The wait for Minecraft Update 1.9 continues this month, now that we're eight months removed from the game's last major update, and we're finally learning more about what fans can expect to see when Mojang finally begins to roll out the first round of Minecraft 1.9 snapshots.
This year's MineCon certainly wasn't running short on news, thanks to a pair of announcements from Microsoft and Telltale Games. But, while news of Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition and the first Minecraft: Story Mode trailer are interesting, most people keeping an eye on MineCon are likely interested in the future of the Java version. And a handful of Mojang employees offered the world's first meaningful look at Minecraft Update 1.9 during the Upcoming Features panel at MineCon 2015.
Leading off the presentation, members of the Minecraft dev team confirmed plans to overhaul the game-ending Ender Dragon encounter. Despite serving as Minecraft‘s equivalent of a final boss, the Ender Dragon isn't particularly tricky to take down and there's also not much incentive to do so. In the future, players can expect a much more formidable opponent to be waiting for them in the End, which will receive more than a few landscape changes of its own. Mojang hopes players will have reason to revisit the Dragon, by tying new drops to the creature, and explore the new islands coming to the End.
In addition to overhauling the End, the Minecraft team will introduce a new dimension (reached via the new End Gateway) that will give players an ongoing sense of progress after defeating the Ender Dragon. The new zone will introduce new blocks, a new food source, new mobs and a variety of other changes that will presumably justify the lengthy wait between updates. The dev team offered a brief look at the new zone but says it wants to leave the exploring to those who download Minecraft 1.9 snapshots.
On the equipment front, Minecraft Update 1.9 will include a variety of new items, including new spell effects and enchanted arrows, both of which will help Mojang continue to flesh out the rudimentary combat mechanics currently present in Minecraft. Beginning in Minecraft Update 1.9, players will be able to coat arrows with any potion (or poison) in their inventory, many of which will confer special effects upon striking a creature or player. The list of new projectiles includes spectral arrows, invisibility arrows and poison arrows. Minecraft Update 1.9 will also introduce dual-wielding, along with the ability to toggle the primary hand of your character.
There doesn't appear to be an official upload of the Upcoming Features panel, on any of the YouTube channels associated with Microsoft, Mojang, etc; however, we did manage to find a streamable version on YouTube. It's possible the video could be taken down, via a copyright infringement claim, but those interested in watching the entire Upcoming Features panel do that have option (for now).
Be sure to check back with iDigitalTimes.com and follow Scott on Twitter for more Minecraft coverage throughout the rest of 2015 and for however long Mojang continues to support the original Minecraft client in the years to come.