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1.18 Reawakens the Wonder and Mystery of Playing Minecraft for the First Time

A perfect time to return to Minecraft.

Like so many others, I will never forget my very first experience with Minecraft. A world now lost to corruption and time where I spawned on a coast and built a dirt house. The small island of trees nearby my main source of wood, but not knowing of saplings, I feared cutting too many down. Then that first night where I hid in fear of the mobs waiting just outside my door.

But most importantly, I remember looking out over the water in wonder of what waited beyond and all the things I could build within it. A feeling, much like the world, that had been lost to time.

Minecraft 1.18: The Wonder Reignited

A Minecraft City

With every update, my private Minecraft server moves forward to the new version as well. On it is a treasured city I have had since beta, and with the ability to reset the chunks using MCA, it has seen quite a bit with each passing version. I expected Minecraft 1.18 to be no different and logged out on the city’s wall to perform the update. Then I logged back in.

Snow Mountain and Cave

Before me was a snow-capped mountain towering high in the sky, and at its base, a massive cave with an entrance divided by two pillars. I was taken aback, and for the first time since that coast, I was compelled to explore. Wasting not even a second, I scaled the mountain, planting a flag at its peak, and then delved deep into the earth just to see all there was to see. Build ideas flying past faster than I could note them.

If this is what waited just outside my city’s walls, what else was out there waiting to be found?

The answer was a lot. Not only was that beautiful cave and mountain not a one-off, I was finding world generation that topped it around every corner.

Monster Mouth Cave

Caves that looked like the mouths of monsters, a village between two mountains on a passing river’s edge, and ravines that ran so deep that only the glow squids swimming in its depths could be seen. Again and again, I found wonder after wonder. My journey only ending because I stopped to get a screenshot and a goat sent me flying to my death off a mountain’s edge.

How Has Generation Changed? Caves:

Cave right below the surface.

Maximum build height has been increased to 320 allowing mountains to generate high into the sky. In the same manner, build depth has also increased, or perhaps decreased, to -64. Underground biomes have additionally been added that can generate below a completely separate surface biome. Forget the caves you once knew, for these are like none you have seen before.

Lavafall Cave

Their entrances can be large gashes in the earth, craters leading to a vast expanse below the surface, or a ravine that winds and weaves before opening up to an underground lake surrounded by vegetation. Mojang has humorously named these three new types of cave generation, cheese, spaghetti, and noodle. Cheese refers to large spacious cave generation, spaghetti is winding and long, and noodle is narrow networks of tunnels.

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Explore even further, and you may find the two new underground biomes. Dripstone caves containing countless stalagmites and lush caves containing moss, flowers, vines, glowing plants, and more. While not a biome, breathtaking underground lakes of water or lava can generate that may as well be one too.

Waterfall Lush Cave

Every cave I have entered has led to an adventure. The one above, for example, was a tiny entrance off the edge of a river that led into a lush cave filled with waterfalls, past that was a tunnel that spiraled down before opening up to a lake of lava, and then across it was a vast expanse of dripstone with amethyst geodes along its walls. For a game called Minecraft, it now finally has an underground that lives up to that title.

I almost forgot! Don’t forget a good pickaxe! From where bedrock once was at 0 to -64 is now deepslate. A much, much, stronger type of stone that is far from easy to break. Spooky looking too!

How Has Generation Changed? Cliffs:

Plains surrounded by mountains.

Back on the surface, mountains now tower high into the increased build height of 320. Like caves, their generation was rebuilt from the ground up, allowing naturally generated worlds to look like they were painted by hand. Among them, you will find six new sub-biomes that act as pieces to the new mountains.

Meadows are a flowery and colder plains biome that can generate on mountain plateaus or near its lower levels. Groves generate on the slopes of mountains when next to a forested biome leaving the mountainside covered in trees. Snowy slopes generate in a similar manner when the mountain is next to plains or tundra leaving the mountainside barren and cold.

The final three sub biomes are how the peaks of each mountain will look. Jagged Peaks are snow blocks and stone like the image above, frozen peaks are mountains covered in snow, ice, and packed ice, and stony peaks contain stone, gravel, and calcite. This final one only occurring when surrounded by warm biomes.

Village on a river's edge.

However, mountains and caves are not the only things making use of the new update. The terrain in general is much more extreme, and terrain generation is now independent from biomes. This means biomes adapt to the terrain prepared for them, creating a much smoother and more realistic generation. Speaking of biomes, multiple sub biomes can now exist within the same biome adding yet another layer of adventure.

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This brings us to our final topic of villages. The new generation combined with villages in every biome has left a few struggling to adapt. For every three beautiful villages perfectly matching terrain, there was at least one wacky village not far from it. I even came across one that was almost entirely on a river! It was a surprising and funny change that made finding villages just as exciting as the massive cave entrances sitting next to them.

An Adventure Just Beginning

Valley between two mountains.

What I expected to be just another update turned out to be the one that would revive my lost passion for Minecraft. The generation was by no means perfect, and there were some… natural wonders, but I found they only added to the experience. Or maybe it simply reminded me of the odd generation one would find in early beta. In either case, I loved every second of it, and for the first time in years, I feel that wonder and mystery again.

Now, if you would excuse me, I have quite a few places waiting to be built in.

Until Next Time,

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