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New Minecraft update makes ore veins bigger and changes stalactite growth

Minecraft scene
(Image credit: Mojang)

Minecraft's handy ore veins are about to be a whole lot bigger.

As posted on the official Minecraft website in a blog post earlier this week, Mojang has announced the 21w16a update for the Caves and Cliffs preview. Previously, ore veins in Minecraft were little more than mere blogs, but this new update has ramped them up to being "large, rare, snake-like underground ore formations," now with the ability to spawn underground.

This is all part of the big Caves and Cliffs update for Minecraft, the release date of which has actually been delayed. While we wait for the final update to hit though, the preview build of the update is where these new changes to things like ore veins are taking place, ready for the final release further down the line.

Elsewhere in the new snapshot update for Minecraft, there's the addition of dripstone growth. "If a stalactite is hanging from a dripstone block with a water source above, it will slowly grow both the stalactite from above and a stalagmite from below," the official update notes from the Minecraft website read.

Growth speed for these dripstones is random, but very slow, taking up to a few in-game Minecraft days to fully complete. Additionally, a stalactite will only grow up to seven blocks long, and a stalactite will only cause stalagmite growth if the floor or stalagmite below is within 10 blocks. Hope you remembered which is which from high school geography lessons.

Earlier this year, Minecraft developer Mojang announced that it would be shutting down Minecraft Earth for good, primarily due to safety concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Right now, Minecraft Earth is scheduled to close its doors as some point in June, so there's still time to delve into the exploration game if you haven't experienced it already.

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I’m Gamesradar’s freelance reporter! I love grinding away at RPGs, losing at Apex Legends, and talking about anime for far too long.