As most of you probably already know, Minecon is approaching. For those of you that don't, it's the Minecraft Convention organized by Mojang themselves where there will be tons of panels, keynotes, showcases of other games by Mojang and indie developers, swag giveaways, and of course, the launch of Minecraft 1.0 on the 18th at 2PM (we presume this is PST). You can follow it all through IGN's central Minecon hub or go directly to IGN's Minecon live stream which will stream Notch's keynote and Minecraft 1.0 release, the Mojang panel featuring Scrolls and Cobalt on Friday, and the Developers, Yogscast and closing panels on Saturday.
Get ready for 2 days of pure Minecraft awesome. If you haven't been keeping up with the recent 9000+ prereleases and release candidates, here are some of the major features that have been implemented and will come in Minecraft 1.0.
Yes, you heard it right folks: enchantment. Instead of adding meaningless stats and level-up systems, Notch and Jeb decided it would be best to let you spend all your precious levels on something more random and fun - enchanting your items. You can craft an enchantment table with some obsidian and diamonds, and then surround it with bookcases if you want stronger, but also more expensive effects. Enchantments are written in the Standard Galactic Alphabet, not that it means anything since they translate to random words that have little to nothing to do with the actual enchantment you're getting. Basically, you have no idea what you're getting until you buy the enchantment. You can enchant tools, swords and armor.
Another new feature is potion brewing. You can craft a brewing stand and the put in water and ingredients to make various potions that you either drink and they give you benefits, or throw them and they affect enemies. It's actually a very deep system with lots of possible results that can easily compete with alchemy systems seen in popular RPG's. You're guaranteed to have a lot of fun trying them out.
The End is a new dimension that you access through a portal found in strongholds. You need to fix the portal with eyes of ender, and you then jump in. The End is a big island made of an as of yet unnamed material (similar in looks and specs to cobble, but yellow), with big obsidian towers and Endermen everywhere. The main feature and purpose of it is the Enderdragon. It's the main boss of Minecraft. It can fly through blocks (destroying them in the process) and looks awesome. The boss fight is not yet finished so we can't really talk specifics, but it involves destroying healing blocks on top of the obsidian towers that heal the dragon, and then killing him the usual arrows and swords way. When you defeat him, he drops a lot of experience and a portal from The End is created. When you go in, the ending plays. We won't spoil anything, don't worry. After it, you're thrown back into your world.
There are a lot more features - snow golems, explosive arrows, the return of snow biomes, special swamp water, mushroom biomes, hardcore mode, nether changes and more - coming your way in the full release, but the above ones are the most important. With the full release we are also likely to see some mods make a comeback (Aether, GLSL shaders) and even more new ones come out, and you can count on them all appearing right here on the biggest Minecraft Mods blog.
Until then, tell us what you're looking forward the most in Minecraft 1.0 in the comments below.