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After a couple unsuccessful attempts to find myself in a nice looking spawn point on a newly generated map, I decided to find one by myself. I made myself a boat and started my sail due north-east.

Three hours later, 15.000 meters further, I'm still on sail, looking not only for a decent land, but ANY land at all.

How vast are oceans in Minecraft 1.9 pre-release 3? Can I still hope for some highlands far away from my original spawn point?

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hmm... that would explain my recent game where I spawned on a deserted island, a small 5x10 island, no trees, no land in sight. –  z ' Oct 10 '11 at 12:27
    
20.000 blocks away from spawn point, still waterworld. I managed to find one island with a single tree. I cut it down and gathered some saplings. I think I may need them to settle down on some somewhat bigger island somewhere NE from where I stand right now :) –  Helbreder Oct 10 '11 at 13:21
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5 Answers 5

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They are huge, absolutely humongous. In this Tectonicus render you see my map after I have traveled for about 10 in-game days (I think) in one direction, got fed up, changed direction, got fed up again and headed back home.

See?

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That map doesn't look much like Minecraft. –  fredley Oct 7 '11 at 8:45
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@fredley What makes you say that? –  Jonathan Hobbs Oct 7 '11 at 12:27
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@Helbreder: To give a sense of scale, normally a 21 x 21 grid of chunks is loaded around the player, meaning the blue line would be 336 blocks wide. By that measurement, the distance travelled from the spawn point in this image is about 15000 blocks. This is assuming the game was set to the default view distance of 10 – a server could up it to 16, which would imply a distance of about 24000 blocks. I'm not sure what the minimum is. –  Joren Oct 7 '11 at 13:33
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@Joren: I did not change the view distance. @SevenSidedDie: Actually on this exact same map if you sail west for about one and a half to two days you do encounter regular land. It is also not bugged in that there are no trees under water as is suggested in Alan B's answer. The seed is shipwreck by the way :) I find it immensely fun to play. Try getting all the achievements on that world, it's quite challenging! –  Zsub Oct 7 '11 at 18:44
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@Zsub That seed is so appropriate it's awesome. –  SevenSidedDie Oct 10 '11 at 22:23
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The size of any single ocean is limited by the maximum size of a biome, meaning oceans in the region of ten thousand blocks wide and long (source). If you've travelled 15km North-East, you should be arriving at land soon, unless...

If you include the possibility that an ocean biome can be placed next to an ocean biome, then you could have any sized ocean. In theory, one could imagine a seed that created nothing but ocean biomes, resulting in an entire map of ocean. This is pretty unlikely though.

Of course, in newer versions if you choose the 'Large biomes' option when creating your world the oceans will be much larger still!

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30,000 blocks +

In 1.8 I started walking from the spawn point towards positive X, positive Z. At 5000, 5000 I started sailing across an ocean. I did not hit land again until 38000, 38000.

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Sounds like a fun afternoon's Minecraft to me. –  fredley Oct 7 '11 at 13:53
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It's just not the same without the Wind Waker music, though… –  Ben Blank Oct 7 '11 at 16:43
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Apparently this might be a bug in 1.8:

As of 1.8 if you go outside of generation of a 1.7 world an endless ocean generates over regular 1.8 land and you may see underwater trees occasionally. This seems to happen to newly created worlds in 1.8. Considering the biome code is unfinished at the moment, it is unknown how intentional the "endless oceans" are. "

I should add that the paragraph above was taken from the Minecraft Wiki.

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"If you go outside of generation of a 1.7 world" - Do you mean if you load up a map saved in 1.7 and generate new chunks? I'm confused by this and "This seems to happen to newly created worlds in 1.8" –  fredley Oct 7 '11 at 13:52
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According to the Wiki, in 1.1 the Ocean biome can be over 25,000 blocks wide and 30 blocks deep, with the occasional island and the rare mushroom biome.

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