What Minecraft 1.3.1 Brings To the Table

With Minecraft 1.3.1 being out for a few days, I think it’s fair to say that we’ve had plenty of time to form opinions about the changes and additions. Unfortunately, my first impression was a bit negative, though this was no fault of Minecraft’s.

I play Minecraft on an Asus netbook, and that should say it all. After starting up Minecraft (and downloading the update, which took about five tries) I was greeted with a chunk error that was actually pretty impressive. No big deal, these things happen, except this persisted for about three or four minutes. After my chunk had somewhat loaded, walking around was seriously laggy and I was pulling four FPS. Now I have no doubt that this is because I’m playing the game on a netbook and I should get a real computer. But it was still disappointing, considering that older versions of Minecraft played perfectly fine. I was also previously running Optifine, so hopefully when Optifine gets updated it can fix a lot of the lag problems. As for now, playing in windowed mode seemed to solve most of the issues I was having.

Now, onto the specifics:

The addition of trading with villagers: the very first thing I did was head over to a village near my house to check out the trading mechanic. Right clicking a villager brings up the trading menu, in which villagers offer you things in exchange for emerald (Minecraft’s new currency) or other items. Since the items villagers have for trade are based on their occupation, I didn’t get to see that many different items (my village is very small; no librarian, priest, or blacksmith). Some of the offers were neat, but others just seemed like bad deals, or at least not what I was expecting. For example: a stack of wheat got me three emeralds (which I then wasted on buying cookies). To get more options for trading, you must trade with a villager at least once.

As someone who plays on peaceful (I know) I really dig the trading mechanism because it allows me to get items that I otherwise could not, like Eyes of Ender. It also makes items less difficult to obtain for those of you not on peaceful. The only downside is the potential running back and forth to obtain items for villagers, since you never know specifically what they want.

The second coolest thing added is the addition of turning your single player world into, essentially, a server. The best thing about this is that it is only active while you are playing – logging out terminates the setting. I know a lot of us are proud of our home bases and creations, and some of us have friends who enjoy lighting them on fire or giving them a cactus floor (just me?) – now they can’t! Or at the very least, it’s unlikely that you won’t notice. I think it’s great that this is happening, as there have always been projects in my game that I could have used some extra help on, and this will be especially useful in fighting bosses or going on mining expeditions that you don’t want to do alone.

Along with trading and LAN single player worlds, there’s the addition of new world type large biomes, which sound cool, but are sixteen times bigger than normal biomes. Not so cool if you happen to spawn on an island, but they have the potential to be interesting or at least more realistic. There’s also a new game mode, Adventure, in which the player cannot create or destroy blocks. We get new items like the emerald currency used for trading (and the emerald block), quills for writing in books, cocoa beans that grow on jungle trees, tripwires, and Ender Chests. And of course there are bug fixes and the usual minor tweaking. There’s also the addition of jungle temples and desert temples. I managed to find a seed for a desert temple and got quite a surprise on entering…

All in all, I think this is a good, solid update. I’m excited to try out playing in the tiny little city-world I’ve been gradually building with others, without having to play on different settings than I’m used to like when I play on servers. Adventure Although nothing else about the update really excited me, nothing is bad and nothing seems out of place. The idea that there are new things out there for me to discover in my blocky world (still searching for a mushroom biome…) is always a good thing, and I love that large updates like this that don’t only provide bug updates are still coming to Minecraft almost a year after it has come out of beta.

– Andrea


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