Push­ing past the hori­zon in the Minecraft Bet­ter To­gether up­date

XBox: The Official Magazine (US) - - START - Daniella Lu­cas

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”

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