A long-awaited change has finally come to the Java Edition of Minecraft: the world height limit has been increased by half.
As the changelog post for snapshot 21w06a (a development update for 1.17) says, Mojang is
now introducing the cave part of Caves & Cliffs.
This snapshot moves the maximum build height coordinate from 256 blocks to 320, an increase of 64, and moves the minimum height coordinate down from 0 to −64. This makes the Minecraft world a total of 384 blocks in height, up from 256.
The height limit has been 256 blocks for the vast majority of Minecraft's history, being added in version 1.2 back in 2012, so an increased build height has been a long time coming.
Ground level remains at around 64 blocks, so the world is now made up of 128 blocks of underground and 256 blocks of aboveground.
To fill the expanse created by this world height expansion underground, some new kinds of cave have been added.
Noise caves are a new type of cave generation,
providing more natural variety. They come in two forms: cheese caves and spaghetti caves. Tasty.
Cheese caves form caverns of different sizes, while spaghetti caves create long, narrow tunnels.
The old cave generation, now known as carver caves, will still generate.
Another new type of cave is the aquifer, which fills up with water, sometimes leading to the creation of large underground lakes. This generation replaces the old underwater carver cave generation.
These cave changes will
eventually be coming to the Bedrock edition of the game.
As well as the cave changes, this snapshot also includes a few other tweaks.
Dripleaves, the tilting plants added in last week's snapshot, will now tilt even if you sneak or jump on top of them. When powered by redstone, they will not tilt.
You are currently unable to load a world from previous versions in this new snapshot as the new word generation is incompatible with the old. This is expected to change in later snapshots.
The full release of 1.17, the Caves & Cliffs update, is expected to come around the middle of this year, so stay tuned for more snapshots.
For a visual guide to this update, check out my video below: