Java Edition 1.17 added in raw metals into Minecraft. This is a major change to various versions, metal blocks would drop metal blocks, not raw ore. The Fortune and Silk Touch enchantments now work on the Iron, Copper and Gold blocks which drop ore now instead of the blocks themselves. This ore can be smelted with one fuel and one ore to make one ingot, just as you can with the blocks.
That means with Fortune III you can get up to 4 (the average being 2.2) ores per metal block. Which is a nice change as it makes farming these materials a lot easier compared to before.
So when you destroy an Iron, Copper or Gold block (or their deepslate variants) without Silk Touch, you’ll get something called “Raw Iron” or “Raw Copper” or “Raw Gold.” It works the same way as the blocks in crafting, but of course you can’t build with it.
What This Changes
Little to nothing for normal players. The ore stacks differently than the blocks, but you can still do everything you did before. The Fortune enchant means it’ll be easier farming metals of course, which the largest change will impact speed runners farming gold for Piglin trades. It’ll be faster to get the necessary gold to pull off the trades needed for the non-tool assisted speedruns.
For regular players, just a small quality of life improvement and a quicker way to get ingots to craft armor and other things in the game. Which means the early game is softened a bit. Especially once you get enchanting running you can pretty much get all the ingots you need pretty quickly and can farm in the overworld, which makes getting ready for the nether much easier.
It also helps make inventory management a bit easier, I suppose.
How to Still Get Metal Blocks
The Silk Touch enchantment allows just that. Just enchant a pickaxe with Silk Touch and the blocks will drop as normal which you can craft with or build with or whatever you’d like. Do note that Silk Touch and Fortune can not be combined, so you can still only farm blocks at standard drop rates.