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Meet the Piglins

The gold-hoarding hogs of the Nether

Otherworldly biomes, rich alien wildlife, and never-before-seen blocks just waiting to be mined. The newly updated Nether is a realm of untold resources, but also a realm of troublesome mobs that will make your stay as frustrating as possible. We’re not talking about the Ghasts, Wither skeletons, or Blazes (you wish)! We’re talking about the new faction in town – your nefarious Nether neighbors: the Piglins.

Who are these obnoxious oinkers, what are they doing in the Nether, and who thought it was a good idea to add competition for our precious resources?!

“The reason why we added Piglins was because we wanted to bring more life to the Nether, and also to add a bit of culture and humor,” explains Minecraft developer and esteemed Piglinotologist Henrik Kniberg. “As a new player going into the Nether, the Piglins probably kick your butt if you’re not careful!”

Piglins can be found all over the Nether, especially around bastion remnants where they gather in large numbers. While Piglins may look harmless, they’re extremely protective of what’s theirs and won’t hesitate to give explorers a good bonk on the noggin if they cross a certain line – something that many players have already learned the hard way in recent Snapshots.

“If you open a chest near a Piglin, they will assume you’re a thief and attack you, even if it’s technically your chest,” says Henrik. “That means you can never completely relax when you’re around them. It’s very easy to forget this, even for me as a developer who coded that feature! But that’s what we want – players not being 100% comfortable around Piglins.”

"All these weird, random things can happen which makes it very interesting."

Dealing with grumpy neighbors (the kind that arm themselves with golden swords and crossbows) is never easy, but don’t let their unpredictability and overprotective nature discourage you. Piglins may not be as well-mannered as the Overworld’s Villagers, nor will they appreciate you for your witty comments, but there’s one thing they’ll do just about anything for: gold.

“As a player you want to wear gold to make sure they don’t attack you. You can also use gold ingots for bartering,” says Henrik. “But you should also keep in mind that they will get upset if they find you mining gold, because they think all the gold is theirs. So be careful when mining gold in the Nether.”

A Piglin’s fascination with gold is just one of the many unique behaviors that they possess. They also hunt Hoglins, battle Wither skeletons, and have a peculiar fear of soul fire. When these behaviors are exposed to the other residents of the Nether, you get all sorts of weird and random encounters.

“I would sometimes almost fall off my chair laughing (confirmed by the team) when we prototyped the Piglin behaviors and experienced different scenarios. It could be things like running away from Piglins, throwing gold to distract them, only to see that there’s a Hoglin attacking you. Suddenly the Piglins start hunting the Hoglin and now you think you’re safe but then something happens and the Piglins are mad at you again. All these weird, random things can happen which makes it very interesting.”

Another important mechanic is bartering, a new trade system that allows the player to exchange gold for valuable items such as crying obsidian or soul speed boots. Bartering works differently than the Villager trade system and has a more straightforward approach: there’s no trade window –  just throw a gold ingot at a nearby Piglin, and they will repay you with an item of their own.

Luckily, the loot that the Piglins offer can be quite substantial. When designing the trading mechanic, the developer team wanted bartering to have a bit of strategy to it with varied rewards. However, balancing it was a challenge. To figure this out, they reached out to the community to ask for feedback.

“The number of responses was in the thousands,” Henrik recalls. “There were even dedicated YouTube videos discussing it, which had an avalanche of replies in their comment sections. A lot of them were quite interesting and useful. It made me feel that we were not alone in building this feature – we have thousands and thousands of co-designers in our player community.”

Desperate to establish relations with these bartering boars? Good, because the wait is almost over! Whether you want to make the Piglins your allies or conquer their fortified homes, one thing is certain: once the update hits the Nether, bring gold… lots of gold.

Per Landin
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Per Landin

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