A difficulty is an option in Minecraft that 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.

Difficulties

Peaceful

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. Hoglins and Piglins will still spawn on peaceful, but they will be passive towards the player like a regular pig.

Easy

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 Heart.pngHeart.pngHeart.pngHeart.pngHeart.png. Zombies will not turn Villagers into zombie villagers.

Normal

Mobs will spawn normally. Mobs deal with 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 down to Half Heart.png. If a villager is killed by a zombie, it has a 50% chance to turn into a zombie villager.

Hard

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 turn into a Zombie Villager.

Hardcore

This is the same as hard mode, except that the health hearts are different and a player can't respawn. If the game mode was set to "Hardcore" when the world was created, it can't be changed to an easier difficulty.

Note: Hardcore is more truly a game mode, not a difficulty. When a player plays on hardcore, their difficulty is locked on "Hard", and it can't be changed. Hardcore can be played on multiplayer, but they will still have one life. Hardcore is only exclusive to the Java Edition of Minecraft, however, one can play hardcore if they have an addon on the other editions.

Trivia

  • Iron Golems, Wolves, and Polar Bears are the only mobs that can become hostile in peaceful mode.
  • According to the Essentials Minecraft Handbook, normal difficulty is recommended for beginning players.
  • Most versions, you can't beat the game on peaceful mode. But in version 1.12, if you go to coordinates X:450, Y:15, Z:-2270 on seed: 95148563599334434, you will find a completed End Portal and enter normally. If you use the random seed generator, you have a 1 in 1 trillion chance of getting this seed. (Note: This only works in the Java Edition, not consoles.)

Regional difficulty

The regional difficulty (or local difficulty) is a value between 0.00 and 6.75 that is calculated by the difficulty setting, the world's total playtime, the chunk's inhabited time, and the phase of the moon. The regional difficulty determines several aspects of the difficulty of gameplay.

The inhabited time of a chunk increase for each tick each player spends in a chunk. It is capped at 50 hours.

The total playtime in the world is a factor that doesn't take effect until the first hour of playtime. It's capped at 21 hours.

The regional difficulty ranges from 0.0-0.0 on Peaceful, 0.75-1.5 on Easy, 1.5-4.0 on Normal, and 2.25-6.75 on Hard.

Clamped regional difficulty

The clamped regional difficulty is a value between 0.00 and 1.00 that is calculated based on the current value of the regional difficulty. The clamped regional difficulty is another value that affects the difficulty of gameplay.

  • If the regional difficulty is below 2, the clamped regional difficulty is 0.
  • If the regional difficulty is above 4, the clamped regional difficulty is 1.
  • If the regional difficulty is between 2 and 4, the clamped regional difficulty is between 0 and 1, calculated by (RD - 2) / 2.

The clamped difficulty ranges from 0.0-0.0 on Peaceful and Easy, 0.0-1.0 on Normal, and 0.125-1.0 on Hard.

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