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The best changes in Minecraft’s biggest update ever

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Minecraft’s Village & Pillage update is one of the biggest the game has had. It overhauls how villages work, adds a host of new blocks, and brings a brand new raid system that acts as a high-level combat encounter. You can read about every single new addition here, bugfixes and all, but in the interest of brevity I’ve picked seven new additions that are especially cool. I say ‘seven’, but few of are loads of different things crammed together under a loose heading. I promise it’s still quicker than reading the entire changelog. Are you ready to block? tumbleweeds

Bamboo

We’ll ease in with something wholesome. Bamboo, the most hipster of all the grasses, is one of the big new additions. No longer the just the preserve of self-congratulatory oral hygiene enthusiasts, bamboo is a useful addition that can be found in jungles and in two new biomes: bamboo jungle and bamboo jungle hills. There are a few reasons it’s great. Firstly, you can chop it down instantly by hitting it with a sword, which is perfect for anyone who’s ever wanted to pretend they’re in a voxel-based martial arts epic. And secondly, it can be combined with string to make scaffolding: a quick, easily destructible building aid you can use to clamber around your mighty constructions.

New mobs

There are loads of new mobs in the update. The pillagers are interesting enough to get their own entry, so this one, if I’m honest, is the ‘pandas and some other animals’ entry. These stout, pointless bears have different personality types: lazy, worried, playful, aggressive, and so on. You can tell what type they are from their appearance, and, more adorably, their behaviour. Lazy pandas lay about on their backs; playful pandas roll; and worried pandas have panic attacks during thunderstorms. It sounds like I’ve made that up. I haven’t. 

Villages

As the name suggests, this is one of the biggest tweaks in the newest update. Everything about the way villages are generated has changed, as has the way that you’ll interact with them as a player. The aesthetics of each village now change depending on the biome: climate and available resources make a difference. They’re also generated differently, meaning the layout and architecture has been updated. And the villagers themselves look distinct now, too, with designs that match the type of biome they were born/randomly generated in.

Raids

What’s a pillager without somewhere to pillage? Just a human man. The new update makes a lot of this new type of villager, and they really do change the game. Pillagers spawn in patrols across the world and in large outpost towers. If you kill a pillager captain—the guys with banners on their backs—you’ll get flagged with the ‘bad omen’ debuff. While this is active, you’ll trigger a raid when you enter a village. The level of the raid stacks, too, so things can get exponentially worse for the poor chumps living there.

Crossbows

Forget bows—the crossbow is officially the coolest way to shoot enemies while running away. And thanks to the update, the pillagers in Minecraft come armed with the best weapon ever to be removed from the Elder Scrolls games. Crossbows have higher damage than bows and are used differently. They have a separate loading phase, and once loaded, will fire immediately. You can also use them to shoot fireworks, which is danger multiplied by two, you lunatic.

Traders

As well as increased trade options in villagers, the update brings a wandering trader. One of these sharply dressed salesman will pop up in every world, up to three chunks away from the player. They have six random trades, which are locked after you interact with them.

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