There are very few developers who are as focused on providing regular updates and add-on content for their games as Mojang. The Swedish developer – that was recently acquired by Microsoft – has been especially active at updating its flagship game, Minecraft, every few months since it's official launch in 2011.
While these updates do often fix bugs and issues in the game, they also include major additions, such as animals, plants, and even entire realms, like the Nether and the End. Around holidays, Mojang is always sure to provide content and activities that coincide with the festivities of the occasion.
That's definitely the case this Christmas season, as Mojang announced today on their blog that the upcoming Minecraft update – 1.8.2 – will include "cookies, milk and of course lots of hugs." While this update doesn't have quite as much content as past holidays, it's still more than most developers provide at this time of year. Not to mention the fact that these additions are free with the update, which is all but unheard of in today's video game industry.
The 1.8.2 update will roll out for PC and Mac users soon. For console gamers, this holiday season will feel a little more like the Nightmare Before Christmas. The console update, which is currently available for Xbox consoles - the PlayStation version is coming soon - features new mobs, including witches, horses and Wither skeletons. The update also includes new death messages, more fireworks and numerous other new items. The full changelog from developer 4J Studios can be found below.
- Hardened Clay
- Stained Clay
- Block of Coal
- Hay Bale
- Activator Rail
- Block of Redstone
- Daylight Sensor
- Minecart with Hopper
- Minecart with TNT
- Redstone Comparator
- Weighted Pressure Plate
- Trapped Chest
- Firework Rocket
- Firework Star
- Nether Star
- Horse Armor
- Name Tag
- Horse Spawn Egg
- Wither Skeletons
- Added new terrain generation features - Witch Huts.
- Replaced the Tutorial World with a new world containing some new mini-tutorials for the new functionality.
- Added Beacon interface.
- Added Horse interface.
- Added Hopper interface.
- Added Fireworks - Fireworks interface is accessible from the Crafting Table when you have the ingredients to craft a Firework Star or Firework Rocket.
- Added 'Adventure Mode' - You can only break blocks with the correct tools.
- Added lots of new sounds.
- Mobs, items and projectiles can now pass through portals.
- Repeaters can now be locked by powering their sides with another Repeater.
- Zombies and Skeletons can now spawn with different weapons and armor.
- New death messages.
- Name mobs with a Name Tag, and rename containers to change the title when the menu is open.
- Bonemeal no longer instantly grows everything to full size, and instead randomly grows in stages.
- A Redstone signal describing the contents of Chests, Brewing Stands, Dispensers and Jukeboxes can be detected by placing a Redstone Comparator directly against them.
- Dispensers can face in any direction.
- Eating a Golden Apple gives the player extra "absorption" health for a short period.
- The longer you remain in an area the harder the monsters that spawn in that area will be.
So much has been added to Minecraft in the last few years that it's easy for new players to feel overwhelmed by the vast amount of activities and content available in the 32-bit game. However, these additions are good for business, as they keep current players coming back for more. As someone who's played Minecraft since the alpha version, I think Mojang has their craft figured out – just as I get played with the latest content, the next round of additions show up. On top of that, there's also the vast amount of DLC content available from Mojang and other studios and individual developers, and of course, limitless mods for the PC crowd.
For now, it looks like the Minecraft we all know and love will continue, despite reservations that many had about Microsoft purchasing the developer. What do you think about the new updates? Will you be visiting the Overworld this holiday season? Sound off in the comments.
Minecraft is available for Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PS3, PC, iOS and Android.