Around the Block: End Highlands
Minecraft’s final frontier?
The End is Minecraft’s least-visited dimension, mostly because it’s so hard to get to. First, you’ve got to find a stronghold, which usually requires chucking a bunch of eyes of ender around. Then you’ve got to clear out that stronghold. Then you’ve got to find the portal room. Then you’ve got to fill the portal with more eyes of ender.
Then, when you finally arrive, there’s no welcoming committee – just an angry dragon. Defeat that dragon with skill, guile and a little luck, scroll heartlessly past the big long list of heroic folks who made the game you love, and then – after all that – you can finally start exploring Minecraft’s most mysterious, sinister dimension.
Today we’re going to be talking about my favourite part of that dimension. The End Highlands.
The End is split up into five different biomes. The first, confusingly, is called The End – that’s the bit where you fight the Ender Dragon. Once defeated, however, you can portal further out – to a ring of orbiting islands. The small ones are the End islands biome. The bigger ones are split into End barrens, End midlands, and finally – our goal – the End highlands.
You’ll know when you’re there because you’ll see huge forests of chorus trees, which only grow in this biome. If you’re lucky, though, you’ll see more than that – you might see a huge purple structure with glowing yellow windows. An End city, packed with shulkers, ender chests, End rods and purpur blocks.
You might even see something even rarer – a structure that looks like a ship. If you find one of these then you’re really in luck. It contains a treasure room, which holds some of the most valuable loot in the game.
Don’t marvel too long at the treasures of the End highlands, because the biome is packed with dangers. As well as the End’s omnipresent endermen (who’ll tear you block from block in an instant if you so much as look at them funny) you’ll also be assailed by shulkers, a more subtle but not less dangerous foe.
Shulkers hide in their shells and blend in easily with the End cites’ purpur blocks. They fire projectiles which inflict the Levitation status effect, causing the player to start rising into the air. That’s often quite nice, but when the effect wears off players discover that what goes up must come down, falling like a stone to the ground. With impressive natural armour and the ability to teleport, you’ll find these creatures a real pain to deal with.
If you do manage to clear out an End city, or even just a small section of one, they make great places to set up camp in the End’s lonely wastelands. With a little effort, they can even be made to feel a little like home. But beware: the eyes of the endermen will always be watching you.