Around the Block: Badlands

Actually pretty goodlands!

Minecraft’s badlands are one of the most popular biomes in the game, and for good reason. The glorious multi-coloured canyons and mesas make for a stunning backdrop, while the sandy plains in between provide easy navigation and flat land for building. The weather is pretty great too. If you can find a badlands biome, it’s one of the best places to set up home.

Players first saw Minecraft’s badlands in a tweet from Jeb in 2013, where he referred to them as “disco mountains”. They became a part of the game shortly after that - in October 2013’s The Update that Changed the World. Originally the biome was called “Mesa”, but it was renamed to “Badlands” in 2018’s Update Aquatic.

You’ll recognise a badlands biome instantly when you come across one. Look for large flat-topped mountains made of multicoloured terracotta, with red sand covering the land in between. They’re rather rare, but more likely to be found next to desert and savannah, so if you’re hunting for one then that’s a good place to start.

There’s not a whole lot of flora to be found – you’ll come across plenty of cacti and dead bushes, but only the occasional patch of trees and grass. If you’re moving into a badlands biome, then it’s a good idea to bring some saplings and seeds with you to set up an orchard and garden. Water is also rather rare, which can make large-scale farming more difficult – but grand rivers can sometimes be found, slicing through the landscape.

You’ll also find few wild animals. Badlands biomes are home to no passive mobs, like sheep, cows, pigs, or chickens. Even rabbits, which eke out a living in desert biomes, stay away from badlands. The same isn’t true of hostile mobs like spiders, skeletons, zombies, and creepers, which will quite happily spawn in large numbers if you don’t light up the area around your home.

So why would you want to move there? One word – gold. There is much more gold ore to be found in badlands than in any other biome, and it generates much closer to the surface. As you’re exploring, you’ll undoubtedly come across abandoned mineshafts, where former travellers have dug out large underground tunnels in search of treasure.

As well as the standard badlands biome, there are five variations that can be found. Badlands plateaus are large, flat-topped hills with steep edges and narrow canyons. Modified badlands plateaus are a little smaller, with harsher terrain. If you need wood, search out a wooded badlands plateau – where oak trees have colonised the top of a hill, or a modified variant, which still has trees but not so many.

Finally, the eroded badlands biome is the most spectacular of all – with large, narrow spires called “Hoodoos” that mimic the stunning rock formations found in the real world in places like Utah, Alberta, Turkey, Armenia, Taiwan, and Serbia. These spires are formed by erosion – gradual smoothing of soft rock by wind, rain, and ice, over millions of years.

One last useful thing to know is that it never rains in badlands biomes, making lightning strikes impossible. The sky will still darken during stormy weather, and lightning can hit the river biomes that cut through badlands, but as long as you stay in the red, sandy terrain you shouldn’t ever get struck by lightning.

Have you made the badlands your home, either by building a free-standing house or digging into one of the mesas? Tweet us a photo at @minecraft! We’d love to see it!

Duncan Geere
Written By
Duncan Geere
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