The long awaited Minecraft update was finally released by Mojang this week, introducing a plethora of new items, horses and other changes into the mix. Anyone who logged in this week probably noticed the new launcher system, but there’s so much new content that we fear some might have missed out on some of the sweet, sweet Minecraft action. Without further ado, here’s our official 1.6 Update Guide! Let’s start off with the obvious:
By far and away, the most anticipated inclusion in the fabled Horse Update has predictably been the horses themselves. This includes their mob-cousins mules and donkeys, which each have their own use in the Minecraft world. Horses come in 7 different colors with up to 5 different secondary colors entitled markings. These create a large caste of different horses, which can then be bred with each other to create faster and stronger offspring.
Once a player finds horses in the wild (most commonly in a Plains Biome), the player must attempt to tame them by riding a horse until it no longer throws the player off. Once a taming is successful, hearts will float above the horse’s head and it will now allow the player to mount it, though, players must place a saddle on the horse to be able actually steer the animal and make it jump. The taming processes for mules and donkeys is the exact same, though they cannot be ridden – instead, players can place chests upon them and can herd them as mobile item-storage mobs.
Horses cut travel times down by a large margin, as they are much faster than players and can jump further and higher as well. Though they cannot go over water that is two blocks deep and often get stuck in jungle biomes, they’re a must-have for anyone who wants to explore the Overworld in a more efficient fashion. When running, horses automatically scale up one block heights, making hillside travelling much easier. Holding the jump button will charge a jump to cover more height, whilst pressing the sneak button will dismount the player from the animal.
Horses can be fed either Gold Carrots or Golden Apples to activate their ‘love mode’, and will immediately proceed to procreate like any other mob animal. Based on the genetics of its parents, the offspring will usually grow into an improved steed, with better traits in speed, more health or a greater ability to jump. Thus, it’s a good idea to breed horses so you have improved animals to use.
At the moment, Skelton and Zombie horses are included in the game, however, they can neither be tamed or bred. It’s likely that at some point they will be used by enemy mobs. For now, a Zombie riding an undead horse? That’s a fight for another day.
The 1.6 update includes three new items, which can all unsurprisingly tie back to horses (though only one of them is limited to the new animal). Horse Armor is, predictably, the item which can only be used on horses. The armor comes in Iron, Gold and Diamond variants (with defensive values of 5, 7 and 11 respectively) and can be placed on a horse by accessing the inventory system whilst riding the animal itself. Unlike player armor, horse armor only has one piece, which makes replacing or swapping the armor very easy in comparison. It can’t be made be players, so it must be acquired from chests in dungeons and nether fortresses.
Leashes have also been added into the game, craftable by using 4 pieces of string and a slimeball. When holding a leash, players can right-click a nearby passive mob to attach the leash and can then guide the mob behind them. Players can also right-click a fence to attach the mob to the fence, where the leash will stay in place until it is hit by the player. Once hit, the leash will always drop in a pick-up item state. Leashes can stretch up to 10 spaces before they break, and will hold animals back if they’re attached to a fence. As of the 1.6.1 Update, the only mobs which can’t be placed on leashes are hostile mobs and bats.
Name Tags are the last new item added in the update, and currently haven no recipe for crafting. Despite this, the item can still be accessed from dungeon chests and creative mode. When placed in an anvil, players will have the option to write a name on the tag, and can then right-click any mob to ‘name’ the creature. As of current release, adding a name to the name tag costs experience points by the letter. Whenever the player enters within 7 blocks of the named creature, the name will appear above its head. Mobs which have a name tag will not de-spawn, meaning they will never disappear from the game even if the player travels large distances away from the creature. Both passive and enemy mobs can be named, but upon death neither type of mob will drop the name tag for re-use.
There are plenty of new block types in the 1.6 update, and it should leave any gamers wanting more designing options breathless. Hay Stacks can be created from 9 pieces of wheat, and are used by horses, donkeys and mules to renew their health. Likewise, blocks of coal can now be created from 9 coal pieces, and can be placed in a furnace to smelt 80 items (in contrast, 9 coal pieces on their own can only smelt 72). The Coal Block will burn like a wood block, and should be placed away from lava if its use is intended for decorative purposes.
Hardened Clay blocks are created by smelting clay in a furnace. The clay will dye to a brownish tinge and will have more blast resistance than normal clay. It can be used as a building material, and allows for the next step of decorative design: Stained Clay Blocks. By placing 8 hardened blocks around 1 color-defining piece (much akin to dying wool) in the inventory menu, players can now dye clay blocks to the same multitude of colours, allowing for painted walls which aren’t made out of wool and lack the high flammability of the sheep-based block.
Players can also now place carpets, which are crafted from two pieces of wool dyed the same color. This will create 3 carpet pieces, which have the same thickness as a pressure plate but don’t affect player height when trod upon. This allows for more sensible building, as players can have floors made of wood or stone and simply place carpets on top of them. This way blocks functioning as both a floor and a ceiling will look less silly than if they’d been made of wool. Truth be told, this is an overdue addition, but one which should make plenty of house-builders very happy.
The new Resource Park system is a replacement API for the old texture pack system. Whilst previously it was only possible to replace textures in the game, the new Resource Pack system allows for gamers to modify sounds, fonts, music, languages and even the end credits without having to dip into any of the game’s code. This will allow for things like ‘scary’ texture packs to include more horrifying sounds and music, and all of this is easily interchangeable in the in-game menu.
There are also three new Status Effects included in the game, though no potions currently exist to produce them. The first is called Health Boost, which places 2 extra heart slots in a player’s health until the potion runs out. Two more hearts are added for each level the potion is at. Absorption adds 2 hearts per level as well, which re-appear every 30 seconds if they had been depleted. As usual, this only lasts the length of the potion. Lastly, the Saturation status effect causes the player’s hunger meter to be filled by 1 slot per second, until the potion runs its course. It is likely that the craftable potions for these will be included in the next update, but until then they’ll only be accessible in Creative Mode.
In addition to the above, here’s a list of small changes that the 1.6 and 1.6.1 updates have brought to the table:
- Charcoal now has a new texture so it looks noticeably different from Coal.
- Lapis Lazuli Blocks now have a thin blue border about a pixel wide.
- Gold Apples now require Gold Ingots instead of Gold Nuggets to craft, and utilizes the new Absorption State.
- Glistering Melons now required 8 Gold Nuggets to craft.
- Spawn Eggs can now be placed on water.
- Any Mob named ‘Dinnerbone’ or ‘Grumm’ with a nametag are placed upside down.
- Zombies can now lock onto a player from 40 blocks away, a drastic increase of their previous 16 block sight-range. Look out!
- Zombies now also have a small chance to generating more zombies when damaged or not being looked at.
- Villagers now have their own set of sounds!
- Spiders may now spawn with active potion effects.
- Desert Biomes no longer contain water lakes when generated.
That about sums up everything you need to know about the update, which just put more distance between the computer version and the console edition of the game, a version that typically lags far behind the computer edition in terms of features.
What do you think about the 1.6 Update, Ranters? Was it worth the wait, or would you like more frequent, smaller updates?
You can follow me on Twitter @Makelevi, where I ‘horse’ around a lot.