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Minecraft's upcoming Nether update is delightfully creepy

Though Minecraft released over a decade ago, the sandbox game has remained popular thanks to fresh content and the advent of streaming events like "Minecraft Mondays." The next update will add further fuel to the fire with a long overdue makeover for the dark recesses of the Nether.

First announced at Minecon 2019, the major update will make Nether all the more interesting, much like the Overworld above. It will finally release in the first half of this year, ushering in new items, blocks, biomes, and mobs. A snapshot released by Microsoft offers a taste of these new goodies, and fans seem excited about what they've seen so far.

Just what can you expect from the next chapter in Minecraft's illustrious history? Here's everything you need to know.

What's in the Nether Update?

Players will get to uncover a lineup of new features, including the blue soul fire that burns atop soul soil, which is naturally found in the Soul Sand Valleys. This new biome is filled with basalt blocks and familiar mobs like ghasts, endermen, and clattering skeletons. You can light your way through these dark places with a soul fire lantern, which glows an eerie blue.

Even more gloomy is the Crimson Forest. This red-tinged fungal forest hosts towering fungi, and a carpet of crimson nylium. Red weeping vines hang down from the fungi, sometimes providing some dim light via shroomlights, another new block similar to glowstone. Careful treading this spore-ridden place, because hoglins are known to roam there. This new mob is very similar to a boar in design. Right now they're not aggressive, but that will eventually change if that ominous message from the Minecraft blog is anything to go by.

Finally, there is the Warped Forest. This blue-tinged place is apparently the least hostile biome in the Nether. It is made up of warped and crimson fungi, covered in a carpet of blue nylium and netherrack. Blue warped wart block can be found here if you've ever fancied building a blue house.

The most exciting part of this update, however, is the chance to update your diamond armor. That's right: you can make an even stronger set of armor with a new and rare material called Netherite. It can be smelted into ingots after you find some ancient debris, though that's easier said than done.

Overall the Nether Update promises a much more diverse and slightly creepier Nether. We'll let you know when we have an exact release date for it.