I haven’t seen sunlight in so long – it’s been hours, maybe days. Lost deep within the cave systems of Minecraft, my greed got the best of me, and now I have to deal with the consequences.
Anxiety has turned to desperation as I sprint through the claustrophobic mineshaft, desperately hoping to find my way out. Everything’s a blur as I rush through the dark caverns and crawlspaces, turning corners in a blind panic. That’s when I step in it, literally. Before I can realize what I’m doing, I trip a sensor on the floor and watch in horror as it sends a screeching shockwave across the deep dark.
What was once a cave opening, covered in broken mineshafts and decaying blue blocks, is quickly covered in darkness as a black cloak sweeps across my vision. Blindness; that’s what happens when you’re too close to The Warden.
At this point, I’m frantic; some of the sounds I emit probably resemble a dolphin more than a human. I can’t see a way out; where did I come in? Is there even a way in? I do what any seasoned panicker does best: I start running around in circles jumping up and down.
Then I hear a deep guttural grumble echo through the cave chamber as a monster from the depths rises from the floor. The Warden has come for me. It’s a behemoth of a creature with a chest that bears its blue beating heart through cracked ribs and a mouth so big it looks like it could swallow you whole. Blinded and crying (in the game and in real life, respectively), I try to outrun the monster, climbing up through the cave as fast as I can away from this beast. It’s behind me, I know it, but there’s no point looking back; that’ll only seal my fate.
At this point, I can just about see the cave opening through the darkness and my tears. Freedom, I’m so happy. That’s until a skeleton blindsides me with an arrow, pushing me straight into the Warden’s sonic beam. I’m dead immediately. As I stare at the respawn screen and all my dropped loot and XP, I think to myself: since when did Minecraft become a horror game?
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Something’s behind you
If you’ve been playing Minecraft and are a regular miner, then there’s a good chance you’ve come across the Warden. This subterranean stalker is relentless, fast, and unkillable; what a fun Minecraft mob. It’s so scary, in fact, that after our first encounter, I got a headache from the adrenaline.
Added in the 1.17 Caves and Cliffs update, The Warden is designed to chase off miners that go too deep. Now with the extraordinarily massive caves, it’s much easier to go deeper quickly. You’ll be hitting the world’s bottom, the negative y-axis, in no time. To some, this may sound great; diamonds are in the deepest depths. However, there always has to be consequences.
In Minecraft, this is called the Deep Dark. An overworld biome that appears in the deepest corners of cave systems, it’s usually found in areas with low erosion values, like below mountain peaks or plateaus.
The deep dark is covered in a block called ‘sculk’. Despite looking cool, this blue block will become your worst nightmare. In particular, sculk shriekers and sculk sensors are working together to plot your downfall. While the sensor detects vibrations and emits a redstone signal, the shriekers produce a high-pitched sound when a player alerts a sensor. These are the things that will alert the Warden.
But it’s not all bad in the deep dark there are some great rewards if you’re brave enough to actually venture in. Not only are the sculk blocks cool to look at, but the deep dark is the only place you can find ancient cities.
These are incredible to explore. They aren’t only menacing structures but also contain chests with items the player can’t find anywhere else. Up for grabs are candles, soul torches, echo shards, potions, music discs, enchanted armor and weapons. Just to name a few.
The Warden isn’t the first time Mojang struck fear in the hearts of its fans. Back in 2017, a mob vote took place, and its winner was the Phantom. This airborne monstrosity hunts players who have missed their bedtime. Relentlessly tracking them down until they either find sanctuary in bed or in death.
While the Phantom is pretty disconcerting, the 2017 mob vote had another contender that may have rivalled the Warden in its terror-inducing existence. This mob was called the Barnacle but lovingly referred to as The Kraken by fans.
The Barnacle would have lived in the deep ocean biome and would have hunted by entrapping players who were unfortunate enough to cross its path with a huge tentacle. It would slowly drag the player to the ocean's depths and entrap them in its shell until they drown. What a way to go.
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Elie is a Features Writer for TechRadar Gaming, here to write about anything new or slightly weird. Before writing for TRG, Elie studied for a Masters at Cardiff University JOMEC in International Journalism and Documentaries – spending their free time filming short docs or editing the gaming section for their student publications.
Elie’s first step into gaming was through Pokémon but they've taken the natural next step in the horror genre. Any and every game that would keep you up at night is on their list to play - despite the fact that one of Elie’s biggest fears is being chased.