Minecrafting 131: First hints of 1.8

Minecraft Mojang

The first hints of what are going to become Minecraft 1.8 have arrived in the latest snapshot issued by Mojang. There are changes to enchanting, trading, and they’ve added new blocks, too. They’re are some odd ones in there, like the slime block that you can bounce on, breaking your fall.

There’s lots to talk about, so let’s get straight into it.

The enchanting system has been completely overhauled – something we knew was coming a month ago. It now costs fewer levels, but you need a minimum level for the enchantment to be available. There’s also a material cost – it’s not clear if that’s gold or lapis at the time of writing. Either way, both materials are fairly useless at the moment so that’s a good thing. Anvil costs have also been reduced to balance.

The trading system with villagers has also been revamped to make a lot more sense. Offers are less random and more useful, Lapis is now purchasable, and there is a new villager – the leatherworker – who sells things like leather armour and saddles. Existing villagers won’t change though, so you’ll need to find a new village if you want to see this in action.

Did I mention there are new blocks? Three types of stone – granite, diorite and andesite, all of which come in rough and polished versions. Andesite is probably closest to the old stone texture, diorite is lighter-coloured, and granite is pink. They seem to spawn naturally in extreme hills biomes. Mossy stone can now be crafted with stone and vines, and there’s also a newly-added slime block, which is bouncy and breaks falls. Expect to see some interesting jumping puzzles using that. Oh, and doors now stack. Yay!

Finally, for adventure map creators, you’ll be pleased to hear that the CanDestroy NBT tag can now be used for tools, to only permit breaking of certain blocks. Here’s a screenshot of that in action. And NBT tags can also be used to lock chests from being opened.

Phew. That’s a lot to play with, so go get on those servers and start making lovely things. Like this lovely panorama of a multiplayer server’s spawn location. Or this “renovated” cottage. Or the entire city of Ottawa.

For building tips, you’ll want to go check out Sarlac’s tutorials – he’s great at explaining how to accomplish what you want to accomplish with an eye on design. Here’s his tutorial on abstracting inspiration, for example. Or responding to terrain. Or designing deconstruction. Or just building huge trees. Here’s the full list, courtesy of Redditor BMX4Life180.

Right. I’ll leave it there for today, as I want to go and play with the new blocks. If you’ve seen anything in the Minecraft community that you think I should be highlighting, tell me about it by dropping me an email. I’ll be back with another roundup this time next week.