Pushing past the horizon in the Minecraft Better Together update
Publisher Microsoft / Developer Mojang format Xbox One / release date September 2017
I haven’t touched this blocky paradise for a while now, but after the recent update I decided to jump back in. There was a lot of hype about how much the update would change things, but I was a little dubious about the extent of it. Was it really going to change anything at a fundamental level?
After booting it up and navigating the menu changes, I decided to start a new world—a fresh start for a fresh
Minecraft, and I’m surprised by just how different it feels. I’ve played the Pocket version before, which is the universal version the update is now based on, but it has a completely different dimension to it when played on a TV in your living room. You feel like you’re closer to everything you’re doing, and even the biomes seem more natural now in the way they integrate with each other.
I also found myself coming across a greater range of creatures more easily. On my second night in my mud shack, a baby zombie villager spawned which didn’t burn at dawn so I had a challenge on my hands fighting off the speedy little anklebiter. I even had to readjust how I kitted out my first mud shack—you can now make different colored beds so you either have to find three of the same colored sheep before finally crafting somewhere to sleep, or something to make dye with to make all of your wool match.
It’s now also super easy to join a server or get an exciting new world that’s been prebuilt if you don’t fancy taking on a normal survival route. The options open up a whole new level of exploration that’s previously been unavailable on consoles. No longer will you struggle with a wonkylooking house, getting frustrated by the worlds you see on YouTube, and wondering why yours doesn’t look like that—now you can grab a world off of the store to adventure in, and use it as a starting point for your own builds. You’ll also want to brush up on your combat skills, as there are now more opportunities to go up against your fellow miners on those new servers. These replace the battle and glide maps you could buy in the previous version with approved content creators such as Mineplex, with their own takes on minigames.
Spread the load
It’s also super easy to set up your own realm from within the game’s launcher, so instead of being limited to when you’re online, you can essentially set up your own server that you can invite friends to work on even when you’re not playing. It does cost extra to do this, but it’s cheaper than a Netflix subscription, and there are two different options depending on how many people you want to share it with. I’m seriously tempted to invest in this now with the update—it makes epic builds far more achievable when there are more of you working on them, and now they’re no longer limited to playing on the same platform or even at the same time.
I’ve been playing Minecraft off and on for years now on various different platforms, but this update makes the game feel entirely new again. It also feels like there’s a real buzz of excitement in the community, with so much being opened up to average players without the time to invest in building huge worlds. The Better Together update makes it feel like you’ve finally been invited to join in with all of the cool kids on their modded servers, even though you’ve never had the means to before. Finally, you’re a part of something far bigger and brighter than you thought possible.
“No longer will you struggle with a wonky-looking house”