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A new year, a new Minecraft snapshot. 14w02a (now 14w02b) is now available for testing, so let’s see what’s new on the face of this snapshot.

Minecraft snapshot 14w02bAs is common, a new patch means new blocks, and since 14w02b is for the forthcoming 1.8, we get some new cubes to play with. Above you can see the newcomers. First, the bronze colored blocks are granite. The rough one is plain granite, while the smooth one is polished granite. Following in that vein you have the white-colored diorite blocks, similarly in plain and polished styles. Lastly we have Andesite, also available in both forms. Thus far they seem to be purely cosmetic and function exactly the same as regular stone. On the sides you can see the new slime blocks, but we’ll come back to them.

Minecraft snapshot 14w02b

Enchanting has been overhauled, with a new lapis lazuli cost to go with the XP level requirement. First, we need some XP. That’s where this rig comes in, a dead-simple zombie maker. The redstone clock spits out zombies into a holding pen where I can potion them to death.

Minecraft snapshot 14w02b

Minecraft snapshot 14w02b

Zombies are in position, initiate potion launch.

Minecraft snapshot 14w02b

Now commencing XP orb deluge.

Minecraft snapshot 14w02b

Minecraft snapshot 14w02b

I eventually reached level 25 and moved on to testing the enchanting process.  Placing my sword in the table and hovering over the second of the three enchanting options (the highest one I can afford) shows that it will take 2 lapis and 2 enchantment levels to use. This means that you need up to 30 levels to qualify to an enchantment, but only 3 levels at a time to use them.

Minecraft snapshot 14w02b

I place the 2 lapis in the enchanting table and click the second enchantment, earning a very nice enchant.Minecraft snapshot 14w02b

Now I need to test anvil use, which has also been modified. To do so I enchant my pickaxe and go to work on that large stone tube I made earlier.

Minecraft snapshot 14w02b

It’s slow going, but 72 polished andesite, 8 polished diorite, 24 polished granite and 40 cobblestone later, my pickaxe is marginally damaged, so it’s anvil time.

Minecraft snapshot 14w02b

The first thing I notice is that renaming has has it’s costs reduced from five levels one, which will be a welcome sight for folks who like to customize their gear. As for repairing, that has also been decreased in cost. One iron ingot and one level fix my pickaxe back to full health.

Minecraft snapshot 14w02b

Now we go back to those slime blocks I mentioned previously. Their most unique feature is that they’re very bouncy, like a trampoline bed. However, if you’re just walking across them, they also slow you down like soul sand.

Minecraft snapshot 14w02b

I wanted to test their bounce cred, so I made a little diving board. Beneath that I placed three slime block squares, each smaller than the other, to see if I could use them as a mode of travel. The result was surprisingly fun.

With most plugins and mods just catching up and many servers still just recently moving to 1.7, I personally hope 1.8 is a ways off, but this is Mojang, and they iterate very rapidly so who knows. In any event, snapshot 14w02b provides some new decorative blocks and mechanic changes (we didn’t even get in to the villager trading overhaul) that will likely be well accepted by the community.

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