What’s New in Minecraft Version 1.8

Today is the day we have all been waiting for: the official release of Minecraft 1.8, the “Bountiful Update”!  Over the past 300 days or so, there have been snapshots, hints dropped via Twitter and other channels, rumors, and rampant anticipation.  Now it is finally here and at your fingertips – simply log in to Minecraft and patch to the latest version.

 

This update means two things.  First: the community will be split, once again, as is the case with all major version updates.  Mods have just begun to catch up to 1.7.10, and only a few were compatible with the snapshots of 1.8.  Most mods and modpacks are still either 1.6.4 or 1.7.2 compatible.

 

Second: 1.8 brings a LOT of new changes that drastically alter the Minecraft experience.  With this in mind, however, it is only a matter of time before the latest and greatest mods see an update to 1.8.  You may have to say goodbye to some of your older favorite but abandoned projects, but it will be more than worth it.

 

So what’s new in Minecraft 1.8?  Well, to quote Mojang – “LOTS AND LOTS”.  So much, in fact, that Mojang didn’t even dare try to list all of it on their update post.  I will be summarizing the most important (and interesting) changes with my opinion on them.  Keep in mind that I am stating my opinion on many of these changes, not stating facts – yours may differ.

 

Bugfixes

 

Plain and simple, let’s get this one out of the way.  Version 1.8 fixes a mindboggling 394 bugs – granted with a few that came from 1.8 snapshots.  This is great news for everyone.  Here are a few of the more notable, interesting, or amusing fixes:

 

  • Villagers would previously pack into a single building on occasion, especially if there were large numbers of them.  I always decided to call the building they chose the Town Hall.

  • Pre-1.8, any item obtained via the /give command could be stacked – such as swords, armor, pickaxes, etc.;

  • Zombie sieges will now always begin properly;

  • Some sounds played twice on particular events (i.e. extinguishing fire, shooting arrows into blocks);

  • Creepers would occasionally target planted potatoes, exploding them and yielding… seeds?

  • Various typos and inconsistencies.

 

My opinion: overall, the bugfixes alone are worthy of their own update, to be honest.  Many of these improve the general quality of gameplay, while others fix issues many players never knew were issues to begin with (myself included).

 

Difficulty and World Customization

 

Difficulty can now be set and locked for each world.  This is significant because it prevents world hosts from increasing or decreasing difficulty after players have joined or by accident when rejoining the world after playing another one.  A minor change, but a useful one nonetheless.

 

In terms of world customization, various new features have been added.  My favorite, without contest, is the addition of the Ocean Monument structure:

 

update_monument

 

This is a huge temple, just under the size of a stronghold, which spawns in any water biome of sufficient size.  It features untold treasures and new mobs.

 

Aside from Ocean Monuments, players can now customize the terrain of their world with much greater depth than before.  Some features added in this vein include: the ability to scale up or down the frequency of lakes, structures, and biomes; change the frequency of naturally spawning blocks (diamond, iron, etc.); and the ability to change the automatic terrain generation.

 

My opinion: the monument is easily my favorite addition, simply because I think water biomes are severely under-nourished in vanilla Minecraft.  The terrain generation controls and the ability to add more structures are also great additions that I am going to be using quite often.  Changing frequency of ore/blocks is interesting, but dangerous in terms of gameplay integrity.

 

New Items and Blocks

 

There are a total of 35 new items and blocks added to the game.  They are:

 

  • Diorite

  • Andesite

  • Granite

  • Polished versions of Diorite, Andesite, and Granite

  • Coarse Dirt

  • Red Sandstone

  • Prismarine

  • Shard, Crystal, Dark and Brick versions of Prismarine

  • Sea Lantern

  • Sponge and Wet Sponge

  • Slime Block*

  • New fences and fence gates

  • New doors and an iron trapdoor

  • Banners**

  • Armor Stand***

  • Raw and cooked mutton (from sheep)

  • Raw and cooked rabbit

  • Rabbit hide, rabbit foot, rabbit stew

  • Potion of leaping

  • Barrier****

  • Spawn eggs for new mobs

 

* – the Slime Block is a block that finally puts those slime balls you’ve been collecting to use.  Crafting nine of them into a block yields a sticky, bouncy platform.  It can either act as a trampoline, eliminating fall damage and causing you to bounce up; or as a connector for piston machines, sticking adjacent blocks to it.

 

** – Banners can be worn or placed and are crafted with the same recipe as a sign, but with wool instead.  They are animated, can be customized by crafting objects together with them (usually dyes), and are generally awesome.

 

*** – plain and simple, Armor Stands allow you to show off your awesome collection of gear.  Can also display pumpkin heads, as these can technically be worn.  See the image at the top of this post for a visual reference.

 

**** – an invisible block that does not allow player movement.  Incredibly useful for creating boundaries, floating pools of lava, and other absurd things.  Indestructible in survival mode.

 

My opinion: fantastic.  I love that so many new items and blocks were added.  I would have loved to see more unique items than what already existed, but the sponge, new lighting block, and of course slime block are all great new additions.  Customizable fences, gates, and doors were a long time coming and something that really should have been in the second or third major update.

 

Skin Changes

 

I am most excited for the skin changes, as they present options for a whole new slew of unique skin ideas and user customization.

 

Alex – this is the new default player character.  The big difference here is that his arms are three pixels wide, not four.  May seem like a subtle change, and it definitely is, but it nonetheless presents another layer of customization.  Can revert back to Steve.

 

Skins can be edited asymmetrically, meaning that left/right arms and legs can have different appearances.

 

There are four layers, or “overlays”, available: pants, sleeves, hat, and jacket.  These can be toggled on and off in-game at any time (as well as capes).

 

My opinion: this is huge for skinners.  Multiple layers, the ability to change arm widths, and toggling layers on and off at a whim – the possibilities are endless.  One could feasibly have two entirely different skins in the same file by toggling layers on and off, or perhaps choose to take off their coat and hat when they get inside after a long, rainy journey!

 

Enchanting

 

This system was revamped.  Instead of taking a huge amount of levels, enchantments now cost only up to three levels but also require lapis lazuli.  Higher levels are more difficult to achieve now, but the minimum level for certain enchantments becoming available remains the same.

 

My opinion: neither good nor bad fundamentally.  Gameplay wise, I like having more ingredients in the equation.  This means more interaction and gives enchantments a more significant feeling.

 

Summation

 

There are many other miscellaneous changes or some things that I just do not feel are up to par with those listed here in terms of magnitude (one, for example, is the ability to insert an item or entity ID directly into the chat box – incredibly useful for a variety of applications).  You can see a full documented list of changes here.

 

All in all, I think this update is fantastic and was well worth the wait.  It adds a comparably immense amount of content and functionality to the game.  I would definitely recommend playing 1.8 unless you have a collection of mods that you just couldn’t play without.

 

To all modders and skinners out there: take advantage of 1.8, and update if you can!  The migration starts now!

 

What is your favorite function, item, block, or other change in 1.8?  Leave a comment below and explain why.  If there is any change you are confused about or want my opinion on, feel free to leave that in your comment as well – I will do my best to answer it in a timely fashion.  Until then, enjoy this awesome update.

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