Minecraft screenshot of the Soulsand Valley from the upcoming Nether update

[Update #2]: The Nether update has now arrived, and it's a pretty big one!

[Update]: Minecraft's newest snapshot (beta) update has now finally brought in the Nether improvements!

Out of all the regions in Minecraft, the Nether is probably the most disappointing one to explore. It's almost entirely monotonous in color, you're constantly walking through treacherous terrain, and there is barely anything of interest to find there. Not exactly ideal for a zone that is supposed to be awe-inspiring.

In order to sort this little problem out, as well as breathe some fresh new life into it's lava-riddled caverns, Mojang has now announced that the next major Minecraft update will be all about the Nether. While the details are still few and far between, the Nether update will bring with it multiple new biomes to explore, new enemies to either fight against or trade with, as well as a whole bunch of new items to collect.

The first of these new zones is the Soulsand Valley, which is a barren wasteland filled with ancient fossils and vents of blue flame. If you're looking for something a bit more colorful, however, then the two Netherwart Forest biomes might be right up your alley. Both the blue and red variant will have their own unique atmosphere, plenty of dangers, and perhaps most importantly of all, enough resources to allow you to build a thriving base right in the heart of the Nether!

Minecraft screenshot of the Blue Netherwart Forest

The Blue Netherwart Forest is surprisingly pleasant-looking!

When it comes to the new enemies, only two have been announced so far. The first is the Piglin Beast which is a "tusked terror" that can be bred as a source of food, though that will require a bit of finesse as the little buggers are as aggressive as they are delicious. 

Similarly, the Piglins are a hostile bunch that will gladly fight both you and other enemies, though they can be reasoned with. As long as you're wearing golden armor they will accept you as one of their own, and even offer you the ability to trade with them! However, this trading system will not be the same one the villagers use and will instead be "far less friendly." What exactly that means, Mojang hasn't elaborated, but I can only hope it's a dynamic system that allows you to trade a variety of goods at once.

You can read a little bit more about the upcoming Nether update, as well as keep an eye on any further developer posts, over at the official website.

Minecraft Nether update screenshot of the hostile Piglin mob