Minecraft - Valhelsia: Enhanced Vanilla

I’ve been playing Minecraft since the early, early days. The game first caught my interest when it was in alpha, and I finally picked up my first copy of the game pretty much immediately after it went into beta (I had been admiring it from afar via YouTube for a while before that). Even after all this time, I still go back to Minecraft to check in, which is usually followed by another 200 hours of gameplay. Yeah, I’m hooked.

But one thing I’ve always hated is how water looks in this game. It’s just awful and ugly, and the physics are an absolute nightmare (though I confess they’ve gotten better over time).

Minecraft

If you play the Java version of Minecraft (as opposed to Bedrock), there’s actually something you can do about this — you can install water shaders. And oh man, is it glorious. Having realistic water in Minecraft makes the whole game feel better. Even if you change nothing else, the world just looks so much more presentable with flowy, reflective liquid chilling out in your oceans and rivers.

Currently, if you play Minecraft on Xbox Series X|S or PS5, you’re actually playing the Xbox One or PS4 version of Bedrock, respectively. It seems like Mojang should take advantage of current-gen hardware and add a toggle — old-school water or flowy, beautiful water — at least to whatever enhanced version eventually comes out on PS5 and Xbox Series X|S. I know I’m shooting for the stars here, but this might be my most-desired feature for the game (with copper lanterns being a close second).

If you’re one of those lucky ducks who is playing Java on PC, here are just three incredible mod packs to get your water flowin’.

BSL Shaders

Minecraft - BSL Shaders

This really does seem like the king of the hill, as far as shader packs go. BSL Shaders not only makes your water look super goopy and amazing, but it gives you some crisp, clean clouds and jaw-dropping lighting effects. Even with these improvements, though, it really does maintain that classic Minecraft look, which I really appreciate.

You can learn more about BSL Shaders at the official website.

KUDA

Minecraft - KUDA Shaders

The KUDA shaders mod is another staple of the Minecraft visual modding scene. Like BSL, KUDA changes more than just the water, with lovely clouds and brilliant lighting effects. In fact, it’s really hard to choose between KUDA and BSL, if you ask me — they’re both so incredibly gorgeous.

You can learn more about KUDA shaders at the official website.

Valhelsia: Enhanced Vanilla

Minecraft - Valhelsia: Enhanced Vanilla

So this one is a bit further off the beaten path. Valhelsia: Enhanced Vanilla combines several different mod packs into one gigantic beast of a mod. Not only does it do all the things the previous shader packs do (water, clouds, lighting, etc.), but it also changes a lot about how the game plays. This pack gives you something resembling skill trees, where you invest points earned by leveling up into various different skills. This means that, instead of having access to, say, a fishing rod right off the bat, you’ve got to invest skill points in order to unlock it. If you’ve played well over 1,000 hours of Minecraft (I admit that I have), then Valhelsia: Enhanced Vanilla might make the game seem fresh all over again.

You can learn more about Valhesia: Enhanced Vanilla at the official Valhesia website.

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