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Minecraft: Adventure comes to those who wait
by Jacques Hulme

Indie developer hero Markus Persson, overlord of the Minecraft universe, has been gearing up to release an update of monumental proportions in terms of content. Although no solid date has been set yet - remember, the official release of Minecraft's final version is 11/11/11 - Markus, or Notch, has begun to sprinkle some tidbits of info about the final game, some which has already been implemented, alongside some ideas that the team are currently testing out.

On his blog, The Word of Notch, he previewed a nifty logo that the 'Adventure' update is sporting, created one of the Mojang team. He also gave players a quick idea of some of the pieces they should expect when the update is downloaded, which includes items like NPC villages, random dungeons, new biome coding, a selection of game modes (such as creative, in which you can fly), critical attacks, sprinting and new farming options.

The team also decided to play a bit of a game with fans, posting an image of a blurred out update list. The only piece of info was about Herobrine, a meme associated with Minecraft, specifically about a hidden mod which Notch didn't code in. However, after a few hours of work, diligent players had 'decoded' the tabs at the top of the page. These revealed that the team are hoping to implement an experience and levelling system as well as giant mushrooms, something which was later confirmed by an image posted on the new Google+ service. Also seen in the images were randomly generated villages, much like in the Millénaire mod, and pre-generated ruins\dungeons which players will discover when adventuring over their worlds.

All of the shiny new content will also come with added danger, as the team have developed yet another mob to make your gaming life a misery. The new challenge, the Endermen, are tall creatures with thin legs and arms. Although they are passive to begin with, the danger comes when you look towards them. As soon as your eyes land on them, the Endermen stop whatever they are trying to accomplish - they are able to move blocks around in your world - and begin to stare straight at you. If the gaze between the player and mob is ever broken, they run at an incredible rate straight towards you, ultimately ending in your demise. Oh, and don't think you'll be clever by backtracking as far as you can - if you are too far away, the Endermen begin to teleport to get to you even faster.

If we take into account that the Pistons mod was recently added to the vanilla version of Minecraft, fans should be readying for one of the biggest changes to Minecraftia since the brilliant Hallowe'en update. No, wait...

However, as we still don't have a date for when it'll all hit, it's easy to assume that we might not see all that content for a while. As such, I'd like to highlight some bits of the community which you may find interesting, and will hopefully occupy your needs until the release. First up, take a stroll over to YouTube to watch some Let's Play's, as there are some real gems out there, such as the excellent Yogscast adventures, absoltue giants on YouTube at the moment.

However, if you're looking for some single player fun, you can't really top X's Adventures in Minecraft. This series is a few months old now, and started when Minecraft was all the way back in Alpha. You'll find yourself gripped by the series, not only due to the spectacular world in which it is set, but also due to David, the narrator of the videos. He comes across as a genuinely nice guy who has a clear passion for making gaming content. Finally, the Man vs Minecraft series from family team Paulsoaresjr creates suspense due to the strict rules he has placed on himself, in which inventory management becomes a daily necessity.

Another big part of Minecraft is the wide collection of mods made by the community. Although there are too many to mention here, it is worth looking at a few key ones. At the moment the aptly named Better Than Wolves mod is one of my top picks. It brings some great features to your world, including windmills, waterwheels, pulleys and ropes. It gives you new reason to build a house with a giant tower, or a bungalow next to a river. Another piece you may wish to try is the Millénaire mod, mentioned earlier, which adds to the option to spawn a small village, complete with NPCs. You are able to trade with, help or hinder these fellow Minecraftains in their search to build a bigger and better village.

These mods breathe new life into the frankly empty world, and each contain some great ideas. Luckily, they're something we don't have to wait till the update for; I'd suggest you take a look and download some of them now.

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- Jacques Hulme

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