Other than the addition of quartz ore and four exclusive music tracks, Minecraft’s Nether dimension has remained exactly the same as version 1.0, which released almost nine years ago! A vast cavern full of red steep cliffs, lava oceans, the occasional gravel or soul sand shores, and ominous fortresses. When first hearing about the Nether Update, I thought “it’s about time,” and couldn’t wait for the stable builds to come out.
With over three months since the update dropped, and with the new 1.17 update looming on the horizon, here are my thoughts on Minecraft 1.16’s four new biomes, and the upcoming account migration.
The Nether Update
The first of the four new attractions are crimson forests, home to deep red trees, vines, vegetation, and piglins. The crimson trees are of particular interest since you can craft fireproof wood and use it to craft doors, stairs, fences, everything except boats (what a shame!). A nice hell-biome to live in, were it not for the hostile hoglins who can send you falling to the nearest lava sea. Once, while wearing just golden armor, I had to run away from a swarm of hoglins while low on health and surrounded by lava!
The warped forests are like their crimson counterparts except for their greenish-blue colors, vines that grow from the ground into the sky. As they’re populated by endermen, you can kill them for ender pearls to activate an end portal quickly and a nice habitat if you make your rooms at most 2.5 blocks tall, plus they look great as well.
The basalt deltas are the hardest areas to navigate due to the lava pockets and the extremely uneven terrain, though its main selling point is easier access to magma cream thanks to the overwhelming number of magma cubes. While the ambience is cool, with occasional Geiger counter-like clicks in the background, it’s probably my least favorite new locale. Not to mention there isn’t a lot you can currently make or do with its namesake blocks.
Finally, soul valleys are full of soul sand, the new soul soil blocks, a ton of fossils, blue-colored flames, and innumerable skeletons. Unless you’re wearing boots with the new Soul Speed enchantment, you will be forced to fight with ranged weaponry and must react quickly to ghast strikes. The ambience is quite chilling as well, with screams from damned souls happening regularly.
Other additions I’m fond of in the Nether Update include easier access to gold thanks to the ubiquitous Nether gold ores, ruined portals that are scattered everywhere, lodestone blocks, chains, and compasses so that I don’t get lost in the Nether for the 9147th time, though I’m not a fan of the finicky striders, or the piglins’ constant attacks.
About two days ago, Mojang announced that everyone must transfer all legacy and Mojang accounts to Microsoft to continue playing the Java Edition of the game. While this migration is seemingly innocuous and comes with the benefit of 2-factor authentication and a free cape, I don’t believe using MS accounts is the best choice going forward.
The game would be covered under both Mojang’s terms of service as well as Microsoft’s, meaning two different parties govern your usage of the game. This also increases the risk that if your Microsoft account is suspended for whatever reason (such as false reports), so would your copy of Java Edition, and the subsequent appeal process would involve fighting with automated emails and customer support. There is also no concrete answers in their FAQ about whether accounts that don’t migrate are terminated or kept indefinitely suspended, or what will happen to third party launcher support (like MultiMC), and this vagueness about such a major move is the part that worries me the most. In addition, Microsoft can close your account if it is inactive for at least two years, which wasn’t the case with regular accounts.
The Nether was overdue for a major rehaul, the only things that made it worth exploring before the Nether Update were its blocks, the easy supply of lava, and its fortresses. Getting all these new biomes in addition to other additions and changes such as target blocks and netherite that you can view here is quite refreshing, though I was disappointed by the lack of new, original mobs not based on pigs, especially hostiles.
While I can’t wait for 1.17 update, and future updates to the overworld and eventually the End, there is still a lot of uncertainty about moving house to Microsoft accounts, and do feel it’s a paradigm shift to more control by the tech giant over the Java Edition of Minecraft.