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Minecraft Battle Pits Players Against Each Other

Give gamers a sandbox to play in, and they'll find inventive ways to kill one another. Player-versus-player (PVP) has been around in Minecraft for almost as long as the game itself, but it's always been an improvisational affair, with rules and regulations codified by the players themselves. A new bit of free downloadable content, Minecraft Battle, aims to make PVP a little simpler and a lot more comprehensive.

Microsoft announced the new DLC on its Xbox Wire blog, which details the Battle expansion pack, slated for release sometime in June. First and foremost, players should be aware that it will only be available (for the moment) as an add-on for Minecraft: Console Edition. Those wanting to duke it out on the PC or mobile devices will have to continue using their own rules and setups for the time being.

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The Battle DLC will bring "specially designed PVP maps" that pit between up to four players in local play, or eight players in online play, against each other. Randomly generated resources and chests give players weapons and tools they need to wreak havoc, and after that, it's a free-for-all.

Players who fall in battle can spectate the rest of the match, and an online matchmaking system makes it easy to find similarly bloodthirsty competitors. As PVP modes go, it sounds pretty simple, but also about as complicated as a Minecraft versus mode needs to be.

Microsoft also suggests that Battle will be the first of Minecraft's upcoming mini-games. There's no word on whether the new game modes will continue to be free, but those who get very involved in the PVP scene will probably have to open their wallets eventually. The post promised Map Pack add-ons to be released "periodically" for $3 a pop.

Granted, players could presumably just construct nearly identical maps on their own, but without the tidy PVP rules.

Marshall Honorof

Marshall Honorof is an editor for Tom's Guide, covering gaming hardware, security and streaming video. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.