The Minecraft Exploration Update, also known as Minecraft 1.11, is a fanmade update for the sandbox title known as Minecraft. The main focus of this update is the expansion of The End realm, most particularly after defeating the Ender Dragon, and a new dimension known as the Cosmic Realm.
This new dimension added in this update is the primary addition to the game following 1.11. Using a beacon to shine light on an active Nether Portal will turn into a Cosmic Portal, a portal to a new dimension, the Cosmic Realm.
The Cosmic Realm is a space-like realm with giant masses of Moonrock floating all over the place, as well as "waterfalls" of a new kind of ice known as Cosmic Ice. A new mechanic is that, due to the space atmosphere, gravity is affected in a huge way: mobs and players can now jump much higher, have much higher knock back when hit, and are generally much more floaty and light then in any other realm. Fall damage is not present in this realm.
This new realm slightly resembles The End inwhich it falling over the edge of a structure will potentially cause you to fall into the Void. However, there are masses of floating "islands" all over the place, meaning you have a chance of falling onto another mass. These "islands" are made of two new blocks known as Moonrock and Mercury. Moonrock is basically the Netherrack of the realm and makes up most of the islands, and it can be mined with any pickax stronger then Wood. Mercury makes up the bottom few layers of the islands, and can only be mined with an Iron, Diamond, or Mercury Pickaxe, and drops a mineral known as Mercury Dust. Cosmic Dust has a variety of uses, most notably for a new line of tools that are stronger then Diamond, known as Mercury Tools, as well as making a new kind of potion.
On the higher up areas of the realm, small 2x2 masses of block hang over the island as a light source: a block known as Starstone. Starstone is arguably the most hard-to-reach mineral in the game: it's extremely high up (some can even spawn at the building limit!), with some specific mobs guarding it, AND the fact that going so high up into the air in the Cosmic Realm will cause suffocation: while the last of the three can be prevented by wearing a Space Pumpkin, a blue pumpkin that spawns in the realm and can be worn to breath in the higher areas, it makes reaching the Starstone difficult. That, and the fact that it can only be mined with either a Diamond or Mercury pickaxe, taking about as long as mining an Obsidian block with that same type of pickaxe. Starstone, however, is extremely valuable: it has a variety of uses which will be elaborated on in later sections.
There are four new mobs that spawn in this dimension: Moonmen, Space Slimes, Constellation Squids, and Starstone Guardians. All except Starstone Guardians are friendly or passive mobs...most of the time.
Moonmen, like villagers, are mostly friendly mobs; they spawn in packs of larger Moonrock masses and can also trade Mercury, Mercury Armour, Mercury Tools, potions, and other hard-to-get Cosmic Realm-related items, as well as some extremely rare regular items like Wither Skulls and even Nether Stars, in exchange for Starstone. However, killing one not only has it drop Mercury Dust and even occasionally Starstone, it triggers odd effects; the Moonmen all run away in fear, while any other Cosmic Realm mobs in a twenty-block radius from where you attacked. These are most often Space Slimes and Constellation Squids. Space Slimes are normally light blue and camouflage in color with any block it is touching unless you attack it or kill a Moonman; it then bursts out of its hiding place with an explosion and will attempt to leap on you: it explodes every time it hits the ground as well, though it doesn't die via its own explosion. Killing a Space Slime yields Cosmic Ice Shards, a new item that is the Cosmic Realm equivalent of another new item, Ice Shards. Constellation Squids are red squids that float around the area, avoiding land: however, they will rocket towards you if provoked, exploding and dying on contact with a block or mob/player. They have very low health, and, if you somehow kill it without it exploding, it drops Mercury Dust.
Starstone Guardians are very different in that they are passive unless you break the block that they are guarding; in other words, Starstone. By "stealing" the Starstone, Starstone Guardians that are "protecting" it will attack by firing small, thin beams at you, knocking you backwards and potentially to your death if you don't land on an island. They will continue to track you down unless you escape out of the portal. Starstone Guardians are very hard to kill, and killing one yields 2-3 Starstone blocks.
Expansions to The End
So, what does Starstone do besides being Cosmic Emeralds? Starstone blocks are keys to finding Gauntlets. Gauntlets are randomly spawned castles in the Overworld, Nether, or Cosmic Realm, and are extremely hard to find, only being available after defeating the Ender Dragon. There are 10 Gauntlets in total in a world, each one corresponding to a different enemy: Zombie, Spider, Skeleton, Creeper, Guardian, Silverfish, and Villager Gauntlets spawn The Overworld, Blaze and Ghast gauntlets in the Nether, and Starstone Guardian gauntlet in the Cosmic Realm. Starstone can be put into a Crafting Table alongside an Endstone block and a Diamond block side-by-side to craft a new item called a Gauntlet Pillar. The Gauntlet Pillar is three blocks tall, a large statue with the face of an odd-looking mob. A Gauntlet Pillar will activate small "teleportation spots"—glowing 3x3 areas on the ground—that can teleport you to a gauntlet. There's a cost, however: you must "feed" a Gauntlet Pillar 20 of a specific item to activate a specific teleportation spot to any gauntlet:
- Rotten Flesh for the Zombie Gauntlet.
- Spider Eyes for the Spider Gauntlet.
- Arrows and/or Bones for the Skeleton Gauntlet.
- Gunpowder for the Creeper Gauntlet.
- Prismarine Shards for the Guardian Gauntlet.
- Silverfish Eggs for the Silverfish Gauntlet.
- Emeralds for the Villager Gauntlet.
- Blaze Rods for the Blaze Gauntlet.
- Ghast Tears for the Ghast Gauntlet.
- and Starstone and/or Mercury Dust for the Starstone Guardian Gauntlet.
When 20 of any of the above items are "fed" to a Gauntlet Pillar, a teleportation spot appears; stepping on it will transport you to the front doors of the specified gauntlet. You can step on it again to go back and forth to your pillar spot and gauntlet.
Each gauntlet looks relatively the same on the outside: a spiraling castle-like structure made out of Bedrock, Obsidian, Andesite, Diorite, Quartz, Bone, Mercury, Emerald, End, and Purpur blocks. You must reach the top by scaling the bottom area, which contains several spawners for the mob that the Gauntlet represents (i.e., Zombie Spawners in Zombie Gauntlets. In the Villager Gauntlet, the spawners spawn Witchs instead). Once reaching the top, a very tall room with glowstone above providing light by scaling the jutting Bedrock areas and jumping from place to place, the hatch to the top is sealed by bedrock, and you find a boss.
The boss of each gauntlet is different like everything else depending on the Gauntlet in question. The bosses are:
- For the Zombie Gauntlet, Giant. A very simple boss that is basically a giant zombie. The Giant will try and step on you while spawning Zombies alongside it, which can take away most of your hearts if you aren't careful. At low health, it will throw enlargened Iron Swords. Killing it yields the Undead Orb.
- For the Spider Gauntlet, Spider Queen. The Spider Queen will leap around the arena, and getting hit by it will deal damage, alongside giving the victim Poison. Spiders and Cave Spiders will spawn via spawners in areas of the room. The Spider Queen will also fire cobwebs, which do no damage but greatly slow the victim down if they run into one. Killing it yields the Arachnid Orb.
- For the Skeleton Gauntlet, Skull Lord. The Skull Lord has four arms which hold bows fire rapidfire arrows at players, and a fifth arm that holds a staff that can summon barriers made of Bone Blocks and summon Skeletons to fight for it. Killing it yields the Skull Orb.
- For the Creeper Gauntlet, Rocket Creeper. A regularly Creeper at first sight, but it has firework-like properties; Rocket Creeper will fly around the arena, divebombing players with an explosion that affects all mobs that aren't Creepers. It is the only mob that doesn't summon it's mob (Creepers), but it does drop ignited TNT under it at low health. It is considered to be the hardest to kill out of the nine Gauntlet bosses. Killing it yields the Rocket Orb.
- For the Guardian Gauntlet, Monarch Guardian. The boss is fought entirely underwater, making up for the fact that it has low HP. Monarch Guardian will summon Elder Guardians to fight for it, and will fire two thin lasers at players. Killing it yields the Ocean Orb.
- For the Silverfish Gauntlet, Strongholder. The Strongholder is a giant ghost-like golem who primarily attacks with slamming it's two fists into the ceiling, causing gravel and stone to fall and potentially suffocate the player. It can also swing it's fists around and summon Silverfish and Mama Silverfish from some of the fallen Stone. It has the most HP out of any Gauntlet boss. Killing it yields the Cobble Orb.
- For the Villager Gauntlet, TBA
- For the Blaze Gauntlet, TBA
- For the Ghast Gauntlet, TBA
- For the Starstone Guardian Gauntlet, TBA
- Space Slime:
- Constellation Squids:
- Mama Silverfish: A rare mob that has a 5% chance of spawning from a Silverfish Egg. Attacks similarly to a regular Silverfish, with the addition of being able to breathe gas that gives any mob or player the Poison status effect. Has much more health then a regular Silverfish, and drops 2-4 Silverfish Eggs when placed.