‘Minecraft’ 1.9 Combat Update Takes Flight On PC, New Combat Mechanics And More

One of the biggest and lengthiest developed Minecraft updates hit the PC Monday morning. The 1.9 Combat Update is now live, and brings significant changes to the open-world sandbox game’s combat mechanics, while also offering up new map-making options and an all new way to fly.

Mojang first previewed the changes coming in the Minecraft 1.9 Combat Update during Minecon 2015 all the way back in July. Some of the immediate big changes includes the ability to equip items in the character’s off-hand. This gives players the ability to dual-wield, carry a shield (also a new item), and perform other new Steve tricks.

Pressing the right-mouse button will use the item in the off-hand if it has an action associated with it. You can also press the “F” key to switch items between the primary hand and the off-hand. Minecraft has some additional rules, such as the use of the item in the primary hand always takes precedence over the item in the off-hand, and holding two swords gives no extra benefit because the off-hand can’t be used to attack.

Minecraft 1.9 Dual Wield Dual wielding in Minecraft. [Image via Mojang]Attacking itself will now be less of a button mashing affair. Mojang has instituted an attack cool-down to prevent players from continually swinging their swords or shooting arrows. Now, it will be more important to time your attacks.

Swords at least get an attack variant to make up for the cool-down delay with the Minecraft update. They’ve gained a sweep attack that knocks back Mobs within 3 blocks of the player, and delivers 1 damage. Unfortunately, swords can no longer block, as that is now taken up by the shield.

Axes have received an upgrade, as well, as part of the Minecraft weapon and tool rebalancing. They even deliver more damage than swords now, but their attack speed is approximately half as slow as swords. They also have a new crushing blow attack that can disable an opposing player’s shield for 5 seconds.

Bows and arrows are receiving an upgrade, too. Arrows can now be tipped with potions, and their effects will trigger when they hit a target. A new Spectral arrow is also added that outlines a mob or player, even while they are invisible.

One interesting new piece added is the Elytra item. This has the appearance of a pair of fairy wings and allows players to glide when equipped as a chest piece. When a player is wearing a cape, the Elytra will still be equipped, but take on the appearance of the cape. This is sure to set up Superman scenarios across Minecraft worlds.

The End has also been expanded with a new dungeon-like structure called “End City.” It is accessible via the End Gateway that spawns after killing the Ender Dragon. The city is arranged on islands that surround the main End island, and sports a new hostile mob named The Shulker. It disguises itself as a block on the ground or walls and shoots projectiles, which move along the game’s x/y/z axis. Getting hit by a projectile has the same effect as the levitation potion, and will make players float until it wears off.

Minecraft 1.9 End City [Image via Mojang]The End City itself has loot scattered around that can be picked up. Items verified so far include beetroot seeds (new item), diamonds, gold, and high enchanted diamond and iron gear.

The Ender Dragon fight is being tweaked to make it more similar to the same experience from the Minecraft console editions. The dragon will breathe purple fire on players and other mobs and defend the obsidian pillars as the fight progresses.

The major difference is players will be able to restart the Ender Dragon fight once it has been defeated by placing player-made craftable ender crystals on the ground in a pattern. Also, an Ender Dragon head will drop and can be worn by players.

Here’s the overview of the Minecraft 1.9 Combat Update provided by Mojang. Head over to the MinecraftWiki for full detailed patch notes.

  • Added shields
  • Attacking now has a “cool-down” delay, making it more important to time your attacks
  • You can now hold items in both hands (default quick key to swap items is ‘F’)
  • Swords have a special sweep attack
  • Axes have a special crushing blow attack
  • Added the elytra
  • New mob: Shulker
  • Expanded The End
  • Added Chorus plants
  • New Purpur blocks
  • New End Rod block
  • Added dragon head block
  • Ender Dragon can be resummoned
  • Added beetroot and beetroot soup (from MC:PE)
  • 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
  • We believe we’ve fixed MC-10 and a whole bunch of other issues
  • Removed Herobrine

[Image via Mojang]