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What you need to know about the ‘Caves and Cliffs Update’ for Minecraft

Minecraft Caves And Cliffs Update Cave GenerationSource: Mojang Studios

Minecraft is a constantly evolving game, gaining meaningful new features and changes continuously over the years since its debut. The Minecraft of today is not the same game as ten years ago, or even last year. This means we’re always looking to the next chapter in Minecraft’s long and colorful story. After the colossal success that is the Nether Update, we now know what the next major update for Minecraft will be. What would usually be two separate releases will be combined into a massive update filled with features, changes, and more.

The Caves and Cliffs Update is heading to Minecraft later this year. As the name implies, this update will focus on revamping the tallest peaks and the lowest caves in Minecraft with new ways to play.

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Here’s everything you need to know about the Caves and Cliffs Update for Minecraft:

A gaming masterpiece

Minecraft Bedrock Edition


Available everywhere you play.

Minecraft is an inarguable and complete success. It has sold copies in the hundreds of millions, has a huge following of dedicated players, and lets you unlock your every creative desire. It’s also available on every platform imaginable, including Xbox One, Windows 10, Playstation 4, and Nintendo Switch. Play with anyone, and play anywhere.

What is the Caves and Cliffs Update for Minecraft?

The Caves and Cliffs update was officially announced at Minecraft Live 2020 and combines massive changes for two integral parts of Minecraft: caves that tunnel deep underground and mountains that tower high into the air. The first part of this has been heavily requested by the Minecraft players for years, while the latter was already known about when the community voted for mountains to be updated at Minecon 2019.

Mojang Studios decided to shake things up this time around, however, by forgoing a smaller “in-between” update like the Buzzy Bees Update and instead leaped from the massive Nether Update to the even more extensive Caves and Cliffs Update.

The Caves and Cliffs Update for Minecraft has two primary goals:

  • Reimagine mountains with more dramatic, visually appealing vistas and new reasons for players to visit
  • Evolve caves and mining with new features, mechanics, and more ways for players to have fun

The Caves and Cliffs Update aims to do this with massively altered world generation for mountain biomes and cave systems, brand-new cave biomes, and a whole suite of brand-new features, mobs, ores, items, and so much more. The Caves and Cliffs Update’s headlining features are enough to excite any Minecraft player on their own, but countless more minor additions and improvements surround them.

Because of the scale of the Caves and Cliffs Update, however, it’s going to take longer than average for this update to be completed. Mojang Studios is already hard at work on the Caves and Cliffs Update and has even started testing numerous features on Minecraft: Bedrock Edition betas and Minecraft: Java Edition snapshots.

When is the release date for the Caves and Cliffs Update for Minecraft?

Minecraft Caves And Cliffs Update Mountain Image

Source: Mojang Studios

Release window: Summer 2021

Right now, the Caves and Cliffs Update for Minecraft does not have a definitive release date. There’s still a ton of work that Mojang Studios needs to do to develop, test, and tweak the Caves and Cliffs Update before it launches to Minecraft players all over the world. Right now, Mojang Studios is testing specific Caves and Cliffs Update features through Minecraft: Java Edition snapshots and the “Experimental Features” toggle in Minecraft: Bedrock Edition betas.

The full Caves and Cliffs Update is still a ways away from entering full testing with insiders, and even then, Mojang Studios will have to fix and tweak a bunch of things before the update is entirely ready. We’re many months away at this point. Many Minecraft players have barely scratched the surface of the Nether Update. Beyond that, the Caves and Cliffs Update is truly gigantic for a Minecraft Update.

Right now, all we have is a release window: the Caves and Cliffs Update for Minecraft is currently slated to release at some point in Summer 2021. This means any time up until August of this year. Of course, the ongoing at-home work environments and shifts in how game developers need to work mean a delay isn’t an impossibility. Many games have already been delayed this year, and that’s honestly going to be the case for much of 2021.

We’ll continue to update this section as Mojang Studios tests the Caves and Cliffs Update and releases more information. You can also bookmark our guide on the Caves and Cliffs Update for Minecraft release date for even faster access to the latest news.

What new features will be added in the Caves and Cliffs Update for Minecraft?

Minecraft Caves And Cliffs Update Copper

Source: Mojang Studios

Now that Mojang Studios is starting to properly test and introduce features from the Caves and Cliffs Update for Minecraft, there’s a lot to discuss! You can comfortably divide everything from the Caves and Cliffs Update into three categories: caves, mountains, and all the other miscellaneous features and improvements. Just for fun, we also have a wishlist of the features we’d love to see in the Caves and Cliffs Update for Minecraft (or any other future Minecraft) update.

Here are all of the new features you need to know about in the Caves and Cliffs Update for Minecraft:


Caves haven’t changed all the much since their inception in Minecraft, despite being a core pillar of the Minecraft experience (literally putting the “mine” in “Minecraft”). Fans of Mojang Studio’s open-world sandbox have been clamoring for a caves-centered refresh for ages, and we’re finally getting what we’ve been asking for. The Caves and Cliffs Update absolutely appears to focus more on the “caves” side of things with lots of new features, ways to play, and entirely new gameplay systems.

Here’s what you need to know about caves in the Caves and Cliffs Update for Minecraft:

Improved cave generation

One of the biggest changes in the Caves and Cliffs Update for Minecraft is world generation. Players can expect caves to become exceptionally more diverse and natural-looking without taking away from the mining experience. Mojang Studios is updating quite a few factors when it comes to generating caves in Minecraft, including:

  • Increased world depth. Right now, the world bottoms out at 0 on the y-axis, where players will run into an impenetrable layer of bedrock. With the Caves and Cliffs Update, Minecraft is lowering the depth of the world all the way to -64, a massive increase in depth!
  • New cave formations. On top of the way Minecraft already generates caves, the Caves and Cliffs Update is adding two new kinds of caves: cheese caves and spaghetti caves. Silly names aside (there’s a technical reason for the names), these new cave formations are the most noticeable additions to caves in Minecraft.
    • Cheese caves. The first new cave formation is cheese caves, which are large open areas. Cheese caves can be massive in size and come in all kinds of shapes!
    • Spaghetti caves. The second new cave formation is spaghetti caves, which are narrow passageways. Spaghetti caves connect and intertwine between cheese caves and regular caves.
  • Local water levels. One of the most exciting developments in the Caves and Cliffs Update is local water levels. That means players can run into naturally-forming underground lakes and rivers inside of caves instead of random water blocks every now and then.
  • Deep Dark. Mojang Studios is dropping the world’s maximum depth by a considerable amount, but that’s not all they’re doing. Now, the lowest areas of Minecraft are no longer predominantly filled with stone (cobblestone, when mined). Mojang Studios is introducing deepslate, a dark-colored block that functionally behaves exactly like stone / cobblestone, but is tougher, takes longer to mine, and features a different appearance.
  • Ore distribution. Alongside all of these changes, Mojang Studios is making some pretty big changes to the way ores like iron, coal, and diamond generate in the world. The exact differences aren’t set in stone yet, but mining is about to be changed in a big way.

New cave biomes

Alongside much-improved world generation for caves and more room underground, Mojang Studios is introducing brand-new cave biomes in the Caves and Cliffs Update. This is a big addition, as caves have previously not had biomes (nor have they ever been considered biomes). This further adds to the diversity being brought with the Caves and Cliffs Update. Right now, there are three new biomes that we know of.

  • Dripstone caves. The first new biome in the Caves and Cliffs Update for Minecraft is dripstone caves. This takes the “cave” feeling in Minecraft and ramps it up to 11 with brand-new dripstone. Dripstone blocks slowly from pointed dripstone stalagmites above or stalactites below them over time, which can damage players if you fall into them. Pointed dripstone can be mined and can even slowly fill cauldrons with water or lava if there’s a source block above them (idea for an infinite potion or furnace fuel source?).

Minecraft Caves And Cliffs Update Lush Caves

Minecraft Caves And Cliffs Update Lush CavesSource: Mojang Studios | Twitter

  • Lush caves. With the new lush caves, Minecraft once again dips into the realm of impossibility with a biome full of life and green – completely underground. Lush caves are filled with all kinds of new foliage and life, including moss, cave vines, glow berries, azalea bushes, and more. They’re beautiful, can be extremely bright, and meld wonderfully with the new kinds of cave formations.
  • Crystal geodes. Crystal geodes aren’t exactly full biomes, but they still deserve a place here. Crystal geodes are rare and gorgeous containers sprinkled through Minecraft’s underground world. Crystals slowly form over time inside crystal geodes and can be used to craft useful items like lenses for telescopes. Crystal geodes will be hard to find but worth the effort.

New ores & blocks

As expected, there’s an absurd number of new blocks coming to caves in the Caves and Cliffs Update for Minecraft. A large portion of the new blocks are only present in lush cave biomes, but there’s seriously a lot to take in. We’ll keep updating this section as we learn more about every new block, and if any more are added, so make sure to keep checking in!

  • Deepslate. Deepslate is probably the biggest single new block being added in the Caves and Cliffs Update, as it’s going to completely replace stone at the lowest levels of the world (known as Deep Dark). Just like with stone, deepslate drops a cobbled variant known as cobbled deepslate (shocker) when mined, and also has polished and chiseled variants. Cobbled deepslate can be used to craft anything cobblestone can, including stairs, walls, and slabs. Deepslate takes longer to mind than cobblestone does and features a darker texture. Every ore has also been updated with new textures for when they’re in deepslate, and the result is great.
  • Dripstone / pointed dripstone. The headlining feature of the new dripstone cave biome is, well, dripstone. Dripstone blocks slowly create pointed dripstone over time, otherwise known as stalagmites and stalactites. Pointed dripstone can be mined and repurposed, and has a couple of uses. Pointed dripstone deals increased fall damage when players or mobs fall on it, and drips water or lava when there’s a source block directly above it. You can even use it to refill cauldrons.
  • Copper ore. A new ore is coming in the Caves and Cliffs Update with copper. Copper ore can be mined and smelted into ingots just like iron or gold ore, and can either be crafted into a variety of building blocks like stairs and slabs or used for crafting new items like the very useful lightning rod. Copper also has an extremely unique effect in Minecraft: oxidization. Just like in real life, copper will slowly change color over time from its traditional coppery hue to a more subdued green. Players can use honeycomb from bees to wax copper and “freeze” it in time at its current oxidization level.
  • Crystal. Crystal is pretty much the entirety of the new crystal geodes biome. There are crystal blocks that can’t really be mined, but can form crystals over time. These valuable crystals can be mined and used to craft new items like the new telescope.
  • Sculk sensors. Found in the lowest portions of the Deep Dark, the sculk sensor is an incredibly unique block that will be invaluable to redstone fanatics. This block can detect sounds in Minecraft as vibrations, and emits a redstone signal that varies in strength depending on the volume of the sound detected. Sculk sensors are also related to a terrifying new mob that resembles it in appearance…
  • Small dripleaf / big dripleaf. Everything from here on out pretty much stems solely from the lush caves biome in the Caves and Cliffs Update. Dripleaf is a new kind of foliage that only grows in lush caves. Small dripleaf is purely decorative, but big dripleaf is very functional and can be used as an effective climbing tool. However, big dripleaf slowly collapses under weight, sending anything perched on top of it down below. You can bone-meal small dripleaf to turn it into big dripleaf.
  • Rooted dirt / moss. Rooted dirt is a new kind of dirt block only present in lush caves, and is used to decide where hanging roots appear. Azalea trees (which already exist) love growing on top of rooted dirt. Moss is also very common in lush caves on top of other blocks, while moss carpet is an entire block made out of, well, moss. Random vegetation can grow on moss carpet.
  • Hanging roots / spore blossoms. Hanging roots can grow out of rooted dirt in lush caves, and feature flowery spore blossoms. These are mostly decorative.
  • Azalea leaves / flowering azalea leaves. Azalea leaves and flowering azalea leaves are new decorative blocks that appear in lush caves. They look really nice, and make for great “bushes.” If you desire to destroy them, you can use azalea leaves as furnace fuel.
  • Cave vines / glow berries. Cave vines have a chance of growing on blocks in lush caves, and can grow glow berries (you can also bone-meal cave vines to grow glow berries). Glow berries give off a decent source of light, can be eaten, and can also be used to lure and breed foxes like sweet berries can. If you have glow berries, you can also use them to grow cave vines on the underside of most blocks. Cave vines are climbable.

New mobs

  • Axolotl. The Caves and Cliffs Update is slated to add four new mobs to the game. The first of which is the axolotl, a passive mob that lives in lush cave biomes. Axolotl can be attached to leads or lured with tropical fish, attack fish, squid, and glow squid, and can even be lured to attack drowned and guardians for players. Axolotl can also play dead when they’re attacked and regain health, a unique ability that makes them dangerous to underwater enemies. Axolotl also come in a variety of different colors.
  • Warden. Another new mob being added in the Caves and Cliffs Update is the terrifying Warden. This new boss-like mob lives in the Deep Dark, far underground, and is completely blind. Instead of sight, the Warden finds its way around the dark caves it lives in using sound. That’s right, the Warden is an entirely new mob built around the new sound system in Minecraft, where sounds actually make vibrations that can be detected by the Warden and sculk sensors. Be careful around Wardens, as they’re very powerful.


We’ve gone over pretty much everything we know about the “caves” half of the Caves and Cliffs Update for Minecraft. That being said, Mojang Studios always slides in extra new features and changes that we don’t know about until they’re, well, here. The Caves and Cliffs Update is absolutely massive, especially for caves in Minecraft, so we’re expecting even more additions.


While caves are definitely receiving the brunt of major changes and additions in the Caves and Cliffs Update, Mojang Studios is still introducing some key changes to mountains in Minecraft. Mountains will be much more dramatic, and feel more alive and dynamic in your Minecraft worlds.

Here’s what you need to know about mountains in the Caves and Cliffs Update for Minecraft:

Improved mountain generation

  • Increased world height. Much like how the world limits in Minecraft are being lowered to make room for new caves and the Deep Dark, the world limits are also being increased. Mountains are being given much more room to generate, all the way up to 256 blocks! Because this is the world’s current maximum height, Mojang Studios is increasing the world limit to 320. Now the world starts at -64 and goes all the way up to 320.
  • More diverse and dramatic generation. Now that mountains have more room to be themselves, they’re getting a full makeover in the Caves and Cliffs Update for Minecraft. Mountains will be larger, with significantly more diverse and dramatic generation of cliffs, crevices, peaks, and more. It’s all in the details, as well, like how mountains won’t generate snow on extremely steep slopes. The idea is for mountains to offer incredible views and vistas in Minecraft and actually feel like proper mountains, which they do not at the moment.
  • Varying snow levels. Part of this update is to also change the way that snow works. Snow has already been tweaked before in previous Minecraft updates, but Mojang Studios is taking that to a new level in the Caves and Cliffs Update. Snow has more varied levels, and there’s a new powder snow block that can actually trap mobs and players if they’re not careful!

New blocks

Minecraft Caves And Cliffs Update Mountain Generation

Source: Mojang Studios

  • Powder snow. The aforementioned powder snow block is being added to mountain tops, and is a deceptively dangerous block. Besides its goal to make mountains appear more mountain-y, powder snow also possesses a unique ability – much like it happens in real life, entities on top of powder snow will sink into it. Players and mobs can become trapped in powder snow and even begin to freeze if they’re not careful.

New mobs

Minecraft Caves And Cliffs Update Goat

Minecraft Caves And Cliffs Update GoatSource: Mojang Studios | Twitter and Mojang Studios

  • Mountain goats. Another new mob being added in the Caves and Cliffs Update for Minecraft is the mountain goat. This adorable passive mob resides near the top of massive mountain peaks and jumps effortlessly from treacherous foothold to treacherous foothold. Mountain goats don’t have to worry about powder snow or falling, and they’re also able to defend themselves with aggressive headbutts. Watch out!


It’s obvious that caves are receiving the brunt of the attention in the Caves and Cliffs Update for Minecraft, but I’d still be shocked if Mojang Studios didn’t have a little more hidden up their sleeves when it comes to revamping mountains. The mountain biome hasn’t received much love in a long while. New world generation is an incredible improvement, but we still want to see more reasons for players to actually visit these majestic peaks.

Other changes & additions

There’s also going to be lots of changes like new items and gameplay improvements that aren’t explicitly “Cave” or “Cliff” sided. These are the changes that will make Minecraft feel fresh and fun even if you’re not in one of the two newly updated biomes, and seek to add on top of Minecraft’s already-deep gameplay mechanics.

The other features in the Caves and Cliffs Update include:


  • Archeology. One of the wild cards from the Caves and Cliffs Update for Minecraft is the new archeology system. This is an all-new game system that completely upheaves the traditional “break stuff with pickaxe” mining system that’s existed in Minecraft since its creation. Instead, archeology has players use copper brushes to carefully sweep away blocks to reveal ceramic shards, emeralds, diamonds, and more.
  • Archeology sites. Minecraft will add dedicated archeology sites to Minecraft in the Caves and Cliffs Update, and these locations will presumably be the only places you can do archeology. These new structures will have dedicated blocks for players to excavate.
  • Ceramic pots. One of the biggest additions with archeology is new ceramic shards, which depict all kinds of different art and patterns. Using these ceramic shards, players will apparently be able to decorate custom ceramic flower pots.


  • Lightning rods. Lightning storms in Minecraft are loud, beautiful, and kind of terrifying. When you build in a mountain biome or above a certain altitude, flammable blocks like wood and wool can be struck with lightning and set on fire. No more! The lightning rod, crafted with the new copper ore, attracts all lightning strikes in a certain radius, gives a redstone signal when struck, and can even de-oxidate copper in the immediate area.
  • Telescopes. Another addition to Minecraft in the Caves and Cliffs Update is telescopes, which are crafted using crystals from crystal geodes. Telescopes allow you to see far off in the distance, which can be extremely useful for scouting new locations or structures.
  • Copper brushes. This last item in the Caves and Cliffs Update isn’t well-known, but is a new tool that goes along with the archeology system. It seems there will be copper wired brushes that are a requirement for archeology, and allows you to brush away debris from hidden treasures inside archeology sites.


  • Sound vibrations. One of the biggest hidden changes in Minecraft is a different approach to sound. Instead of sounds in Minecraft solely being reactionary bytes of noise, sound will actually give off vibrations in the Caves and Cliffs Update. The louder the sound, the stronger the vibration (just like in the real world!). The reason for this change is simple: sound vibrations allow for all-new approaches to redstone contraptions. Plus, the new Warden mob navigates using sound vibrations.
  • Sculk sensors. The sculk sensor block is found in the Deep Dark, and is how players will be able to design new redstone machines using sound vibrations. The sculk sensor is a unique block that can detect any sound vibrations in a certain radius around it and transform it into a redstone signal. The stronger the vibration, the stronger the redstone signal. This opens up a ton of avenues for traps and more with redstone. I can’t wait to see what people accomplish with this block!

New mobs

Minecraft Caves And Cliffs Update Glow Squid

Minecraft Caves And Cliffs Update Glow SquidSource: Mojang Studios | Twitter

  • Glow squid. The victor of the Minecraft Live mob vote, the glow squid is the latest mob addition to the Caves and Cliffs Update for Minecraft. This swimmy boi shines brightly underwater, and is an entirely passive mob. However, their glow ink sacs allow for clever crafting possibilities like glowing sign text and item frames. On top of that, it’s also quite cute.


  • Item bundles. One of the biggest quality-of-life improvements coming in the Caves and Cliffs Update for Minecraft is the addition of item bundles. Finally, players will be able to bundle together similar items in their inventory for condensed storage, and to make it easier to gift several things at once to other players. All the details of item bundles aren’t 100% clear yet, but this is a solution players have been seeking for years now.

Our wishlist

Minecraft Caves And Cliffs Update Dripstone Caves

Source: Mojang Studios

The Caves and Cliffs Update is clearly already packed to the brim with tons of new features and additions. That being said, I’d still like to take a moment to discuss some of the features I’d love to see come to Minecraft in the Caves and Cliffs update. Bear in mind that this is simply our wishlist, and none of these features are confirmed for Minecraft in any way.

Our wishlist for the Caves and Cliffs Update for Minecraft includes:

  • Mountain temples. It seems like every biome that gets an update adds a new dungeon or temple to explore, and mountains shouldn’t be any different. I’d love to see temples carved into mountainsides or cleverly perched atop cliffs. As for making things interesting, I wouldn’t mind new clever traps to avoid or even a new hostile mob that only resides inside these mountain temples.
  • A new method of climbing. You want to climb a mountain in Minecraft? Get hopping, mining, building, or meticulously placing ladders. Honestly, there’s no satisfying or fast way to go up a mountain like there is to go down (even if going down isn’t always safe). What about something like ropes that allow players to rappel up and down cliff sides? I think this would be awesome, if implemented properly, and would make climbing that much more exciting. Dripleafs in the Caves and Cliffs Update certainly scratch this itch just a little bit, but Mojang Studios could go even farther.
  • Lions. Okay, hear me out. If we get mountain goats, should we get mountain lions too? It may sound weird to ask to be eaten by a gigantic cat, but I think that would make traversing mountains more challenging and fun, especially if fishy bribes could dissuade mountain lions. Oh, and maybe I could have one as a pet?
  • A light source you can hold. Torches don’t emit light when you hold them in Minecraft, which seems like a design flaw. Even if it’s an all-new item, I think we should have a way to place an item in our off-hand so we can have a constant light source with us when underground. Perhaps a new enchantment could be added for helmets that make them give off light underground. Make it happen, please.
  • Hammers. When’s the last time Mojang Studios shook things up with a new tool? I’d love to see something like a two-handed hammer, which can destroy multiple blocks at once (but maybe has a chance to destroy some of the blocks permanently), strike multiple enemies at once, and excels at knocking back foes with its long reach and powerful strikes.

If you have any more ideas for what the Caves and Cliffs Update should entail, feel free to let us know in the comments! If we like it, it might find its way into our comprehensive guide to the Caves and Cliffs Update for Minecraft.

Will there be Xbox Series X|S Optimizations in the Caves and Cliffs Update for Minecraft?

Minecraft RTX Screenshot

Source: Windows Central

Ever since the debut of the ultra-powerful Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, there has been constant buzz from the Minecraft community about when Minecraft will become Xbox Series X|S Optimized. More specifically, when will Minecraft with ray tracing arrive on Xbox Series X|S?.

The Xbox Series X|S are significantly more powerful than the previous generation of Xbox consoles, and possess the hardware and technology to support Minecraft with ray tracing with DirectX 12 Ultimate, DirectX Ray Tracing, and hardware-acceleration. Despite this, and the fact that Microsoft demoed ray tracing on the Xbox Series X|S with Minecraft, we’ve heard absolutely nothing from Mojang Studios and Microsoft about upgrading Minecraft for the Xbox Series X|S.

There has been speculation that this visual upgrade will arrive with the 1.17 Caves and Cliffs Update, but unfortunately, there hasn’t been any confirmation. Minecraft with ray tracing is still relatively young on Windows 10, and it’s unclear how much work needs to be done to port that technology over to the Xbox Series X|S and have it run and look acceptable. In all honesty, it’s unclear if Mojang Studios has any plans to bring Minecraft with ray tracing to the Xbox Series X|S.

As of right now, we do not have any reason to believe that Minecraft with ray tracing is heading to the Xbox Series X|S with the Caves and Cliffs Update. There are still several months before the update drops, though, so Mojang Studios could still surprise the Minecraft community.

Minecraft has absolutely secured its place as one of the Best Games for Xbox, and can boast of a huge following of dedicated players. Show your love for Minecraft or find the perfect gift for a fellow Minecrafter with our list of Best Merch, Toys, and Gifts for Minecraft. You can also ensure you get the best possible experience out of Minecraft, especially when playing in co-op, with one of the Best Headsets for Xbox Series X|S.

You can see the rest of the images of the Caves and Cliffs Update for Minecraft below:

A gaming masterpiece

Minecraft Bedrock Edition


Available everywhere you play.

Minecraft is an inarguable and complete success. It has sold copies in the hundreds of millions, has a huge following of dedicated players, and lets you unlock your every creative desire. It’s also available on every platform imaginable, including Xbox One, Windows 10, Playstation 4, and Nintendo Switch. Play with anyone, and play anywhere.

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This post was written by Zachary Boddy and was first posted to WindowsCentral

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