Bet­ter To­gether

With Minecraft’s big­gest up­date yet on the way, we in­ves­ti­gate ev­ery­thing you need to know and ex­plain just how it will change the game

XBox: The Official Magazine (US) - - OXM INVESTIGATES - Daniella Lu­cas

Minecraft is one of those games that you’ll al­ways end up com­ing back to, even if you’ve had a break for a few years. Its open, cre­ative na­ture means it’s dif­fer­ent ev­ery time you play it, but for con­sole play­ers it’s lacked the flex­i­bil­ity of other ver­sions, with no way to try out all the ex­cit­ing mods and servers avail­able to PC play­ers. But that’s all go­ing to change with the Bet­ter To­gether up­date out this au­tumn. Promis­ing cross­play with mo­bile, Win­dows 10 and Nin­tendo Switch, as well as ex­ter­nal servers and a busy mar­ket­place, the mar­velous world of Minecraft is about to open up con­sid­er­ably.

So how is all of this go­ing to hap­pen? How do you make so many dif­fer­ent ver­sions of the game play nicely to­gether? By chang­ing it all to one sin­gle ver­sion, of course. When the up­date rolls out, the con­sole ver­sion will com­pletely change and be­come the same ver­sion as the Pocket and Win­dows 10 Edi­tions. Don’t worry, all the worlds you worked on will still be there, and you’ll be able to play them in this new ver­sion, ex­cept now you’ll get to en­joy all of the ex­tras they’ve had for ages, in­clud­ing stained glass and in­fi­nite worlds. That’s right, no longer will you be con­fined by the edges of your map: The world you’re in will just keep gen­er­at­ing out in front of you.

What about the bat­tle and glide minigames? Well, that’s a bit more com­pli­cated— you’ll still be able to ac­cess them from the old launcher, but the hope is that with all of the new worlds and servers that will be­come avail­able on the mar­ket­place, you’ll be able to play ver­sions of them on there in­stead, along with a whole heap of other new games to ex­per­i­ment with. You’ll have ac­cess to a far greater range of things to do with your blocky friend go­ing for­wards, all eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble, and with loads more be­ing added all of the time. You’ll even be able to share your pur­chases across ver­sions—so, for ex­am­ple, if you bought the Ad­ven­ture Time tex­ture pack on Xbox One, it’ll also be un­locked to use in the mo­bile ver­sion. Al­though the Halo pack is an ex­cep­tion—that one will be locked to Xbox con­soles only.

It does get a bit tricky when it comes to add-ons, though—th­ese tools let Pocket and Win­dows 10 edi­tion own­ers re­pro­gram things like mobs to be­have as they please to help them make in-depth cre­ations of their own. Be­cause of the hard­ware you won’t be able to make th­ese on Xbox One, how­ever you will be able to see them and use them if they’re part of other worlds or servers, so you won’t to­tally miss out.

New ways to play

In the orig­i­nal PC ver­sion (now known as Java edi­tion), you can join all sorts of servers and add mods as you please, but you have to dig around in your files to do so and mess around with things like IP ad­dresses—plus, you’ll of­ten will end up run­ning into is­sues. The Bet­ter To­gether up­dates are aim­ing to take that flex­i­bil­ity and make it eas­ier and safer for Xbox own­ers to en­joy the cus­tom servers Java edi­tion users have had for a while now. From launch, sev­eral servers will be avail­able to join di­rectly from the game’s menu.

To start with, Mo­jang will be work­ing with Lifeboat, Cube­craft, InPvP, and Mine­plex to bring ap­proved servers to ev­ery­one. As well as pro­vid­ing fun new ways to play Minecraft, they’ve also been vet­ted by the de­vel­op­ers and more closely mod­er­ated to make sure any younger play­ers are com­pletely safe. Be­cause they’re all work­ing so closely with Mo­jang, it should also mean they’ll be more sta­ble and up­dated more fre­quently.

You can sub­mit your own servers, but they’ll have to make it through a strict checking process to make sure they’re up to scratch. If you’re just look­ing for a small space to play with your mates then Realms will also be avail­able to Xbox One play­ers for the first time. It’s es­sen­tially a way to rent your own pri­vate server for a small fee—all of the background run­ning of it is taken care for you, so you can just have fun with friends.

“If you own Minecraft on disc you’ll have to have played the game for at least five hours in the past year”

All of th­ese ex­tras are avail­able through the Mi­crosoft mar­ket­place—a shop within the game that lets you buy skins, worlds, tex­ture packs and more with Minecraft Coins. You pay for Coins with your real money and use those to buy from the mar­ket­place it­self—by us­ing its own cur­rency, it en­sures the costs are kept the same no mat­ter if you’re play­ing on Xbox or even on a Switch.

How do you get it?

Ev­ery­one who plays Minecraft will now need to have an Xbox Live lo­gin to make sure all of your de­tails are tied to you no mat­ter which plat­form you play on—which won’t be a prob­lem for OXM read­ers, of course. Like­wise, if you want to play on­line on Xbox One or Nin­tendo Switch you’ll still have to pay for the con­soles’ on­line ser­vices—al­though those on Win­dows 10 and Mo­bile don’t. It’s a frus­trat­ing de­ci­sion, but those costs are re­lated to the hard­ware you choose to play on rather than the game it­self, so you will have to shell out for Xbox Live Gold to play with your friends, if you haven’t al­ready.

Also, if you own Minecraft on a disc, you’ll have to have played the game for at least five hours in the past year for it to even­tu­ally up­grade to the up­dated ver­sion. If you’ve down­loaded it al­ready then you don’t need to worry, ev­ery­thing will be ready to go once the up­date hits in Novem­ber.

While there’s still a while to wait for the full re­lease you can ac­cess the beta ver­sion to check it out on your Xbox One. Sim­ply down­load the In­sider Pro­gram app and nav­i­gate to the In­sider con­tent hub where you’ll find the beta to down­load. A lot of the con­tent is be­ing tested in waves; at the time of writ­ing the Mar­ket­place and Servers weren’t avail­able, but will be added later.

Be­cause this is such a mas­sive up­date there’s tons of info here to digest, but what does it all mean for the fu­ture of Minecraft as we know it? With (al­most) ev­ery­one now on the same plat­form, fu­ture con­tent up­dates that add blocks or new mobs will now hit ev­ery­one that much faster, and will hope­fully hap­pen far more fre­quently as there are fewer ver­sions of the game to deal with. Af­ter Xbox One own­ers have had to deal with be­ing left be­hind for so long, this feels like a huge step for­ward and we can’t wait to play bet­ter to­gether.

Top Par­rots make their de­but on Xbox One.

Right Servers will be playable at re­lease.

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