With the end of term fast approaching and the taste of freedom on the tip of the tongues of Caltech students, the knowledge of having free time for the first time in months is undeniably tantalizing. But what to do with that free time is a question that has yet to be answered. According to Mojang and Microsoft, that free time is best filled playing the newest Minecraft update: Minecraft 1.20: Trails and Tales. To determine whether your coveted, limited, precious free time should be spent playing with this newest of Minecraft updates, I spent time I probably should have used writing my hum essay playing around with the latest update and writing this article. So, I shall begin.
The blocks can be divided into one of three categories: building, redstone, and decorative. The most notable of these is the building blocks, which are the new cherry wood block sets and the bamboo and bamboo mosaic blocks. The cherry wood block set, like the other wood sets, has the regular logs chopped from the tree, the wood, the stripped logs, stripped wood, planks, slabs, door, sign, button, and pressure plate. The wood and logs are a deep purple, and the other cherry blocks are a beautiful pale pink. The cherry door has a lattice-type structure at the top and there is a grid on the trapped door. Overall, the wood set is gorgeous and will make an excellent addition to the previously existing wood varieties. The next main new set is the bamboo and bamboo mosaic set. The update adds blocks of bamboo, blocks of stripped bamboo, and the typical planks, slabs, and other blocks found in the wood set. In addition, there is the bamboo mosaic block, stairs, and slab. The bamboo set in general is nice to look at, but by adding the mosaic, it gives a level of contrast in the pattern that can make a very nice build.
The redstone block that was added to the game is the calibrated skulk sensor. It works like a skulk sensor in that it picks up noise, however, when connected to redstone, it sends out a redstone signal. I think this could be very useful in the use of boobytraps in secret or protected bases. It is a relatively minor thing, but it can have a large variety of uses and it is very cool in my opinion. Outside of pure redstone, the update has added hanging signs, which are supposed to be placed beneath blocks (though they can hang free), which provide a nice additional decoration block. Furthermore, the update has added the ability to edit signs, which makes fixing and changing signs much easier. Cherry boats and bamboo rafts (with and without chests) have also been added.
The primary decorative blocks are the cherry leaves, followed by a series of other plant blocks. The cherry leaves are a gorgeous series of small pink flowers interspersed with green leaves. For the additional plant blocks, this update added in pitcher plants, which are grown from pods collected by the Sniffer (more on that later), and the torchflower (similarly found by the Sniffer). The pitcher plant has multiple stages of growth and matures into a green, teal, and purple plant that is about 1.5 blocks tall. The torchflower is green with a brilliant orange-yellow blossom that resembles the block from which they got their name. Despite these gorgeous plants, my personal favorite of the new decorative blocks is the pink petals. They are very unique in their design, as four of them fit on a single block, creating different ways to place them and pattern them. A full block filled with pink petals has two large flowers of different shades of pink, followed by several smaller ones. They lie flat on the ground and in my opinion, are the pinnacle of decoration.
There is a single new biome added, the Cherry Blossom Biome, and it is a gorgeous change compared to the previous biomes, which are almost all varying shades of green, brown, and tan. The dark purple wood with the bright pink blossoms is a beautiful combination, and surrounding the trees are pink petals, giving the impression of petals from the trees falling and gathering into piles on the ground. The grass is a medium-light shade of green that contrasts great with the pink and complements the green in the cherry tree blossom blocks. It is a very, very peaceful biome that I would love to build a house in given the opportunity.
The winner of the most recent mob vote and the most talked-about mob in this update is the Sniffer. It resembles a moss-covered dinosaur with a large yellow snout. The mob comes from eggs that can be obtained either from breeding two adult Sniffers or, according to Mojang, from brushing suspicious sand (see the Archeology section) in warm ocean ruins. The eggs hatch faster when placed on moss blocks and are almost one square meter in size. The Sniffers will wander around, looking for plants which the player can collect, and will occasionally lay down. They are passive, but not domesticable mobs, meaning that they will need to be fenced in or attached to a lead to prevent them from wandering off.
The other mob released in this update is the camel. The camel, in my opinion, is a mob that is aesthetically very nice but not particularly useful. They sit and move like real-life camels, and as a result, they are very slow. Though in the update, they were boasted to be able to jump great distances, the leap is almost entirely horizontal in its nature and does little for traversing any upward slope. The other main benefit of this mob is that two players can ride it at a time, however, overall, I don’t see much use for this mob practically aside from providing more fauna to the desert biomes.
The Armor Trims
The armor trims are, in my opinion, the most overrated part of this mod. Aside from the netherite upgrade smithing template, which must be found in bastions and is now the only thing that enables diamond armor to be upgraded to netherite, the armor trims do nothing but make armor more interesting to look at. Don’t get me wrong, the armor trims can look gorgeous, but it does nothing to change the properties of the armor. Adding diamond trim doesn’t increase the armor status, gold doesn’t make the Piglins friendly to the player, and no enchantment-style effect is placed upon the armor after adding any trim. The armor trims are pretty, yes, but they are not functional, and unless a player is particularly rich in materials, I don’t see it being worth it using, for example, a diamond trim on something.
This was, without a doubt, the part of the update I was most excited about. Mechanically, not much was added in this portion of the update. Suspicious sand and suspicious gravel were both added, and upon brushing them with a brush (comprised of a stick, a copper ingot, and a feather), they have a chance of revealing a pottery shard. Four pottery shards of the same design can be combined to make decorated pot, which looks rather pretty, however, they cannot hold anything like a flowerpot can. The suspicious sand and gravel can additionally provide a piece of a new music disc or, in the right place, a Sniffer egg. The mechanics of the suspicious sand and gravel are like their original counterparts, in that they are affected by gravity. However, if they fall, they shatter, and after being brushed, they revert to their non-suspicious versions. I found this portion of the update fun, but slightly underwhelming in that the pots cannot be used for anything other than decoration and it is difficult to get all the pieces of a single pot.
Overall, I think this update is good in terms of material and excellent in terms of potential lore. The archeology portion might lead to more information as to the history of the Minecraft world and the Sniffer might lead to more information as to its ecological history. The new blocks and biome are gorgeous, the armor trims and camel are overrated, and I think that it’s a pretty solid update that adds some new features for building and decoration, as well as some new goals for exploration and new goals for what to collect. It is definitely worth taking a look at in your free time over the summer, as precious and short as that is. So after you finish your finals and you caught up on sleep, when you have a moment to breathe, take a look at the new update. It’s fun, beautiful, and I guarantee that your Minecraft dog misses you after you were gone for so long, so maybe tell them you say hi.