As a long-time Minecraft player, the Caves and Cliff’s update definitely piqued my interest when it was initially announced. I’ve taken a really long time to come around and finally write this, for a few reasons really. Firstly I only managed to play it about two months after release and secondly, I wanted to explore these new worlds and get the true experience of them. Minecraft 1.18 was delivered to players on November 30th of last year (2021) and by now most have either seen it or actually gotten the chance to build, discover and learn in the vast expansive terrain.
I have always leaned towards the modded aspect of Minecraft, All the Mods usually being my go-to. Don’t get me wrong, I love the simplicity of vanilla Minecraft on occasions but I always manage to drift back to modded. You start to miss certain mod packs and even though my reasoning is that of an aesthetic nature, i.e. the sofa’s from MrCrayfish’s furniture mod, it’s enough to bring me over. This time however I immediately loaded into a vanilla world, not even a texture pack in sight, purely just to witness the caves and cliffs update in its natural form.
It was strange at first, players get used to certain things with a game like Minecraft, we get used to specific layouts and terrains. Yes, the Minecraft world’s seedings have always been different but this was completely new. To begin with, I spawned on a beach, not sure why but I always end up spawning on a beach, or an island when loading into single-player worlds. This beach didn’t look any different and for the first few seconds of that world I was mildly disappointed, across from the beach, over the water lay a plains biome, and beyond that more plains.
I decided to instead just take a beeline route directly north in hopes of finding something amazing, maybe a snowy-capped mountain range to make my home. Instead what I found was a giant tear in the earth, and when I say found it I obviously mean directly fell into it and died, my poor little character splatted against the bottom. I really couldn’t hit that 2 by 2 watering hole could I? Okay, well take two then I guess.
This time I approached it with more caution, the massive chasm went directly down and on closer inspection, there was indeed a safer approach into the depths of the cave. I’ve never exactly been good at the exploring aspect of Minecraft, I consider myself more a hide above-ground kind of player. I’ll be the first to admit that I fled out of that cave quicker than the time that it took me to accidentally plummet into it not five minutes before. If the hordes of creepers, skeletons, zombies, and who knows what else didn’t kill me then another fall would do the trick. I was definitely not prepared for it whatsoever so me and my 15 torches decided to maybe gear up a little before exploring.
The next cave, an almost surface-level dripstone cavern seemed a little more suited to my needs. I spent most of my first day there, mining out large chunks of iron, coal and avoiding the giant pointy dripstone traps of doom. Everything was peaceful, I had the place lit up rather nicely and no bad guys interrupted my mining session. That is until I once again made a mistake, I reversed into another cavity in the ground. This time was no different and I once more found myself respawning due to my carelessness. I fall a lot, throughout all servers and worlds I think my ‘Snicker_Snaxx has fallen from a high place’ count is remarkably high at this point. Whether it be death by tumbling out of a tree while I’m building or just casually throwing myself off a cliff hopeful to hit the water and failing miserably. This new Minecraft update would only likely make this worse and spoiler alert, it did.
After retrieving my things and sheepishly leaving the cave I set out to find a cliff, just one cliff would do. In the older Minecraft seeds, mountains weren’t exactly the most majestic of naturally spawning places to find. Most were smallish in comparison to the biomes around it and don’t get me wrong I have found mountains to build on before that suited the amount of space I needed but this 1.18 update was incredible. I didn’t just find a cliff, I found an entire network of mountain ranges. They were absolutely huge and upon scaling one and taking a look around I realized quietly to myself that I couldn’t see the end of them. This outcropping became my home, one for the amazing views that surrounded it, and two I could see my favourite biomes, the brooding dark oak forest, and a giant birch forest (yes I know, fight me) right from my front doorstep.
Over the course of a week, I did do a lot of much-needed exploring in the area, never too far away from home. The biggest point that I can take from that week is how purely magical the Minecraft world feels once more. As I’ve said before you become accustomed to certain knowns with a game you’re playing and this update flipped everything on its head for me. The lush caves, filled with moss, giant flowering azalea trees, the hanging vines with little glow berries attached, and the whimsical spore blossom (a beautiful hanging ceiling decoration block that emits floating green particles) really solidified everything I’ve said. Minecraft is exciting and magical again. I’ve been in and out of worlds, building fantasy realms with giant deer statues and most of all exploring. Minecraft truly has stepped up the game experience for players once more in my opinion and I simply can’t wait to see what the developers do next.