A quick comment on the "new textures":
The previous textures were "low contrast" and supported a "single tint colour". As we vary the tint colour per world, you can't rely on the colour of a block to know the material. And as the texture were low contrast it was also hard to distinguish the block by the detail in the texture.
The previous textures were presented in a world with a balanced palette (people may remember the block depots with the minor colour variations) and a balance sky and world lighting. This made the world and blocks look balanced and cohesive.
The New textures
The new textures are now "higher contrast" - so that it's easier to distinguish the block type by the detail. They're also thematically styled to be consistent with the other visual elements in the game: characters, creatures, props, visual effects, etc.
The texture detail must convey the material without colour and shape. This requirement figuratively tasks our talented artists to create assets with both hands tied behind their back. There are many amazing looking modern games that achieve much of their beautiful visual look with colour and shape alone (and no detail) - for example The Witness and Firewatch.
So it's actually an extremely hard challenge. But we're taking on this challenge because we want every world to be coloured differently, so that every world is as fresh and original as possible.
The new textures support a "triplet colour tint": a low light colour, a colour, and highlight colour. (I think this is particularly clever.) This means that we can vary the colour across a block more creatively. This can be used (as before) to tint the block with a single colour, or more creatively tint shadows and highlights separately. A subtle purple hue in a shadow balanced against a orange glow in the highlight. Pretty!
(This triplet colour can be seen in the World Builder block colour selection.)
The new textures are much quicker to create. So we can make the 100s of blocks and variations required.
We're yet to present the new blocks with a balanced set of world palettes, and sky and world lighting. The game is no-where-near the final visual balance and polish. This will make a massive difference to the presentation of the game. It will be night and day...
We continue to review and iterate the block textures to make improvements based on community and internal feedback - keep it coming. Are there particular blocks that you think need attention?
My aim here isn't to say "stop complaining" - we really value criticism. But rather to explain the challenge we've taken on, why we're doing it, why we think it's worth while, and that it's still a work in progress. In closed game development you wouldn't normally see these stages where the game doesn't look it's best.
The game will look much better once all the components are balanced and polished.
Additionally - amusingly I forgot to say that the whole purpose of this system is to allow players to harvest blocks from other worlds and bring them home. Without this requirement - none of the above would be required. Blocks would be painted with colour.