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Advancements are a feature added to Minecraft in update 1.12. The advancement system is a way to gradually guide players through the game, providing them with an ordered list of challenges to complete. This system replaces the previous "Achievements" system.
The names of advancements sound more like a type of action, compared to the former achievement names. However, the names can also be customized through a JSON file. Advancements are earned by players as they complete various tasks within their Minecraft world. Unlocking advancements does not grant players any physical benefits to gameplay, they are simply a way of documenting what a player has accomplished. They also serve as a way for players to see how far their fellow players have progressed within a particular Minecraft world. When an advancement is earned, all players within the Minecraft world will receive the following server message: "<Player> has made the advancement [Advancement Name]. "
There are various tabs to the advancement interface, each containing different advancement trees. There are currently five tabs (although more can be added by adding custom files).
Minecraft: The story and the heart of the game.
Adventure: adventure, exploration, and combat.
Nether: Bring summer clothes.
The End: Or the beginning?
Husbandry: The world is full of friends and food.
Advancement icons display a header name and description when hovered over. They only appear in a tree when the advancement before it is completed, although, as stated before, advancements can be completed in any order. The icon frames of goal advancements are more rounded while challenge advancements have a sharper appearance. Advancement icons begin as light-gray but will turn dark-golden when completed.
Examples of the icon frame and description of the advancements are as follows:
The advancement tabs were added in different snapshots.
The Adventure tab was added in snapshot 17w14a.
The Nether and the End tabs were added in snapshot 17w17a.
The Husbandry tab was added in snapshot 17w18b.
The advancement "Ice Bucket Challenge" is a reference to the popular ice bucket challenge, which was created as a way to raise awareness of ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease.
The advancement "Spooky Scary Skeleton" is a reference to the song with the same name.
"Hired Help", "Great View From Up Here", "You Need A Mint", "The End... Again...", "Postmortal", and "Zombie Doctor" were originally Bedrock Edition achievements ported over and made into advancements.