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Minecraft’s new ‘Combat Update’ overhauls fighting mechanics

Microsoft-owned development studio Mojang has released a major update for its sandbox construction title Minecraft, overhauling the game’s combat mechanics in a bid to “make fighting more interesting and offer more map-making options.”

The update greatly impacts Minecraft‘s long-untouched combat aspect, giving players more options when braving the randomly-generated wilderness in Survival mode.

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Starting in version 1.9 of Minecraft, players can construct handheld shields that block enemy attacks. This addition gives combat enthusiasts a new way to take on enemies who attack from afar with ranged weaponry, as shields can now provide safety from incoming projectiles.

Close-quarters melee combat also sees a number of sweeping changes. Attacks now have a “cool-down” timer that eliminates the frantic button-mashing combat that defined earlier versions of Minecraft, and players will now need to carefully consider their strikes in battle.

In-game swords and axes now boast unique sweeping and crushing attacks, respectively, allowing players to follow up a combination of strikes with a finishing blow. Minecraft‘s latest update also lets characters hold items in both hands, and adds the ability to switch to an off-hand item instantly by pressing the F key.

Version 1.9 of Minecraft additionally introduces new enemy mobs, block types, and food items. Minecraft‘s endgame area has also been expanded, and players can now resurrect the Ender Dragon in order to relive the game’s final moments.

Other additions featured in Minecraft‘s Combat Update include skeleton riders, new arrow types, player-constructed igloos, and “a whole bunch of new sound effects,” according to Mojang.

Minecraft‘s latest patch arrives more than a year after the game’s last major update. Minecraft‘s “Bountiful Update,” released in September of 2014, introduced now-standard features like underwater dungeons, a Spectator game mode, and an alternate player skin. Minecraft players can expect to see more tweaks and additions rolled out via patches in the coming months.