Minecraft gets better down where it’s wetter

After years of fannying about with such frivolities as ‘mining’ and ‘crafting’, Minecraft is now focusing on what’s truly important: swimming outdoors. Version 1.13 of Minecraft’s Java Edition, nicknamed Update Aquatic, is still swimming through development but the latest work-in-progress ‘snapshot’ build launched yesterday and is full of goodies. Dolphins! Icebergs! ‘Conduit’ blocks that keep you from drowning! Different water colours for different biomes! Why would you ever go on dry land again?

The snapshot 18w15a patch notes lay it out, though you might find the annotated fan wiki notes more useful. Especially since Subnautica, it’s seemed a shame that Minecraft’s oceans aren’t livelier. Mojang have been working on this update for a fair while and I’m digging what I see.

Here’s YouTuber “xisumavoid” showing off new undersea fun (and not using terrible language, as far as I heard):

That’s nice, that. Those are oceans I want to hang around in.

Dolphins, new water, and other bits also arrived in the Windows 10 (and cross-platform) version of Minecraft this week with Beta – Dolphins for everyone!

As ever, you’ll likely want to wait until the update is finished–and probably for your favourite mods and then servers to update after that–but it’s good to see this taking shape. It really is better down where it’s wetter.


  1. DeepSleeper says:

    Mods never seem to update for Minecraft, they’re all several versions behind. I hear so much about “oh it’s such a great modding game” but I can’t see why I’d play it modded if it’s not the latest version.

    • Hyena Grin says:


      Most people still playing Minecraft are kinda ‘done’ with the relatively simple sets of game mechanics in the core game, and are only still playing because mods inject a lot of new complexity and ways to be creative.

      I mean, the whole point of continuing to play Minecraft at this stage is to be creative, essentially. So people are going to play the version of it that gives them the most opportunity to do so. New core features are nice, but a lot of mods already add similar features, and more.

    • Zigsaz says:

      It’s not like previous versions are too buggy to play. The game is simple enough and has been around for so long that it’s pretty stable. So at most you’re just missing out on the new “mainline” features, which as others mention most consider “meh” compared to what a mod would add.

    • QChronoD says:

      Minecraft gets modded relatively quickly, most games take a few months before people start releasing mods and depending on the severity any updates it could take months before they’re updates again. The issue is that every time that they release a new version of Minecraft all the code in the game is abstracted and refactored into dozens of different files, and they don’t keep the same name or location from version to version. So there are a number of people who have to go through and de-obfuscate large sections of the game so that the mods know where and what they are allowed to change.

      Most mods are written to use one of a few frameworks like Forge or Bukkit, but they have to wait for those to get updated and then make their own updates to stay compatible. So the people maintaining the frameworks will wait until a major version is released and then start the process. It would be a waste of time to try and keep everything updated with weekly snapshots.

      And BTW the latest official release is 1.12.2 (from Sept 2017) and many of the major mods and modpacks have been updated to it for a few months now, so you actually can play modded and have the latest and greatest broken useless crap from the vanilla game.

    • Chaoslord AJ says:

      Modded Minecraft outrivals most of the modern survival crafter apart from specialized gems like Subnautica and you can endlessly customize the game to your needs.
      Sadly some of the best mods left in 1.7.10 like Witchery with a few jumping to 1.10.2 and 1.12.2 and for quality of life I find the newer versions more enjoyable except for the bad combat and would rather not replay the 1.7.10 era.

  2. dangermouse76 says:

    [ See’s title ] ooooh titter ye not.
    Oops! I’ve come over all Frankie Howerd.

  3. Kefren says:

    I stopped playing Minecraft when they added the hunger mechanic. It killed all my enjoyment – all the games after that just became frustrating. There was no way to turn it off without also losing the fun of the monsters.

    • PseudoKnight says:

      That was a long time ago. Hunger got changed recently (in 1.11) where you mostly only lose it due to health regeneration. (ie. combat) There’s also more food choices. And of course, there definitely are ways to disable it. There’s a whole game mode around disabling a key component of that, “Ultra HardCore” (UHC), in which you can only regenerate health with potions or golden apples.

      • Kefren says:

        None of that sounds like what I mean? Just to be clear – is it now possible in Minecraft to have it like it used to be, where health only goes down from falling/combat/injury? I.e. disable the hunger penalties without disabling anything else or changing the difficulty? That’s what I wanted, and it was removed. I was under the impression it was still that way.

        • Dumbtube says:

          Why is the hunger mechanic so horrible for people. Food goes down pretty slowly, and it adds another layer of complexity to the game. Just play the game and stop whining about a single mechanic.

          • Kefren says:

            That’s how you see it. To other people it might be an irritating time limit that stops you having fun exploring so you have to grind away making food and doing boring stuff you don’t want to do. Games don’t have to simulate all the less interesting stuff about real life.

        • PseudoKnight says:

          You still need to eat, but after 1.11 you mostly only need to eat after you take damage. It’s not precisely like Beta 1.7.3, but it’s closer. Also in UHC mode (disableRegeneration) you still have to eat to not starve, but it’s very uncommon since it no longer takes hunger away by regenerating health. This mode probably best reflects the old mechanics, as long as you don’t mind the added difficulty since regular food won’t heal you. There’s actually a PVP mode that people play that replicates Beta 1.7.3 health. It’s call SoupPVP. In it they modified soup (because there’s only 1 per stack) to heal a certain number of hearts. It’s kind of funny watching them quickly sort their inventory to move the new soups into their hotbar in the middle of a fight.

          While I somewhat miss that aspect of Beta 1.7.3, going back and playing it now is pretty bad. (you can easily do this with their current launcher) Modern Minecraft is a lot better overall, though different people argue which version from 1.6.4 to 1.13 they prefer most. (there’s a huge part of the PVP community stuck on 1.7.10 and 1.8.8 because of the combat changes in 1.9 were more PVE focused) Hunger was a huge deal back then, but today it’s sort of a small part of the overall picture.

  4. brucethemoose says:

    So, a little under a year between updates…

    That’s ridiculous. At this point, it’s comically slow.

    I get that the game is on long term support, but 9+ months for a few features!? Lets say they’re paying 1 programmer part time (15 hours a week, so ~540 man hours) to work on it, which is also kinda silly, given how popular the game is. That coder is still an order of magnitude less productive than modders who tinker with the game in their spare time.

    • QChronoD says:

      It especially bad since pretty much everything that they’ve added since the Nether was something that was done much better in mods before that. (and is still being done better in mods that replace/fix the things that they added)

      • brucethemoose says:


        Even the 1.8 renderer update, which was a “big” refactor more than a feature, performed significantly worse than Optifine.

        Optifine had 1 developer. And his hands were figuratively tied because he had to maintain compatibility with the base game, and only had reverse-engineered code to work with.

    • geldonyetich says:

      Minecraft updates have always been remarkably slow, but it’s clearly not from lack of funding or programmers considering the game is worth literal billions. Would you shell out that kind of money to own some software just to put it on a shelf to collect dust? I wouldn’t, and I don’t think Microsoft would either; you had better bet they’re keeping an extensive team on that, many of them original Mojang staffers.

      So why the long updates? I honestly think they take so long because they’re afraid that, if they introduce changes too quickly, they’ll alienate their fan base. So they take their sweet time slooowly implementing the most generic of changes. Can’t blame Microsoft for that, Mojang has always done that.

    • PseudoKnight says:

      This will be the most significant update in the history of Minecraft. There are good reasons why it’s taking this long. Comparing it to modders is naive, because among other things, most of the developers working on Minecraft right now WERE modders of Minecraft.

      I’m not going to defend everything Mojang has done, because I certainly have my own complaints (no builtin anti-aliasing in 2018? what? not even FXAA, supersampling, or downsampling?), but every time someone makes blanket statements like Mojang isn’t going fast enough or they’re going too fast or there’s not enough content in an update or they don’t like this content in the update or why couldn’t they add this other content in this update… it drives me nuts. There’s an infinite amount of things they could be doing with MC, so they can’t satisfy everyone. What they need to do is make it a great foundation, which 1.13 is doing. (even if it’s going to be a lot of work for us modders to update for)

    • Chaoslord AJ says:

      On the one hand I rely on modders to implement new features on the other I paid some 15€ to Mojang years ago and the game still updates and is fun to play so that’s that.

    • mike69 says:

      A game I bought about a decade ago for about £15. The fact it’s still getting updates at all is frankly remarkable; you’re complaining they’re not frequent enough?

  5. geldonyetich says:

    From my experience with Minecraft aquatic mods, I’ll say that the game is indeed a bit more interesting when there’s fun stuff to find in the water.

  6. clocknova says:

    I want to know how this update is going to affect water elevators. I’m certainly not going to install this update if it breaks most of my existing constructions. I have made extensive use of water elevators for years and don’t want to see them trashed.

  7. ZakG says:

    I’m still rocking 1.6.4, as my favourite build is based on Life in the Woods (original version).

    However is also has oceans and rivers full of life (Dolphins, sharks, jellyfish, rays and dozens of fishable fish types etc) and underwater effects that are cool due to the shaders used etc. Aquaculture and DrZharks Mo’Creatures Mod (6.1.0) are a large part of that added life to water, and look better than this update for the most part (Dolphins do not jump though).

    Modded Minecraft is really just incredible.

    • DrZhark says:

      Yes, the water looked barren without the sharks, dolphins, jellyfish, rays and fish.

      Nowadays I never have the time to debug the mod. updating the mod and fixing newly introduced bugs, got really old, I enjoyed adding new content and despised fixing things that were working just fine previous to the updates.