Minecraft's Combat Update adds off-hand items and cooldown timers

Since playing Star Wars Galaxies all those years ago, whenever I hear the term "Combat Update" for a game, I get horrible flashbacks. However, not every developer messes up a game as soundly as SOE did. Today, Minecraft is getting its own Combat Update, and it looks fantastic.

Mojang has been working on the Combat Update for Minecraft for more than a year, and it's bringing some pretty big changes to the game's combat mechanics. The first big thing doesn't just help you during combat, it can be rather useful while doing activities such as mining. You finally get to hold an item in your left hand.

Aside from using a bow, it was pretty rare to ever see your left hand doing anything in the game. Rather than holding a torch, or doing anything useful, it would just hand limply at your side. Well those days are gone, as you'll now be able to equip a variety of items in your new off-hand slot. While mining, you can hold a torch in this slot, and place them wherever you'd like, without having to switch items. During combat, you can equip a shield, which will help you fend off attacks from your enemies.

The new update also introduced a few different types of arrows that you can choose from. To decide which of these you want to fire, you'll simply equip an arrow type in your off-hand slot. Should you not have any arrows in that slot, the game will pick a type for you to shoot.

Cooldowns have now been added to weapons, as well. Before, you would just start spamming the left mouse button whenever you encountered an enemy, so that you delivered as many attacks as you could, in a short amount of time. That's not a tactic that will help you any longer.

Each weapon will have its own cooldown timer (called attack strength), which is decided by its speed stat (also new to the update). While you can still use it before the timer has reset, the damage output will be greatly reduced. You'll want to wait until the cooldown icon has filled, if you want to maximize your damage. The rarity of the weapon helps determine its speed. Wooden swords are going to be slower than your diamond ones.

There are a host of other new changes that are coming in today's update. If you want to read the full list of changes, head over to the Minecraft Wiki for a complete breakdown. Keep in mind that the Combat Update is currently only available on PC. No word on when consoles should expect to receive it.

Source: Minecraft Wiki