Grab your pickaxe, because the long-awaited "Minecraft" adventure update – a.k.a. beta version 1.8 – has launched. Now's your chance to discover some hidden villages full of weird buildings and spend your time looking at the new Endermen mobs from the corner of your eye. If you're not in an adventuring mode, the new update also includes "creative" mode, so you can start building that to-scale replica of your town or whatever weird stuff you've been dreaming about making.
Strangely enough, Mojang essentially leaked the update a couple days ago. Yes, Mojang are so trendy they leak their own games. Apparently, Notch and company decided to make the code available for for those with peering eyes a little early, which was essentially to let some people try out the update before release.
Today, everyone can officially get in on the action. I've only had the chance to play the update for an hour or so, but it's great to see some new additions to "Minecraft."
The first thing you'll notice are the new food and experience bars. The food bar is – well, it's a bar filled with delicious food icons. As you perform actions like jumping and sprinting, the food bar will deplete. You'll need to eat food to fill the bar back up. When the bar is full, you'll actually regenerate health, a nice change from the static health system that previously existed in the game.
The experience bar slowly fills as you gain experience in combat, etc., but at this point, that collected experience doesn't really translate into anything. Hopefully, that will change with a later update.
I still haven't encountered any abandoned villages yet, but when you find them, you can expect to find homes and handy buildings like blacksmiths. There are allegedly pre-made strongholds out there, but I haven't found one yet. A later update will add NPCs to the villages.
"Minecraft" still has a little ways to go before it's out of beta, and even the adventure update won't really be complete until 1.9. Still, it's new "Minecraft," and that's always a sure-fire timesink.