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Top 5 Minecraft Updates That Helped The Game’s Longevity

Not many games continue to grow in popularity quite like Minecraft has. Let's look at the top 5 Minecraft updates that have kept the game going through a solid decade. Going from a small indie game to a million-dollar franchise, it's clear Mojang is doing something right to keep players coming back.

Top 5 Minecraft Updates That Helped The Game's Longevity Cover

Just the other day, I booted up my Xbox One to play some Minecraft with friends, something I haven’t done in years. And I mean years. Although it’s obvious from the game’s popularity that Mojang has kept the game updated, I was taken back by the sheer amount of additions. The amount of new items, blocks, creatures, and places made the game feel brand new. It turns out, Minecraft has quite the history of game-changing updates. While some of these haven’t been the most well-accepted, many have been literally game-changing. Here are 5 of the most notable updates behind Minecraft’s decade of popularity.

5. 1.11 Exploration Update

The #5 for this top 5 influential Minecraft updates is 1.11, the Exploration Update. Released on November 14th, 2016, the Exploration Update aimed to better Minecraft’s survival mode experience. It added in a few new mobs, as well as some other features aimed at improving exploration. It added in llamas, Evokers, Vexes, and Vindicators as new mobs. One new feature involved curse enchantments, which could be found on weapons and armor. Items with the Curse of Vanishing would disappear if players died. The Curse of Binding would make it impossible for players to drop the item or take it off of its equipped armor.

Llamas, new mobs that are programmed to spit on you.

Llamas, new mobs that are programmed to spit on you.

One of the items added in included the Exploration map, which would show treasure locations. It also added in the Shulker Box, which was a chest that holds items even when broken. Another big item added was the Totem of Undying. When held, the totem would prevent a player’s death. The Exploration update also added in rare spawned Woodland Mansions, where players could find tools and items.

4. Pretty Scary Update

Adding “pretty” utilities and “scary” mobs, the Pretty Scary Update was the first named update. Released on October 25th, 2012, this update started the trend of “themed” updates, rather than updates adding various items and debugs. From that point, updates would center around a specific game aspect, and generally hype up fans more for game changes. As for the update, it added in a few more mobs: The Wither, Wither Skeletons, Witches, and bats. Although none of these mobs are game changing, they have all become staples for the Minecraft experience. The update also added in new food items like potatoes, carrots, and pumpkin pie. They also made variants like golden carrots and poisonous potatoes.

Wither, a new boss added in the Pretty Scary Update.

Wither, a new boss added in the Pretty Scary Update.

As far as utilities, this update gave players things like the command block, beacons, nether star, decorative mob heads, anvils, and cobblestone walls. It also added in a few important commands, like being able to set new spawn points and change game rules in the middle of a game. This wasn’t the most groundbreaking update, but it was incredibly well-received. Players enjoyed a Halloween themed update, and many additions fit in perfectly for players. This is all despite the update being horribly buggy when it first came out.

3. 1.16 Nether Update

For 3rd place in the top 5 Minecraft updates: the recently released Nether Update. This newest update to Minecraft gave a full makeover to the Nether, a desolate underworld filled only with lava pools. Not anymore. Released on June 23rd, 2020, the Nether Update gave the Nether different biomes, unique mobs, items, blocks, and structures. While that was pretty much the extent of the update, it’s a pretty big deal. The Nether was always an interesting concept, but it was one of those “once you have seen some of it, you have seen it all” situations. But with the changes, it’s now a place players can go explore just like the rest of the world. It’s somewhere that players will want to go explore.

Nether Update: Official Trailer

And it looks pretty good. The four biomes—Soul Sand Valley, Crimson Forest, Warped Forest, and Basalt Deltas—all have an eerie vibe that really fits. Also, the new Nether is set up to be quite deadly. Players under-equipped will have a bad time, between the new and old mobs found there. But, it is a good challenge for players who want a little more from the game.

2. 1.7 The Update that Changed the World

A variety of biomes converging.

A variety of biomes converging.

And this update did live up to its namesake. Released on October 25th, 2013, 1.7 “The Update That Changed The World” greatly diversified the environments of Minecraft. It added 11 new biomes to the game, as well as two new types of trees and unique wood types. New types of flowers were put in, which allowed for dyes to become more widely available. Another new addition was stained glass, which allowed glass to be dyed any color. This is all on top of a few more technical items, like a new command for setting everyone’s spawn. These changes all greatly enhanced player exploration. It ensured players going into infinite spawning worlds could feel a real vastness to Minecraft. This was great for the game’s long-term playability, as the world variations in a sandbox game are integral at keeping the game interesting.

1. 1.13 Update Aquatic

And for our #1 spot for the Top 5 Minecraft Updates is 1.13, Update Aquatic. One of the biggest updates Minecraft has ever seen, the Update Aquatic revamped the ocean worlds of the game. No doubt this update was one of the most influential in the game’s continued playability. Released on July 18th, 2018, the update fleshed out the oceans of Minecraft with new mobs like dolphins, turtles, new types of fish, and drowned. The drowned are zombies that live underwater that will attack players that come near. They even made it to where normal zombies could become drowned after being in water too long. The color of ocean water was changed to fit its designated biome as well. Many new points of interest were added, like underwater ruins, underwater caves, and shipwrecks.

Mojang Presents... An Update Aquatic

This overhaul made the oceans of Minecraft a lot more interesting. Players were given far more initiative to explore underwater and possibly build underwater as well. Basically, a whole other world was unlocked. Rightfully, this update got a lot of positive feedback from players. 

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