Biomes are regions of the terrain in a Minecraft world with varying geographical features, elevation, vegetation, mobs, temperature and sky color.
Introduced in the Halloween Update, biomes separate every generated world into different environments, paralleling the real world. Examples of biomes include the forests, jungles, deserts, and tundras. Prior to the Halloween update, every world only had a single theme which was either grassy or snowy. In the 1.14 version, two new biomes were be introduced, making it 21 biomes (without variants).
The term biome is analogous to its scientific usage on Earth. A biome is climatically and geographically defined by distinctive communities of plants, animals and soil organisms supported by similar climatic conditions. They are often referred to as ecosystems.
- Main article: Plains Biome
The plains biome was the first released biome in Minecraft and covered the entire land. It consisted of mainly grass and dirt. Trees were added later in the game, then the release of ore blocks. Villages will also spawn here.
Plains are the most basic of all lands, and the easiest to obtain food due to grass (seeds) and the spawning of farm animals, which are more abundant than in other biomes.
Subtype: Sunflower Plains
Sunflower plains are plains that produce a naturally occurring abundance of sunflowers. They were added in 1.8 - The Bountiful Update.
- Main article: Forest Biome
The forest biome mainly consists of trees. The type of tree can vary, but the oak tree is the most common type of tree in a forest.
Subtype: Birch Forest
This biome only includes birch trees, though some oak trees will appear in it. It also looks much like a forest biome, although none of the birch trees can be large like their oak variants. However, if the terrain happens to be hilly, the birch trees can be extra tall.
Subtype: Flower Forest
Flower forests are forests with oak trees but have a variety of species of flowers scattered throughout the biome.
- Main article: Roofed Forest Biome
The dark forest biome features dark oak trees and huge mushrooms. The roofed forest biome is a very dangerous biome for players, as there are many dark places in the forest where hostile mobs are likely to spawn. However, it is more common than the mushroom fields, which makes it an easier place to find giant mushrooms. This is also where a woodland mansion can generate, though this is very rare.
Prior to 1.13, dark forests were called roofed forests but were renamed to dark forests in this update.
- Main article: Swamp Biome
Swamp biomes feature shallow bodies of discolored water and discolored grass, with oak trees covered in vines. Slimes and witch huts can be found in swamps. Swamp biomes are the only natural source for lily pads which generate in water. This is also the only biome that has naturally-occurring blue orchids. This is one of the easiest biomes to harvest clay in due to the large volume of shallow water, which is where a player will most frequently find clay.
In Minecraft: Pocket Edition, giant mushrooms will spawn in this biome as of the update 0.10.0., and the water tends to be dark and murky.
- Main article: Jungle
A jungle is a very forested biome, which looks similar to a tropical rainforest. Jungles have the tallest trees of any other biome. Similar to swamp biomes, the trees are covered in vines. This is the only biome where ocelots spawn. A jungle may occasionally contain a jungle temple. Cocoa pods grow here, and as of update 1.7.2, wild melons can also be found. As of 1.12, parrots can also spawn here.
- Main article: Taiga
The taiga is a biome with densely-filled spruce trees and dull grey-blue grass. Hills are common, and wolves may be found in this biome more frequently than in others. Spruce trees cover the landscape and in the colder variants, water will freeze into ice. Sugar cane can spawn here, but it may break down due to the freezing of the ice. The main difference between a taiga biome and a tundra biome is the number of trees (there are more in a taiga than in a tundra) and the amount of snow (there is more in a tundra than a taiga). The grass in the taiga is sand-green, much like in the extreme hills. As of update 1.14, foxes can be found here.
Subtype: Snowy Taiga
- Main article: Snowy Taiga Biome
Contains densely filled spruce trees with lots of snow and ice.
Prior to 1.13, the snowy taiga biome was called the cold taiga, but was renamed to snowy taiga in this update.
Giant Tree Taiga
- Main article: Mega-Taiga Biome
The giant tree taiga biome is a subtype of the taiga biome with a mega spruce taiga variant. It contains various blocks, including podzol, a variant of dirt. Also featured are 2x2 spruce trees, along with ferns, mushrooms, and dead bushes. This biome also features boulders made of mossy cobblestone that serve as a decorative purpose.
Prior to 1.13, the giant tree taiga biome was called mega taiga but was renamed to giant tree taiga in this update.
- Main article: Ice Plains Biome
Snowy tundra biomes are biomes completely covered in snow and have ice blocks due to water freezing (breaking ice produces water). Spruce trees are found in this biome. Wolves can also spawn here. Snow falls here instead of rain.
Prior to 1.13, snowy tundra biomes were called the ice plains but were renamed to snowy tundra in this update.
Subtype: Ice Spikes Plains
- Main article: Ice Plains Spikes Biome
Ice spikes plains are a variation of the ice plains, but they are much rarer. Relatively few trees will grow in these plains. Large "spikes" of packed ice can be found throughout. Bodies of water will typically be frozen into packed ice, as opposed to the tundra's regular ice (suggesting the ice plains spikes are severely colder). Villages that generate here will follow the taiga background (spruce wood).
- Main article: Badlands
The badlands features various colors of clay and natural terracotta that can be mined and dyed for decorating purposes. Also found in this biome is red sand, which was implemented in update 1.7. Other features included in this biome are dead bushes and the occasional cactus. The badlands are rare, and usually, spawn near savanna biomes.
Prior to 1.13, this biome was called the mesa biome, but was renamed to badlands in this update.
- Main article: Desert Biome
The desert biome is the most abundant source of cacti. There are hills and small mountains made of sand and sandstone. In the desert, there are naturally-occurring desert wells. However, these wells are rare. Desert temples can also spawn in large deserts. As of update 1.3, villages in the desert are replaced with sandstone and smooth sandstone instead of the default oak wood materials.
- Main article: Savanna Biome
This biome features dull, dry grass, and acacia trees. NPC villages can spawn naturally here, along with horses. It never rains in this biome, and it often neighbors deserts or mesas. Llamas will also spawn here.
- Main article: Ocean Biome
Ocean biomes are extremely large, expansive biomes consisting entirely of water. Far beneath the water is a landscape composed of gravel, dirt and clay. Ocean biomes often flood into abandoned mineshafts or caves. Occasionally, oceans have small two-block-wide air patches. Ocean biomes have no maximum size, but they usually measure between 10,000 and 25,000 blocks wide. Occasionally, in ocean biomes, one can find small islands with little vegetation. It is possible for players to spawn in ocean biomes on an island, with no wood, in the middle of the ocean, making it extremely difficult to survive without the use of cheats or a bonus chest.
Subtype: Deep Ocean
Deep ocean biomes are a variant of ocean biomes. They are much deeper than regular ocean biomes. The ocean floor consists of gravel. They can be 30 blocks deep, making underwater exploration dangerous. However, one may encounter light underwater, which comes from abandoned mine shafts. As of 1.8, deep ocean biomes generate ocean monuments surrounded by hostile guardians.
- Main article: Mushroom Islands
Mushroom fields are a rare biome. Instead of dirt, mushroom fields utilize mycelium. Mushroom fields are typically found far away from other land masses. Giant mushrooms grow in place of trees, and the only habitat of mooshrooms. Dirt placed on a mushroom field will eventually be turned into mycelium, much like grass in other biomes. Farmland is resistant to mycelium change.
Prior to 1.13, mushroom fields were called mushroom islands but were renamed to mushroom fields in this update.
- Main article: Mountains Biome
A highly-mountainous biome with dull grey-blue grass and a few scattered oak and spruce trees.
Cliffs, peaks, valleys, waterfalls, overhangs, occasional lavafalls, and many other structures exist, creating outstanding views. More underground cave systems are present here than in any other biome. Falling is a significant risk, as there are many ledges and sudden drops, often not visible and the drops can be large enough to cause severe fall damage or death.
Mountains, mountain edges, and dark forests are the only biomes where emerald ore spawns abundantly. As of 1.7, spruce trees spawn here as well. In this biome, if a mountain is high enough, snow may cover the top of it.
Prior to 1.13, mountains and mountain edges were called the extreme hills and extreme hills edges, respectively, but were renamed to mountains and mountain edges in this update.
Each of the biomes, listed above, generate exclusively within the overworld. However, there are areas of a Minecraft world which are far larger but share similar characteristics to a biome (they generate unique landscapes, structures, mobs etc.). The "zones" in this separate category can only be reached by using a specific method and typically have a brief loading screen when a player enters one. They are, in some ways, considered as entirely separate worlds.
- Main article: Overworld
The overworld is the primary zone in Minecraft, containing each of the biomes listed above. This is the zone where players spawn and spend the majority of their gameplay.
The overworld is generated when creating a new seed, with options including: default, super flat (no biomes), large biomes, amplified (data heavy - large mountains and hills that dwarf the default hilly biomes), and customized (which allows player to decide what structures generate more or less and to any extent desired).
- Main article: The Nether
This biome is the Nether dimension. It is the first dimension that was released with the game. This biome features more mobs and the Nether fortress. The only way to get to the Nether is to build the portal made out of obsidian and light it with a flint and steel. One can also build another Nether portal if the other one is destroyed, but only if one has enough obsidian and a fire source.
Lava is abundant, and the floor is replaced with Netherrack - sometimes lit on fire and burns infinitely -, magma, soul sand, glowstone, and occasionally gravel pits. Nether quartz can be mined and turned into decorative blocks. Maps can be made, but they are useless, as they are blank. Compasses and clocks do not work and will instead spin erratically. Beds placed in the nether explode when clicked on and they do more damage than lit TNT. Water cannot be placed anywhere within the nether, as it will immediately evaporate. An exception is putting water into a cauldron.
In this realm, mobs that spawn naturally include ghasts, zombie pigmen, blazes, magma cubes, skeletons, wither skeletons, and rarely, Endermen. Chickens can be spawned by throwing eggs, which in turn can create zombie pigman jockeys if a baby zombie pigman mounts a chicken.
The only generated structures here are nether fortresses, lava pools, and glowstone clusters.
Up until version 1.13, using the F3 function in the Nether would identify the biome as 'Hell'.
There will be three new biomes in the Nether in the 1.16 - Nether Update. These are the ones introuduced in the update:
- Main article: The End
The End is a series of floating islands in a black, static-filled void. It is the second dimension that was added in update TU9 for consoles and 1.0 for all other releases. In this zone, the ground is replaced with End stone.
The End features many endermen and the Ender Dragon boss. The landscape is dotted with obsidian pillars topped with Ender crystals, which heal the ender dragon as a player does battle. Destroying these is key to defeating the dragon.
Once in the End, one can not return without either dying or defeating the ender dragon (which opens the return portal). This also "completes" the game (gameplay resumes as normal after the end credits). In the end, compasses, clocks and beds do not work, behaving the same way as they do in the nether.
To get to the end, one will need to collect Ender pearls from endermen in the overworld, then one needs to create 12 Eyes of Ender (using blaze powder and an Ender pearl), and locate a stronghold using the eyes of Ender (throw into the air and follow their path. Some disappear so one will need many, especially if the stronghold is far). Once in the stronghold, a player must navigate the expansive ruins and locate the broken End portal frame (be wary of silverfish which will spawn throughout as well as from a silverfish mob spawner which is located by the portal), using the eyes of ender on the 12 portal frames will open the portal to the end. It is also possible to build an end portal and activate it in the end on Creative Mode.
- Main article: End City
The outer end is another part of the end, one thousand blocks away from the central island, with the main feature being one or more end cities. One can get there by killing the ender dragon and then tossing an ender pearl through the one-block portal that appears in the sky, or through travelling the one thousand blocks. The outer end has many islands and like the end, they are surrounded by the void. Chorus plants are the only vegetation native to this zone. Endermen and shulkers are common mobs within an end city. An end city area can have several different types of tower-shaped structures and an end ship, each filled with loot. These cities are made of purpur blocks and End stone bricks, which are exclusive to this zone.
- The Advancement "Adventuring Time" can be achieved by visiting 36 pre-determined biomes.