Every Minecraft update ranked from worst to best

Minecraft updates are an exciting time for the community, we've ranked every major update to see how they stack up
Minecraft / Mojang

One of the reasons Minecraft has remained such a prominent force in gaming for so long is because it’s constantly evolving, with a team that loves and supports the game as much as possible. While major updates don’t come around as often as they used to, they’re always a time for the community to get excited for new features and ideas to be introduced to the game.

We’ve gone back through Minecraft history and looked at what every update since the 1.0 release version has looked like. We’ve then ranked them from worst to best based on both the quality and quantity of what they added to the game.

The Frostburn Update – Minecraft 1.10

Minecraft 1.10 Frostburn update
Frostburn Update / Mojang

If this update was released in the modern day, it wouldn’t be anywhere near enough to count as a major update. Exactly this happened in 2024, when Armadillos, dog armor, and new textures were added, and that wasn’t enough to constitute a major update. Things like polar bears, magma blocks, and other mob variants are nice, but they’re not enough to deserve the hype a landmark update normally comes with.

The World of Color Update – Minecraft 1.12

Minecraft 1.12 World of Color Update
World of Color Update / Mojang

This is very similar to 1.10, as it only added various colored blocks and the parrot mob to the game. It gets a little bit of edge over the Frostburn update though, as it also made other improvements like the in-game recipe book and important accessibility features like the narrator.

The Spawn Egg Update – Minecraft 1.1

Minecraft 1.1 Spawn Egg Update
Spawn Egg Update / Mojang

You have to take this one with a grain of salt, as Minecraft updates typically were a lot smaller in the early days, as they came around more regularly. Still, for the first major update following the 1.0 launch, version 1.1 doesn’t have much to shout about. Spawn Eggs are nice, but they’re a Creative-only item, so most players barely ever interact with them; same with Superflat worlds. They’re features we arguably take for granted these days, but it’s still a disappointingly small update.

The Jungle Update – Minecraft 1.2

Minecraft 1.2 Jungle Update
Jungle Update / Mojang

1.2 wasn’t much bigger than its predecessor, but what little it did add made a much bigger impact. Most important is the Jungle biome, which added a new wood type, cocoa beans, and an endless parade of people making fun treetop houses for a decade to come. On top of that is the Iron Golem, a fan-favorite mob and a speedrunner’s dream.

The Horse Update – Minecraft 1.6

Minecraft 1.6 Horse Update
Horse Update / Mojang

When an update is so small it’s named after a single feature, but to be fair, horses are a very good feature. It also earns points for a feature that is taken for granted now, Resource Packs. This overhaul to how texture packs allowed creators to include details deeper than just new texture files and it vastly improved the quality and variety of what was out there.

The Trails & Tales Update – Minecraft 1.20

Minecraft 1.20 Trails and Tales
Trails & Tales Update / Mojang

Typically the modern Minecraft updates are much grander affairs as they take roughly a year to come out, but 1.20 was an exception to this rule. Like the other updates we’ve talked about so far, nothing bad was added in the Trails & Tales Update, there just isn’t much worth shouting about. Bamboo blocks are nice, camels are nice, and the archeology system is nice, but it’s nothing groundbreaking.

The Buzzy Bees Update – Minecraft 1.15

Minecraft 1.15 Buzzy Bees
Buzzy Bees Update / Mojang

On the surface, this update appears to be the lightest on features, adding just bees, honey, and their associated features. However, it was much more important than that, as it was mostly a dedicated bug-fixing update which is something Minecraft desperately needed. The game’s still not perfect (especially Bedrock Edition), but you can never underestimate how much worse it was before the update was released.

The Wild Update – Minecraft 1.19

Minecraft 1.19 Wild Update
Wild Update / Mojang

There was a bit of disappointment when this update dropped thanks to a bit of overpromising on Mojang’s part. Plus, a big chunk of this update are features that were supposed to arrive in 1.18. Mangrove Swamps and their frogs were nice if nothing major, but the Deep Dark features dramatically altered the experience of cave diving in Minecraft, giving you something to really be scared of.

The Redstone Update – Minecraft 1.5

Redstone Update
Minecraft 1.5 Redstone Update / Mojang

There are certain areas of the community that would rank this update as one of the best, and to be fair to them, the advancements this update made in Redstone were fantastic. However, for the vast majority of us who refuse to ever touch the stuff, there wasn’t much going on. Quartz is nice though.

The Exploration Update – Minecraft 1.11

Minecraft 1.11 Exploration Update
Exploration Update / Mojang

On the surface, 1.11 seems like a one-trick pony, and while that’s somewhat true, it’s a very impressive trick. Woodland Mansions are endlessly fun to explore and have some properly challenging enemies inside – even if the world generation struggles to place them. Still, that’s not even the best thing 1.11 did, as this was the update that added Shulker Boxes. Need I say more?

The Villager Trading Update – Minecraft 1.3

Minecraft 1.3 Villager Trading Update
Villager Trading Update / Mojang

This was the first major Minecraft update that had a proper sense of hype behind it due to what it was adding. The Villager trading system was a huge deal at the time, and extremely useful thanks to how broken it was back then. On top of that, we got exciting structures for the first time in the form of Desert Pyramids and Jungle Temples to explore.

The Combat Update – Minecraft 1.9

Minecraft 1.9 Combat Update
Combat Update / Mojang

Now here we have the most controversial update of them all, which is why it sits in the dead middle of the list. The sweeping changes this update made to Minecraft’s combat system are still the subject of raging debates in the community who either love or hate the changes made. Whatever side of that argument you fall on, I urge you to put it to one side for a moment and remind yourself of the other great features this update gave us.

Most notably, an expanded End dimension, something fans had been crying for since The End was first introduced. With it came End Cities, Shulkers, the Elytra, and the ability to craft End Crystals, which ended up revolutionizing PvP in a whole different way.

The Caves & Cliffs Update Part 1 – Minecraft 1.17

Minecraft 1.17 Caves & Cliffs Part 1
Caves & Cliffs Update Part 1 / Mojang

An update so nice they did it twice, the Caves & Cliffs came with some big promises, so it was no surprise that it got split into two parts. Part 1 got the shorter end of the stick, introducing a lot of the easier ideas like Geodes, Dripstone Caves, Lush Caves, and Copper, but it didn’t come with the main thing that people were excited about Caves & Cliffs.

The Bountiful Update – Minecraft 1.8

Minecraft 1.8 the Bountiful Update
Bountiful Update / Mojang

1.8 is an example of an update where lots of little features add up to something quite enjoyable. The stone variants or diorite, andesite, and granite by be divisive among fans, but they’re a welcome addition nonetheless. Plus, it’s easy to forget that Ocean Monuments and the guardians inside them were added here, rather than in the Update Aquatic years later.

The Tricky Trials Update – Minecraft 1.21

Minecraft 1.21 Tricky Trials
Tricky Trials Update / Mojang

1.21 is the first update in a while that feels like a big deal. From the moment its features were announced I was excited, and to see how the Trial Chambers have developed into a really fun feature that you can repeat to get loot is great to see. The features added around that are fantastic too, the Mace is a brilliant weapon, the Breeze is a fun new mob, and even the new Bogged skeleton is a fun challenge with their poison-tipped arrows.

The Pretty Scary Update – Minecraft 1.4

Minecraft 1.4 Pretty Scary Update
Pretty Scary Update / Mojang

1.4 was easily the biggest hit of the early days of Minecraft, adding a boss that is still one of the most powerful things in the game. On top of that, we got some fun features that feel like Minecraft mainstays these days like Witches, Bats, and Zombie Villagers. Builders got some fresh new ideas with stone walls, flower pots, and item frames. Plus, even the more technical side got some vital commands letting you change things like difficulty, spawn points, and various other gamerules on the fly.

The Update Aquatic – Minecraft 1.13

Minecraft 1.13 Update Aquatic
Update Aquatic / Mojang

This was the first time following the Microsoft purchase of Minecraft that the team really went hard on making a landmark update feel huge in scale, and it paid off. Oceans had long been the most boring part of Minecraft, and this update did a lot to change that, adding shipwrecks, buried treasure, coral reefs, and a whole bunch of other stuff that encourages you to get out and sail the seas for loot.

The Update that Changed the World – Minecraft 1.7

Minecraft 1.7 The Update that Changed the World
The Update that Changed the World / Mojang

Before Caves & Cliffs, there was 1.7, which made welcome changes to Minecraft’s world generation system. Before you would have to spend ages finding new land, as the majority of every world was covered in ocean, but this update pulled that in, added new biomes, and generally cleaned up Minecraft’s sprawling and often glitchy worlds.

The Adventure Update – Minecraft 1.0

Minecraft 1.0 Adventure Update
Adventure Update / Mojang

The official release of Minecraft 1.0 was a massive landmark for what would eventually become the best-selling video game of all time. As for features, it was a big one, adding The End dimension and the Ender Dragon boss fight that came with it. On top of that, much of the path to get there was added, as Nether Fortresses and the Blazes within them were brand new for this update too. It helped Minecraft land with a bang and everything it gave us is still beloved to this day.

The Village & Pillage Update – Minecraft 1.14

Minecraft 1.14 Village & Pillage
Village & Pillage Update / Mojang

Not only were Villages not all that great before this update, but they were so rare that it was hardly worth the effort to seek them out. After this update they became much more common, and looked much nicer, fitting in with a great variety of biomes. The reworked trading system was fantastic too, letting you set up a full market if you wanted.

The Nether Update – Minecraft 1.16

Minecraft 1.16 Nether Update
Nether Update / Mojang

Perhaps we didn’t want to admit it, but until 2020 when this update was released, the Nether was an extremely boring place. There was very little reason to go there aside from finding a Fortress, and even that wasn’t especially exciting. This completely overhauled the entire place with new biomes, mobs, and structures, all of which were wonderfully creative and beautiful to look at. Plus, it gave us Netherite, which remains the strongest material in Minecraft, and something to strive for in the late-game.

The Caves & Cliffs Update Part 2 – Minecraft 1.18

Minecraft 1.18 Caves & Cliffs Part 2
Caves & Cliffs Update Part 2 / Mojang

This update may have only done one thing, but it is arguably the biggest improvement that has ever been added to Minecraft. Where 1.7 made changes to world generation, 1.18 essentially did away with it entirely and built up a completely new one. Dropping the bottom world limit to level -64, Minecraft’s previously cramped and boring caves became huge caverns that are a joy to explore and come in a few different varieties.

Minecraft worlds are an infinitely more beautiful place to explore now, both above and below the ground, and it’s this update that we have to thank for that.

Ryan Woodrow


Ryan Woodrow is Guides Editor for GLHF based in London, England. He has a particular love for JRPGs and the stories they tell. His all-time favorite JRPGs are the Xenoblade Chronicles games because of the highly emotive and philosophy-driven stories that hold great meaning. Other JRPGs he loves in the genre are Persona 5 Royal, Octopath Traveler, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Nier Automata, and Pokémon. He also regularly dives deep into the indie scene trying to find hidden gems and innovative ideas. Some of his favorite indie games include FTL: Faster Than Light, Thomas Was Alone, Moonlighter, Phantom Abyss, and Towerfall Ascension. More of his favorite games are Minecraft, Super Mario Odyssey, Stardew Valley, Skyrim, and XCOM 2. He has a first-class degree in Games Studies from Staffordshire University and has written for several sites such as USA Today's ForTheWin, Game Rant, The Sun, and KeenGamer. Email: ryan.woodrow@glhf.gg