Updated: Mar 27, 2022
Playing Minecraft as a beginner can seem pretty daunting. However, if you follow these handy steps, you'll be crafting like a pro in no time!
Even though Minecraft has been around since 2011 and has been a global phenomenon ever since there are still people trying out this game for the first time. Fortunately, it continues to have a thriving community of loyal fans and the game developers habitually release massive updates that expand the game’s content and take the game in exciting new directions.
For those starting out though it can be a bit overwhelming, so here are some basic tips to keep you alive the first couple of nights and give you a good head start as you dive into this rich game.
1. Punch A Tree
Starting out you have nothing, no tools, no weapons, no shelter, nothing. The first thing you need to do is arm yourself with some tools. To do this, walk up to the nearest tree and start punching it until wood drops, don’t worry it won't harm your character.
Wood is the basic building block you’ll be using the rest of the game. Gather a bunch of logs then open your inventory to turn the logs into planks. Use four planks in your mini crafting grid to create a Crafting Bench and open up a world of possibility.
2. Stone Age
Using this Crafting Bench build yourself a wooden pickaxe. To do this, craft a set of sticks and use the sticks with wood planks to craft the pickaxe. It’s highly recommended you have a crafting guide pulled up as there are a lot of things to craft and it’ll spare you hours of trial and error to figure out what you can and can’t build.
Use that wooden pickaxe to gather a bunch of stone and then use the stone to craft stone versions of a pickaxe, axe, hoe, shovel, and sword. With these tools in your arsenal, you’re ready to move to the next step.
3. Build A Shelter
Nightfall is very dangerous in Minecraft as there are monsters known as mobs that come out at night to attack you. Later these mobs will become another cog in your machine to progress, but in the beginning, they are your biggest threat.
The best way to avoid this is to sleep in a bed built by killing sheep and using their wool plus wood to craft it. Unfortunately, sheep are only found in specific biomes so odds are your first night is going to be spent hiding indoors. Whether it’s dirt, wood, or stone, use your tools to gather enough of your chosen material to build a basic shelter.
4. Find Some Food
Now that you have a shelter to keep yourself alive at night your next issue is going to be keeping your character properly nourished. Every action in the game, like mining, running, healing, and jumping, is going to cost you hunger. When the bar is full your character will naturally heal from any injuries, but lose a little hunger and you stop healing.
If your hunger bar continues to drop you’ll become unable to run and eventually will start losing health as you starve to death. It’s important to grab some basic foodstuffs like meat from animals, fish, berries, apples from oak trees, or even rotten meat from zombies to keep yourself alive in the beginning.
5. Light It Up
The monsters in the game hate light, which is why they don’t appear until night time. Keeping the inside of your shelter lit will prevent any mobs from spawning inside. To do this you need torches.
To build torches you can either gather coal from the environment or make charcoal by creating a furnace using stone blocks and then ‘cooking’ wooden logs to make charcoal. Charcoal will be handy later for smelting projects, but for now, place it on top of a stick in your crafting table to create torches. These torches can then be placed practically anywhere to generate light and prevent mob spawns from happening in the area.
6. Find A Cave
With a basic shelter, a supply of food, tools, and torches your next step is to find a cave. Caves are naturally created tunnels and crevices in the environment that extend underground. Caves vary in size from small rooms barely large enough for you to stand in to large complex tunnels that reach the bottom levels of the game’s underground.
Caves can be useful as large underground shelters and for your next step in survival, gathering raw materials.
7. Gather Raw Materials
By now you’ve probably had to replace your stone tools a few times and would like to upgrade to something better. Your next technological tier is iron which is primarily found underground. If you found a decent cave complex this makes this part very easy, if not you’re going to have to dig your way down and build a mine.
In any case you’re looking for small tan flecks in stone that represent iron ore blocks. Dig up a bunch of these, plus whatever coal you find and put them in your furnace. Once you’ve ‘cooked’ the iron it becomes iron ingots that you can use to craft iron tools.
8. Begin The Iron Age
Once you have enough iron ingots, craft the following items in this order: pickaxe, sword, bucket, helmet, boots, gauntlets, cuirass, axe, and maybe a shovel. Iron tools are much more durable than stone tools and much more efficient. Depending on your iron stores you might have to resort to stone tools every now and then.
By far your number one priority is to have an iron pickaxe on you at all times. Important and valuable blocks like gold, redstone, and diamonds can only be mined with an iron pickaxe. If you use anything else you’ll destroy the block without getting the valuables inside, so above all else you have an iron pickaxe.
9. Start A Farm
By now you should be running low on food supplies and will need to start planning for a more sustainable solution then hoping for apples to drop or eradicating the local wildlife. This is where that hoe you built before comes in handy.
Using the bucket you crafted, create a small pool of water near your base. Next to the water use your hoe to plow grass blocks in rows up to four blocks away from the water. Now run around and chop down all of that grass growing around you to gather seeds and plant those seeds in the prepared blocks. After a few days you’ll see brown wheat ready to harvest, which can be crafted into bread providing you with a renewable source of food.
10. Breed Animals
Starting a crop farm is one thing, but in order to get your hands on better food that will keep you satiated for a longer time and restore more hunger, animals need to be bred. There are a few options out there, including cows, sheep, pigs, and chickens. Whatever is closest is usually the best to go for.
If there's a lot of animals around, cows are objectively the best option due to leather. This can be later used to complete a full enchantment setup, which can be very tedious to grind for in the long run. Cows and sheep can be bred by feeding two animals of the same species wheat. Pigs will accept beetroot and carrots, while chickens will eat seeds.
11. Find Diamonds
Diamond is among the rarest ores in the game, and the most useful as well. From diamond, the player can create diamond grade tools and gear, which have the highest damage, durability, and protection.
Diamond appears only at a certain elevation, between Y=13 to Y=6. The best elevation to mine is Y=11. Mine a long hallway at this elevation, and every two blocks mine branching out hallways. This technique is called strip mining and is the most efficient way of finding diamonds in the game.
12. Upgrade Home Security
At this point, the player most likely has a wooden house or shack surrounded by a few torches and whatever farms they've built. However, mobs, especially creepers and skeletons, might still be an issue. Spiders also have the ability to climb to the roof of a building, which can make for some unwanted surprises.
Flat roofs should be lit up with torches, or be made out of slabs, which is a block mobs can't spawn on. Moreover, making at least a stone roof is a good idea in case a thunderstorm rolls around, strikes the building, and sets it on fire. Wood might look nice, but stone is much safer because it can avoid fire hazards.
13. Build A Nether Portal
There's a ton of exploration to be done in the overworld, but those wanting to progress in the game will eventually want to make their way into another dimension known as the Nether. To get there, it's best to have diamond gear, just to be on the safe side.
To build a portal into the Nether, the player needs to mine out 10 blocks of obsidian, which can only be mined with a diamond pickaxe. Then place them in a two by three doorway. Corners can be any other block. The portal needs to be lit up with a flint and steel, which is made by combining an iron ingot and flint, gained from shoveling gravel.
14. Find A Nether Fortress
The Nether in its current state is an unforgiving and monotonous cave-like environment with tons of lava lakes, drops, and ghasts. It will be filled with zombie pigmen as well, though they won't attack the player unless provoked, in which case each nearby pigman will swarm the player.
Then there are Nether fortresses, which are large dark castles made out of Nether brick. Inside, tons of loot awaits, along with black Wither skeletons and fireball slinging Blazes. Blazes will drop Blaze rods, which are needed for potion making, as well as later on to find an End portal and eventually beat the game, so don't destroy any of the Blaze spawners in the fortress.
15. Plan Your Next Steps
What you do from here is totally up to you and your imagination. There are dozens of biomes to discover, other dimensions to explore, a variety of mobs to fight, machines to build, resources to gather, all enabling you to build some really amazing things. Take a moment to plan your next steps and have fun exploring this wonderful game. Thanks to Ben Baker!
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