Minecraft Caves & Cliffs update: Everything we know

Minecraft Caves & Cliffs update: Everything we know

Get kicked off cliffs by goats and run from blind beasts in the upcoming Minecraft cave update.


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(Image credit: Mojang)

Excɪᴛed ꜰᴏʀ tʜᴇ Mɪɴecraft cave ᴜᴘdᴀᴛe? Over tʜᴇ yᴇᴀʀs, Mɪɴecraft hᴀs ᴍᴀᴅᴇ imᴘʀᴏᴠᴇᴍᴇnts ᴛᴏ ᴀʟʟ sᴏʀts ᴏꜰ ᴀʀᴇᴀs ɪɴ ɪᴛs ʙʟᴏᴄᴋy wᴏʀlds ɪɴ varioᴜs Mɪɴecraft ᴜᴘdᴀᴛes, reꜰʀᴇsʜɪɴg ᴇᴠᴇʀythɪɴg ꜰʀᴏᴍ tʜᴇ oceᴀɴ ᴛᴏ tʜᴇ Netʜᴇr. At ʟᴏɴɢ lᴀst, ɪᴛs caves ᴀʀᴇ ɢᴇᴛtɪɴg ᴀɴ ᴏᴠᴇʀhaul wɪᴛh ɴᴇᴡ wᴏʀld generᴀᴛiᴏɴ ᴛᴏ ʙʀɪɴɢ sᴏᴍᴇ variety ᴛᴏ yᴏᴜʀ ᴜɴᴅᴇʀɢʀᴏᴜɴᴅ adventures. Tʜᴇ Caves & Clɪꜰfs ᴜᴘdᴀᴛe ɪs ᴀᴅᴅɪɴg ɴᴇᴡ plᴀɴts, mobs, ᴛᴏols, ᴀɴd a sᴘᴇᴄɪᴀʟ ɴᴇᴡ ʀᴇᴅstᴏɴe sɪɢɴal ʙʟᴏᴄᴋ ᴛᴏ boot. 

Mojang gave out tons of details about the update during their Minecraft Live presentation in October and boy there sure is a lot to keep track of. Now that update 1.17 has been split into two parts, we're keeping track of what we know about it and when you can expect the various parts to be available. 

Minecraft Cave & Cliffs update release date: When does it launch?

The Caves & Cliffs update is coming this summer, or at least half of it is. Mojang have announced that they're splitting the update into summer and winter releases because of the technical complexity in changing their world generation system so much. We don't have a date for either release yet, but the first is expected sometime this summer.

Although we don't know when we'll get our hands on the full release, Mojang has already been releasing plenty of snapshots (test builds) of the upcoming update available for you to try out beforehand.

Caves & Cliffs is being split into two releases

In a recent announcement, Mojang has said that it's splitting update 1.17 into two parts. "By giving our development team some extra time, they will be able to deliver an array of exciting features without compromising on quality, reliability, or functionality for players," it says.

The summer release will focus on adding mobs (like the goats and axolotls), items (like the spyglass and glow ink), and blocks (like copper, deepslate, and ore variants). The winter release will be where Mojang updates the build height and adds the new cave and cliff variations to world generation. 

Mojang say that you will be able to update your existing worlds to the versions released both this summer and winter.

Caves & Cliffs snapshots are here

You can already try out a lot of the Caves & Cliffs features and blocks in the new snapshots that Mojang has been releasing. By loading up the latest snapshot in your Minecraft launcher you can take a look at the copper and amethyst blocks, axolotls, glow squids, and other new features coming in the final update. 

There have been quite a few at this point, so the latest snapshots are getting closer and closer to the full feature list for the 1.17 update as we approach the summer.If you're trying them out for the first time, here's a bit more on how to download Minecraft snapshots.

So, how are the Minecraft caves and cliffs changing?

The Caves & Cliffs update will change how both of those features are generated in Minecraft. Not only are caves getting more variation in shape, but there will be the new cave biomes with their own vegetation and geology, too.

Caves are getting a lot bigger. They will generate more interesting open spaces instead of only featuring the tight corridors and crevasses we had before. Big open areas might even have a local water level, meaning a cave could have an underground lake, not just sporadic waterfalls. In addition to their new size variations, Minecraft's caves will now have some new biome types.

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Lush Caves
The Lush Cave biome adds lots of green to underground areas. Lush areas are full of green-covered blocks and glow berries. Axolotls live here, too. You'll know where to find the Lush Caves by the Azalea Trees that grow above them in the overworld terrain. Dripleaf plants generate here as well, walkable plant blocks that will slowly bend until they drop the player and then reset.

Dripstone Cave
The Dripstone Cave biome is adding stalagmites and stalactites to caves, both of which have interesting, spear-like shapes instead of being composed of Minecraft's usual blocks. They're more like vines or flowers in that way, breaking entirely when one piece is broken. Just be careful not to trip, though: Falling into a pit of stalagmites will hurt.

"Deep Dark"
This biome is where you'll encounter the scary new Warden mobs. You'll know one is nearby when any lights in the cave start going dim. Skulk Sensors generate here as well.

New blocks in Caves & Cliffs

In addition to mobs and biomes, such as the Minecraft Lush Cave, caves are getting some new naturally-occurring blocks with which to mine and craft. Mojang has shown off a bit of each so far, but there are sure to be even more tools and items to craft with these new ingredients.

Copper Ore, Copper Blocks, Copper Slabs, Copper Stairs Grimstone, which is slightly tougher than regular stone Cobbled Deepslate: functions like cobblestone, but harder Deepslate Ores: can be mined for the usual resources but are harder than stone-based ores Skulk Blocks and Skulk Sensors Moss blocks and Azaleas are both new decorative blocks Amethyst Geodes and Amethyst Crystals The new mobs in Caves & Cliffs

(Image credit: Mojang)

Goats will be a new mountain-dwelling mob. They may look cute, but they can be feisty, too. If they get angry they may shove you right off a cliff. They can also jump higher than other mobs, so good luck confining them.

Wardens live deep down in the mines. Because they're so deep underground, Wardens are actually blind, responding to movement and vibrations rather than light. They're quite scary, having tons of health and dealing massive damage. They'll chase after you if you don't crouch to sneak past them, but can be tricked by throwing objects like snowballs.

Axolotls are "the cutest predator" indeed. You'll find them in the Lush Caves biome swimming underwater. They can even attempt to help you on ocean expeditions by fighting enemies. 

This year, players voted on a new mob for Minecraft, choosing the Glow Squid instead of the Mooblooms or Iceologers. Like Axolotls, you'll find Glow Squids swimming in caves instead of out in the sunny ocean. 

What are Skulk Sensors?

(Image credit: Mojang)

Skulk Sensors are a new block type that are found naturally deep in caves where Wardens live. Like the Wardens, they can sense vibrations, including placing blocks, breaking them, footsteps, arrows, opening chests, and all sorts of other sounds. You can prevent vibrations from reaching a sensor by placing wool blocks in the way. 

When a sensor is set off, it emits a Redstone signal. The big implication for Skulk Sensors is that the sound generated by one sensor going off will trigger other sensors nearby, meaning that Skulk Sensors can transmit a Redstone signal wirelessly without a line of dust or other devices to connect them. Wireless Redstone signals should open a world of possibilities for budding engineers. 

Even more Caves & Cliffs details Axolotls can be picked up in buckets. Cute! Azaleas are decorative bush-like blocks with flowers Azalea trees generate above lush caves and are made up of oak wood A Telescope crafted with Amethyst Shards will let you see far away. Candles are a new light source. Powder snow is a new block that entities will fall through. Lightning Rods crafted with copper can attract lightning in a storm to keep a structure from burning down. Bundles are a new bag item to help you store and organize your inventory. Archeological Excavations are new structures where you can uncover historical items with a Brush.
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