Oh man, Minecraft. I haven’t played Mojang’s (or is it now Microsoft’s?) absurdly successful craft-’em-up in about 9,000 years. Even talking about it now feels a bit weird. Yowzers.

And yet the thing still exists! Not only that, but it’s still being played by millions of people and is still having updates churned out for it. That’s mighty impressive. The latest patch is 1.9 and it delivers a heap of changes, most importantly ones that relate to the game’s combat mechanics. Delve into the depths of this post to discover the full list of tweaks and additions.

Right at the top of the list is the addition of shields that’ll provide better protection for your annoyingly squishy appendages. Timing your attacks will now play a greater role, because attacking now has a cool-down timer associated with it. The end game (“The End”) has been expanded, and the Ender Dragon can now be resummoned. Importantly, igloos are now a thing, as are “skeleton riders”. I’m intrigued to see whether those are skeletons on mounts, or if they’re a new breed of monster that rides skeletons. MYSTERY.

Also new to the game is a dual-wielding mechanic, which lets you hold items in each hand and hot-swap between them. There’s also beetroot and beetroot soup now, features I’m sure people have been begging for since the game’s alpha release.

The update is out for the PC version first and will presumably arrive on other platforms at a later stage. As promised, here’s the full list of changes, all sexy and conveniently bullet point-y:

  • Added shields
  • Attacking now has a “cool-down” delay, making it more important to time your attacks
  • You can now hold items in both hands (default quick key to swap items is ‘F’)
  • Swords have a special sweep attack
  • Axes have a special crushing blow attack
  • Added the elytra
  • New mob: Shulker
  • Expanded The End
  • Added Chorus plants
  • New Purpur blocks
  • New End Rod block
  • Added dragon head block
  • Ender Dragon can be resummoned
  • Added beetroot and beetroot soup (from MC:PE)
  • Added grass path block
  • Added igloos
  • Armor protection values have been lowered
  • Added tipped arrows
  • Added spectral arrows
  • Added Frost Walker enchantment and frosted ice block
  • Added a whole bunch of new sound effects
  • Added sound effect subtitles
  • Brewing Stand now requires Blaze Powder to activate
  • Added skeleton riders
  • We believe we’ve fixed MC-10 and a whole bunch of other issues
  • Removed Herobrine
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