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"Minecraft": 5 Reasons Caves and Cliffs Was Disappointing

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Dan K is an avid Minecraft player, who has enjoyed Mining, Crafting, Exploring, and turning NPC Villages into sprawling cities since 2011.

At Minecraft Live 2020, Mojang announced the 1.17 (at the time) Caves and Cliffs update. This update would completely overhaul world generation, add new gameplay features, and improve the game's caves and mountains. This was a highly anticipated update to the game, as many players had been waiting years for a cave update. Unfortunately, Mojang were unable to complete many of the features that were originally announced, and they opted to release Caves and Cliffs in two separate updates while delaying many of the announced features until 1.19 and beyond. While far from the worst Minecraft update of all time, these are five reasons Caves and Cliffs was disappointing.

5. A Tale of Two Updates

Originally, the Caves and Cliffs update was meant to be released as a single update in Minecraft 1.17. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench in these plans, making it impossible for developers to come together to complete the update by their original deadline. While it's hard to blame Mojang for making the choice to split the update into two parts, doing so resulted in both parts feeling slightly subpar compared to expectations. Minecraft 1.17 brought all of the new Caves and Cliffs blocks to the game without any of the world generation changes. By the time the second half of the update released, most players had already experienced much of the content that had been promised in 2020. Really, all 1.18 brought were the changes to world generation, world height/depth, and a couple of new biomes to play around in. This resulted in some players getting the full Caves and Cliffs experience around week or so after 1.18 released, with no new content to look forward to until some time in 2022. Had Mojang waited until December to release the full update at once, players would have plenty to do until 1.19.

Lush Cave

Lush Cave

4. Not Enough New Biome Variety

With all of the time that Mojang took to fully implement the Caves and Cliffs features, one would think that developers could have added some more variety to the new cave biomes. While the Mountains received five new biomes, there are only two new cave biomes. While the lush caves are beautiful and dripstone caves can be cool the first time you come across one, neither offers any new challenges or obstacles to overcome. After you've seen a couple of these caves, they become quite normal. A few more cave types (frozen caves, mushroom caves, crystal caves, etc.) would have been more than enough to make up for some of the other disappointments on this list.

3. No Azalea Wood

Caves and Cliffs brought a new tree type to Minecraft, sort of. The azalea tree is meant to signal to the player that there is a lush cave beneath the ground. While these trees have unique leaf blocks, they're made of oak wood. The azalea tree was an opportunity for Mojang to add a new wood type to the game, yet they chose to give us more of the oldest wood type in the game. This was just another disappointingly mediocre aspect of the Caves and Cliffs update.

The Warden (2020)

The Warden (2020)

2. No Warden/Deep Dark

The COVID-19 pandemic really put a damper on Mojang's plans in 2021, but in this case a minor disappointment may actually lead to better things later on. The Warden is a major mob that was announced at Minecraft Live 2021. A blind mob that lives in the deepest, darkest parts of the Minecraft world is able to materialize at a moment's notice, and it can completely waste a fully-armored player in two hits. The Warden was a highly anticipated Caves and Cliffs feature that wound up being delayed until at least 2022 in the 1.19 Wild Update. It wasn't just the mob itself that was delayed, however, as the underground biome in which the Warden can be found was also delayed, as were the sculk blocks that can be found in the Deep Dark. Fortunately, it looks like this delay has allowed developers to fully flesh out the mob and the biome, which will result in a whole new challenge for players when they are finally implemented.

This would have been awesome.

This would have been awesome.

1. Archaeology, Bundles, and Goat Horns

While players have a pretty good idea of when the Warden and Deep Dark are coming to the game, some other announced features have been delayed indefinitely. Archaeology, bundles, and goat horns were all supposed to be a part of the Caves and Cliffs update, only to be pushed back until further notice.

Archaeology was a particularly interesting feature that would have allowed players to brush away dirt, gravel, or sand blocks in search of treasures potentially hidden inside of them. Players would've had a chance to find pottery shards that could be pieced together to create vases depicting various scenes and images.

Bundles were meant to enhance inventory management in the early game, allowing players to keep different, stackable items in a single inventory space. This would have given rabbit hides a use and allowed players to better organize their inventory. Unfortunately, it seems as though developers were unable to figure out a way to get this system to work on touch-screen controlled devices. As a result, bundles were delayed until some time in the future.

Finally, goat horns likely have the best chance of being implemented in 1.19, when and if the Warden is added to the game. Some players believe that the goat horn, which plays a loud horn noise when used, will be a tool used to stun the Warden (which relies on sound to navigate the Deep Dark) in order to escape its wrath. While the goat horn technically is available on the Bedrock edition of Minecraft, it currently does not have any practical use.

While these features may or may not be coming in the future, for now they remain among Minecraft Caves and Cliffs biggest disappointments. Hopefully Mojang fleshes these features out in the future and eventually release them, but for some of these features that seems unlikely to happen.

What did you think about Minecraft Caves and Cliffs? Have you enjoyed the update or have the missing features left you feeling disappointed? Let me know in the comments section!