Skip to main content

Minecraft Nether update: everything we know about the Nether's first big overhaul

Minecraft Nether update
(Image credit: Microsoft)

The Minecraft Nether update is aiming to make the landscape of the Nether more hospitable to explorers - but only slightly. The hellish dimension is due to be overhauled, giving the Nether its own biomes as well as introducing a number of new blocks to Minecraft and giving players a new structure and enemies to deal with. Additionally - and for the first time - explorers will be able to set their spawns inside the Nether and find food while there.

The Minecraft Nether update announcement came during Minecon 2019; read on for more details and check out the full reveal in the video above.

If you've only dabbled with Minecraft in the past - perhaps just building a modest base or simply exploring the procedurally generated biomes that the game has to offer - you may have never ventured into the Nether. It's not a place that you can accidentally stumble into - getting there is quite a deliberate undertaking. It's essentially a separate dimension and is largely made up of deadly lava and netherrack blocks, along with various other unique block types, vegetation and enemies. To access the Nether, you'll need to construct a nether portal using obsidian.

The Minecraft Nether update will give players more things to do while adventuring through the perilous dimension; there are new biomes to explore, the ability to set your spawn point there, as well as new enemies that can be hunted for food. While this may not sound that big of a deal, if you die in the Nether in the current game, you respawn in the Overworld and have to travel back to the Nether to recover any (potentially valuable) lost items. The Nether update will give players the chance to spend longer in the Nether, explore further afield, and even set up a base there - if you're okay with the questionable neighbours and harsh living conditions.

Minecraft Nether update new biomes

minecraft nether biome

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Soulsand Valley has an earthy, prehistoric look, with huge stalactites and fossils littering the barren landscape. This biome introduces blue fire blocks which are produced when you set fire to a soul sand block - and, as you can mine soul sand and transport it with you, this is ideal if you're looking for an ambient light source - or you want to add a bit of mood lighting to your base.

Netherwart Forest is the second new biome and has two different types. The red-themed Netherwart Forest has densely packed tree-like structures and swirling particles, giving it that extra, otherworldly feel. It is designed to be confusing and easy to lose your bearings while exploring so some care will be needed if you hope to find your way out. 

The blue-themed version of Netherwart Forest is more navigation-friendly, with sparser vegetation. This version of the Netherwart Forest is the most similar to the Overworld biomes - but much less forgiving. 

Both new biomes will introduce new blocks as well as a couple of new enemies to look out for, which brings us conveniently to ...

Minecraft Nether update new enemies

minecraft nether piglins

(Image credit: Microsoft)

The Piglin are the new inhabitants of the Nether and, by default, are aggressive towards the player. They've made the Nether their home and can be found wandering around a number of its biomes. One of their main focuses - other than just actually surviving - is collecting gold and because of this, if you happen to be wearing gold armour, the Piglin won't attack you. This enables you to trade with them through a new system called 'bartering' though the experience promises to be a little different from how you're currently used to trading with villagers. However, the details of what you can obtain from them haven't been revealed yet. 

Players may also encounter Piglin structures throughout the Nether, known as Bastions. Be warned though, if you get too curious and attempt to investigate the contents of a Piglin chest, they will turn aggressive no matter what type of armour you're wearing!

Veteran Nether explorers may notice that they look similar to the Zombie Pigmen that reside in the Nether in the current game. These will be renamed to Zombie Piglin in the update, presumably to any avoid confusion.

minecraft nether piglin beast

(Image credit: Microsoft)

A new hostile enemy - temporarily called the Piglin Beast - will be added with the Nether update. It inhabits the Nether and looks a bit like a boar, complete with savage-looking tusks, just ready to gore the unsuspecting explorer. Unfortunately, it is the Nether's only food source for the player so if you want to survive longer than your supplies will allow, you'll need to hunt these aggressive enemies to stay healthy. 

It's the first time that a food source has been available in the Nether - previously players have needed to make sure they brought enough food with them when they went exploring so this will give explorers more of a fighting chance when they're investigating the depths of the treacherous Nether.

If you can think of a better name for the Piglin Beasts, you can visit the official site and either upvote an existing suggestion or submit a new one yourself. 

There's also new Minecraft Nether blocks

While not directly related to the Nether, the update will also introduce 'target blocks.' These new blocks send out a redstone signal when hit with an arrow and you can control the strength of that signal, depending on how close to the bullseye you hit. This opens up all kinds of possibilities for its uses. You can check out a couple of examples of how they might be used in the reveal video above at around 3.50 minutes in. 

There is no official release date for Minecraft's Nether Update at this time though it is expected to go live sometime in early 2020.