Dungeons September Dev Blog
A tour of the new free game update
Greetings! I’m Måns, Game Director for Minecraft Dungeons. With our new Creeping Winter DLC finally out, we'd like to take the opportunity to talk about some of the free new features we’ve released alongside it. We also want to share some development details and insights into why we’re introducing these features, which include:
The Lively Village – A market filled with new merchants
Daily Trials – New mode with exclusive rewards
Buzzing Bees – New content to help support underused playstyles
The team and I couldn’t be more thrilled to share this information with you, so without further ado, let’s dive right into it!
The Lively Village
We’ve wanted to expand Minecraft Dungeons’ emerald and item economy for some time – which is something we've also heard in community feedback. In this update we’re introducing several new merchants to the camp – each with their own little quest that ties into your character’s progression. As you complete these quests, the merchants level up, eventually turning your camp into a small village. We want to be clear that these new merchants strictly trade in emeralds – there are no microtransactions involved in purchasing their goods or obtaining their services.
Our first new merchant sells common and rare items at an affordable price. If you haven’t played the game before, you’ll need to unlock the village merchant by rescuing them in one of the game’s missions.
When you first unlock the Village Merchant, they’ll only sell two items. By rescuing more villagers, your reputation with them increases, which will make the Village Merchant expand their inventory with more item slots.
Whenever you complete a mission, the Village Merchant’s stock is refreshed and new items become available for purchase. You can also restock by paying an emerald fee that increases every time you restock without completing a mission. If you see an item that you want to buy but can’t afford yet, you can reserve it. That item will stay in the shop until you decide to uncheck it.
The Luxury Merchant works similarly to the Village Merchant, with one exception: once unlocked, they sell higher quality rare and unique items, at a much higher price. They start with only a single item slot available, but will gain two more if you manage to defeat powerful mobs, such as Endermen or Redstone Golems.
Similarly to the merchants that existed before this update, the Mystery Merchant sells random items from one of several categories: melee weapon, ranged weapon, armor, artifact, or any. The items obtained can be of any rarity, with common items appearing at the highest frequency.
Like the other merchants, the Mystery Merchant has a limited number of items for sale each time you visit the camp, and restocks their inventory after you complete a mission. They initially have two slots available. To unlock more, you’ll have to defeat enchanted mobs.
The Gift Wrapper is a merchant I’m personally very excited about. They bring something new to multiplayer sessions – the ability to share items with your friends!
Once unlocked, this merchant will gift wrap up to one item for you every time you return to camp (for a few emeralds, of course). When gift-wrapping an item, you must also choose a player currently in your lobby to be the recipient of it. The item will be rerolled to a suitable power for the receiving player, and any invested enchantment points are returned to you. Once gifted, an item cannot be offered to another player.
Last, but not least, my personal favorite: the Blacksmith! The goal of this merchant is to give players a way to hang on to their favourite items while still encouraging experimentation with other items, builds and playstyles.
The Blacksmith can upgrade items, but it comes with a catch: the player must complete three successful missions before the process is complete. As you begin the upgrade, any enchantment points spent on the item are returned, and once it has been upgraded its power is rerolled to match what other merchants are currently selling you. The rerolled item can never be less powerful than its previous form, and the enchantments always stay the same.
Initially, the Blacksmith can only upgrade one item at a time, but once you defeat the Arch-Illager on Default and Adventure, you can unlock additional upgrade slots.
Daily trials is a new concept that we’re introducing with this patch. It brings variety to existing missions using fun, wacky rulesets. For example: one mission (which we internally call “everything explodes”) replaces all your arrows with Fireworks Arrows, while the melee mobs are replaced with Creepers.
We had two goals in mind when we designed this feature: to give players something new and exciting to do in the game over time, and to introduce a way to get rarer, more powerful gear and artifacts.
There are several daily trials every day; two on the mainland, as well as one for each DLC island. The trials are based on existing missions, and will be accessible if you’ve completed the corresponding base mission. Once you complete a given daily trial, you cannot start it again. However, you can join a friend who’s playing one!
Daily trials are our first step towards an improved endgame, but certainly not the last! There are many different rulesets, and we’re planning on adding more in future patches. We also have ambitious plans for how we can give returning players exciting things to do over the next few patches. More information will be revealed during our upcoming Minecraft Live show, so stay tuned!
The end-of-mission reward for a daily trial is usually a random rare or unique gear piece or artifact, with a power level slightly above what you’d normally find at your recommended difficulty. If you’ve reached Apocalypse VII, you’ll be able to find trial rewards with a power level beyond what you’ve seen before. Mid-mission drops during trials don’t get this extra power boost. However, each level has trial-specific drops, and for some missions that includes one of four all-new pieces of gear: Ghostly Armor, Beenest Armor, Rapier, and Burst Crossbow.
An Epic Challenge
Difficulty-wise, each trial has a fixed challenge level that’s higher than what you’ve completed so far on your character. Trials come in three challenge varieties: “hard challenge”, “harder challenge”, and “epic challenge” – adding one to three levels of difficulty on top of whatever you’re used to playing. On top of that, the custom rules for each trial introduce both positive and negative effects. The reasoning behind this is that daily trials should be something you have to plan for. Does the trial give you special arrows? If so, perhaps you want to equip a Rapid Crossbow
New Content & Buzzing Bees
This patch also introduces many new weapons, armor pieces, artifacts, and enchantments. Whenever we introduce new content, we look at existing playstyles to figure out which one could use more support. We also look at what has happened recently in vanilla Minecraft to see if some ideas or concepts would work well in Minecraft Dungeons.
Internally, we refer to playstyles as archetypes. In this update, we decided to focus on three archetypes that felt a little lacking in comparison to our other playstyles: Acrobat, Summoner, and Soul. Acrobat is what we call characters that focus on high mobility, use rolling to great effect, and want to weave in and out of combat. Summoner, on the other hand, is a playstyle that cares about pets. Soul cares about the use of souls; they build up power over time, and then release it in significant surges of power, making their power curve “spikier” than other builds.
Luckily, we found a theme that recently featured in a well-received Minecraft update and which we could tie into both the Acrobat and Summoner archetypes: Bees! As you’ll see below, many of the new items and enchantments are connected to bees in one way or another.
A Note on Artifacts
When it comes to artifacts, we found that the Acrobat archetype already had a fair amount of support (Light Feather, Boots of Swiftness, etc). Light Feather now also counts as a roll, which can help create additional Acrobat synergies. For the Summoner and Soul archetypes, on the other hand, we identified a lack of tools in the form of artifacts, so we’re introducing new artifacts specifically for these playstyles.
Artifact: Soul Lantern
The Soul Lantern caters to both the Summoner and Soul archetypes by letting you spend souls to summon an entity that attacks your enemies at range. Whether you’re a Summoner, a Soul user – or both – the Soul Lantern should be a fun new addition to these playstyles.
Artifact: Buzzy Nest
Buzzy Nest is an artifact that functions as a totem. When placed on the ground, it summons a bee every few seconds. Bees remain close to Buzzy Nest or other players, and occasionally sting opponents. After a short while – or after a certain number of attacks – the bees will disappear.
Trial Exclusive Gear: Rapier
The Rapier is a weapon with incredibly quick attacks, a powerful finishing blow, and a short reset timer. Using it requires both dexterity and planning: if you want to double down on hit triggers like Thundering, you can pause to let the combo sequence reset and maximize your number of quick attacks. On the other hand, if you’d like to defeat a specific mob, perhaps you’ll hold down the attack button, finish the sequence, and use that powerful final attack, albeit with a longer cooldown.
Trial Exclusive Gear: Burst Crossbow
The Burst Crossbow fires multiple arrows with a short delay in between each arrow. It sits somewhere between Dual Crossbows and Scatterbow in terms of functionality. It’s a powerful choice for builds with special arrows, or in a daily trial where every arrow is turned into a Fireworks Arrow.
Trial Exclusive Gear: Beenest Armor
The Beenest Armor is an exciting new piece of armor that sometimes spawns bees when you get hit. Who doesn’t like a good bee? I know I’m certainly buzzing with excitement! The armor also turns your health potion into an area effect, just like the Wolf Armor.
Trial Exclusive Gear: Ghostly Armor
Of all the new items, the Ghostly Armor is my personal favorite! Besides giving incoming attacks a chance to miss, it lets you roll through enemies as if using a Ghost Cloak artifact. You also take significantly reduced damage during this roll. I think this helps open up some fun builds based around rolling!
Enchantment: Busy Bee
Busy Bee is a new melee enchantment that sometimes spawns bees as you defeat enemies. Perfect for any Summoner. Bzz!
Dynamo is an enchantment for the Acrobat archetype that can be applied to both melee and ranged weapons. It adds a fixed amount of damage to your next attack every time you roll. This stacks indefinitely, meaning that if you roll two hundred times, you get two hundred stacks of extra damage on your next attack with that weapon. I can’t imagine anybody would try to misuse this perfectly reasonable mechanic, so I’m very eager to see this pan out exactly as we’d planned.
Enchantment: Burst Bowstring
A ranged enchantment that is exclusive to bows, and perfect for Acrobats. It fires multiple charged arrows at nearby enemies when you roll, while only costing one arrow (though each arrow has reduced damage). It’s ammo-effective, synergizes well with special arrows, and gives you another thing to do while rolling. What’s not to love?
The namesake of the Acrobat archetype, the Acrobat enchantment reduces the cooldown of your rolls, letting you move quickly across the world and giving you more triggers for Dynamo, Burst Bowstring, Electrified, and other enchantments in the same vein.
Tumblebee is an armor enchantment that has a chance to spawn bees as you roll. It's great for summoners and acrobats alike!
Enchantment: Bag of Souls
Finally, we’re adding an enchantment for the Soul archetype, that massively increases how many souls you can carry at once. This lets you save up an incredible amount of souls, and later unleash them with, say, a Corrupted Beacon. Bzz! Er- Swoosh!
That’s all we have for now. I hope you’ve enjoyed these insights into all our new features in Minecraft Dungeons. As always, we welcome your feedback, and we would love to hear your thoughts! For more information, visit our feedback site!
I'm looking forward to seeing these updates in action – happy dungeoneering!
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- Måns Olson