Minecraft 1.13 snapshot 18W15A

Minecraft 1.13 dolphins
Minecraft 1.13 dolphins
Minecraft 1.13 dolphins
Minecraft 1.13 dolphins

Wow, didn’t see this update coming along. I thought we we’re really headed into bug fix territory on the Minecraft 1.13 release now. Instead, today’s update, 18W15A adds in a ton of new items and mechanics to get to grips with. This update really is shaping up into quite the momentous release!


First up, dolphins. These were of course expected for a while, and today, they make their debut. Dolphins now spawn in non frozen ocean biomes and love to play around, especially with floating items in the water. They also love to chase boats too according to the release notes, so expect some friendly followers while traveling by boat in the future. The release states they also attack as a mob, just like pigmen, if you anger one. More dolphin mechanics are expected to come out in future updates too. Hint: we’re expecting them to lead players to underwater treasure from previous commentary.

Underwater lighting

Moving on, as mentioned recently by Dinnerbone underwater lighting has now been revamped. It’s much darker, moodier and less easier to see. A few seconds underwater still improves visibility but not as much as before. Here’s a shot (in warm water) after a few seconds submerged, looking at one of the new Shipwrecks:

Minecraft 1.13 new moodier default water lightining
Minecraft 1.13 new moodier default water lightining

Furthermore every ocean now has a unique color now too. Likewise swamps have a unique feel and color based on their biome temp – I thinks it’s a really nice touch to the monotonous color palette of the ocean past. Seriously, with all these updates, dry land is now starting to look rather plain in comparison. Expect everyone to be living under the sea in 1.13…ooh a rhyme.

New Items And Blocks

Lastly we come to completely new items: Blue Ice, Heart Of The Sea, Nautilus Shell and Conduit. First up Blue Ice, here’s a picture of it (top layer) compared to the existing Packed Ice (middle layer) and regular Ice (bottom layer):

Minecraft 1.13 Blue Ice, Packed Ice, Ice
Minecraft 1.13 Blue Ice, Packed Ice, Ice

Blue Ice can be crafted by the player using 9 Packed Ice blocks in a 3×3 pattern as below. Nine packed Ice produces just one Blue Ice. For reference Blue Ice can’t be unpacked back into Packed Ice:

Crafting Blue Ice in Minecraft 1.13
Crafting Blue Ice in Minecraft 1.13


Next up, Conduits, say what? Indeed, the release notes for the conduit are completely vague at this point. Heart Of The Sea and Nautilus Shell are used to craft the Conduit – presumably these will spawn in the new Shipwreck and Underwater Ruin chests soon:

Minecraft 1.13 - nautilus shell and heart of sea to make conduit
Minecraft 1.13 – nautilus shell and heart of sea to make conduit

It seems that a Conduit will be something of an underwater beacon. When surrounded by a minimum of 16 blocks of Prismarine it emits a new Conduit Power effect that gives an underwater Haste effect, underwater night vision seen in previous snapshots (and now removed for the moodier look above) and unlimited underwater breathing. The Conduit also emits a light level of 15 too; all together this will no doubt make underwater living easier. The effect range grows with more blocks. Credit to u/konwbok discovering this mechanic. The maximum number of blocks is 42 which extended the effect range to 96 blocks.

With the 42nd block placed the Conduit Max will attack and damage hostile mobs within 8 block distance at a rate of 4 hp every 2 seconds; making for great underwater base defenses. Credit again to u/konwbok

Note the Conduit must be immediately surrounded by water and not touched directly by any blocks. Here’s a picture of an activated Conduit, which has a rotating animation and some particle effects:

Activated Conduit in Minecraft 1.13
Activated Conduit in Minecraft 1.13
Activated Conduit in Minecraft 1.13
Activated Conduit in Minecraft 1.13 with particles


Lastly, sneaking in quietly amidst all these big ticket items – Icebergs. These floating land masses of Packed Ice and Snow now generate in cold water biomes. They extended under the surface of the water but not to the sea floor. They can also have caves within them and spawn mobs as appropriately.

Iceberg seeds in Minecraft 1.13
Icebergs in Minecraft 1.13

Release notes for 18W15A:


New entity: Dolphins
New block: Conduit
New block: Blue Ice
New item: Heart of the Sea
New item: Nautilus Shell
Icebergs now generate in frozen oceans
You no longer have “night vision” effect underwater
Water now has different colours based on the biome
New video option: Biome blend distance
Going in and out of swimming should now feel smoother
You can now swim through 1×1 holes! Again!
Fog colour underwater now changes much smoother between biomes
Optimized fog rendering
Light now goes much further through liquid blocks


It’s happening!
Spawns in any ocean that isn’t frozen
They’re just cute, okay?
Dolphins are very playful and love floating items
They also love to chase after boats
If you upset one, you upset them all
More behaviours coming soon


Blubb blubb blubb blubb
Water now only blocks 1 light per block, instead of 3
This only affects newly placed water – we will relight all chunks in an upcoming snapshot
Every ocean biome has a unique water colour, and swamps are icky and gross
In newly generated chunks, you’re less likely to find frozen ocean next to warm ocean (and similar)


I’m not sure.
What is this?
Where are we?


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