Minecraft was a rather vague, strange game when it first launched on the PC. To learn about most of it, you had to jump onto the web and research a particular topic, especially when it came to creating tools and weapons. Thankfully for those new to the release, the super popular title is much more accessible now than it ever was, due to handy little tutorials and a relatively easy to understand crafting menu. But that doesn't mean that a total beginner won't get completely lost when they're first dumped into the game's block-stocked dimension, so we've taken the time to compile this hopefully helpful little guide to spur newbie adventurers on their way.
Easily one of the most important activities on this list, building shelter is key to your survival when the sun goes down and the darkness rolls in. During the day, you're likely to still spot monsters roaming the land, but at night, the creature population enjoys a substantial boost. Zombies, giant spiders, and skeletons – just to name a few – will be out for your blood when the moon hangs high in the sky, so use your daylight hours wisely and gather materials needed to build something that resembles a house. Just about anything will do, be it wood or even dirt gained from punching the ground into submission – but remember to make sure to build the walls high enough so that the critters can't simply hop into your abode. Or better yet, take the time to make a roof. Even the most humble of houses will prove to be worth the effort when the sun eventually rises and you've survived to see another day.
Craft the essentials, eat the animals
Once you've got a base camp set up in a nice little spot, it's time to fill that probably empty belly. Typical farmyard animals can be found roaming around the world, and none of them will try to fight back as you punch them to death, although they may force you to chase them over rather lengthy distances. Nevertheless, beating up sheep, pigs, and cows yields meat that can be eaten, replenishing your hunger. The less hungry that you are, the more benefits that you'll be able to enjoy, including health regeneration.
Of course, if punching chickens to death isn't your thing, you can always craft yourself a nice wooden sword and use that instead. Creating the basics is simple, and they'll make your first couple of hours with the release quite a bit easier. Gathering wood from trees is perhaps the best place to start, as both weapons and tools require sticks to use as handles, and even with a wooden pickaxe, you'll be able to start mining stronger materials like rock. Besides those essentials, you'll also want to fashion a comfy bed using sheep's wool and yet more wood, which not only allows you to sleep through the night, but also acts as a very handy respawn point if you happen to kick the bucket.
Bring the light and find precious coal
We've already touched upon the dangers that lurk in the dark in Minecraft's weird world, which means that a source of light, no matter how obvious, is sometimes a necessity when you're out exploring. Whether it's sun rays or a simple torch guiding your way, being able to see what's scampering around in the shadows can ease a lot of tension, especially when you're spelunking underground. Be sure to keep a steady supply of torches on hand so that you can slap them onto the walls of your home or the walls of a dank cave – the light that they give off travels a decent distance, so even owning just a few is usually a sound investment.
But how do you acquire such important equipment? The answer lies with coal – thankfully the most common ore in the game. Found around stone-filled areas, coal can easily be coaxed from its block using a pickaxe of your choosing, and once you have it, you can place it onto a stick to make a life-saving torch. Once you've found a good source of the fossil fuel, it might be worth spending a day just grabbing as much of it as you can before running back to your shelter for the night – and indeed, that goes for most other materials as well. You can carry up to 64 pieces of any given element in each space in your inventory – so don't hesitate to horde as much as you think necessary.
Put the mine into Minecraft
With an abundance of tools and weapons on hand, it's time to step into the activity from which Minecraft gets its name: mining. As we've mentioned with coal, collecting useful materials is the key to progression. A wooden pickaxe can break open rock, and with that rock you can craft a better pickaxe, which in turn can be used to break open yet stronger blocks. Unfortunately, the best ore that the title has to offer is typically found in the deepest dungeons or near streams of deadly lava, so don't jump too far ahead and start digging into the depths of hell just yet.
Still, you'll never quite know what wonders await as you start mining your way into the earth – making this simple act one of the best ways to get your adventuring fix. Tunnelling into the ground seems simple enough on paper, but there are a few things that you should always be aware of. For starters, hazards like lava and falling sand blocks can cut your expedition incredibly short, so keep an eye on exactly what it is that you're laying your pickaxe into. It's also worth remembering that you'll need a way back to the surface eventually, so either try and create steps as you mine deeper, or keep stock of collected blocks so that you can build a traversable path. Finally, don't forget to bring food with you – there are no naive pigs to be found underground.
When in doubt, bring friends
Despite all of the hard work that you've no doubt put into surviving by yourself, always remember that you can easily enlist the help of friends, especially those who are more experienced in the ways of mining and crafting. Playing with and watching someone who knows exactly what needs to be done can be brilliantly enlightening, and may just be the best way to learn. Of course, if you don't have such an expert on your friends list, you can always gang up with other newbies and start learning the ins and outs of the release together. Plus, outnumbering monsters is always a good thing, too. However, be aware that your progress doesn't carry over between worlds: if you spawn in a friend's game, you'll be starting over until you return to your own.
[ Video Editing and Script: Ben Potter ]
Got any of your own tips and tricks when it comes to mining and crafting? Be sure to leave them for travelling adventurers in the comments section below.