In Minecraft: Java Edition's recently-released 23w04a snapshot, players received a preview of upcoming content for update 1.20. However, not every inclusion has been as well-received as Mojang likely intended.
The most polarizing change in the snapshot has been related to netherite armor, which has become more difficult to craft. Initially, players could use a smithing table to combine a piece of diamond gear with a netherite ingot to craft netherite armor. However, the overhaul of the smithing table and the inclusion of smithing templates have changed this recipe. Players need a netherite upgrade smithing template alongside their diamond gear and netherite ingot to complete the crafting process.
On Minecraft's official subreddit, a user named At0micSith stated their unease with the change and explained that they didn't know how to feel.
Minecraft Redditors React to Mojang's Netherite Gear Change in Snapshot 23w04a.
In a post on the game's official site, Mojang explained the changes made in snapshot 23w04a and its rationale for changing the netherite gear crafting process. In the post, Mojang stated that the intent was twofold: to give players extra time to use their diamond gear before upgrading while also acquiring netherite gear feel more like a milestone.
Since Minecraft's 1.16 Nether Update, diamond gear has indeed been considered less valuable than before, and it isn't uncommon for players to upgrade to netherite as quickly as possible. While Mojang's intent may have been to balance the overall gear quality progression in Survival Mode, players in At0micSith's Reddit post had differing opinions. Some supported Mojang's change, while others didn't believe it had the impact that the developers envisioned.
One of the most praised aspects of the snapshot's netherite upgrade templates (as well as smithing templates that provide armor trimming) is that they can be cloned without looting additional templates. However, this does require seven diamonds per cloning, which some players contend is fairly resource-intensive without adding any real value to diamond gear.
Others pointed out that Minecraft veterans won't be fazed much by the change since they know the nuances of the Nether and its structures, and some fans noted that in specific multiplayer servers, this would make netherite gear more challenging to obtain due to other players constantly looting the templates and even hoarding them. Various comments also remarked that netherite gear isn't all that impressive anyway, as it only has slight advantages over diamond gear, and extra crafting ingredients would dissuade players from upgrading.
The debate will likely continue, even after snapshot 23w04a has faded from the community's recent memory. However, if the current state of netherite upgrading persists and makes its way to update 1.20, the discourse surrounding the process may start again. Of course, the snapshot is a preview, and Mojang can still change the netherite upgrade process at any time. Still, at the moment, it appears that the community is genuinely split on whether the change is a net positive or negative for Minecraft in the long run.