Minecraft has one of the longest and best documented game development processes in gaming history. For more than a decade, players have been able to experience the beautiful, blocky world of the game. During that time, there have been many different versions of the game, thanks to numerous updates.
While some of these changes were not as well received or as feature-abundant as others, they have all contributed to the game players know and love today. This article details five of the best updates Minecraft has ever seen.
Minecraft updates historically significant to the game
5) The Exploration Update
The Exploration Update, or update 1.11, brought in a lot of interesting structures and exciting enemies. It also added shulker boxes, which are one of the game’s most beloved items due to its ability to exponentially increase inventory space available to the player. The update also finally gave players a reason to hunt down the shulkers found within the End Cities added in update 1.19.
The main appeal of the update, and what gave it its name, is the woodland mansion. These structures appear in dark oak forests, and are incredibly rare, meaning that players will have to, as the name implies, do a lot of exploration to find one to then explore and loot. The update also added illagers for the first time, specifically, the vindicators and evokers.
Other additions in this update included llamas, totems of undying, and villager trades for exploration maps, which mark the location of a woodland mansion to help facilitate a player in finding one and taking it on. Also added in this update was the observer, vital for many redstone farms and systems.
4) The Redstone Update
Redstone is an integral part of Minecraft. It added incredible complexity, and the ability for those experienced with it to create incredible automated farms and storage systems. It even went so far as to recreate Pokemon Red in Minecraft.
This update added almost all of the blocks and items that have made modern redstone possible, including, but not limited to: activator rails, redstone blocks, droppers, comparators, weighted pressure plates, and the hopper.
It also threw in Nether Quartz, along with recipes for all of the quartz blocks, which are incredibly useful for builders aiming to make creations in a more ultramodern style.
3) Village and Pillage
Village and Pillage, as an update, majorly overhauled many of the different systems of the game that went on to become incredibly iconic. The update completely revamped the design language associated with villages and villagers. This was done by adding new village and villager designs for a specific biome that they can spawn in, helping villages feel much more real and unique.
It also added village raids, making totems of undying farmable for the first time. Foxes were also added to taiga, which is by far one of the game’s most adorable mobs.
The major overhaul of the update, however, was focused around villager trading. It completely changed villager trading, making it much stronger and therefore important for survival players. This made villager trading the best way to get some of the most powerful items available in the game, such as enchanted diamond armor and mending enchanted books.
2) Caves and Cliffs
Caves and Cliffs was one of, if not the most hyped updates in the history of the game. Before it was split into three parts — Caves and Cliffs Parts One and Two, and The Wild Update — it promised to totally revamp the generation of the overworld.
While technically, Caves and Cliffs are two different updates, they are so thematically similar that they are considered one large update for the purposes of this list.
Part One added things like moss, geodes, copper, deepslate, and the fan favorite mob axolotl. It also added the new spyglass item to give both amethyst and copper uses. Copper can also be used to make lightning rods to help protect flammable builds from being set ablaze during thunderstorms.
Part Two is a much more substantial addition. It completely overhauled the generation of the overworld, adding substantial height to the world, both in positive and negative Y values. Cave generation changed signficantly, with three new biomes being added: dripstone caves, lush caves, and flooded caves.
There are a few controversial aspects to these updates, however. The deep dark cave biome, the ancient city structures, and the Warden were delayed for both parts, eventually released in 2022 as part of The Wild Update. Additionally, the ore generation was revamped, making coal much more rare underground and more common higher in the world, making it harder to have an abundance of it.
1) The Nether Update
Update 1.16, known as the Nether Update, might be the most beloved update in Minecraft history. The Nether update completely changed the from being vast expanses of nothing but lava oceans, to a dimension brimming with potential and begging to be explored.
The update added four new Nether biomes: crimson forests, warped forests, basalt deltas, and soul sand valleys. Along with these biomes also came one of the most visually interesting structures in Minecraft - the bastion remnants and their piglin inhabitants, which players can barter gold to for resources in response.
The update also added Netherite, a new top tier material that has finally dethroned diamonds as the best material in Minecraft, which was slightly controversial at the time. Soul fire was also added in this update, giving players a new type of fire that is blue in coloration to use for decorative purposes.
Players were also given the ability to set a respawn point in the Nether using respawn anchors, which can be charged with glowstone - the original reason for players to enter the Nether.