Here are some little hints for those who are new or would like to learn more tips and tricks about Minecraft. Tips may also be found under the "Trivia" section of some pages, and those are likely to be more in-depth.
Controls can be fully customized in nearly all versions of Minecraft. By opening settings and navigating to the Controls option, the player can change their key mappings to whatever they wish. In the Bedrock Edition, a touchscreen, keyboard and mouse, a controller, or just a keyboard may be used to control the game. However, Java Edition only supports keyboard and mouse control. Some additional control related options, such as auto jump, and sprint/sneaking toggle/hold settings can be changed.
Within the Minecraft world, a compass is not how you tell which way is north! Rather, it always points to a fixed point, the "world spawn". However, it can be useful to know which way north is. There are a few ways:
- North can be found by hitting a block and checking the directions of the cracks which occur on a block as it is mined.
- This may not work if a resource pack that changes the crack pattern is being used.
- First, learn the crack pattern. If a block is hit on its side, there should be one crack going almost straight up, one to the right, and one going almost straight down.
- If a block on the ground is hit, the same crack pattern will appear. The crack which went almost straight up on the side of the block, will point north on the top of a block.
- You can watch which direction the sun, moon, stars, or clouds are moving. Each of these always moves from east to west.
- In the Java Edition, the debug screen (activated by pressing F3) gives information on which way the player is facing.
- If you have a map (In Bedrock Edition, a locator map) covering where you are, the map will show an arrow-like player icon. This points the same way that you are facing in the world. The top of the map is north, the right edge is east, and so on.
Changing the rules
If you are having too much difficulty with hostile mobs, such as a zombie or a creeper, or can't find any food to eat, you may be able to set the world difficulty to peaceful. When you change to peaceful mode, hunger and health will quickly regenerate, the hunger bar will never decrease, and all hostile mobs will instantly despawn.
However, this is a controversial move -- in a pure survival game, many players will consider it to be cheating, which takes away much of what they see as the challenge and fun of Minecraft, especially when used as a "panic button". That said, it's better than a ragequit, and Minecraft is meant to accommodate many different styles of play.
When the "point" of your own game is more about construction or artistic builds than about surviving the monsters, peaceful mode becomes very helpful. It can also be used as a "training" mode to learn the game controls and get used to the Minecraft world.
Single-player worlds have an option to lock world difficulties and eliminate this option, keeping you "honest" in the gameplay; for multi-player worlds, you will not be allowed to change the world's difficulty unless you are the world owner (or at least an "op").
Another option for moderating the game difficulty is to alter the game rules with "cheat commands", or by choosing them when creating the world. As with peaceful mode, these are controversial, but in single-player... well, it's your game. On a multi-player server, you probably will not be able to change these rules in any case, unless you are the server owner. See the linked page for full details.
- The most powerful rule in this respect is probably
keepInventory. Once set to true, players who die will respawn with their items and experience intact, instead of dropping their equipment where they died. If you have a lot of valuable items like diamond armor, a diamond sword, diamonds, gold, and iron, then you will be more afraid to have all your hard work come to nothing. Unfortunately, this means that if you dug a hole into lava, all of the items that you were carrying will be lost forever. Therefore, altering this rule is quite useful.
- Another, less controversial, rule, is
mobGriefing. This will prevent all mobs from breaking blocks, picking up items, or trampling your crops. Most obviously, this prevents creepers and Endermen from damaging your builds; it will also prevent mobs from picking up your items after your death. As a non-obvious side effect, it will prevent villagers from breeding, because they need to collect food to do so. It will also have significant effects in the Nether (Ghasts, Blazes, Piglins) and will drastically affect the late-game Wither fight, and the Ender Dragon battle.
Open the world to LAN
Sometimes you're desperate to cheat, so as to prevent what you all done come into nothing. More specifically, you may want to change the game rule after the world was created, but you may find you did not allow cheating when creating the world.
There is an "Open to LAN" option, which allows you to enable cheats, even if you did not toggle "Allow Cheating" when creating the world. When cheats are enabled, you can go into creative mode and replace lost items, as well as set
/gamerule keepInventory to true. However, note that this is cheating. Many players believe that it's better to think about their mistakes and start over.
Be careful if you open the world to LAN because if you click "esc", mobs, blocks, and other in-game things can still move, even when you're paused. That means if you're chasing a cow while in LAN and clicked "esc" to pause, the cow can still run or move.
However, if you are playing multiplayer and you are not the server owner, you cannot just enable cheats. In that case, you could ask the one that hosts the Multiplayer game to replace the items or create a new world in singleplayer.
Recent versions of Minecraft feature a recipe book, which will supply most of the recipes that can be made with all items you've ever picked up. It can also make it easier to craft as well as remember recipes. That said, it is possible to craft recipes that aren't in the book yet, by remembering their crafting pattern. (They will then be added to the book, along with many recipes using the new item.)
For several common wooden tools, there are routines to quickly craft them with an even number of logs, dragging the planks or sticks into place and using shift-click to craft multiple recipes.
- For fences, you will want a multiple of 5 logs. Convert them to planks, then convert one-fifth (1/5) of the total to sticks. With 20 logs, you can just turn the smaller stack of 16 planks into sticks, then craft that with the other stack of 64 planks, for 48 fences.
- By comparison, fence gates are easy, and cost exactly 1 log each. Convert the logs to planks, then convert half of the planks to sticks.
- For ladders, crafting 7 logs at a time into sticks will let you just drag the resulting pile into the ladder shape, for 24 ladders.
- If you have a lot of spare sticks, a stack of them will make 27 ladders with one leftover.
- For slabs, doors, or trapdoors, multiples of 3 will come out even, (Likewise for stone slabs and walls.)
- Chests cost 2 logs each. Crafting 16 logs will get you a stack of 64 planks, which you can drag into the box shape to make 8 chests at a time.
When working with the many kinds of stone, a stonecutter is very useful. Not only does it let you make various decorative blocks individually (without needing to craft 3 or 4 blocks at a time), but it makes stone stairs cheaper: The stonecutter can make 1 stair per block, while the crafting table needs 6 blocks to make only 4 stairs.
Later, you will get hold of netherrack, and one of the important things to make from it is nether brick fences. The recipe is a little complex, but can likewise be made in bulk: Smelt your netherrack into nether brick items, and take 180 bricks at a time (3 stacks minus 12). Drag these across the crafting table to split them into 9 stacks. Set aside one of the stacks, and combine the other stacks pairwise into the 2x2 nether brick block recipe. That gives you the blocks and set-aside bricks for 60 fences. Even if you don't bother setting aside the 12 bricks, this will still work, you'll just be crafting a couple of extra nether brick blocks in the process.
|Nether Bricks||Nether Brick|
|Nether Brick Fence||Nether Bricks +
If you are struggling to remember crafting patterns, try taking a closer look at a pattern, like the fishing rod pattern. Take notice of how the sticks and string line up to look like a fishing rod. Many patterns follow this trait, such as doors, which use two columns of wood planks to make the rectangular shape of a door, and swords, which use two wooden planks, cobblestone, iron ingots, gold ingots, or diamonds for the blade and a stick for the handle.
In single-player, you can also pause the game and visit the wiki for that item for the recipe.
You can also save a bit of time by stacking some items to make two or more different items in a pass. The examples below show how to stack items to craft two or three items in quick succession.
|Stone Pickaxe or
|Leather Pants or
|Golden Chestplate or
Golden Helmet or
For smelting, it hardly matters what's being smelted, as long as the furnace type is appropriate.
- Setting up an "auto-smelter" or few with hoppers to feed in items and remove output makes life much more convenient.
- A single furnace smelting a stack of items will take 10 minutes 40 seconds, or more than half a Minecraft day.
- Using a blast furnace or smoker for appropriate jobs will take half the time: 5 minutes 20 seconds for a stack.
- Splitting up jobs into multiple batches to use two or more furnaces (perhaps of different types) can save a lot of time.
- While a few items worth of wasted fuel hardly matters in the long run, it's worth knowing a few numbers that will come out even:
- 8 pieces of coal or charcoal smelts a stack of items, a stack of coal smelts 8 stacks.
- 16 dried kelp blocks smelts 5 stacks of items, a stack of the blocks will smelt 20 stacks.
- 16 blaze rods smelts 3 stacks, a stack of rods smelts 12 stacks.
- 4 blocks of coal smelts 5 stacks.
- A stack of 16 buckets, filled with lava (they will no longer stack) smelts 25 stacks, which is just two stacks short of a full chest. (And one of those empty slots will receive the emptied buckets.)
- Most wooden "leftovers" will match planks: 2 stacks smelt 3 stacks of items. The others will mostly match either sticks (4 stacks smelt 3 stacks), or wooden tools and weapons (1 smelts 1).
- In Bedrock Edition, slabs burn as long as planks, so you can double your burning time by converting planks to slabs. This even beats turning the logs into charcoal.
- For really big jobs: Smelting a full chest of stackable items (1,728 items) in a single furnace will take most of 5 hours real time, or almost 2½ hours in a smoker or blast furnace. The fuel required is one of:
- 18 lava buckets (with over a stack's worth of time left over)
- 22 coal blocks, or 216 pieces (3 stacks+24 pieces). The blocks save 18 pieces of coal, and the leftover time can smelt another half-stack (4 pieces' worth).
- 87 (1 stack+23) dried kelp blocks
- 144 (2 stacks+16) blaze rods
Light and darkness
Light is a key resource in the game: Besides letting you see effectively, it prevents most monsters from spawning, which effectively makes it the usual way to "claim" territory as player-controlled. Initially you will be getting most of your light from daylight and torches Torches have a base light level of 14 -- later you will be getting a number of other light sources, which are slightly brighter, at light level 15 (which is the maximum possible). The key point is that the light level from any of these drops by 1 for each block in any direction: east, west, north, south, up, and down. Diagonals count as two steps! Overworld monsters will only spawn in complete darkness, or in pre-1.18 versions, light level 7 or less.
If you're short on torches, you can use the above to save some torches in the shelter: even if things are a little dim, any space within 13 blocks of a torch (again, up and down count) is spawn proof. Also, monsters won't randomly spawn near the player (24 blocks): The player may want to light up a perimeter just to see what's coming and light the base so the player does not need to come back to find a new tenant, but monsters won't be appearing in front of them. Mobs also need a "full block" to spawn: They won't spawn in midair, or on top of fences, buttons, or other partial blocks. Land monsters also won't spawn in water, but drowned can. (Exception: Near a dungeon spawner, they can indeed spawn in midair.)
If you use the F3 debug screen, you can see the light level of the block you are standing on -- pacing around your base with the debug screen on, can help you find potential trouble spots. However, rather than skimping on torches, it's best to take the trouble to get hold of lots of coal to make all the torches you need.
In order to save torches while mining, they can be placed along the floor every 26 blocks, since a torch has a light level of 14, and that spacing will ensure the light level never drops to 0, where mobs will be able to spawn. If F3 is enabled, place the torch when the light level of the block the player is standing on is 2.
If you have shelter, wood, and cobblestone, but cannot find any coal to fuel or light the environment, just make a furnace, and smelt some logs (not planks). Use the planks for fuel—2 planks for every three logs the player wants to smelt. This will smelt into charcoal, which is almost identical to coal, except that it cannot be packed into coal blocks (or sold to villagers). Trees are pretty easy to grow, and especially once you can grow spruce or jungle "giant" trees, or even dark oaks, wood will be plentiful enough to make a lot of charcoal. That said, coal itself is pretty common too, and can even be found wherever stone shows at the surface.!
Trying to see ores in dark places is very hard for the eyes, and you might encounter vision problems. To avoid that, change the brightness by going into
Settings > Video Settings then look for the slider named "Brightness". By default, the game has a "Moody" brightness setting. Set it up to a higher level ("Bright" is recommended). This will save the player's vision because you don't have to squint too much to see things. However, it won't let you see much in real darkness, and it won't affect monster spawning. This trick is especially useful in the Nether, where everything is somewhat lit without torches on a "bright" setting, and some mobs spawn at any light level.
Beds and bases
Building a house
There are some recommendations for early building:
For beginners, the player might want to hollow out the side of a hill or mountain. This can be done quickly and turn into a good shelter, but keep in mind it will be harder to find the home if the player wanders off, or the player could place torches if they have any around the entrance. Good thing is that the mobs can't track any players down by light sources, except zombies. A second design is to collect a lot of logs and build a house of planks. These stand out easily, look good, and function well. The bad thing is they and their slab counterparts are flammable and may be set on fire by lightning.
A more durable shelter can be made of cobblestone, stone (including andesite, diorite or granite), or stone bricks, but don't use dirt for anything but strictly temporary shelters (dirt is easily demolished by creepers). Don't build with or on sand or gravel, since they are affected by gravity, which will make things very difficult when a player decides to expand the shelter or dig a basement. The most durable block to make a house with is obsidian, which can't be blown up even by TNT, much less creepers. However, using obsidian makes it hard to remodel, you can't make slabs or stairs out of it, and you might want your base to have other colors besides black.
These are some recommendations for later building:
Take the time to make a dedicated storage area with a good amount of chests. Reorganizing every 30 minutes is a pain.
Make some farms that are modular and therefore can be easily expanded.
If the shelter was made out of wood at first, then players may want to change it to something more blast-resistant, like Cobblestone, or even obsidian, if supplies allow. However, resistance isn't always a top priority, and you may just want to build a nice house, if that is the case, then just be wary of any nearby mobs, try to spawn proof the area to the best of your ability, and possibly put a border around your house with a fence.
Set your spawn
If your base is far away from the spawn point, and if you have 3 wool and 3 planks, you can make a bed. Clicking on the bed will set your spawn point to the bed, and as of version 1.15 this will work even during the daytime (actually sleeping in the bed will also set your spawn point). However, if the bed is not there (or blocked) when you do die, the spawn point will be lost entirely and you will respawn near the world spawn point. When moving your spawn point within the base, make sure to set your spawn point to the new bed immediately.
Be careful when decorating around the bed. Some block placements will allow you to sleep in the bed, but will prevent the bed from actually letting you respawn. Never completely surround the bed, even with half-height blocks, such as stone slabs. Also, if you put glass beside your bed, you may not be able to spawn beside it, as players cannot naturally spawn on glass. If your bed is obstructed and you died somewhere, you will end up near the world spawn point with a message saying that "Your bed is missing or obstructed". A good way to check if your bed is not obstructed is to build a copy of your bed and the blocks surrounding it near world spawn, and then jump on a Pointed Dripstone until you die. If all is well, you should respawn on or next to your bed, but if you ended up at world spawn, you can easily get your stuff back and edit the bed until you respawn by your bed.
Also, you need to be able to stand on the bed if you want to set a new spawn point, meaning that the spawn point won't be reset if you sleep in a bed with a block above it.[verify]
If you have discovered a structure that could yield you many items, such as a mineshaft, a stronghold, or a swamp hut, you may be tempted by the riches. However, don't attempt to enter right away, as you may lose any valuables and may not be able to reach them in time. To prevent this from happening, set up a new spawn point at the outskirts of the discovered structure by placing a bed and sleeping in it. Carry a bed at all times when exploring far away from home. This will also let you skip past dangerous nights and storms, rather than fighting or hiding for the duration.
Consider that when you die, you will respawn without your items. If you died someplace deep underground, you are likely to have monsters between you and the dropped items. If you plan to create a spawn base nearby, that base needs to have enough resources for you to be properly equipped before charging back into the fray. The basic kit for a spawn base should be at least half a stack of iron (or the equipment it makes, sees below), at least half a stack of planks and a quarter-stack of coal, plus bow and arrows, and food. Supplies of other equipment (torches, fences, ladders, etc.) are also helpful. Another technique is to use ender chests. This way, you can access resources from your main base. However, for this to work, you need to have another one in your main base, and also remember to stock it with items. This technique is better for more advanced players who have the necessary resources.
If there is not enough to spare to stock the base, then you may be better off respawning at your distant base, well out of chunk loading range from the death. Your items will not disappear in unloaded chunks, so if you want to easily regain your items, move to a few hundred blocks from the death site, and then zip back there as fast as possible before the five-minute timer runs out. As preparation for this, you can mark out your route from the surface to the mine, especially the proper entrances.
If you decide on a nearby spawn base, the first priority is safety—pick an area that is well lit and closed off from dangerous areas, and specially protected from creepers (stone/cobblestone walls, a door, and glassed or fenced windows to view the area in front of the entrance). A small room will do, but there needs to be enough space for a crafting table, a furnace, and at least one double-chest to store supplies (these can be embedded in the floor if needed.) Of course, you also need space for the bed, and free space next to the head of the bed to respawn. There should also be room for an infinite water source, which can be tucked half under a wall.
What you need for the base will be a bed, crafting table, furnace, and a chest. If there is no wool for the bed, you can use string (plentiful in mineshafts) to make some. The chest should contain at minimum a full set of iron armor, iron sword, a bucket, and either a second bucket, an iron pick, or shears and a flint-and-steel. (By an amazing coincidence, this is exactly what can be made with half a stack of iron ingots.) You should also have a stone pick, shovel, and axe, a bow and at least half a stack of arrows, preferably a full-stack. Pre-craft some tools: Another chest, and at least half a stack of torches. Some fences, gates, and ladders, a door, or whatever, may come in handy too. You will need a fair bit of food, at least a quarter-stack of steak or porkchops or more of lesser foods. Just to be careful, stick some spare blocks in there too—a half-stack to a stack apiece of cobblestone, dirt, and gravel, as well as extra wood. (Sand is less useful, but some glass might come in handy.) Having some extra raw materials handy: coal, string, redstone, etc., is always good. If possible, top off the selection with a spare copy of the map, and a clock—these can be in frames if desired.
Before delving into the depths, remember to use that bed to set your spawn point (watch for the message). Just placing it is not enough, remember to sleep in the bed to reset the spawn point there. Now when you die, you will reappear not helpless in the midst of a dangerous cavern, but in a secure base with a full set of supplies to go back and seek revenge since most players want to kill the mob that killed them, or at least the items. Note that creeper attacks and other liabilities are not covered.
Zombies can break down doors, if the game difficulty is set to hard when night falls. Here's a solution that doesn't require the player to craft an iron door or compromise the base's security. Simply break down the door, then turn so that the player is perpendicular to where the door just was, and place the door. Get out of the hole the door is occupying, and open it by right-clicking. Now, if the door is placed it the right way, zombies will think that the door is open and avoid it. One can also place any regular block such as dirt or cobblestone in front of the door to prevent zombies from getting to it. If the block is placed on the outside side of the door, the zombie will not be able to damage the door. If the block is placed on the inside side of the door, the zombie can break down the door, but cannot proceed further inside.
One can also place sand or gravel above the door, that way, if the zombie does break the door, it will fall and close the entrance off; or can make a water or lava ditch after the door, also preventing zombies and other mobs from entering. Make sure that the house is not a flammable substance, or that anything is around the ditch.
The simplest solution is to use a fence gate instead of a door, as zombies do not recognize them as doors. One must, however, guard against creepers, which will treat fence gates as fences as per priming-time detection range mechanics (creepers will start the countdown even if blocked by fences, as they are in the same space as the fence). The laziest way to protect against undead intruders is to dig a 1×3 trench in front of the door—to break down doors, zombies must destroy the top half of the door. If zombies are on the door trench, they must jump to attempt to break the top half of the door, which resets the zombie door breaking mechanic. Note that this method only works if the door was installed flush to the outside wall of the dwelling. Also, putting a block underneath the door forces the zombies to jump, break, fall, fail, repeat, exact same mechanic, simply make a 3 high doorway and instead of a door and another block on top, put a block on the bottom and door on the top two block spaces, allowing villagers to still use these doors.
Another way is to build a door frame around the door. Then, add a trapdoor to the middle blocks. Zombies will not be able to break down the door.
Simple trapdoor/fence wall
If you read about trapdoors and fences, you will know that mobs cannot jump over open trapdoors and no player or mob can pass over fences without the jump boost effect. You can completely surround your base with trapdoors or fences and open the trapdoors if you do not want to place fence gates. Note that flying mobs, such as withers, ghasts, or phantoms, can still enter your base territory.
Legitimate Motion Sensor
To detect mobs in their tracks, simply surround the house with a ton of planks. The mobs should walk on the planks and make plank sounds, therefore alerting the player of their presence. Then the player can dig down or prepare for battle. The preferable radius is 5 blocks out.
Note: The volume must be somewhat high for this to be effective.
Adding pressure plates with note blocks underneath it can increase the loudness and allow the player to detect invisible mobs/players by seeing which pressure plates are pressed down, or you can simply add redstone wires and note blocks that connect to the pressure plates to make more sounds.
A trick to defend the base that works best once the player is settled in, and have enough iron to make at least tracks, and ideally powered rails and a minecart. The simple version is to just ring the house with rails -- mobs will not walk across tracks. However, this will not prevent creepers exploding, skeletons shooting across the rails, or endermen teleporting into your base.
If you have enough gold and some redstone for powered rails, you can craft those plus a few minecarts, and set the carts spinning around the perimeter. Any mobs that come close enough to the tracks will be scooped up by the minecart and taken for a ride. This trap can be modified with one-block-high tunnels to suffocate any mobs in the cart. The player can also ride the carts by the player - they will travel fast enough that most mobs can't attack him or her. This, however, takes much more skill to use, and can still trigger creeper explosions.
If you are stuck outside in the middle of the night with many hostile mobs coming to attack you, you can make an emergency shelter. Ideally, you should dig three blocks down and place a block above you, making a cramped yet safe area to stay in. You should have a torch however; if you wish to avoid being in the dark without a light source. If the monsters aren't already too close, you can even dig out more space to place a bed. You can get out of the hole by pillar jumping if you do not have any ladders. This method is not terribly though, as you are completely exposed to mobs as you leave.
Pillar jumping, instead of digging down is another solution. You simply make a pillar directly under yourself; 10 or 12 blocks will put you out of reach of arrows from skeletons, and out of range from monsters in general, except phantoms. To hold off spiders, however, you will have to build an overhang around the top block of the pillar. Pillar jumping rather than digging down also removes the possibility of digging into a pit of lava or a cave, although it is rare for one of these to generate 3 blocks from the surface. Note that this will backfire horribly if you have not slept in a bed for a few days, as phantoms will easily swarm you and knock you off your pillar. These can be avoided by building out a mini-shelter atop your pillar, just enough that you have a ceiling to stand under.
As a last resort, you can simply set the difficulty to peaceful mode, getting rid of all the mobs. (See Peaceful mode.)
As you can tell from the name of this game, mining is pretty important. Mining is more general than it sounds, including almost any situation where you collect or harvest resources by simply breaking the blocks they consist of. Those blocks fall into four general categories according to their tool: Wood, mined with an axe, dirt-type blocks mined with a shovel, the classic stone-type blocks (including ores) which are mined with a pickaxe, and "other" blocks, which are mined with "bare hands" or, more quickly, with a hoe. Swords can be used to break cobwebs and bamboo.
For most of these, you technically can collect them with bare hands, it will just be slow, sometimes very slow. Mining with any item besides one of these tools, counts as "bare hands", and so does mining wood, stone, or dirt type blocks with a hoe. However, stone-type blocks in general absolutely require a pickaxe to get the actual block or mineral that you're looking for, and the pickaxe must also be of sufficient "tier" for the ore (or mineral block) in question. Common stone and rocks, and coal ore, can be mined with any pickaxe; copper, iron, and lapis lazuli require at least a stone pickaxe; gold, redstone, amethyst and diamond require at least iron, and obsidian or ancient debris/netherite require a diamond pickaxe. If you try to mine any of these without a pickaxe, or with a pickaxe that isn't strong enough, you will eventually break through the block, but it will drop nothing. This can be useful if you have no tools or wood to make more, and just need to get through some stone, but it doesn't let you collect resources. For normal business, you will want to always be carrying at least one each of pickaxe, axe, and shovel, to quickly deal with blocks of their type.
All these tools have "durability", meaning that they can only mine a limited number of blocks. When they run out completely, the tool will break, leaving you bare-handed. The decreasing durability is shown by a little colored bar under the tool (no bar means that the tool is unused, with full durability). In desktop editions of Minecraft, pressing F3 + H will change the display mode so that their tooltips show the numeric value of the durability. As the game progresses, you will be able to enchant tools to extend their durability and even let them repair themselves as you gain experience.
Until then, you will need to make new tools as the old ones wear out. You can also use a crafting grid to combine two mostly-worn-out tools of the same type and tier -- this combines their durability, with a small bonus for good measure. (Don't do this with enchanted tools!) When going out to mine, check the durability of your tools before leaving, to make sure you don't unexpectedly get caught without a tool. You can also bring along spare tools or materials (stone or iron, plus wood) to make new tools: You will need a crafting table, but you can make one on the spot from a single log of wood. Stone tools are cheap, and for the early game you should be using mostly those, saving your iron pickaxe for the ores that need it. Once you have plenty of iron, you can start using iron tools for "everyday" mining -- they are faster and last longer -- while saving your diamond and/or enchanted tools. Diamond tools will last a long time, but not forever -- don't start using them for ordinary excavation until you have plenty of diamonds. Note that gold tools are weakest of all, and are a waste of gold to craft.
Log collecting technique from trees
If you can get to every block of wood on a tree but just can't reach the top block, try leaving the bottom block intact, then jump on it to get the rest. Once done, harvest the bottom. If you still can't reach the top you can "pillar jump" up Jump and place a block beneath you (use a block that's easy to break, like dirt, wood, or stone). Once done, you can mine away from your own blocks, and either break the "tree stump" or leave it to mark the tree's drops when you come back later. For a "giant" tree with a 2x2 trunk, you can mine only some of the wood to make yourself a spiral staircase up to the top of the tree, and then mine those on the way down. Alternatively, you can also turn a few blocks of wood into ladders to climb right the top of the tree.
The leaf blocks are hoe-type blocks; you can break them slowly by hand or quickly with a hoe, but when mining natural trees, they will also (slowly) break on their own -- after you have removed the wood, the leaves will eventually decay. Whether you break them or wait for them to break on their own, they will drop occasional saplings, sticks, and (for oak and dark oak trees) apples that you can collect.
Collecting sand or gravel without using a shovel
Instead of wasting a shovel's durability by digging piles of sand, gravel, or even concrete powder, you can use torches or various other blocks to break entire columns at once. This works with any "passable" block, including rails, redstone dust, or even slabs; but torches are almost always handy since they save a mining player's life more than any other tool.
For this trick, the player should hold a torch, and use it to break the bottom-most block if a stack then immediately place a torch on the floor of the newly empty space. The column should collapse into a scattering of items. If you placed the torch too fast, the sand, etc. might not have time to start falling, and the torch will just hold them up -- in this case just break the next block above the torch as well.
Breaking gravel using this trick will never drop flint, which should be considered by the player depending on the resources they desire.
Also, you can dig down underneath it so that the sand or gravel is two blocks from the floor. Dig out the block that is two blocks away from the gravel, then place a torch there. Mine the block above the torch and the sand or gravel will fall on the torch and will drop as items.
How it works: The pillar of gravity affected blocks will turn into falling block entities, which can land on any full block, but pass through non-solid blocks (much as a player or mob would). If they land in an empty space, they will turn back into a proper block. However, if they land and find there is already a block in that space, they will instead break as an item.
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Mining Stone and ores
When exploring underground or at night, darkness is a huge issue -- monsters spawn in the dark! Try to keep at least a half-stack (32) torches on hand at all times, whenever you drop below that make another batch from a log and some coal or charcoal. This will let you light up areas as you pass, and torches can also be used to mark your path. See the section on lighting below for more information. Don't forget your shovels, either -- you will be encountering dirt, gravel, and perhaps sand, and a shovel makes clearing these out much quicker (especially for dirt, where the above torch trick won't help). Make sure you bring enough wood, for crafting not just torches, but other useful items like ladders and fence gates. (You can make walls out of the cobblestone or other rocks you're mining).
When looking for ores, there are two main techniques: Go into existing caves or ravines and look for exposed ores (spelunking) or dig your way to the desired level (different ores spawn on different levels) and then dig a mine pattern through the rock. These tend to overlap on the one hand, digging a pattern is likely to run into caves, and on the other, a ravine or cave network can help you get down to the desired level more easily.
See the Mining Tutorial for detailed tips on digging tunnels, shafts, and mine patterns. Always be wary of lava and caves that you may dig into. Keep a water bucket in your hotbar to quench unexpected lava spills, and keep torches handy for lighting up both your own tunnels and any caves you encounter.
When looking specifically for diamonds, your main target level is Y=11. This is right in the middle of the diamond generation range, and more important, it is just above the level of the "lava ocean" which appears erratically throughout the underground. That means that if you dig horizontally, most of the lava you encounter will be just below foot level, where you can see it in your tunnel, but it doesn't come flooding into your tunnel, and if you do fall into it you have at least a chance of jumping back out. (This will change drastically in the upcoming Version 1.18!)
Find a cave, and explore a branch of the cave, placing torches to light it as you go. If the cave branches off while exploring the current branch, go down one of the paths at random, pick one to explore. If the branches seem to go deep, you can craft fences or walls to block off all but one of the paths, so that monsters won't come out of that area to surprise you from behind. When you come back, you can just pick up your fences to use them somewhere else (or replace one with a fence gate, for more controlled access). If you have jack-o-lanterns, you can use them to point the way back to the exit, or make other markers. (See the Navigation tutorial.) Note ores as you pass, but don't start mining until you've made the area safe, by lighting it up and blocking off unexplored areas. Remember the pickaxe tiers -- if you only have a stone pickaxe, don't try to mine gold or better until you've made an iron pickaxe.
Note that it is entirely fair to make chests in the field, and use them to stash your accumulation of stone blocks. You can even stash the ores and mob drops that you've found so far, in case of unexpected death. Make sure the chests are clearly visible and lit, so you can find them later. You can also make a furnace in the field, to smelt some iron and upgrade your stone tools (or make some armor) immediately.
Once you reach a dead end, you can go back and mine the various ores that you've passed. Leave the torches that you placed, to keep the area lit and prevent monsters from spawning. Then you can go down another branch of the cave, and repeat the above process until the cave is done. If you hear monsters but can't see a path to them, you may be near another cave or ravine -- if you have a sword and perhaps some armor, try digging a tunnel in the direction the sounds are coming from... but be prepared for a fight, or a hasty retreat!
Masses of dirt and especially gravel can hide more sections of a cave complex, and with a shovel (and the torch trick) they can be easier to get through than stone. But be careful about walking on gravel or sand -- it may be unsupported beneath, ready to fall out from under you when you dig or even place a torch. Similarly, if you see "dust" drifting down from the ceiling, that means there is unsupported gravel or sand above you. If you can see and reach the edge of the patch, you might want to carefully set it off by digging a block while you're not actually under it. If necessary, you can even drop it onto yourself... after placing a torch at your feet to break it as it falls.
Lava flows ("springs") are mostly an obstacle, as you can see them easily and avoid them. If you can safely reach the source block of a lava spring, you can capture it in a bucket, or just destroy it by placing a block there. You can also try quenching the flow with water, but be careful, sometimes that can make things worse -- try to have the water flowing down from above, to cover as much of the stream as possible. Before you quench or remove a lava flow, remember that it can also block monsters, and it is lighting up the area. After removing it, make sure to light up any areas that are now left dark, and explore newly-accessible parts of the cave.
Water flows can help you reach higher areas, but they can also carry monsters to you from those same areas. If they lead up into dark areas, it's usually a good idea to treat them as a cave branch, swimming up them to light the area. Also be careful that they don't carry you into lava or other danger.
Ravines are deep cuts into the world, often exposing ores such as coal or iron, or even gold or redstone. They can open onto the surface, or appear deeper within a cave network. They are certainly a quick way to get deeper to reach more advanced ores, but be careful: If you just jump in, you will at least take fall damage, and may well die of it! There are a number of ways to get down more safely:
- Place a water source at the edge, or dig out the edge of a nearby pool to let water flow in. This will make you a waterfall that you can swim up and down.
- Check for lava at the bottom first -- if your water flows onto lava, it will quench the lava as far as the water flows -- about 7 blocks. If a lava lake reaches further than that, the water can wash you straight to your doom! You might want to move the waterfall around a bit, placing your water bucket in different places to quench a wider area. Then you can leave the waterfall in the middle of the safe area, where it can't reach the lava anymore.
- You can place sand or gravel at the edge, letting the blocks fall down to make a stack, which you can step onto and then dig your way down. To get back up, just reverse this with classic pillar jumping, or you can make a more permanent exit by placing ladders or building a staircase.
- Slow but steady: You can dig a staircase down the side of the ravine, being cautious of overhangs and monsters.
- A more advanced technique is to harvest vines with shears, place some at the edge, and use bonemeal or time to let them grow into a ladder.
Passive mobs will spawn very seldom after they have been killed, which means that meat will eventually run short if the player keeps killing animals without breeding them. The same is true for plants. A solution to this is to make farms. The general rule in Minecraft, not just for food but for a variety of other resources, is that a small investment in time and/or resources can get a modest supply, but a larger investment (usually a larger or more automated farm) can get a much more generous supply. Once you have surplus crops, you can also sell them to villagers to earn emeralds.
Wheat, carrots, potatoes, beets.
Most players will start a wheat farm first, because wheat seeds are one of the first items you can find (from breaking tall grass). Note that all methods for wheat will work identically for the other crops, except that carrots and potatoes don't have separate seeds -- you just re-plant the the vegetables (but unlike wheat and beets, you can get more than one of them when you harvest).
Besides seeds, players will need dirt/grass, a hoe, light, and water. One source block of water will hydrate farmland four blocks in every direction, including diagonally. Therefore, the most effective (using a small area) wheat farm is 9×9 with a source block in the middle. You'll want fences around it to keep out wandering mobs, that will make it 11x11. Again, that one source block extends to all tilled soil in the 9×9 areas. That area yields 80 wheat after fully grown. This not only saves water sources but also gives more room to grow crops for less water. Putting a slab in the water block will let you walk over it without risk of trampling the crop.
When starting out, you can speed up wheat or other crop growth by planting in alternate rows, with empty farmland or a different crop between. However, once you've gotten to the point where you can plant a whole field in one crop, the speed isn't really worth the trouble of mixed crop, as it's easier to use a water bucket to harvest the whole field at once, and it's quickest to replant the field in a single crop.
After building your first basic plot for wheat, you can just stack more farms above it, every three blocks, for your other crops. The lighting block for each layer can hold up the water for the next. a half-dozen layers will let you grow all six basic crops (including pumpkin and melon), and harvest whichever crop you want at the moment.
Villagers can be used to automate breaking and replacing of the crops -- see the tutorial linked above for more details.
Players will likely find pumpkins first, and these are far more useful: pumpkins provide jack o'lanterns, which are valuable for marking a path and the direction home, and can provide light underwater. Pumpkins can also be used for pumpkin pie, and later to create golems. A carved pumpkin can also be worn on the player's head to avoid offending endermen. Melons are a small-change food and eventually used for brewing. In any case, the two crops grow almost identically. They do use farmland so the same 9×9 plot with a water block works well, but instead of planting the whole field, you plant (almost) half the squares, which will grow into vines. You will leave the vines and harvest the fruit that grows next to it. See the tutorial above for advice on how to arrange the fields. Both pumpkins and melons make good crops for sale to villagers. Once you've been to the Nether, observers and other redstone gadgetry will let you automate pumpkin and melon farming.
Sugar cane farms
Once past the initial stage when players eat any food they can without bothering with extra preparations and are ready to craft some more complex items, players may want to start sugar cane farming in order to craft sugar and paper, sugar being a key component of cake, pumpkin pie, and some potions; and paper being required to craft maps, books, bookshelves, cartography tables, enchantment tables, and firework rockets.
Sugar cane can be placed underwater, where it provides an air bubble. This trick can be helpful when building underwater structures.
Once you have a couple of pieces of string for a fishing rod, fishing becomes a very useful source of food, experience, and even treasure. Note that fish are in infinite supply, while passive mobs respawn only rarely. Fish, while they do not replenish a lot of hunger, can be much easier to obtain compared to other foods. Here is also a chance to fish up treasure such as saddles and enchanted bows and fishing rods. See fishing for more information.
You will eventually catch enchanted fishing rods, and once you get into enchanting you can even create your own. Caught rods will have little durability, but can be saved to combine (at an anvil) as below. Any rod with Mending will tend to repair itself with use instead of wearing out, especially if it also has Unbreaking. Fishing rods do have a "perfect" enchantment setup, and it's straightforward to create: Once you make a "god rod" with Mending, Unbreaking III, Lure III, and Luck of the Sea III, it will last forever and provide a steady stream of experience, food, and treasure.
Ranching, or animal farming, usually refers to breeding animals so that there can be an infinite supply of meat and other passive mob drops. Simply right-click an animal with their "desired" food to breed, and then right-click the same animal with that same food (see "Breeding" for more) To make a simple animal farm, simply make an enclosure with fences and one fence gate to access the farm. Then, lead at least 2 of the animal into the corral and start breeding them. A carpet atop a fence post can also make an entrance which you can easily jump onto, but the animals (or monsters, for that matter) will not recognize it as passable. Having a crop farm nearby will help supply food for breeding.
Chickens are easiest to start with, as you can "breed" them by breaking their eggs inside the corral, as well as by feeding them any kind of seed. Cows and sheep will need to wait until you have wheat to breed them, and pigs will need one of the root vegetables (carrot, potato, or beets). You may even be able to raise rabbits (they eat carrots or dandelions) but you will need high fences or a deep pit to keep them from jumping out and escaping. More advanced farms can simplify the business: Even a basic cow-crusher can practically industrialize your beef supply, and variously automated chicken farms can produce batches or streams of cooked or raw meat and feathers. Sheep are usually farmed for their wool, and that can likewise be automated.
Getting rid of extra food
Even basic farms will rapidly produce a lot of food, to the point of oversupply. Once you've got a chestful of cooked meat, you're pretty much set -- only a few exotic foods can even compete. In general, it's worth saving some extra oversupply -- remember, chests are cheap. However, at some point it will be time to just stop slaughtering animals or harvesting crops at a given farm until you actually need more to cut off the oversupply. Automatic farms can be turned off, or excess crops routed to an auto-composter to make bone meal. In multiplayer, one player with a farm can support others if he/she has enough food. Crops can often be fed to animals, and crops and meat can both be sold to villagers to get emeralds(see the Trading Hall tutorial). Note that food is generally sold to villagers uncooked, so don't cook everything up front unless you will eat it in the future.
Stuck in the Nether
It is common knowledge that the player should always have a flint and steel or a fire charge in the inventory in the Nether, just in case. Building a cobblestone house around your portal will also protect it from ghasts and prevent Nether mobs from wandering through. Always remember the coordinates of the portal so you can find your way back!
If a player is stuck in the Nether without a flint and steel or a fire source, there are still ways to relight the Nether portal.
- Baiting a ghast into blasting the empty portal again will work, as ghasts can light nether portals just as destroying nether portals.
- Nether fortress and other structures may have chests with flint-and-steel or fire charges to relight the portal. They can also provide obsidian to build a new one.
- The makings of a fire charge can also be harvested in the Nether and Nether Fortresses, if the chests are not being helpful: A ghast drops gunpowder, A blaze provides a blaze rod, and a wither skeleton drops coal, which all three can be combined without a crafting table to make a fire charge.
- Gold can be mined in the Nether, and then traded to Piglins to get a fire charge and perhaps obsidian. They can alternatively give you enough iron nuggets to make a flint-and-steel (gravel is common in the Nether, especially in the nether wastes and soul sand valley biomes). Nether Gold Ore needs at least a stone pickaxe, but you also make stone tools from blackstone, which you can find in the Nether in bastions and many low Y-axis areas.
- If you kill yourself in some sheltered spot, your items will drop and you will respawn in the Overworld. In single player, time won't pass (much) in the Nether while you're in the overworld, so you can more-or-less take your time about getting new equipment, then go back to quickly fetch your stuff. Naturally, you'd like to do this someplace where your items won't be burned up or stolen by monsters.
- Pro Tip: Don't get stuck in the Nether. It's not fun since a lot of hostile mobs spawn there.
In general, Minecraft rewards pack-ratting -- you never know when you might need those stacks of dirt for terraforming, or cobblestone to build a mob farm or something. Most of the items in the game have at least some use, if only as compost. At some point, you'll want to set up some kind of central storage in your base, classically a "chest room". You'll want to label those chests -- item frames can be useful, but remember that having too many of them in one place can produce serious lag and slow down the game. Some surprising items are salable to villagers, and every little bit helps -- stashing even your rotten flesh instead of destroying it can net you a few extra emeralds down the line. Some items, like phantom membranes, become more important later in the game.
Once you have picked up some spare blaze rods, you can make an ender chest to store items and get at them from elsewhere. You will need a second ender chest to take with you, and a Silk Touch pickaxe to pick it up after using it. If you don't have Silk Touch, you can at least install ender chests at your main bases.
Late in the game, you can craft shulker boxes to store extra items later on in the game. These shulker boxes can then be stored inside an ender chest. Color code the shulker boxes to create an organized inventory. This basically gives you an extremely large backpack that keeps your items after death. Note that the shulker boxes are only safe if they're actually in the ender chest (or somewhere safe) when you die because they can still despawn like any other dropped item!
That said, eventually you'll start having an accumulation of useless items lying around. Low-tier tools can be merged in repairs, used up for minor tasks, or left as backups in field chests. Iron and gold tools (and armor) can be smelted into nuggets. Wooden scraps can be used for furnace fuel. Although diamond or netherite tools/weapons/armor cannot be smelted or burned as fuel, it can be used until it breaks since the items have a good durability anyways.
A "minor task" is similar to mining stone during a mining operation, which can be mined using any pickaxe, even as simple as a wooden pickaxe. For example, by bringing several weak pickaxes and your best pickaxe on a mining operation, you can use the weaker pickaxes to mine stone instead of wasting durability on your best pickaxe before you find diamonds or a better ore and using your best pickaxe to mine it.
Many players dispose of unwanted items by dropping them into fire pits, lava, and cacti to destroy the items. But by doing so they risk accidentally dropping something valuable and losing it forever, like a diamond pickaxe. So rather than destroying the items, a smarter method of getting rid of items is to drop them into a hole with a trapdoor over it, eventually the items will despawn. By doing this you can easily recover items that you accidentally drop; plus you can't pick up items through closed trapdoors so you don't have to worry about accidentally picking up unwanted items.
To ascend a cliff, an alternative to ladders or pillar jumping is to use a bucket of water to place water as high as possible, then swim to the top of the waterfall, put the water back into the bucket, and quickly place a new waterfall at an even higher point. By repeating this process, a player can reach the top of the cliff. If the waterfall is left there, it can be used to travel back and forth.
The player can also jump off a high point and dump the bucket of water onto the ground before they touch the ground so they can land safely in the water.
Buckets of lava can also do the second trick if the player has fire resistance potions, but it might be harder if the fall distance is too short or a lot of flammable structures or blocks are nearby. A good way is to drink a 3-minute fire resistance potion before jumping. This trick is good for the nether since water dries immediately when placed and the nether is filled with lots of high ledges and ridges. You might not want to do this near your base.
Ascending and descending
Oftentimes when you are on your adventure, you need to either go up or go down a significant height, usually a high cliff or overhang. Following is a few methods that can be used to traverse vertically.
- If there is a relatively straight wall to one side, blocks can be placed to form a staircase in both directions. If there isn't and you are going up, find or place a raised block than the surroundings, sneak to the edge, look to the side and place a block, then jump and place another block above it; repeat the process which forms a staircase until you reach the destination.
- Water can be poured to the edge, creating a flowing water column or stream to descend and later ascend, as well as a water surface to the bottom to land safely.
- If the cliff is a straight wall, either ladders or vines can be placed to go up and later go back down.
- Warped vines can be planted on the ground and bone meal applied which can be climbed to reach the destination up high and later go back down. Similarly, weeping vines can be hung and fed on the ceiling to reach down the ground and later back up.
- Scaffoldings can be easily stacked to temporarily reach something up high, and after the task is done, as easily knocked down by breaking the bottom block. They can also be installed permanently to move up and down between vertical locations.
If you still want more tips into survival, check out these videos. These are basically chunks of information to get you started.