Minecraft 1.9, the Combat Update, is live

Minecraft combat update

Minecraft 1.9: Combat Update is live, and it's been an extraordinarily long time coming. Patch 1.8, the Bountiful Update, launched in 2014, with the existence of 1.9 being discovered in a QR code hidden in falling snow back in April last year.

There are a lot of headline features for a game that's getting on a bit. No longer can you swing a sword like you're having a seizure—each attack has a slight cooldown to force you to time swings. To help guard against zombie onslaught, however, shields are now a thing. Different weapons (which can now be dual-wielded) come with different special attacks too: a sweep for the sword and a crushing blow for the axe.

A more substantial change is the addition of the elytra, the chestpiece-cum-glider featured in the banner image above. This comes courtesy of the expansion of The End, with cities, loot and shulkers—new monsters that disguise themselves as the blocks The End is made of. If you thought Dark Souls' mimics were bad, imagine having to whack every stone to be sure. Of course, that shouldn't phase the intrepid sorts who have taken down the Ender Dragon. Mojang puts such stock in your martial prowess that you'll now be able to resummon the dragon for another bout.

Further changes, from the official blog, include:

  • Added Chorus plants
  • New Purpur blocks
  • New End Rod block
  • Added dragon head block
  • Added beetroot and beetroot soup (from Minecraft: Pocket Edition)
  • Added grass path block
  • Added igloos
  • Armor protection values have been lowered
  • Added tipped arrows
  • Added spectral arrows
  • Added Frost Walker enchantment and frosted ice block
  • Added a whole bunch of new sound effects
  • Added sound effect subtitles
  • Brewing Stand now requires Blaze Powder to activate
  • Added skeleton riders
  • Miscellaneous fixes, particularly with regard to the Windows 10 version

Herobrine has been removed yet again.