This is a feature that both makes sense and disincentivizes strip mining without taking it away. It also adds a new layer and progression to the game, making it almost necessary to have better tools to delve deeper at a productive rate.
Strip mining is also a tool which players use which kind of takes all the value away from Diamonds, making them an incredibly easy resource to gather via strip mining. Having this feature would incentivize Cave mining, which is a crux of this update.
The difficulty of mining a block could be determined by Y-Value, how many blocks are above it, and the tool that you use to break it. A Netherite pickaxe, for example, could be proportionally better at mining lower blocks, but would mine blocks at the same speed as a diamond pickaxe nearest to the surface. Could also give a use to Gold pickaxes with an enchantment specific to gold tools for example, making the golden pickaxe semi-useful for once. (Maybe the new Copper pickaxe too)
- This also makes geological sense, since the stone at lower levels has far more weight and pressure on it, compacting it far more than the stone above.
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