http://www.esourceengine.com/downloads/minecraft/minecraft_wallpaper_hd_by_nightbloodsteel-d3qwdrk.png
On 9/2/14, Minecraft was updated to version 1.8. This update is called the "Bountiful Update." It contains many new features and improvements. For a detailed description of the new update, please see the wiki (http://minecraft.gamepedia.com/1.8). In the meantime, there are a few changes that I wish to report, I may even save one of the best things for very last.

Four of the new blocks that have been added to the game include andesite, diorite, granite, and slime blocks. The first three, in that list, are new rocks which can be crafted into "polished" versions. Andesite and diorite look similar to gravel and cobblestone, while granite looks almost like dirt. All three are very abundant and easy to find. So far, I have used all three polished versions to create a house in my new world. I have not yet had any experience with slime blocks, but I know that you can bounce on them. One of my favorite YouTubers has a video regarding this new update, which I recommend watching (http://youtu.be/Q9ykTDAFl7E?list=UUP6f9x4iXk3LH8Q1sqJmYPQ).

Sheep now drop mutton, which can be cooked as another food source. This update also introduces bunnies. They are adorable and come in a variety of colors and designs. They can be bred with a variety of items, but only carrots will make them follow you. They also drop meat, which can also be used as a food source. There is also a slight chance for a "killer bunny" to appear. This bunny has red horizontal eyes, while the tame ones have eyes that are vertical. This "killer bunny" is clearly a nod to Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The end of the following video gives the best strategy for when encountering this new "killer bunny" (http://youtu.be/92gP2J0CUjc). (Hint: Run away!)

There are now also ocean monuments which are underwater and apparently filled with water. I have not yet found one, so I can't quite report on it. I know that these monuments contain guardians, which are a new mob. There are also new blocks within these monuments including prismarine and sponges. For more information visit the wiki (http://minecraft.gamepedia.com/Ocean_monument).

Finally, I think the most important part of this update is that the game's performance has been greatly improved! When I got my new PC many months ago and played Minecraft, I was impressed by how far I could see, but still disappointed in how long it took chunks to load. Since I've been playing with this new update, I have not had any issue whatsoever with chunks loading. The only chunk loading I noticed was initially when I spawned in my new world, but that's it! Previously, while walking around, I had to wait for chunks to load, I no longer have to wait at all! There is also a new option in the video settings, "use VBO." This feature apparently gives about a 10% increase in performance when set to "on," by reassigning some of the processing from your RAM and CPU to the GPU. For a little more information about this setting please see the following link (http://gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/177257/what-is-the-use-vbos-setting).

Now seems to be a great time to get back into Minecraft, if you've been away from it for a while. There is still much that I have not covered, so I recommend checking out the wiki for the full release notes.

GregoPeck   Member   Post Author wrote on 09/19/2014 at 03:59am

I have been preparing my character for the discovery of a water monument. I created some water breathing and night vision potions, as the wiki suggests. I used red stone to increase the duration of both potions and then I went out in search of a water monument. I did finally find one, they are located in deep ocean biomes and are under water. You may see them as you are riding around the ocean on a boat. I went down into the monument I found and came across some of the new guardian mobs. Unfortunately, I did not survive. What's worse is that I did not write down the coordinates to the monument's location, so I'm not sure where it is, but I'm looking again. I agree with the wiki's suggestion of bringing good gear. I don't think my gear, made of iron, was sufficient.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 09/19/2014 at 04:11am

Interested to hear in what it takes to survive those mobs. Also, if you could snap a image of the water monument I’d be interested in checking it out.

GregoPeck   Member   Post Author wrote on 09/19/2014 at 05:00am

The wiki doesn't seem to suggest what materials to use for recommended gear, but it does recommend "enchanted armor," water breathing potions, and invisibility potions. This is actually the first time I've ever created potions in the game.

Also, snapping an image is a great idea! At first I thought, "oh just check the wiki," but the wiki doesn't show what it looks like from your perspective in a boat. I'll see what I can do. =)

GregoPeck   Member   Post Author wrote on 09/19/2014 at 06:34pm

Found it again (I believe it's the same one I found before). Check out some of the screenshots I took (http://gregopeck.imgur.com/). I created an album for them. Keep in mind, you can only see the very top of the monument in these pictures. I also found something posted in the Minecraft forums (http://www.minecraftforum.net/forums/minecraft-discussion/recent-updates-and-snapshots/2109912-giant-ocean-monument-info-thread). One of the things I found out from this post is that there is a new enchantment, "Dept Strider," for boots, which helps swim through the monument.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 09/19/2014 at 11:49pm

Nice. Is that a kind of one-eyed fish?

GregoPeck   Member   Post Author wrote on 09/20/2014 at 12:28am

Some what, it's one of the new mobs, guardians. I believe it can drop fish when defeated, but I haven't killed any yet. I'm currently looking for more diamonds so I can craft a full set of diamond gear before I return to the monument.

GregoPeck   Member   Post Author wrote on 09/20/2014 at 02:14am

Still looking for diamonds....check out this awesome video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxH0r2Z8ce4

jdodson   Admin wrote on 09/20/2014 at 08:22pm

I liked the part where the Creeper started singing.

GregoPeck   Member   Post Author wrote on 09/21/2014 at 03:40am

The guardians in the ocean monument are tough and can seriously take a beating. After collecting enough diamonds, I created diamond gear (armor and sword) and enchanted each piece. I used the new Depth Strider enchantment on my boots, which helped me get around in the underwater ocean monument. I also brought along water breathing potions, which had an extended duration thanks to using some red stone. I was able to defeat two out of the three elder guardians, I was not fortunate enough to find the third. I made multiple trips to the monument as I was killed quite a few times. Sadly, I was hurt enough that some of my armor broke and now I need to find more diamonds. Luckily, I found some melons in a jungle, so now I can make regeneration potions. While the wiki recommends night vision potions, I found this suggestion unnecessary as my brightness setting is set to "Bright." If anyone is interested, I can give you the number for the seed of my world and also the coordinates of where the monument is located. Previously, with a Google search, I found out that there is an app that can tell you where these monuments are found, but I didn't use it.

GregoPeck   Member   Post Author wrote on 09/21/2014 at 03:44am

Opps, slight correction, I need Ghast tears to make regeneration potions, melon seeds help make healing potions, not the same thing.

GregoPeck   Member   Post Author wrote on 09/21/2014 at 08:17am

I beat the final Elder Guardian, but forgot to get my loot! I didn't know that there were 8 blocks of gold hidden in one of the rooms. Check out this video about Ocean Monuments: http://youtu.be/sCmV4v1bvqI.

GregoPeck   Member   Post Author wrote on 09/21/2014 at 07:19pm

Last night I found a great video that shows off all of the new changes in 1.8, check it out: http://youtu.be/R8WX3_WGzto

GregoPeck   Member   Post Author wrote on 10/03/2014 at 06:41pm

Yesterday, I decided to test out the new world creation customized presets. Some of them seemed very similar, some were interesting, and some looked liked death traps. In "Water World", I barely found any land at all, certainly no caves, just a group of very small islands. I also spawned deep under water, luckily I was in Creative mode. In "Good Luck," I found that oceans were no longer filled with water, but lava instead. Finally, I found one that I quite liked called "Drought." This one removed almost all of the water that's usually located in the oceans. I thought this was interesting because I could now see the sea bed, which led to a few discoveries. Not only did I find a series of abandoned mine shafts, or two, but I also found an Ocean Monument. This made the monument very easy to find. I've uploaded a new screenshot (http://imgur.com/xDvRuOd), so take a look!

GregoPeck   Member   Post Author wrote on 10/03/2014 at 06:42pm

Yesterday, I decided to test out the new world creation customized presets. Some of them seemed very similar, some were interesting, and some looked liked death traps. In "Water World", I barely found any land at all, certainly no caves, just a group of very small islands. I also spawned deep under water, luckily I was in Creative mode. In "Good Luck," I found that oceans were no longer filled with water, but lava instead. Finally, I found one that I quite liked called "Drought." This one removed almost all of the water that's usually located in the oceans. I thought this was interesting because I could now see the sea bed, which led to a few discoveries. Not only did I find a series of abandoned mine shafts, or two, but I also found an Ocean Monument. This made the monument very easy to find. I've uploaded a new screenshot (http://imgur.com/xDvRuOd), so take a look!

jdodson   Admin wrote on 10/05/2014 at 09:06pm

That's a interesting picture. Looks like the water is in a bowl.

GregoPeck   Member   Post Author wrote on 10/05/2014 at 09:57pm

Yeah, I didn't think it would spawn in the Drought preset because I assumed ocean sizes were very small, almost non-existent. However, it seems that ocean biomes exist, they just don't contain as much water. I did find out that the ocean monuments spawn with their own water around them, which is apparent in the screen shot I shared. =)

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