Minecraft’s Nether update expands the spooky Hell zone, adding biomes and another group of people for players to interact with. Meet the Piglin, who are the new kids on the block. These pig-people can be civil, and many fans are eager to be best friends with them, even though the Piglin’s number one love is unrepentant murder.
The Piglin were originally in the game as zombies; now, we get to meet the uncorrupted version of those enemies. The Piglin roam in packs, and sometimes, they’ll have a lil baby Piglin hanging out with them, which is extremely wholesome.
The Piglin serve as both a threat (they’ll attack any player not wearing golden armor) and a new allied faction, as they’ll trade enchants and Nether items for gold ingots. They’re dangerous and unpredictable, even in the best of times. They can open wooden doors and carry an assortment of dangerous weapons. If your gold armor breaks, or you mine a tempting piece of gold, or if you open up a chest to see what’s inside, every Piglin in a surrounding radius will immediately swarm you to beat your ass. Even if I’m the one who put the chest down and then open my own chest, which I own — the Piglin don’t care.
I can’t stay mad at them. They’re just too cute. Baby Piglin will stack themselves in a pillar on top of the new animal that’s like a hippo-sized hog, the Hoglin. When adult Piglin successfully hunt and kill a Hoglin, they do a celebration dance. When I trade with a villager in the overworld, I get access to a useful, instant menu of their wares. When I trade with a Piglin, I hand them a gold ingot. They stare at it lovingly for what feels like a long time, then throw me something random. They don’t see me as a protagonist at all, and that’s great. I love that power move.
One time, a group of Piglin killed me on the shores of a lava lake. I returned to that spot in a hurry, panicked that I had lost my valuable items to the lava. The items were gone, but not burned up. Instead, the Piglin who had killed me had equipped my armor. I could see him in the distance, the diamond armor sparkling with powerful enchants. I had to chase him down across the hellscape, like a low budget Fury Road, yelling the entire time.
The Piglin have become an instantly beloved part of Minecraft, partially because of their quirks and charms. Fans are stitching plushies of the Nether denizens, making DOOM-style texture packs, and filming encounters with Piglin so they can shame them on social media later. Fans love them, and they’re a hit, even though they’re a little homicidal.
The Minecraft Piglin Brute Plush!#NetherUpdate #Minecraft @Mega_Spud @HelenAngel @adrian_ivl @slicedlime @Cojomax99 @henrikkniberg @_LadyAgnes @kingbdogz @_Ulraf_ @JDavidFries pic.twitter.com/PqdD1rekK3— AidanVEnki Back to Filming! (@AidanBuchanan13) June 25, 2020
“I’m working on building a precious little village for them,” says Esme, a Minecraft fan who spoke to Polygon over Discord. “I want them to have the world. I’m thinking about making a little Hell garden and diner. The Villagers are kind of unpleasant and make rude sounds like they hate that you’re there, but the Piglin are cute and good.”
I, too, love the Piglin.
But there are also some ethical concerns that keep popping up in my mind. Why am I getting mad at them for attacking me, or roaming the Nether? They were here first, and this is their home! I entered this realm through obsidian stone and trickery; I’m the invader. Every time I head into the Nether, and forget to put on a piece of gold armor, I end up running into a group of Piglin and pulling an Anakin Skywalker. Perhaps that’s why I can’t stay mad at the Piglin, no matter how many times they knock me off a cliff or swarm me for opening my own chest. It’s some I Am Legend stuff, and I appreciate them holding the mirror up to reflect my true face.