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Minecraft’s Tricky Trials Update Has Been Released

Version 1.21 of Minecraft releases in its fifteenth anniversary year, but does it hold up to the occasion?
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This year was Minecraft’s fifteenth anniversary from its initial beta back in May of 2009. This year holds a ton of importance for the developers and the playerbase, which means that this year’s major update, 1.21, has high expectations. 

Every year, Mojang, the developer of Minecraft, adds a major update to its highly acclaimed franchise. Java Edition, the original version of the game exclusively for PC, has gone under over twenty major updates since its full release back in 2011, and it is still receiving annual updates. Bedrock Edition, the console and mobile focused version of the game, parallels this release schedule, with only minor differences from Java’s version of these releases.

Minecraft is absolutely massive. The game has sold over 300 million copies over its fifteen year lifespan, making it by far the best selling-game in the world. I’ve played this game since 2016, and one of the most important parts of this game for me – and many other people – have been the annual major updates. This update has been especially focused on, being released in the fifteenth anniversary of Minecraft; so does it live up to the hype? 

 

Tricky Trials is what this year’s update, update 1.21, was dubbed back in April. The update is focused mainly on combat & exploration features, adding a massive new underground structure called the trial chamber, and loads of items, mobs, and effects to go along with it. The update adds over a hundred items and blocks, the most since 1.17; the first part of the Caves & Cliffs update. Here is a deep dive on all of the features;

 

Tricky Trials Features

Trial Chambers

Ever since the Caves & Cliffs Update, improving the underground has been a prominent focus in major updates. With the wild update that came out the year after, Mojang introduced the first large-scale underground structure since the initial release of Java Edition, with the ancient city. Trial chambers are only the sixth structure to generate exclusively underground.

Trial Chambers are found deep inside caves; the easiest way to locate one is by trading with a cartographer villager to obtain a Trial Chamber Map, which will lead you directly to a chamber nearby.

 

 

 

 

 

Trial chambers are basically beefed up versions of strongholds with spawners. Loot is scattered through its halls, a maze of stairways will lead to chambers, and many interesting decorations (pots) will be found. Trial chambers emphasize multiplayer experience and level-by-level play, where players will procedurally defeat groups of mobs, which scale by the number of players, and receive rewards unique to each player. This is the first structure that produces infinite loot in the form of trial spawners.

The trial chambers also introduce three new pottery sherds, two new armor trims, and two new banner patterns which can all only be found within vaults or pots.

 

Trial Spawners & Vaults

Trial Spawners are found in Trial Chambers, and they spawn mobs only when the player is in range. They spawn mobs in waves depending on the mob, and the more players around, the more mobs that will spawn in these waves. Eventually the waves will stop, loot will pop out of the spawner, and the spawner will go on a cooldown for a little while.

Three categories of mobs spawn from these in Trial Chambers: Small Melee, which includes silverfish, slimes, and baby zombies (yikes!) – Melee, which includes zombies and spiders – and ranged attack mobs, which are just all the skeleton variants.

 

Vaults, which are also found in Trial Chambers, can only be opened with keys disposed from trial spawners. Vaults give every player a chance to unlock it, meaning that the loot can still be distributed to new players even after someone else has looted it. 

 

Ominous Events & Potions

Trial Spawners and Vaults give a challenging experience on their own, but to amp up the difficulty, you can drink an ominous bottle to unlock a higher difficulty of combat. Mobs will spawn with trimmed diamond armor, special effects will roam in the air, and obstacles will become much more deadly.

 

The effects that can be emitted during an ominous battle can also be made as potions and arrows without the need to go to a trial chamber. The new effects are as follows:

Infestation – A chance of a silverfish spawning when a mob takes damage

Oozing – Spawns slimes upon death

Weaving – Spreads cobwebs upon death

Wind Charged – Emits a wind burst upon death

 

Raid Omen activates when you’re in a village and have bad omen. Ominous Bottles replace the annoying consequences of defeating a raid captain; now, instead of getting bad omen immediately, you’ll receive a bottle which you can choose to use.

Trial Omen, received when having bad omen in a trial chamber, activates a special ominous version of trial spawners that will drop much more significant loot following the defeat of its waves, including a special key to the hidden ominous vaults. Ominous vaults will also give souped up loot, but they do not require any special effects to be opened, as they generate separately to that of regular vaults.

New Mobs

Most trial spawners will spawn previously existing mobs, but they also spawn new mobs in the form of the breeze and the bogged; the breeze specifically can only spawn in trial chambers.

 

The bogged is a variant of skeletons that have less health but shoot poisonous arrows. While they can be found in trial chambers, they can also spawn during nighttime in swamp biomes. You can shear the bogged and get some free mushrooms, too!

The breeze is a new ranged-attack mob that shoots out wind projectiles. These wind projectiles will create a wind burst on impact, triggering any redstone component around it and sending nearby players into the air. The breeze cannot get hit by projectiles and has very quick and jumpy movement. 

Upon death, the breeze drops a breeze rod, which can be used to craft both of the new weapons in this update.

 

New Weapons

The first weapons since the introduction of the crossbow in 2019 to be added to Minecraft will appear in the Tricky Trials update. Many new functions and techniques are introduced along with these new weapons, making these items likely the most significant of the additions in this update.

 

Wind Charges shoot a wind projectile upon use, similar to that of a breeze’s attack projectile. When said projectile hits

 something, it gives off a burst of wind. Considering that the breeze is the only mob able to naturally attack with wind, it’s not surprising that wind charges can be made from its drops. 

This weapon allows for some pretty insane stuff – you can wall jump with it, you can save your life from fall damage, you can activate Redstone machinery, heck, if you’re techy enough, you could even launch a tornado of missiles at your enemies. Take that, charged creeper!

 

 

The Mace is an incredibly strong weapon that deals more damage the longer you fall directly before an attack. If you successfully complete said attack, you will not get any fall damage, but if you fail, you risk dying from it. The mace is the only weapon that can technically deal damage of over 50 hearts.

The mace also comes with some enchants, that further advance the gameplay with it;

Breach – Up to four levels. Pierces through armor, even netherite!

Density – Up to five levels. Further strengthens the damage when falling before an attack.

Wind Burst – Up to three levels. Emits a wind burst during a successful attack, launching the attacker back into the air! It’s so powerful, it can only be obtained rarely through ominous vaults.

The Mace is crafted from a heavy core, which can only be obtained through ominous vaults- making this likely the most hard-to-obtain weapon in the game.

New Copper & Tuff Variants

Copper and tuff were both added back in 1.17, but were somewhat lackluster in terms of what you could do with them. Copper could only be used for a couple of things, lightning rods, weathering blocks, and tilted glass, while tuff had no variants at all, and was simply just a block that generated underground.

 

Copper receives five new variants, all of which generate in trial chambers;

Doors – They’re doors, but copper. The first doors that can oxidize. 

Trapdoors – Same story as the doors, but they’re trappy.

Grates – A transparent grate-like block that oxidizes.

Chiseled – Copper, but chiseled.

Bulbs – A lamp that dims through oxidation. This lamp works differently than most Redstone-powered blocks.

Thanks to all the waxed and oxidized variants of these blocks, copper technically receives forty new variants with this update.

 

Tuff receives new building variants including bricks and chiseled variants, both of which generate in the trial chambers.

Auto-Crafter

 

 

One of the only features in this update that does not reside in the trial chambers, the crafter automatically crafts items for you with a simple redstone pulse; basically the pinnacle of redstone components. You can toggle slots in the crafter to craft specific things, and thanks to the weirdness of redstone, you could theoretically craft infinite crafters with crafter crafting crafters (credit to mumbo jumbo for making that idea a thing). Having a seizure yet? Good.

 

New Music & Art

The Tricky Trials update rounds off its features with twelve new music tracks and twenty new paintings. While I can’t list all of the music tracks, here are a few which stick out;

 

Lena Raine – Creator: One of three new music discs. Has a sort of European town vibe to it but somehow manages to incorporate both music box and guitar sounds into it. Amazing stuff.

One of the other two music discs is a music box version of Creator.

Aaron Cherof – Precipice: Everything you’d want from endgame music; the clash of nostalgic emotions and intensity shines in this track, and, while I’m no music critic, I’d have to say it’s the best official Minecraft track released to date.

Kumi Tanioka – pokopoko: Okay, so imagine someone continuously and melodically hitting bamboo with a stick; it sounds surprisingly good.

 

Twenty new paintings were added, including five from in-house artist Sarah Boeving, and a whopping fifteen from the creator of the original Minecraft paintings; Kristoffer Zetterstrand.

 

My Thoughts

Minecraft’s Tricky Trials Update adds the most new items since Caves & Cliffs Part I in 2021, and despite only adding one new structure and two new mobs, this update rivals the Nether Update in its game-changing features.

The last two years of updates for Minecraft have added many interesting features, but none of them really ever added to the overall gameplay cycle in a significant way. Building and exploration have been the developers’ main focus ever since Caves & Cliffs released, and combat features have been rather overlooked ever since. The Mace, Wind Charges, and the Trial Chambers as a whole have done massive things for combat in this game. 

New mechanics and tinkering features are a large part of what makes this update special; so many new unique things can be done using the power of wind charges, the mace can take out bosses in one-hit, and the crafter and copper bulbs advance redstone machinery past what we knew was possible with the game.

Trial Chambers are easily the most feature-filled and polished structures in the game, with their phenomenal replayability, vaults that give each player their share of loot, and epic ominous battles. Its signature mini-boss, the breeze, is an incredibly unique and fun mob to battle. Even the little bits and bobs of this structure have something interesting to play around with; the new potions, which may or may not break the game with an xp exploit, the new cosmetics with armor trims and banner patterns, and even the new pottery sherds are nice additions. This structure is what this entire update was built around, and it really shows. 

 

This update adds something for everyone – explorers are going to absolutely demolish caves in order to find trial chambers, builders and casual players will be delighted at the addition of new copper and tuff blocks, redstoners are going to have a field day with the new autocrafters, and competitive players will absolutely destroy everything in their paths with the mace.

Minecraft’s annual major update, the Tricky Trials Update, is out as of the release of this article! I recommend you check it out if you have a copy of the game, it’s completely free to install.

 

The full changelog for this update is found here.

 This article is not an advertisement. All images in this article were taken by me using my own copy of Minecraft. I am not affiliated with Mojang or Microsoft in any way. I have read and agreed to their usage guidelines

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