It was announced late last week that the next Minecraft update would feature rain, snow and thunder. Notch, one of the lead developers on this massively successful indie property, promised followers a video of the announced weather additions, and he delivered via Mojang's YouTube channel. More than that, though, the preview video also shows off the working inclusion of achievements and viewable statistics.

Minecraft logoBefore you ask, the high frequency of the rain and snow stopping and starting again is only for the purposes of this preview clip.

If you've followed Minecraft at all over the last few weeks, you know that the update to 1.4 promised two major new gameplay features. Players were to get a chance to find, tame and love wolves, and Mojang would release a full achievement system to keep fans constantly playing and addicted. The achievement and statistic system was skipped due to some problems with coding. The Mojang team, instead, put a lot of the framework for the achievement system in place during the jump to 1.4.

The update to 1.5, however, will see the realized achievement and statistic system. Notch has said that achievements won't just be a boring slew of benchmark numbers like collecting 100 logs; instead, players will be encouraged to play the game in unique ways. Rather than just having an achievement for building a furnace, players will have an achievement for riding pigs off of cliffs.

And it's there that I applaud Mojang for their efforts. I find myself typically falling in the camp that believes achievements are entirely useless. I don't need numbers, trophies or badges of honor every time I complete typical, in-game actions. The notion that I should be rewarded for performing basic tasks is a little boring. However, when achievements encourage me to play games in unique ways, I love them.

One of the best examples of what I'm talking about can be found in Valve's Left 4 Dead 2. During the carnival level, you can earn an achievement for winning the gnome at the shooting gallery and carrying him all the way to the end of the level. Is that something you would have done without the achievement? No. But, because of this zany objective, I dumped around four hours into guarding a gnome during a zombie apocalypse. I love that stuff.

Minecraft will likely be updated to 1.5 some time this week.

[via Mojang on YouTube]