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Minecraft Earth - What We Know So Far

We already know that it's unlikely Minecraft 2 will ever happen, but that doesn't mean that the folks at Microsoft aren't ready to get in on some lucrative app action. We don't mean Minecraft for mobile, either. Minecraft Earth is Microsoft's first foray into augmented reality apps that turn your phone into both a pickaxe and a lens into the world of Minecraft, overlaid upon our own. 


Think Pokemon Go with creepers and castles. Players will be able to build (or destroy) structures block by block in the real world, allowing for everyone's inner artist (or arsonist) to be put on display. Want to turn Big Ben into a Gundam? Create a fortress around your humble home? Put pigs in the middle of the road? All this and more will be possible with the power of Minecraft Earth. Old school Minecraft fans need not worry, either. Devs have reassured everyone that work on this new venture is not taking precious time away from vanilla Minecraft.

What is the release date for Minecraft Earth?

Minecraft Earth will be available for free ... eventually. Apparently it still needs time to build itself up and work out all the bugs and silverfish. The best way to test out a game before public release is through a closed beta, which is currently being tested in five cities


Minecraft fans in London, Seattle, Stockholm, Tokyo, and Mexico City were given the lucky opportunity to be the first to test out the game and cause some chaos in their respective cities. Although the spots in the closed beta were limited, Microsoft said they expected hundreds of thousands of players to be the first participants. These players must be 18 years or older and actively play the game for at least a week to secure their spot as a beta tester. Currently the beta is exclusive to those with iOS devices, so legal adults in the aforementioned cities with iPhones are able to sign up and maybe hopefully be blessed with the chance to build a few blocks in their own backyards.

The trailer shows an invisible Minecraft world

The world learned of the invisible Minecraft world within our own through the "reality-bending, world-blending" trailer that dropped May 17, 2019, teasing the forthcoming AR app. Through the cameras of phones, we were shown how players can drop their carefully built bases of operation — castles, treehouses, and even octopi — onto their own real life lawns, where other players can admire or set fire to their creations. Blocks and mobs can be mined and collected as users stroll through their hometowns, but beware: not everything is friendly in the world of Minecraft Earth


Very briefly, we were given glimpses of the hazards that players might face: Endermen, exploding TNT blocks, and whatever dangers lurk in the deepest, darkest caves. For fans of creative mode, they can focus on building beautiful pieces of blocky architecture from the safety of their own phone rather than risk the monsters out there in the world. We've yet to see the ominous Herobrine, but there are sure to be more secrets discovered upon the game's eventual release.

Minecraft Earth's supported devices: Android and Apple owners rejoice

Thankfully, everyone can get in on the block-breaking, AR action. Unless you're rocking an old-school Nokia phone, that is. Although the closed beta is currently only available to subscribers to the cult of Apple, Android owners will soon be able to build their own creations in the closed beta. 


Microsoft first opened the closed beta to iOS users, but have promised that Android users will quickly follow. When the game releases, Minecraft Earth will be available on iOS 10+ and Android 7+ devices, meaning that just about everyone can try out the game. Will Minecraft Earth become the new Pokemon Go? Will the streets be flooded with builders and breakers alike, collecting mobs and breaking blocks? Only time will tell, but the trailer seemed to have encouraged the kind of massive, collaborative building that can only be achieved through many people coming together to create spectacles that could rival any real tourist trap.

Minecraft Earth requires a Microsoft or Xbox Live account

Seattle is the first US city to participate in the closed beta because the Emerald City is Microsoft's own home turf. Mojang, the ridiculously successful studio behind Minecraft, was acquired by Microsoft back in 2014, and ever since the game has been a cornerstone behind everything gaming related for the Seattle-based company. This means that in order to play Minecraft Earth, players are required to sign up with either a Microsoft or Xbox Live account, both of which are free. 


Everything in Minecraft Earth — your inventory, your builds, and your experience points — are saved to this account, so that should the unthinkable happen and you lose your phone in a tragic skiing accident, your progress will be safe and sound in the cloud. This allows for players to upgrade their phones or switch from iOS to Android without the worry of losing all their progress. Microsoft has got you covered.

Minecraft's survival mode is replicated through Adventures

Minecraft has always been about so much more than just building. Venturing into the unknown, facing down the spine-chilling dark of untouched caverns, and pillaging villages has always been a core aspect to the fun of Minecraft. Minecraft Earth promises to recreate that mystery and thrill through instances known as Adventures. 


Survival mode is essentially recreated through adventures. An Adventure can appear in a player's in-game map, available to those willing to risk it all. No one knows for sure what will be waiting for them in this randomly generated instance. The official Minecraft blog calls it "a slice of a real Minecraft world in life size on the ground." Players might be digging down, punching trees, or accidentally digging right into a mob. There's just as much reward as there is risk, however, with the Adventure instances promising the chance to find valuable ores and/or items. For those averse to lava, maybe stick to the Build mode.

Play mode is built for shenanigans and action

There are two apparent ways to play Minecraft Earth: you can be an architect, painstakingly using hard-earned blocks to build masterpieces that the greats would envy; or you can be an agent of chaos and take a match to everything you see. For those who become attached to their creations: not to worry! Putting them in the real world doesn't doom them to certain destruction. 


The gameplay goes like this: players collect blocks, mobs, and items through randomly spawning Tappables. They then use these items to build in Build mode. Play mode allows for players to unleash their artistic brilliance onto the real world and place these creations in augmented reality, available for anyone with the app to view and interact with. 

According to the Minecraft blog, "Play mode is built for shenanigans and action." Players are encouraged to pillage and burn their hearts out, because that destruction is thankfully impermanent. Creations live untouched in Build mode, meaning that once chaotic players have had their fun and the instance ends, everything is back to the way it was before, no harm done.


Sneak peek (and new mobs!)

Although unavailable to the general public, Minecraft Earth isn't a total mystery. In fact, fans ready to get their build on can get a sneak peek of what's to come through the official Minecraft Earth Twitter, where those playing the closed beta have posted some of their adventures and builds. This account has also given us a sneak peek at the promised new mobs that the game offers. 


So far, there are the red-and-white spotted, so-called Cluckshrooms and the sunny, yellow Mooblooms wandering around Minecraft Earth, ready and waiting for collection. Other rumored mobs include Ender dolphins and Pyjamallamas, which sound both ridiculous and exciting. Through tweets, players have shown off sheep farms and hordes of pigs, castles on the beach, and the cutest little tabletop cottages you could ever imagine. The account also serves to promote the official Minecraft Earth Discord server, where players are treated to Q&As with developers and support from fellow players.

Early access: early October

Minecraft Earth's closed beta allowed fans in London, Seattle, Stockholm, Tokyo, and Mexico City to work out the bugs and silverfish before the game's public release. Now, after hundreds and thousands of testers gave the AR game a go, Mojang has announced that the game will be made available to even more players via an early access run. Announced live at Minecon, Minecraft Earth will come to a handful of countries in early October before being released globally — for free! — before the end of 2019.


Even those who have already played Minecraft Earth via the closed beta should get excited for the early access run: Mojang is rolling out some new features and modes to celebrate the game's very near release. Minecraft Earth Adventures will sporadically pop up, offering players random challenges to complete in order to obtain rare items or minerals. Sounds like your blocky cup of tea? Eager miners are able to pre-register now and receive a Minecraft Earth-themed Minecraft Earth skin as a reward for getting hype for the upcoming app.