Difficulty is an option in Minecraft which can be toggled via the options menu. The difficulty setting determines how quickly a player's Hunger points deplete on their food bar, how frequently Mobs will spawn and how powerful they are, damage dealt by starvation, etc.
No hostile mobs will spawn, and the food bar will not drain at all. The only food which can be eaten while the food bar is full is a Golden Apple or, if the difficulty is changed to peaceful when hungry, any type of food can be eaten until the bar is full again (However, it will replenish fast, so you don't have to eat food). The downside to playing on peaceful is that a player can't get hostile mob drops and Experience cannot be obtained from said mobs. Playing on peaceful will also prevent a player from fighting the Wither, as Wither Skeleton skulls cannot be collected. However, the Ender Dragon will still spawn on peaceful, but will do no damage.
Few mobs will spawn. Mobs deal less damage than usual and very rarely hostile mobs will spawn with Armor on. Cave Spiders will lose their Poison ability, and Creepers will cancel their explosion if a player is a short distance away. If the hunger bar is empty, it will leave a player with . Zombies will not turn Villagers into zombie villagers.
Mobs will spawn normally. Mobs deal a normal amount of damage. Cave spiders can poison players, and the Wither effect can be applied. If a player's hunger bar drops to 0, it will deplete a player's health all the way down to . If a villager is killed by a zombie, it has a 50% chance to turn into a zombie villager.
A high number of mobs will spawn. Creeper explosions are highly fatal. One explosion and a player is dead unless they are wearing armor. If the hunger bar drains completely, it will slowly kill a player. Creepers will not cancel their explosion unless a player moves far away. Zombies can break down wooden Doors, and Spiders can spawn with one positive Status Effect (swiftness, strength, regeneration, invisibility, etc) and these effects are permanent. Skeletons and zombies have a higher chance of spawning with armor and Tools. These mobs will also have a higher chance of picking up anything. If villagers are killed by zombies, they have a 100% chance of turning into a Zombie Villager.
- Main article: Hardcore
This is the same as hard mode, except that the health hearts are different and a player cannot respawn. If the game mode was set to "Hardcore" when the world was created, it cannot be changed to an easier difficulty.
Note: Hardcore is actually a game mode not a difficulty. When one plays on hardcore, their difficulty is locked on "Hard", and it cannot be changed.