see it more often.

            As I said in my OP though, the game has reached market saturation. That's the point where companies stop actively promoting it, stop developing it and maybe discount the price to wring out a few more sales. The amount they'd be selling now would be a small fraction of what they sold years ago. Hell, I bought it in alpha.

            It's nice to see it happen, yes. I just don't understand why they do it.

              new critters often end up in new sets of figures - so it might also be like kids cartoons where it's done partly to promote toy sales. I suspect llamas might bring in a bit more cash from folks who similarly got the horses and ocelots to add to their toy collections when they became available.

          53000 copies sold per day on average in 2016

          I hope that answers your question

      Modpacks, particularly with hardcore questing mode. The difference is like solitaire to hearthstone.

        Mind me asking which ones? I've tried a few and none have really caught my eye yet.

          Feed the Beast have a range of very extensive modpacks. Direwolf20 is based on FTB and quite popular. There's also Tekkit which i havnt looked at in a while and is of similar design.

          I have a heavy bias toward skyblock type maps and I enjoy automation, don't really like the magic stuff much.

          Agrarian Skies is an old one which was one of the first HQM packs and does well at laying out missions and teaching the mods. I really recommend starting with this one. Watch PurpleMentat's youtube series and play along if you find the learning curve hard.

          Regrowth is one where the whole world is dessicated and dead and you have to restore it though a whole lot of farming and crossbreeding plants and stuff - its more fun than it sounds.

          The Material Energy series are highly technical, basically matter to energy machines which require some serious and careful power generation.

          Pixelmon is one for the pokemon fans. Never played it but it's highly rated.

          Skyfactory 2 is fairly relaxed overpowered fun, it doesnt have HQM but has a notebook full of challenges to complete. I ran up a server at home and had a great time trolling my kid on it.

          Journey to the core is based on Jules Verne's Journey to the center of the earth.

          Once you're comfortable with the mods the FTB Infinity Evolved skyblock is a good challenge, I had a huge automatic power generation system based on growing soybeans and processing them into epic bacon automatically then powering culinary generators.

          But a lot of these are on different launchers, The main two are Atlauncher and Curse. Agrarian skies 1 and 2 are on curse. Edit: also the FTB launcher, but most of it is on curse too. The thing is anyone can write a pack and there is little curation. Some pack compilers heavily alter the settings of the mods too -- not always most skilfully, But Regrowth is an example of a very well edited pack.

          Last edited 06/10/16 2:35 pm

      Primary school kids love and adore Minecraft. It's basically their generation's Super Mario/Sonic

      It promotes their real source of cash: Merch.

        This, Our household has 4 licenses for the game which were about $8 each (Two PC one ipad one android), but the kid would have easily $150 in merch. Steve and creeper soft toys, foam pickaxe, various playsets in both plastic and cardboard, a couple of books, various posters and a cardboard creeper head converted to a lampshade, It adds up.

      I'm always surprised that every single article about Minecraft, without fail, has some self-professed expert saying the game is dead, that it can't make be making money and why does anyone play it.

      For Microsoft, Mojang isn't really a direct revenue stream, it's popularity and userbase makes it a great way to get into younger audiences' heads, who can then grow and be introduced to the MS ecosystem, so that when they get older and move into the business world, they will be well acquainted with the company and its offerings and be able to continue investing in the company. It's largely a long-term plan, but in any case, I'm sure Minecraft sales continue to be strong and likely enough to justify continued free updates.

      My guess is that they make a tonne of money while it's still relevant. Merchandise for kids sells, they get profit. Skins on Xbox (for some reason) sells, they get profit. Basically, as long as they can keep kids and people interested, Minecraft related things continue to sell and they continue to get money for it

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