With the 2014 Game Developers Conference having come and gone, many likely assumed Mojang would release a Minecraft 1.8 preview build this week, but it seems fans of the ultra-popular sandbox game will have to settle for a Minecraft 1.7.6 pre-release instead.

Anyone who was hoping to find a new preview of the Minecraft 1.8 Update waiting for them after school/work is probably going to be disappointed this afternoon, but that doesn't mean we're going to have to wait another seven days for a new Minecraft release of some kind. Instead, the dev team has decided to release an early build of Minecraft 1.7.6, an incremental update that will finally clear the way for name changes via a new unique ID system that we can only assume will replace the current database sometime later this month.

We don't know exactly what stopped Mojang from releasing another preview of the Minecraft 1.8 Update this week, though Minecraft programmer Nathan "Dinnerbone" Adams did say the team wasn't quite ready to show off the content they've been working on recently. Sadly, it seems we'll have to wait a few more days to find out what exactly that means for the community, though Adams' tweet seems to suggest the next snapshot will be more-focused on the game code than new Minecraft content.

In addition to name changes, the latest Minecraft patch will also continue to tweak systems that the team hopes will improve players' performance while making use of the Minecraft Realms service. As with any Minecraft update, 1.7.6 also includes a handful of system optimizations, plus fixes for a handful of bugs that are still causing problems for the Minecraft community.

The good news is, provided your server and/or game client has already been tuned to Minecraft's developmental snapshot branch, installation of the Minecraft 1.7.6 update should take place automatically the next time you launch the game. Servers will update on their next restart, whether that be scheduled or initiated by admin; however, the Minecraft team says failure to restart could mean you'll need to check your black/white lists for nonexistent players and/or other issues.

The bad news is that Minecraft 1.7.6 isn't compatible with Minecraft 1.7.5, meaning servers/clients will have to be running the same version to create a connection, and the snapshot could even break a couple of the mods used by members of the Minecraft community. Fixes for such issues typically arrive pretty quickly, and setting up a profile to run the latest Minecraft snapshot is easy if you haven't already, but consider yourself warned all the same.

Here's the complete Minecraft 1.7.6 pre-release change log:

  • Minecraft Realms improvements
  • Optimizations
  • Not protocol-compatible with 1.7.2/4/5
  • 'Field of View' can now be set as low as 30
  • Added support for the new skin system
  • Added support for name changing
    • User lists are now based on UUID
  • Fixed some bugs

    • Fixed stuck arrows behaving as if they were still stuck and acting as if the block they land on next was the one they were stuck in, allowing for block transmutation and easy bedrock destruction
    • Fixed /save-all causing lag spikes on larger maps
    • Fixed the 'report to Mojang' button in the Broadcast settings linking to the old bug tracker
    • Fixed the "replace" directive in sounds.json not working
    • Probably: Fixed chicken jockeys causing lag
    • Fixed some crashes

Be sure to check back with iDigitalTimes.com and follow Scott on Twitter for more on Minecraft as we continue to bring you the latest on the biggest sandbox game of all time for however long Mojang continues to produce new Minecraft content.

Are you excited to see Mojang finally implementing a system that supports name changes in Minecraft? Still wish we were getting a new glimpse of Minecraft 1.8 instead of another Minecraft 1.7 incremental update? Want to let us know about a particular Minecraft mod that does/doesn't work with today's Minecraft 1.7.6 pre-release?

Let us know in the comments section!

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