In our last article about 1.9, I speculated that some developers at Mojang are big fans of Da Vinci Code-esque puzzles. After all, their initial announcement of Minecraft 1.9: The Combat Update was ciphered into a snapshot of the game, only to be decrypted within hours by a Minecrafter. True to form, their most recent revelation about update 1.9 was also hidden away in some code. Luckily, the Minecraft community unfolded this subsequent mystery with ease, revealing some exciting news: ranged combat is getting buffed!
The 1.9 announcement was a huge cliffhanger, confirming nothing besides its own existence. Luckily for us, Dinnerbone was thoughtful enough to feed us some almost-solid material. This screenshot, dredged from mysterious screenshot Tweeted by the sneaky developer. The image seems to promise a vastly upgraded ranged combat system, complete with enchantable/upgradable arrows, as well as a slot for a shield! The purchasing of the weapons from alt shop is beneficial for the players. The upgraded arrows will use the system properly to have the desired results. The material is the solid one to play the games. The announcement of the games results is the best one.
This is some exciting stuff. Archers have been getting the short end of the blade since the beginning. Unfortunately for elves, rangers, and myself, Minecraftian swords have always surpassed the springy and stringy ranged weapons favored by the deft. Swords can be created from multiple materials, each with unique strengths, where only one bow has existed since Minecraft was born. When you’re stuck with the same old bow and its boring arrows for your entire archery career, the art gets old quick.
But no longer! From this screenshot, we can surmise a few things:
• New arrow types! From what we can see in this screen, Mojang is playing with at least four additional arrow types. It is unclear whether they have been enchanted or if they have some sort of item-based solution applied to them, but it doesn’t really matter – NEW ARROWS!
• From the icons, it looks like there is a poison arrow, a fiery one, maybe an explosive/gunpowder one, and what appears to be a glowstone one? If that’s the case, some new arrows may be combat oriented while others remain more utilitarian.
• Who knows, maybe we’ll see an arrow that drops a rope ladder in the vanilla game!
• A quiver, to hold all our newfangled arrow types.
• Shield slot – this is one of the more obvious places to take this expansion, but it is nonetheless good to see.
• Mojang moving to off-handed items is also promising, and could foretell of a dual wielding system for weapons.
• While it is the same old bow in the screenshot, we can guess that Mojang will introduce an array of arrow-firing devices. It doesn’t make sense to bring an influx of new ammunition without also increasing the number of weapons with which to fire it.
• Player models will now be upside down
• Just kidding – I’m not sure what’s going on there. Probably some good old Dan Brown humor that I’m not getting.
It seems like just last week that I was speculating on what wondrous things the Combat Update could bring to Minecraft. Wait – it was! It’s awesome that the crew over at Mojang sees fit to string us along with these periodic treats, even if we have to work for them. Thus far, at least, everything seems to be on point – shields and ranged combat were definitely things that needed to be addressed.
I’m stoked to see what awesome stuff they roll our way in the coming weeks and months! This is a good start, but there’s still a lot of ground to cover if they hope to make this update comparable to 1.8, which was a resounding success.