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Here's Some Big News for 'Minecraft' Players

Hum a little R.E.M. with me as you read this, because it’s the grandest thing to happen to Minecraft for Windows 10 and mobile devices in years — the end, as it were, of Mojang’s blocky, do-it-yourself imaginarium as we know it.

The End is coming, as in the main version’s olive, ebony and vermillion hued terminal alt-dimension. Home to the Ender Dragon and its eerie Enderman minions. The place where compasses and clocks go haywire, and where upon beating the Ender Dragon, of all things, you’re treated to a poem written by an Irish novelist.

That’s big. And it gets bigger. Not only is The End coming to the Windows 10 and mobile versions of Minecraft, but Microsoft says it’ll bring us to near feature parity between these platforms and the original Java PC one. In the forthcoming still-free-for-owners shift, dubbed the “Ender Update,” Microsoft will add both The End (including the outer islands and End Cities with Shulker mobs), the Ender Dragon, purple building blocks, chorus plants, the Elytra glider (flying!) and, critically, 256-block world height.

The latter should rectify a shortcoming I’ve found vexing for years: that you couldn’t have the sort of truly, awesomely vertical mountainous biomes you could in the Java version (you’re currently limited to 128-block high worlds in the Windows 10 and mobile versions). Symbolically, we’ll also see the game come out of beta, the version numbering ratcheted up from its current 0.16 to a momentous “1.0.” The new version will encompass Windows 10, Pocket Edition (iOS and Android), Gear VR Edition and the forthcoming Apple TV Edition. Android owners can hop into the beta today, and the full-fledged release is due by year’s end.

Mojang says it has plans to add even further features to the Ender Update, but that it’s “keeping those a secret for now!” I don’t want to press my luck, but with a smidgen more, we’ll get the Java version’s upcoming incredibly cool-sounding llamas, mansions and maps, too.

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