The latest update for Minecraft, 1.3, has been “coming soon” for a long time. The longest even, as this is the most we've been without a Minecraft update since it's alpha days! But worry not, as Mojang have recently announced plans for the latest update. It is to be released on the 1st of August with a release candidate coming the week before. The update is big and awesome, but still has some bad news. Here's the breakdown.
The content of the update can already mostly be played an tried via snapshots. The major change is making singleplayer run through a local server, which changes the way modding works and completely destroys all current mods as well as takes up a lot more resources. Unfortunately, this is bad news for a lot of people, but worry not as it is better in the long run, once the API arrives, which brings me to the next big change - the mod API. Excited? Well, you shouldn't be. The API has been delayed to a future update. This is bad news for the update as it will break all mods but not allow them to easily rebuild through the API. I'm afraid some modders may leave the scene because of this, but let's hope for the best. Information suggests that the API will be worth the wait, as the Minecraft team is working on it and consulting with various important members of the modding scene.
It's not all bad news, don't worry. There are TONS of bugfixes, save for fixed lighting. Mojang said that SMP will now be smoother and more stable, which is good news for players who like to play with friends. Who knows, maybe we'll even be able to ride a rail properly when this update comes out. Since singleplayer will be run through a local server, these fixes were necessary. You will be able to share your SP worlds on a local network because of this as well. The trading system is implemented fully, with new emerald ore being used to craft coins that are used to trade with villagers. Lots of new decorative blocks will be added as well as new stuff like tripwires. Some stuff has seen tweaks (minecarts, caludrons etc.) and experience will now be granted for mining and smelting in addition to killing monsters. Finally, you'll be able to write in books now, so diaries and murder mysteries will be abundant on servers soon. New terrain features were added too, with jungle ruins, desert temples and more now spawning in worlds.
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So to conclude, while 1.3 will stabilize multiplayer and bring a plethora of new features, the API will remain absent for some time, and you'll still have to deal with lighting bugs every now and again. Hopefully, it wont' break everything. Right, Jeb? RIGHT?!