Some thoughts on the Caves and Cliffs Update announcement, Part 2

Last article, I talked about lush caves and mountains. This time, we’ll be talking about caves.


The cave generation has been overhauled significantly. The new caves are now large and cavernous, and is much more majestic-looking than what we have now. Aside for that, caves now have local water levels, so some caves will be flooded.

I am not sure how dense the cave networks will be, and how deep they will go. If they frequently stretches deep underground, it will significantly affect early-game resource gathering.

The easiest early-game resource gathering method right now is strip mining, and the strip mines are normally made in Y-levels 5 to 15. Y-level 4 and below is where bedrock forms, and diamonds only generate in Y-level 15 and below. Most resources also generate around that level. Thus, having strip mines at Y= 5 to 15 gives maximum returns with minimal interruptions.

As of now (1.16 and earlier), underground caves sometimes interrupt my strip mines. If the new caverns frequently goes below Y-level 15, exploration may end up being a more efficient way of resource gathering than strip mining. Even now, spelunking is a viable alternative to strip mining if you don’t want to end up with chests full of stone.

I am not a big fan of strip mining, as it is extremely boring. I can put up a podcast and listen to it while I mine, but it does not change the fact that it feels like a job. Exploring for materials is much more interesting for me. That, or building giant farms.

By the way, I am 100% certain that the amount of dwarf-themed builds will explode all over social media once the update drops, because the giant caves are just begging for those.

drip drip

Aside for regular caves, there are now also dripstone caves. They are interesting to look at, and probably fun to build in, but they don’t seem to add much into the game. Stalactites and stalagmites come with some potential for traps and mob-killing, but that’s about it.

Wait, stalagmites may actually be awesome!


In the video, a zombie died from a 4-block fall onto a stalagmite. The zombie is most likely at full health (10 hearts), and a 4-block fall will normally deal half a heart of damage. For a zombie to die from fall damage, it will have to fall from a height of 23 blocks at least.

In mob farms, quick killing is key. In most cases, killing mobs quickly will mean that previously-spawned mobs won’t be filling up the mob cap, so that the farm output gets higher. In witch farms, as witches can heal themselves with potions, killing them ASAP is very important unless you want a bunch of immortal witches clogging up your farm.

The fastest way to kill is with fall damage, as that is an instant death. However, that requires very deep holes for them to fall down and die. For example, a witch (13 hearts at full health) requires a fall from 29 blocks high or more to kill. Looking at this, it seems that using stalagmites can drastically increase damage taken from falls, which is good for me since it means I don’t have to build giant kill towers for mobs to fall to their deaths any more.

One other new thing in caves is the Amethyst Geode. In there, you can find amethyst crystals, which are needed to make telescopes.

Honestly, this is probably the least exciting part of the underground to me. Telescopes are kinda neat, but I use Optifine, which already has a zoom function. The amethyst geode blocks are pretty, and we finally have another purple block to go with purpur blocks, but that’s about it.

The Deep Dark is another new thing underground. It comes with some interesting new blocks, which I can’t wait to build with. The black block with bluish-green specks is just begging to be used in a fantasy build. The greyish, brick-like block makes for an interesting floor or wall block for most builds, so that is good as well.

The Deep Dark is also where you can find candles. This, along with the greyish brick-like blocks, means that we have more things to use for rustic and medieval builds.

Sculk sensor on the left

Of course, the big new thing from the Deep Dark is the sculk sensor, which allows for wireless redstone signal transmission in all directions. I don’t use redstone much, so I can’t really say how big an impact it will have on redstone designs, but everyone is going nuts about it.

What’s interesting is that it get activated by sound. This means footsteps, breaking/placing blocks, throwing snowballs/eggs, and a myriad of actions can cause it to send out a redstone signal, as long as they make a sound. This allows it to detect far more things than an observer. I don’t know how this will play out in the end, but it could be interesting.

And then there’s the Warden, a hulking beast that tracks you through sound, packing more health than it should and hits like a truck. And someone will find a way to cheese it to death within the first hour of its released, for sure.

And that’s it for now. There are a few more items about this update that I’ll like to go through, but that will have to be in the next article. This update contains a lot of new things that caters to a lot of different facets of Minecraft gameplay (exploring, combat, building, technical), which is honestly amazing.

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