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Mojang just updated the original Minecraft to version 1.9. This update focuses on overhauling the game's combat system so that players can take advantage of brand new moves with new and old weapons alike. The update completely changes the dynamic of Minecraft so it almost feels like a completely different game.
Shacknews did a rundown of some of the major new changes made for version 1.9 and the combat changes include being able to hold shields to block incoming attacks, as well as dual-wield swords so that you can attack monsters or other players with two weapons at once, and there's a new cooldown so that players will have to time their attacks now. The cooldown adds a very interesting element to Minecraft because it means that players can't just incessantly swing at enemies in hopes of taking them down a peg. Attacks must be timed and aimed properly to get the most out of each strike.
And speaking of strikes... Mojang has added all new attacks for some weapons, including the ability to deliver a charged crushing blow with the axe and a sweeping attack with the sword. This is probably great news for gamers who may have wanted a more technical side out of Minecraft and didn't quite care for the standard hack-and-slash spam that the game is typically known for.
In a way, with this newest update, the combat might even be better in Minecraft than Skyrim.
But combat updates weren't the only thing on the table that Mojang has been working on with the emergent sandbox title. They've added a brand new enemy mob called a Shulker and some skeleton riders. They removed Herobrine. They added some new plants for players to collect, along with some new blocks such as Purpor, Dragon Head and End Rod. They made it possible for players to resummon the Ender Dragon, and they expanded The End.
Some of the other updates includes the ability to build igloos and to equip tipped arrows and spectral arrows. Also, I'm not entirely sure why but they lowered the armor protection values... I imagine this may be due to the fact that with the new combat system and the ability to block and shield attacks, players will need to rely less on tanking hits and relying more on strategically fighting monsters and avoiding being hit when possible.
The update is for the PC version of Minecraft, which means if you're playing on home console or mobile devices you'll be waiting a while for the developers to eventually get around to rolling out the updates for the other versions. Part of the problem is that on consoles and mobile devices there's a lot of certification steps that the developers have to go through before patches, updates and DLC can be approved, so in results in a lot of console versions of games ending up on a delay compared to their PC counterpart.
Anyway, Minecraft on PC being updated to have a more complex combat system is a really interesting step in a different direction for the series because I imagine slightly older gamers will find the more complex controls and mechanics more appealing and it might even force younger gamers to have to think more tactically before charging into battle. You can grab the latest version of Minecraft from over on the official website.