When you first start to play Mincraft it may be a bit overwhelming and confusing, seeing how the game has no real tutorial or hint system. It is very old school in that aspect – you have to either experiment a lot and try to discover crafting combinations via trial and error or look them up on the wiki page. But that’s not the worst of it. Worst part is that pretty much everyone new to the game does the same thing first: they leave their spawn point, and wander off into some distant corner of the map, start mining, building and crafting experiments only to be caught by surprise creeper explosion, or a night time zombie attack.
Then they respawn at the un-protected spawn point, with no clue how to get back and pick up their dropped items, and no nearby shelter and weapons to protect themselves from roaming monsters. This is exactly what happened to me. During my first game I was essentially corpse camped by a stupid zombie and a skeleton tag team and when I finally killed them with bare fisticuffs and some sunlight I realized I had no clue how to get back to my half-finished house and my items. And while searching for them, I got hopelessly lost again.
So I figured that I write up a short survival guide that will help newbies not to get repeatedly ganked. And it may give those of you who prefer to dwell under rocks and only emerge to read my blog a better overview of the game and the awesome crafting mechanics. I know that there are many guides like this out there, but this one is mine.
Since this is going to be a very pic intensive post, I’m posting the rest after the cutoff.
The first cardinal rule of Minecraft is not to
talk about Minecraft wander away from your spawn point at the start of the game. It’s important to remember where your spawn point is, so that you can then find your way back to your possessions and whatever you were building or mining when you died.
So as a rule, I always mark my spawn point when I start a new game. The block you are standing on when you start is the same block you will spawn on after you die. So dig it out, and stack some blocks around it. For example, here i spawned on the beach, so I built a little sand structure around my spawning square:
Your structure does not need to be as elaborate. You can just stack a few blocks on top of each other and call it a day. I built it up like this for two reasons:
- It is difficult to miss it. if I wander away foraging for resources, I will usually be able to locate my spawn point fairly quickly just by glancing around. If i just stacked two blocks next to it, I could easily lose sight of it or get turned around. My structure not only is impossible to mistake for a natural formation, but it also conveys additional information – like the direction in which I will be looking where I spawn.
- This structure is actually a beginning of a spawn bunker. Ideally you want to spawn inside a closed structure with an enclosed light source which will prevent zombies from spawning inside. This will eliminate the the problem of being corpse camped by monsters, and also allows you to put a chest with some emergency resources right where you spawn. You don’t have to brave a night time corpse run, or try to sneak your way back to the house. You can just grab a spare sword and armor and go get revenge.
Here is an example of a finished spawn bunker from another game:
But we are getting ahead of ourselves. Once you build a simple spawn marker the first order of business is to locate the closest tree and get some wood. In the game I started specifically for the purpose of this post I got lucky and spawned right next to a clutch of trees and a stone wall with some coal ore, giving me quick and easy access to all the starting resources I would need:
Just like sand and dirt, wood is fairly easy to chop down with your bare hands, but it goes much, much faster if you use and axe. Since we don’t have one yet, we will use your blocky paw:
Once you collect a single block of wood, open up your inventory by pressing “i” and drop it on the 2×2 crafting square like this to make 4 wooden planks:
Next, take the wooden planks you just made and arrange them in a square to make a Crafting Table. The table will give you access to a 3×3 grid which is used for all of the advanced recipes.
Now that you have a table, place it in the bottom row of your inventory which will make it available from your inventory strip on the bottom of the screen. You can scroll through the items with your mouse wheel, and place them with the RMB. You should keep in mind that the table is portable. Hitting it repeatedly will make it pop back into an inventory item form allowing you to pick it up and move it somewhere else. So just drop it down anywhere:
You will need a few more blocks of wood, so chop one or two more blocks and turn them into planks. You can turn your wooden planks into sticks by arranging them one on top of the other anywhere on the grid. In fact you can do this in your 2×2 inventory grid, but here I’m using the crafting table:
We need at least 4 sticks and 6 wooden planks so plan accordingly. Once you have all of that, it’s time to make some tools. I propose making a wooden pick because we will want to do some mining first. Stone can be broken down by hand, but using a pickaxe makes things much faster. To make one, left click on the crafting table to open the 3×3 grid and arrange two sticks and 3 wooden planks in a T shape like this:
You can also make a wood chopping axe by arranging sticks and planks in a lower case q shape like this:
Or you could just wait until you have some stone. Stone tools are more effective and more durable, so you will want to replace the wooden tools as soon as possible.
As I mentioned before I got very lucky and spawned right next to some coal ore – it’s the black spotted rock in this picture. You probably want to look for a similar rock formation. If you can’t don’t sweat – we can make some by burning wood in a furnace later.
Use the pickaxe to break down the coal ore and the stone around it. As soon as you get 3 blocks of cobblestone in your inventory make yourself a stone pickaxe. It will make mining much faster.
By the time you do all of this, the sun is probably low on the horizon so you need to think about a shelter and some source of light. You could use your spawn bunker to spend the night, but that’s probably your last resort. What you really want to do is to build yourself a little niche in the very rock you were mining. This way you will be able to continue mining even after the sun sets. Once you have a nicely sized hole in the wall, seal it all up, leaving a small entry hole one block wide and two high. Then make a door:
Doors are very nice. They keep monsters outside, but allow you in an out and can be opened/closed by clicking on them. You can place the door just like any other block. Try to aim outside of the block you want to enclose like this:
Now all we need is a source of light. Monsters don’t spawn in well lit places so you want to make sure there is some light in your house, in your spawn bunker and in any underground location where you are going to be mining. If you found coal by now, you can easily make torches by combining it with sticks like this:
If you haven’t found any, you will need to make some charcoal instead. First build yourself a furnace from stone:
Now use it to make charcoal: use wood as your ingredient and planks or more wood as fuel:
In Minecraft charcoal has the exact same properties as coal, so you can use it to build torches as described above. Now slap the torches around on the walls and you should be set. for the night. When all is said and done, your house might look a bit like this from the outside:
Note that this is the same wall which I showed you originally with the coal ore. As you probably noticed, my little house has a window. You can make the glass I used to create it by melting sand in the furnace.
Now, all that is left is to wait for sundown. Barricade yourself in your house, and kill time by expanding it by digging into the rock. If you are lucky you will find some iron ore, or maybe and underground dungeon with some treasure chests and/or gold and diamond ore deposits.
This is how I start most of my games now. It seems to be the most efficient and effective way to start. From here though, it is all up to you and your imagination. The only other good tip I can give you is to build a navigational landmark of some sort before you go exploring. Preferably a really, really tall tower with some torches or burning wood on top. When leave the vicinity of your spawn point, simply try to keep the tower visible and you won’t have problems coming back. If you are embarking on a really long trip, build way-point towers along your way to avoid getting lost.
Do you have any good Minecraft tips and tricks to share? Please post them in the comments.