Our first writer SergeT3 already went into sweeping detail about how to succeed in Minecraft. I would be remiss to try and retread the ground he’s so carefully cultivated. In blanketing the topic, he couldn’t go into the minute details that sometimes mean the difference between life and death.
That there’s my job, and I intend to do it.
The house that [your name here] built
Punch trees, get wood, build house. In that order.
As Serge mentioned, but needs restating, a house will keep you alive until you’ve created means of surviving yourself. In today’s Minecraft, however, things are somewhat different. There are many different environments a new spawn might find himself in, and in all of mine, it’s been in a forest near some water.
Being around so much wood, sand, and water has advantages, but poses some glaring problems. Gathering wood takes time, as does leveling the ground for your home’s foundation. If no sheep spawned near you, a bed is out of the question, and nighttime without proper equipment is a death sentence. How do you build a house if there’s not any time to do it?
Your first mineshaft
Simple: your first house is a hole in the ground. Harvest what wood or other building materials you desire, and start work when the sun’s still in the sky. Even as it begins to set, keep those wooden tools a-workin’, but once you hear the telltale sounds of spiders, skeletons and the almighty creeper, there’s only one direction you should go. Straight down.
About ten blocks beneath your home is enough. Just remember to make your tunnel about three or four empty spaces to a side so some light shines in. Until you find coal, darkness is not your only enemy. It breeds them.
Sometimes you’ll find coal right away, other times it seems the rarest element on the planet.* The moon gives off enough ambient light that you can dig in a few different directions for a fair distance. Regardless of your coal yield, when you reach your visibility limit, day will probably be dawning again. If it hasn’t, start making your way topside anyway, digging in to the sides of your mineshaft until the light pours in from above.
Light for your life
Once back topside, you’ll probably want to explore the area around you a bit. Look for sheep first thing, as beds save a ton of time. More importantly, get a general feel for the block composition of the area. For example:
- How much wood, sand, and dirt can you conceivably move and craft in a day’s time?
- How many animals are there within a short distance?
- How high up is your house, and should you make it higher?
Answer these questions with the first half of your day.
Basic geography in mind, take a few minutes to light your house like a [holiday plant name here]. This should keep monsters away if there’s enough light, but if you have come to the surface far from home, finding your way back will be much easier.
If you go too far afield in your mining operation and cannot see your house, regardless of the time, start attempting to retrace your steps. Use the sun as a guide and try making a trail of torches between your mineshafts. Until you find redstone to use as, among other things, directional markers, having a visual lead to and from your house is a godsend.
Once your house has a roof, you’ll want to light the insides as well, but by this time you’ll have other concerns.
Through the tunnels, dark and deep
With or without a finished house, you’ll find yourself exploring the rocky underground more often than you do basking in sunshine. Initially, explore as far afield as you dare, but always know the basic way back to your house. The easiest way to do this is with torches. As you dig, put a torch or two on the walls. If you go down, make an impromptu stairwell for easy access back up. Create a simple system for torch placement so you know which way to turn at a fork in your path. Light is your greatest ally when you are relatively unarmed, so use it liberally.
Caverns of plenty, caverns of death
Deep below your initial mineshaft, and littered throughout the world, are huge caverns filled with usable materials and deadly hazards. This being a guide to your first few days and nights in Minecraft, I suggest you only make note of how you reached the caverns. Until you’ve created some iron armor and weapons and stockpiled plenty of back-up crafting blocks, steer clear.
The brave and foolhardy among you will no doubt ignore this warning, so here’s my best advice to you.
First: be prepared to die.
Second: know that when you die, there’s a 98% chance all your stuff will fall into a lava flow. The remaining 2% is it falling into the Nether through a means I cannot begin to understand.
Third, settle on an escape route every five minutes. Analyze your surroundings as you explore and identify the quickest way out of trouble. Have some cobblestone ready to block the way you came, and enough torches to get you to the surface or back to your mine. Have several spare axes, picks, and shovels handy at all times.
Lastly, know where the creepers are coming from. They can make for handy exit-making-bombs so long as you know how to use them.
Tune in next time when I’ll cover how to best make your house a home. Or at least, how I did it.
*After you found the first vein, you’ll never have space to keep it all.