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In case you haven’t heard, Minecraft was just officially released. Yes, the game has been available to play for a couple of years, but it was in beta. Now the beta label is gone and the game is considered – well, complete – but if you’ve ever bought it before, you can enjoy all the updates without having to pay another dime, even if you paid back when the game was just $15 (or less)!
Let’s take a look at a few reasons why it’s a good idea to give the game another whirl.
The Adventure Update
Minecraft beta version 1.8, also known as the Adventure Update, was the biggest – or at least, the most interesting – update to Minecraft, ever. It arrived on September 12th and, as the same suggests, is aimed to provide players with a better adventure.
This means a lot of elements of the world were re-worked. Instead of terrain being generally similar across an entire pre-generated world, it’s now possible to find deserts and mountains and plains all in the same world. There are also new blocks, new monsters, new optical pre-generated structures like villages and strongholds (full of loot, but also baddies) and new combat mechanics.
New Roleplaying Elements
Role-playing has always been sort of assumed in Minecraft, sometimes to the point where players would customize their avatars using modifications. To help players advance, experience points were officially introduced in the Adventure Update and have been further refined for release, finally giving players some progression – as well as extra incentive for finding and killing monsters.
Experience is simply acquired by killing mobs, and it is spent at an Enchanting Table, where you can turn experience into special traits for items. You can create armor that protects against fire, tools that don’t break as quickly, and weapons that knock back enemies.
When I first started playing the game, I only had a few things to worry about. Those were zombies, creepers, spiders and skeletons. That seemed like enough, but after playing for some time, it did become a bit old.
Now, Minecraft has a buffet of baddies to deal with. There’s gooey slimes, strange glowing-eye Endermen, and even skeletons riding spiders. There are also NPCs that can be helpful, like wolves, which will become tame and defend you if you feed it.
During the initial phases of Minecraft’s popularity, a lot of people compared it to Dwarf Fortress. That actually wasn’t the best comparison, partly because Dwarf Fortress is a far more unforgiving game. Dwarves lost are dead forever, and it’s not hard to end up with everyone wiped out.
Now, players wanting to make those old comparisons more valid have their chance. Hardcore plays just like survival mode, but the difficulty is set locked on hard, and player death is permanent. Give it a stab and see how long you survive!
The Nether & The End
In October 2010, Minecraft received a new realm called The Nether. It’s a different dimension that exists in all pre-generated worlds, and is only accessible via a portal. It’s a strange, dark world full of hostile mobs and lava, but it is also useful as a means of fast-travel, because movement in The Nether is multiplied by eight. Players can take advantage of this by building portals between locations.
Recently, as part of the final release, Minecraft saw the release of The End. This strange world, home of the Endermen, takes some considerable effort to even enter. It requires that a special portal be built, and players will have to visit dangerous and rare places (like strongholds) to find the right components.
You Can Beat The Game
The name of The End is not coincidental. If you’ve ever had the urge to actually beat Minecraft, it’s now possible to do so.
To do it, you need to craft a portal to The End, enter that strange realm, and then slay an incredible beast called the Enderdragon. This whole process take lots of patience, determination, and luck, so don’t think it will be a matter of just waltzing in and beating the Enderdragon a few hours later.
If you manage to beat the dragon you’ll be treated to an end credit sequence, and your character will earn an absurd amount of experience. You’ll also be able to obtain a Dragon Egg, though so far, they don’t hatch into anything.
Remember, if you’ve ever purchased Minecraft while it was in beta, you still have access to it and all of these changes now that the game is on its first release version. Since there’s no cost, going back is just a matter of reinstalling the game. Let us know what you think of the changes in the comments.