Hi gang,I took a quick peek at the new snapshot today and I have to say that some things look pretty interesting while others make me wonder... I'll be going in (much) more detail at a later time, this is just a quick first impression. If you want to check all the pictures I took then check out my 1.9 Imgur album (unedited).The first thing I noticed were the new arrow types:You can now apply an effect onto an arrow and when it hits it'll do damage and apply that affect. For example, if you hit a mob (or a player) with the Spectral Arrow they'll suddenly appear with an outline:Here I hit a sheep with the spectral arrowWhen checking the spawn eggs I immediately found my new favorite: the mob named after yours truly (naah, wishful thinking!): the Shulker (Shell Lurker):Wishful thinking or not: I'm probably going to use this guy as an avatar for a while It shoots particles which can only travel in a straight line (x/z axis) and when it hits you (it does home in on you a bit) you'll be levitated. Which can be a little problematic when the effect wears off and you come crashing down again:Going up!Nice detail: while fighting the Shulker I also noticed that after I had defeated him I could actually pick up all (most of) the arrows I misfired. That's a nice approach IMO.2 hands make double work... or... something There is a new hand swap key (F by default) which allows you to move an item from your active hand to your passive hand. Then, if the item which you're holding next doesn't have a "2nd function" then you can use the item in your passive hand. Example: using a sword: the active function (left click) hits something, the '2nd function' (right click) makes it block.A pickaxe can only be used to mine blocks, right clicking does nothing. So if you place some torches in your passive hand (hold them in your primary hand as you normally would (I usually keep torches in my 5th hotbar slot, so I'd press 5), then press the swap key (F by default)) and then equip a pickaxe using your primary hand you can then use both functions at the same time: left click mines a block, right click places a torch:One thing I noticed: in the above setup any torches which you pick up won't be added to your passive hand but will end up in your inventory:Status effects now show directly in your HUD as an icon, and when it's about to run out then the icon will flash:I'm a little skeptic about this. It's nice that you can see right away what effects currently affect you, but without any indication of how long these effects will last it seems to me that this option is most likely also going hinder some players who might feel that their HUD is now getting cluttered. Drinking our beloved zombie virus for example is bound to fill up your HUD a bit...End 'expansions': Purpur blocks (made from (popped aka cooked) Chorus Fruit), Ender Dragon head, End rod (a rod which can be placed vertically & horizontally, emits light but can also be used to walk upon) and End stone bricks. And new End islands; the End doesn't have a main island with the dragon anymore, no, it now has an infinite amount of islands which will hold new structures:You gotta admit: the purple / yellow combination really looks mysterious and intriguing. At least I think so. If Mojang can do one thing really well its adding a feel to their new generated structures. I mean... with the new (now old, lol) Ocean monument you actually get a feeling as if you're walking in a pretty wet / moist area. Especially the prismarine which slowly shifts color really adds to this feeling. In my opinion obviously...But I think the same applies here. The Endermen with their purple eyes? I really like this, its suiting. As if the Endermen are now a somewhat semi-intelligent species which have houses and buildings (warning: roleplay/fantasy thinking). Though, you won't find Endermen inside: mostly parkour-ish builds and of course the new Shulker mob:Generated parkour, with End rods for extra support / access optionsAnd before I forget: another thing I really like is the "tech tree" (or "craft tree") expansion. I call it 'tech tree' because I've played too much Command & Conquer in my youth With 'tech tree' I'm referring to the different things you can craft or do with the same material (mine clay; cook the balls and get bricks, assemble the bricks and get brick blocks, use those blocks for crafting and you can make brick stairs. BUT; you can also re-assemble the clay balls, cook the clay block and get hardened clay which you can color (dye)).See all those purple thingies next to the build (previous picture)? Those are chorus plants which more or less behave the same as a cactus: mine the bottom block and the whole thing comes falling down. This is where things become interesting: eat the chorus fruit and it'll satisfy some hunger while also teleporting you to a random location in your surrounding (within the same / close chunk). Cook this fruit though and you can 'pop' it (popped chorus fruit). And with 4 popped chorus fruit you can make 4 purpur blocks. And with those purpur blocks you can then make pillars, stairs and slabs. Though I personally would have used different amounts: 4 popped fruit makes 1 purpur block or so.On that same subject: 4 end stone can make 4 endstone brick blocks (comparable to stone bricks).And finally: dragon head!Keep in mind guys that player / mob heads aren't an official vanilla feature. In vanilla we got 4 heads (skulls): skeleton & wither skeleton skull, zombie head, steve / player head and the creeper head. Newly added is this imposing head:If you add a redstone signal to it then its head jaw open and closes. Bit too fast for my taste but hey; it still looks cool! (edit): If you turn off the redstone then the head remains in that state. So; turn off redstone while the jaw is open then it'll stay open.First impressionsAs much as I like the new End builds (I really think they look awesome) I also have some doubts. Because all this basically does is make the End fight harder. For good or bad? I can't say. But it does make me wonder about the Overworld (and optionally the Nether).A lot of players already complain that it is relatively easy to reach a status quo in the Overworld. You build a small base while making sure that you add enough options to sustain yourself with food (plant seeds & farm wheat or add a pool so you can go fishing, etc.). Then go out mining for a while and you'll soon have plenty of iron (or diamonds if you work hard enough) for solid armor and weapons.Once you reach that stage in the game it quickly becomes pretty easy to move around in the Overworld, even at night. And I can't help wonder if some of these new options (shields, the enhanced arrows which now affect mobs with an effect, and/or the chorus fruit which teleports you away) won't result in making the Overworld stage even easier.I like the idea of fighting zombie hordes with armor and equipped with sword & shield (wonder if that will also deflect skeleton arrows). But I'm still worried about the shifted balance in the game.Alas; enough for now, more later.