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Minecraft 1.6, the “Horse Update,” if you will, is planned for release today so let’s look at some of its key additions. The major draw is, of course, horses, but there’s more to it than finding a horse and hopping aboard for a spin. You have to tame them, find a saddle, and you’ll probably want a lead and nametag, too. Oh, and then there’s that Bethesda-mocking horse armor that you so desperately crave.

I started out in creative, stocked up on full gear to speed this process along (full sets of diamond armor and tools, a stack of torches, a stack of pumpkin pie, a clock and a compass), and then dropped back into survival to begin my test quest.

It took me nearly 10 minutes of nonstop wandering – interspersed with short stops to chop trees and dig a little clay. You can now make hardened clay and color it, which looks really nice. As evening was starting to fall, I finally spotted my prey.

Minecraft 1.6

Horses! I’ve found some horses!

Minecraft 1.6

Oh, wow… I found a bunch of horses.

Minecraft 1.6

A crap ton of horses. Jackpot! Unfortunately it’s getting late so I bury myself to begin playing with hardened clay.

Minecraft 1.6

After you place four clay balls in a 2×2 square to make your clay block, you place them in a furnace to smelt them into hardened clay. Unlike my original assumption, you don’t dye clay like wool; it’s not a 1:1 process, meaning one hardened clay block and one dye equals one dyed hardened clay block.

Minecraft 1.6

Instead, it takes eight hardened clay blocks and one dye to make a dyed clay block, albeit eight of them.

Minecraft 1.6

Here you can see (left to right) the default hardened clay, yellow-dyed hardened clay and red-dyed hardened clay. Nice, aren’t they? Anyway, back to the horses. I needed to find a dungeon and while I could dig randomly, I wanted to find a ravine to scour the sides of.

Minecraft 1.6

Bingo. I made it to the floor of the ravine to find that it was actually a series of interconnected ravines with an exposed abandoned mineshaft. That’s pretty much the ideal location to hunt for my dungeon and its attendant treasure chest which will – hopefully – have a saddle in it. I actually mined all day and deep into the night, using up my stack of torches plus most of a second stack I made. I was getting a little frustrated and was ready to head back when I turned a corner and saw this.

Minecraft 1.6

Screw you, zombie. I’ve killed about one hundred of your kin. You’re not scaring me. Wait, what’s behind you?

Minecraft 1.6

Oh yes. I quickly dart in and torch up the spawner to make it safe before holding my breath and opening the treasure chest.

Minecraft 1.6

Ok, that could not have gone better. It has a saddle, yes, but also a nametag and gold horse armor (the record doesn’t hurt, either). I rearrange my inventory and take my haul back to the surface. With saddle in hand, I now need to find the noble steed I wish to call my own. I have horses of every conceivable color, so I can have my pick of any of the prime equine roaming the field above.

Minecraft 1.6

Sure, why the hell not. In reality, there’s a logical reason to pick the donkey that we’ll get to later, but first the taming. This is done by right clicking on the horse/donkey with an empty hand, which puts you on its back. It will throw you off a number of times but eventually you can ride it bareback.

Minecraft 1.6

Yup, just me and my donkey.

Minecraft 1.6

Using four string and a slime ball (no, I don’t get why it’s there, either) I make a lead and tie off my donkey to a fence post. With my donkey in tamed and tied down, I set off to name him.

Minecraft 1.6

It takes an anvil and five enchanting levels to place a name on a nametag, which can then be applied to mobs in the world. In case you’re wondering, yes – the name has a typo. Or two.

Minecraft 1.6

Everyone, meet “Dunky,” the donkey. While this is well and good, I can’t put my gold horse armor on a donkey (the reason is in the name). I grab a nearby horse and tame it as well.

Minecraft 1.6

There we go. We’ve almost exhausted our time with 1.6 today, but there’s one more thing to do, and that’s put a saddle bag on “Dunky,”. After all, why have a donkey as a mount if you’re not going to put a container on your ass?

Minecraft 1.6

With container attached to the donkey you get some storage space for hauling goods around. I can see this being useful for long mining trips, or for role-playing travelling sales people on servers.

Minecraft 1.6

That’s all, everyone. Thanks for reading, and share with your friends if you enjoyed it.

Alphasim out.

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