- 1.21 update could bring axes to the forefront of Minecraft battles with new features and changes to combat.
- Axes in Minecraft’s Java edition deal more damage than swords but have a slower attack cooldown, making them less efficient.
- Adding new variants of axes, such as throwable ones, could enhance the combat experience and provide more versatility.
As Minecraft continues struggling to codify a more nuanced combat system, one weapon has slowly been taking on more and more of a role in fights. 1.21 could be the time to bring axes to the center of Minecraft‘s battles.
Minecraft has historically struggled a lot with combat, with the update surrounding it being so unpopular that it has yet to make it to Bedrock. Indeed, Java and Bedrock have entirely distinct combat systems. The former has mechanics based around timing and damage cooldowns, while the latter maintains the spam-click meta of yore. This is one of many parity issues facing the two editions, as well as being a testament to the flaws of the newer system.
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Axes Could Do With A Rework In Minecraft 1.21
One of the main test subjects of Java’s combat system has been the humble axe. Players on Minecraft‘s Bedrock version may know the axe as a tool that happens to do one point of damage less than its sword equivalent (e.g. a diamond axe deals 6 damage, a diamond sword deals 7). They diminish the durability of shields and armor faster than other weapons, but in turn lose their own durability faster when used as a weapon. In Java, axes deal more damage than their sword equivalents but have a slower attack cooldown, so they can’t be swung as fast if peak damage efficiency is to be maintained. To make up for lower DPS on the whole, they also automatically disable shields.
As has been stated, the combat changes that came to Java in 1.9 proved unpopular. Not only have they not been ported to Bedrock, many multiplayer servers have kept to pre-1.9 combat. It’s admirable that Mojang took such a risk with its updated combat, but it’s clear that combat needs to go back to the drawing board. Since 1.21 will already be giving axes new features as tools, while also adding other changes to Minecraft‘s combat experience, there’s no better time to reconsider their usage.
Axes In Real Warfare Could Inspire Minecraft
Minecraft is actually pretty close to being on the money with its axe features, in terms of historical accuracy. Cleaving through armor and shields was a use of axes in medieval warfare, as their weighted heads and arcing edges made them primed for this task. However, there are many places left to go with the axe — many of which have so far only been the territory of Minecraft‘s mods. This would mean adding new variants on the axe, such as Viking-adjacent axes with arched edges or halberds that add the versatility of piercing to an axe’s slash.
In terms of fundamentals, however, axes should retain an anti-shield purpose. Bedrock edition’s approach could actually prove to be a useful example here — draining armor durability and shield health faster than swords. Different variants of axes could then secure the axe’s own durability in these attacks. Given that some historical axes were, indeed, used to hook shields away, the outright disabling of shields could also be made exclusive to one type of axe. These different options allow for different styles of attack and player build, all while allowing for the fast clicking that players still hold dear. This rework could really be the update Minecraft‘s combat needs.
Throwing Axes Could Be A Great Addition
The Byzantine historian Procopius reported that the francisca, an axe used in warfare by the Franks around c500-750 CE, was a weapon thrown before melee combat to disarm an opponent’s shield. This early-medieval use of an axe in war is the impetus for the fantasy of throwing axes, one that Minecraft sorely lacks. This could be another variant, or could even be the main means to counter Minecraft‘s shields.
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- November 18, 2011
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