Some of the major changes in the beta release that tops the Alpha releases include:

  • New biomes: adds scenery like swamps, mountainous areas, oceans, rivers and chasms.
  • New mobs: The creepy Endermen will ignore you until you look at them, at which point they'll freeze and stare at you. When you look away, they'll attack. The update also adds cave spiders and silverfish.
  • New food and health system: Eating food now takes time and fills your health bar, which allows sprinting and passive health regen. Food is now stackable.
  • Expanded combat: You automatically get critical hits when attacking while falling. If you attack an enemy while sprinting, it will knock them far back. You can now charge bows to increase their damage and range.
  • NPC villages: You can find these villages throughout the world, even though the NPCs aren't coming until 1.9. The villages include buildings like houses, farms and churches.
  • Abandoned mines and strongholds: These can now be found underground.
  • New blocks: Vines, stone bricks, glass panes and fence gates.
  • Creative mode: Fly around while invincible and have unlimited resources and instant block destruction.
  • Experience: Players can collect experience orbs from monsters to level up, although it doesn't do anything yet.
  • Improved graphics: There's a new lighting engine and sliders for FOV and brightness. Explosions are prettier.