Minecraft 1.9, known as the ‘Combat Update’, is available now and it makes sweeping changes to Minecraft‘s combat with the addition of shields and dual-wielding.

Has it already been a year and a half since Minecraft 1.8 was released? September 2014 seems like an age ago, and I suppose describing Minecraft‘s recent past as the Age of 1.8 (or perhaps the Age of Microsoft and Minecraft Windows 10) is an appropriate and respectful locution. The dawn of a new age is here. Today, Mojang – delivering on six months of snapshots and beta updates – officially launched Minecraft 1.9. Welcome to Minecraft the long awaited ‘Combat Update’.

Minecraft‘s 1.9 ‘Combat Update’ focuses heavily on the mechanics of fighting, though there’s certainly plenty of other content included in the update as well. There are two major changes to the combat system, at least in comparison to the other combat changes. First, players are now able to dual-wield, or perhaps it’s more accurate to say players can hold items in both hands. The “dominant” hand is the only one that can perform an action (yes, players can change their dominant hand now). Second, attacking now has a cooldown delay.

For those familiar with Minecraft‘s current combat system, it often devolves into slap fights heavily dependent on gear. That isn’t to say there isn’t a strategic depth to it, though. These two major combat changes are simply prioritizing that combat depth while cutting out the spammy part of the action. Players will have to focus on precise timing, quick movement, item usage, and preparation to conquer their foes now.

Minecraft 1.9 Combat Update - The End

On top of the major combat changes, there are plenty of blocks, items, and enemies included in 1.9 too. It’s plenty to keep players who aren’t excited about combat entertained for yet another while – hopefully not another year and a half.

Here’s a selection of the expanded content being added in Minecraft 1.9:

  • Shields
  • Elytra (glider wings)
  • Shulker (enemy)
  • Chorus Plants
  • Purpur (blocks)
  • End Rod (block)
  • Dragon Head (block)
  • Beetroot Seeds, Beetroot, and Beetroot Soup
  • Grass Path (block)
  • Igloos
  • Tipped Arrow, Spectral Arrow
  • Skeleton Riders (enemy)

Other new content in Minecraft 1.9 includes special attacks for both swords and axes, Frost Walker enchantments, armor values lowered, The End expansion, tons of new sound effects, and even more bug fixes – including a solution to “MC-10.” The full patch notes can be found on the Minecraft Wiki, for those who’d like to see the specific changes in 1.9.

While many Minecraft players are likely wishing that Mojang would focus more on just pumping out major content like new biomes, blocks, and map generation features, these combat changes were a long time coming. Minecraft, as much as everyone loves it for what it is, still features surprisingly nascent design in several systems. Combat in the game grew very natural out of the idea of equipping a sword and swinging it like an axe or mining pick. Having an actual combat system profoundly changes how Minecraft can be played. Suffice it to say, it’s an opportunity to try out old content in new ways.

Minecraft 1.9 is live right now for those who have updated their client. And remember, this is for the PC version of Minecraft – the original. That doesn’t include the console releases, Pocket Minecraft or the feature-stripped Minecraft Windows 10. Maybe the patch will come to other platforms later, but it may be a while.

Source: Mojang