Valiant Villagers are victorious!

New designs! New jobs! Go behind the blocks of the biggest villager update ever!

Few things are as iconic in Minecraft as the Overworld’s very own friendly neighbour – the villager. With its distinguished brown robe, daily loitering and constant “Hrmm”-ing, villagers have always been that trusty companion to turn to in the time of need, offering fair deals to anyone willing to pay their village a visit.

But isn’t all that trading getting a little… stale? What does a baby villager who dreams of a different trading career do? Try not to grow up? Apply for a job in a different game? Hope Terraria accepts their LinkedIn request? No, no, and no again – sorry, villagers! You’re all destined to grow up to trade with players the way you always have, and that’s IT.

Or is IT? No, IT isn’t! Because with the recent release of 1.14 – the Village & Pillage update – villagers have received some wonderful new features, designs and job prospects! A change the development team thought was long overdue.

“The villagers have been in Minecraft for so long and we haven’t really done anything with them since they were added to the game,” says Agnes Larsson, developer on the Minecraft Java team, who’s been heavily involved in the villagers redesign. “It’s something we’ve wanted to do for a long time – to give them more life and feeling, and that time was now!”

Indeed it was! Because with the release of Village & Pillage, players might have noticed some changes in the towns of the Overworld. Not only has the architecture evolved, but local settlements are now teeming with life, with villagers running back and forth between their houses and their all-new job sites (more on those later!)

What’s more immediately noticeable is their appearance. After years of selling off their precious emeralds for shady materials such as rotten flesh, these villagers have finally apparently turned enough of a profit to be able to afford their own clothing. Which is weird, because whenever I walk into a store with rotten flesh they just call the police ;_;

"I want it to be fun to trade, but everyone should decide for themselves how they want to play Minecraft."

Instead of being forced to wear an orange jumpsuit like me, the villagers have a whole new look! Gone are the simple robes, replaced by characteristic outfits that are unique to a villager’s profession, but also the specific biome its village resides in.

“Biome diversity is something that we talk about a lot because exploring is a big part of Minecraft,” explains Agnes. “If the biomes are more diverse, and there are more things to explore, it will get more exciting. We often try to think about things we can do to improve exploring, and that’s not just about how the actual world looks, but also how mobs like villagers look in different biomes. It gives them more personality and feeling!”

While the visuals have played an important part in the new update, so has the evolution of trading. A goal with Village & Pillage was to refine the trading system, making it more rewarding for players to engage in. Villagers now have more levels of trading that can be improved by trading with them. As the experience bar goes up, so does the quality of deals that the villager will offer. Agnes believes that the goal with trading is that it should always be a fun experience, but not a mandatory one.

“I want it to be fun to trade, but everyone should decide for themselves how they want to play Minecraft. So if you want to trade, I think it should be a fun thing, and that you can actually get valuable resources from it. It’s the excitement of ‘OK, what can this villager trade me?’

“It’s also satisfying to level up the villagers, so you can feel that you managed to build a really good and efficient village by trading and placing work with job site blocks. It gives you clear goals to get a cool village with cool trades.”

The job site blocks are a brand new type of block specific to a villager’s profession and something they visit every day to perform their work. For example, an armorer will seek out a blast furnace, while a farmer would probably prefer to work at a nearby composter. These blocks are not only useful for villagers, but for players as well, giving them several new gameplay options and the power to control the very work flow of a village! Place the right blocks, and you’re basically a guidance counseller for the children of the village...

“When a child grows up, it will pick a profession depending on available job site blocks,” explains Agnes. “That means that the player can control what kind of village they want to have. For example, if you want a coastal village with lots of fishermen, then you place lots of barrels, which means that unemployed villagers are more likely to become fishermen. I feel that’s very Minecraft-y, because Minecraft is very creative and you can control it the way you want, and this is another way to control your world.” Sorry, villagers – your free will isn’t as important as the players!

While most of the villager occupations are old classics that has been reworked, there’s also a brand new one, mason! This mason occupation also acts as something of an introduction to the new slab and stair blocks, as well as providing the player with previously hard-to-get blocks.

“We all really wanted a mason,” says massive masonry fan, Agnes “because clay, and the different clay products, are not very common in Minecraft. There are lots of different nice decorative blocks like bricks, terracotta and glazed terracotta – so we wanted another way to obtain these without making players too overpowered.”

"I want to be a librarian in the swamp because then I’ll also have a book on my head! How fancy is that? And I also like books, and the lectern! I love the lectern!"

“I myself don’t dare to build with bricks because they feel so expensive! But I would love to use more bricks, so now I can add villagers that can trade me these things, as long as I have emeralds to pay them, which I can get from other villagers.” The system works!

In the end, the most important thing for the team has been to make the villages feel more alive. Agnes hopes that the new update will inspire everyone to experience new ways of being creative in Minecraft, as they explore the new blocks, features and villages!

But one burning question remains – if Agnes was a villager, which career would she choose?

“Ooh, that’s interesting! Hmm… first I’m like ‘What items do I prefer?’ but on the other hand I sell those items, so I don’t get them myself, right? It also depends on where I live. I’d want to live in the swamp because I want to have the lily pad on my head, which is a the perfect hat, and very fancy! At the same time, I love the book hat of the librarian…

“Yes! I want to be a librarian in the swamp because then I’ll also have a book on my head! How fancy is that? And I also like books, and the lectern! I love the lectern! This was an important question!”

I couldn’t agree more! Great job, me! Which leads me into the moral of today’s article: In the end, we should all try to embrace our inner villager and find the job site block that makes us happy. I for one, would make a truly terrific nitwit. Time to start practising those “Hrmm’s”...

Per Landin