Notch loves Halloween. He must, because he keeps putting scarier and scarier things into Minecraft around Halloween time!
Today, Minecraft 1.4.2 was released, and it's a doozy. Versions 1.4 and 1.4.1 were actually skipped entirely, as lots of bug-fixes were patched between the pre-release and the full release, so Mojang decided to move directly to 1.4.2.
While not as totally game-changing as 1.3 was, this update is primarily about users being able to exert more control over the game—and scaring the pants off them (in the good way).
Before we get into any of that, let's cover the basics:
I wrote an earlier article about how to download and install the 1.4 pre-release, and nothing has really changed since then. Actually, downloading and installing this time is the easy part, because it's a full release. That means that when you log into the game, it'll prompt you to download the new version.
However, what's more important is being able to switch back and forth between 1.4.2 and 1.3.X, and for that, I recommend Minecraft Version Changer. With it, you can easily switch back and forth between every version of Minecraft ever released. Cool, huh?
While there are a ton of updates that aren't scary at all, we're also looking at four entirely new mobs. Those are Wither, Wither Skeletons, Witches, and Bats. Let's take a look at them one-by-one.
Wither is a boss, and he's terrifying. He's black, with three heads, and he can deal tons of damage.
Image from Kaduu.
He's not huge, but he has dead eyes, a visible ribcage, and a health bar. When he spawns, he literally explodes into life and the entire sky darkens in homage to his birth. Wither also does a ton of combat damage, and he launches his own skulls at you as projectiles. Oh, also, when he damages you, he steals your health and heals himself.
Yeah, that's kind of scary.
You can summon him by placing soul sand in an upright T-shape, and by putting three Wither Skeleton heads on top of the T. Then you'd better run, because God help you if you're standing nearby when he comes to life.
Wither Skeletons are essentially the Nether equivalent of regular Skeletons, and they only spawn in Nether Fortresses. They're bigger and tougher than regular skeletons, and the sun doesn't hurt them.
Also, they're infinitely scarier. Just look at them.
Image from Metroid99.
Yeah, they're black, and they're making a -_- face. I don't blame them, personally... It's a hard life, being a skeleton.
Witches look very similar to villagers, except that they have warts on their noses and, you know, look kind of like witches.
Image by Epicness1324.
Also, they're the only Overworld mobs that use ranged attacks, with the other being skeletons. But wait, it gets worse! Their ranged attacks are splash potions of poison, weakness, damage, and slowness. So they actually have area-of-effect attacks that can be a huge annoyance, especially when you're being swarmed by other mobs.
Witches primarily spawn in Swamp Huts, but can be found roaming at large around swampy areas.
Bats are the only new non-aggressive mob in this update, and the only neutral mob in the game. That is, they can't at all be interacted with. They don't drop any items, and have no impact whatsoever on gameplay. They're only there to look creepy and add ambiance.
Judging by the picture below, I think they succeed. Look at that swarm of bats.
But hey, at least now you can live out your fantasy of being Batman in Minecraft, right?
Image by Amazingboy97.
Zombies deserve their own category for one amazing reason:
Zombies can now infect townsfolk when they kill them, making them rise from the dead as new zombies. The percent chance depends on difficulty (50% on normal, 100% on hard), but this means that you can now have your very own zombie apocalypse.
You heard me. Minecraft now comes equipped with ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE.
Image by Scott Marriott.
On the subject of scary things, mobs will now rarely drop... their heads? Yes, that's right. You can take heads as trophies, decorate your house with them, and also wear them as masks. It works in Minecraft because the game is kind of cute and cartoon-y, but when you think about it, this is absolutely terrifying.
Image from Scott Grill.
Seriously, people have made horror movies about exactly that.
While we're talking about mobs, nearly every mob has received an update of some sort. Some mobs can now pick up (and use!) armor and weapons that they find. Better loot drops in harder difficulties. Stuff like that.
Image by Dinnerbone.
Beyond that, there are a ton of small changes, but most won't really affect gameplay.
Some changes have been made to the server list, the settings menu, and the F3 (game specs) mode.
Image by Zezombye.
Nothing really exciting in this category, mostly just better ease-of-use stuff.
We'll move along to the cooler stuff, but you can see the details here.
Alright, there are some pretty great changes in this category, though my favorites are coming up under 'Items' below.
- You can now change your spawn protection radius. There are some plugins that give you that capability, but it's neat that they've included it in vanilla Minecraft now.
- In genuinely exciting news, you can now choose what inventory slot to put an item in by pressing number 1-9 while hovering over an item in your inventory. Seriously, how many times have I had to click and drag over and over again? Too many! Well, no more. Now I can use the number keys!
- New sounds! No longer will all of your blocks sound exactly the same! There are new sounds for most block types, as well as for nearly everything else. Walking sounds, mobs, fire, climbing, minecarts, and more!
- Now you're thinking about portals! I know, we've had portals for awhile, right? But now your momentum is conserved when passing through them, which means that it operates almost exactly like the extremely popular and awesome game Portal. The possibilities are endless! Also, how about no more load time when passing through portals in Creative Mode? Woo hoo!
- Assorted bug fixes and minor changes. You can see the list here, but it's nothing super exciting.
A lot of new commands were added, some of which we already had the functionality of through plugins, and some of which are entirely new.
Now the difficulty can be changed on the fly by using /difficulty 0-3.
/w can be used in place of /tell. For those not in the know, the 'w' stands for 'whisper'.
/weather (clear/rain/thunder) (time) will change the weather, and set how long it lasts.
Image from Russ Frushtick
There are a variety of new /gamerule mechanics that set a few helpful things, such as whether fire spreads, whether mobs spawn, etc. The full list is here.
There are also now command-line methods for targeting other players. @p targets the closest player, @a is all players, and @r is a random player.
Lastly, the /tp command now works with relative coordinates! Hooray! This will make builds so much easier, since you don't have to count out each individual block!
Okay, this is where the big money is, so to speak. I mean, blocks and items are kind of what this game is all about, right? There are some really awesome changes in this section, so hold on to your butts.
These new blocks are primarily for Adventure mode, and when powered by redstone will run editable commands. Yeah, server commands. This means that you can now have triggerable events that can serve a really wide variety of functions.
Image from Minecraft Wiki.
We're talking about things like teleportation, clearing inventories (or specific items), changing the weather, and more. My mind literally boggles at the options this gives us for in-game storytelling! There are more applications available here, and you can read more about the block itself here.
These blocks are really cool. In order to get their effect, you have to use them as a capstone on top of a pyramid of precious blocks (diamond, emerald, gold, or iron), but when properly installed, they shoot a beam of light straight up into the air and provide buffs to the surrounding players based on what blocks make up the pyramid.
Image from Sorontar.
The buffs only last 8 seconds once you leave the affected area, but this will provide a lot more strategic uses in PvP. Also, potentially in boss fights, as beacons function normally in The End.
Not as amazing as command blocks, but still pretty cool!
Anvils will allow you to repair damaged items, which is a pretty useful thing. I hate carrying around damaged pickaxes, and this is a great way to fix them up!
Image by Dinnerbone.
Okay, this is my single favorite addition of this entire update. We've had mob spawners for awhile, but I've never found them to be especially useful. However, now Mojang has added changeable tags to mob spawners, meaning that you can change the rate of spawns, how far away mobs will spawn, make them invincible, and even control the maximum number of mobs near their spawn.
Image of armored zombie mob spawner from Minecraft Wiki.
This gives you a lot more control over managing mobs, and it was way overdue! Thanks, Mojang!
Tired of people messing with your repeaters, or accidentally clicking one somewhere and having it throw off your entire mechanism? Well, now repeaters can be locked in place by powering one repeater with another from the side!
A locked repeater has a piece of bedrock across it.
YES. WE NOW HAVE CORNER STAIRS. Two sets of stairs on a corner will automatically form a corner piece when you add a stair between them. You have no idea how happy this makes me. Seriously, the lack of corner stairs has bugged me for my entire life. Literally.
Look at this beauty:
Want some unique decorations in your house? You're in luck! You can now frame a picture of any item in the game, from swords and maps to blocks. Not an especially useful update, but extremely cool nonetheless!
I mean, who doesn't want a picture of cake on their wall, right?
There are a number of other minor changes that you can read about here, but those are the most important bits.
Like I said in the beginning, this update may not totally change how you play the game, but it certainly will be a lot of fun to play with!
All info was sourced from the Minecraft Wiki!
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