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1.9’s Influence over Minecraft



Introduction

The Minecraft Combat Update or Java Edition 1.9 was a major update released on February 29, 2016 and it completely changed the way the game was played. It made players be more strategic and careful in their plans and attacks, and added a whole new area to explore. The Update caused many players to use older versions because of the dramatic changes it added.


Timing Hits

Possibly the most notable change in this update was the “attack strength” mechanic. This added a new bar or meter that charged up after every hit, or when you switched weapons. The more of the meter that filled up, the more damage you did. And each weapon took a different amount of time to fill up the meter, making some better than others.

Obviously, this caused a massive shift in combat strategies, forcing players to be more tactical in their attacks. The problems from the shift became evident when users that played Minecraft their entire life began to struggle in this new form of combat, especially against a YouTuber known as Dream. Even six years later, 1.8 is still being used frequently for the easier combat strategies.


Dual Wielding

Players were able to hold an item in their off-hand, perform different actions with the different items equipped. This allowed players to hold food, torches or even potions and bows, and use them at the same time as attacking with a sword. They can also hold ender pearls, which can be thrown in order to escape sticky situations.

The addition of the off-hand allowed players to be more planned in their attacks, giving them more opportunities than before and more variety in their tactics.


Shields and Axes

Axes were improved to be slow but heavy-hitting weapons that could also be used to disable another new edition; shields. Shields were fairly easy to craft, and could be customized while also having a more practical use - they could reduce the damage from attacks, and not just sword hits. Shields were able to block creeper explosions, a ghast’s fireball, and could ricochet arrows back off them. They seemed incredibly useful, especially since you could wield them in your off-hand, but the new boost to axes gave them a chance of disabling a player's shield, rendering it useless for five seconds.

The idea that different melee weapons could be useful in different scenarios again added new options to players, allowing players to specialize into one kind of strategy, or use bits of all of them.


Tipped Arrows

Tipped arrows granted players the possibility to apply their enemy with a status effect, without having to be close enough to throw a potion. Although the durations were shorter, and the arrows were harder to craft as they used lingering potions, they were still a valuable asset to use in battle.

You didn’t just have to make arrows that would hinder your enemies, though. If yourself and your allies had strong enough armour or plenty of health, you could shoot them with speed, fire resistance or even strength to give them a boost without using potions.


Ender Dragon

The Ender Dragon also got its own improvements, with it being able to shoot breath at the player (which was how you made lingering potions), causing groups to have to spread out to avoid them all being damaged together. The Ender Dragon became able to be respawned, giving players the option of trying out more challenging ways to take it on. It also allowed players to craft End Crystals, which became a powerful weapon, especially for players on anarchy servers, such as 2b2t as the crystal does heavy damage to both your weapon and your armour, making it more effective than most other weapons.


End Cities

What’s more, the End got its own spotlight in the update, massively increasing the size of the dimension. End Gateways were added, letting players explore the new outer islands and finding many new buildings. They generated with plenty of new loot but also Shulkers, which posed a new threat; falling. Shulkers shot out bullets that gave you levitation for ten seconds, causing you to float up into the sky, only to fall back down at the end. Players had to avoid these bullets, or stay under a ceiling so as to not float up too high while raiding the cities.


Elytra

Many players favourite part of the update was the Elytra, a pair of wings that allowed you to glide around your world, or - with the help of firework rockets - shoot up into the sky. They could only be found in End Ships next to End Cities, making them awkward to obtain, but extremely fun to use. Although they took up the chestplate slot, giving players less protection, they did add a new sense of enjoyment as many minigames were made around racing your friends through the sky.


Conclusion

Although a big part of the update focused on combat, the improved End really did add a new uncharted territory for players to explore, turning the traditional “end of the game” into the start of the next step in Minecraft’s unending world.


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