Minecraft Guide

Beginner's guide

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Minecraft Guide

Beginner's guide

This starter guide provides advice for players who do not know how to begin their Minecraft journey. It mainly teaches you what to do on your first day, so you can safely survive the first night.

Your character can die in this game, but if you aren't in Hardcore Mode, that doesn't end the game. Indeed, it's mostly an inconvenience. If you take enough damage to die, your things drop where you died, and your character respawns elsewhere. Initially this is near where you started (the "world spawn"), but using a bed lets you pick the spot.

Again, most of this article assumes you are using keyboard and mouse, but here is a brief summary for other control methods such as game controllers or touchscreens:

Moving the mouse (or trackball, for simplicity we refer to the mouse) forward and back causes your character to look upward and downward. Moving the mouse left and right causes your character to turn in that direction, changing which direction is "forward". The keys AWSD moves your character left, forward, backward and right, respectively; note that none of these make your character turn around or even look in the direction you're moving. Be careful about moving to the sides or backward without knowing what's there, as you can fall off cliffs or otherwise run into danger! Looking around also lets you pick out individual blocks or creatures to interact with, see below. Walking off off the edge of a horizontal surface results in you falling. If you fall more than three blocks (and not into water) you take damage depending on the distance fallen. If you fall into the water below your head, you end up drowning unless you swim back to the surface. And if you fall into lava, you quickly burn to death! So, moving around in the Minecraft world, you need to exercise basic caution at all times.

Double-tapping and holding the "forward" key (again, W by default), or pressing Ctrl while moving forward, causes you to sprint, running faster (but this consumes food more quickly). If you fall into water, the same keys let you swim around.

The Spacebar lets you jump; you can jump one-and-a-quarter blocks high, and can also jump across a two block gap in the ground (four blocks if sprinting). By default, walking into a one-block-higher edge automatically makes you jump up to the new level, but there are still many situations where you need to jump upward. If you turn off Auto-Jump you need to explicitly jump up to higher terrain. If you fall into water (or lava!), this same key is how you move upward toward the surface, and jump out onto the shore.

The ⇧ Left Shift key makes you "sneak". While sneaking, your viewpoint gets a little lower, and you move slower than the casual walking speed. The benefit of sneaking is that you cannot fall off the edge of a block; in fact, you can sneak slightly over the edge of a block, to look at and interact with the side of the block you're standing on.

It is also a possibility for your character to crawl, but this is more of the complex controls. see the article "Crawling" for full details and how to use the crawling control.

To interact with blocks, you need to move relatively close (within four or five blocks distance), and "focus" on the block by moving your cursor (the crosshairs) over the block you want to interact with.

Pressing the left button Mouse 1.svg hits whatever you are focused on. Suppose you want to dig a piece of wood, focus on that piece of log and keep holding the left button until it shatters and drops a log.Mouse 1.svg This is also how you attack animals or monsters later. Holding down the button on a block continues hitting it, eventually breaking it, making a block pop up in your inventory. This is generally how you collect materials from the world. Some blocks require particular tools to collect them, like diamond ore, but the first two sorts of blocks you collect are likely wood and dirt (grass blocks count as dirt), and both of those can be gathered with your bare hands, and no tools. Holding something that is not a tool (such as wood blocks or dirt) or using the wrong tool to dig blocks is still the same speed as unarmed, does not improve mining efficiency, and if you use the wrong tool to mine, the tool will be deducted of durability! Generally when you start a world, the first thing you should do is to find some trees and break a few blocks of wood out of their trunks ("punching wood"). Once broken, the blocks drop as loose items, leaving a floating block on the ground, representing the block you broke, which you can move toward to collect. Holding something that isn't a tool (say, the block of wood or dirt you just picked up) still counts as "bare hands". Other things seen around you, such as tall grass or flowers, still count as blocks despite not being square, but they don't necessarily "drop themselves" when hit. For example, tall grass usually drops nothing, but sometimes drops seeds, which you can later plant to grow wheat for making bread to eat.

The right button Mouse 2.svg is more complex: This is the "Use" command, with effects that depend not only on what you're pointing at, but on what you're holding. There are special blocks (such as the "crafting table" discussed below) that open a Interactable GUI when used, but if you are not pointing at one of these, you just use whatever you currently hold. There are various tools that are used for their respective purposes, but at first you're probably holding a block of wood or dirt, and the "use" of a block is to place the block you're holding down
into the world. When you place this block, it leaves your hand, using up 1 block leaving −1 of the number of blocks you had in the beginning. Simple blocks like these can be placed on any surface of a block that's already in the world having a block on top, but more complicated blocks such as flowers can be put only in particular places (e.g. the top of a grass or dirt block) and can not be stacked with another block. If you are pointing at a block that does have its own use, but you want to place a block on it (instead of, say, opening the GUI for a crafting table), you can "sneak" while placing the block, and you have the block on top of the block with the GUI, without opening and interacting with the GUI on the block. To place a block underneath you, press Spacebar and click right click Mouse 2.svg before you hit the ground, and you end up on a block you placed.

When you eventually encounter a villager or a wandering trader, you can also right-click on them to buy and sell items, trading for emeralds to buy the item.

Surviving in Minecraft often requires a knowledge of the game's combat mechanics. There are two combat systems that exist in Minecraft – the system in the Java Edition and the system in all other versions. In Java Edition, without a tool in the player's hand, any attack deals 1 health point (♥) of damage. In Bedrock Edition, a bare-handed attack deals 2 health points (♥) of damage. Tools in general do a great deal more damage, and do more damage the higher their tier. In general, swords do make the best weapons, followed closely by axes. Pickaxes do less damage, and shovels do the least. Hitting a creature with a sword uses up 1 point of its durability, while using any other tool uses up 2 points of the tool's durability. When a creature is hit, it turns red for a half second, marking its "invulnerability period". A second attack in this time does no damage.

The combat mechanics for non-Java platforms are simple: While three blocks away or closer to an animal, monster, or other players, the player can attack that entity by clicking the attack button while their cursor is over the entity. Clicking speed does not affect the combat, instead, a player's skill in combat is based more on their hit accuracy. The basic tools from above each deal multiple hearts of damage when the player attacks an entity while holding that tool.

In the Java Edition, a slightly different combat system is used. To attack any animal, monster, or other players, the player still must have the cursor hovering over the entity and be within three blocks of the entity when they press the attack button. However, after attacking, the weapon enters a brief "cooldown" period, indicated by the position of the weapon in the player's hand, and also by an icon in the hotbar. This happens even if you missed, or if the target was still invulnerable for a previous attack! Different basic tools have different cooldowns between hits. If the player attacks while still in a cooldown period, the attack deals much less damage, making it more important to aim your attacks. In Java Edition, axes do far more damage per hit than swords, but their cooldown period is much longer, giving them lower overall damage than swords over time. They also still wear out twice as fast as a sword.
In addition to attacking, the player can also block attacks with the shield. (Crafting a shield requires first obtaining an iron ingot, so it's unlikely to get one for your first day.) A shield completely negates any damage when it is raised with the Mouse 2.svg right mouse button‌[Java Edition only] or sneaking‌[Bedrock and Pocket editions only]. In Java Edition, a shield can be temporarily disabled if attacked with an axe.

On standard keyboards, the Q key is right next to the movement keys. This makes it very easy to accidentally throw away the item you're currently using, which may be a valuable tool. Many players prefer to change the "throw/drop" function to another key, such as O or K. (OK) All of these controls and more can be viewed by pressing Esc -> Options -> Controls.

From the start of the game, you can see nine special inventory slots, called your "hotbar", but you also have more slots that are normally hidden. As you pick up items, the first few appear in your hotbar slots, but once those are full, they go into the 27 slots of your main inventory. At any given time, one of your hotbar slots is "selected", and the item in that slot is considered to be "in hand". (You can see your item in hand in front of you.) You can press keys 1 through 9 (or use a mouse-wheel if you have one) to choose which hotbar slot is active, thus you can quickly switch among up to 9 handy tools or other items.

Multiple items of the same type usually "stack", showing a number indicating how many of them there are. Most items stack up to 64; other items (like chicken eggs) stack only to 16. Weapons, tools and armor are more individual, and do not stack at all. When you use, place, or throw items from a stack, you generally use one item at a time, counting down the stack.

To get at the rest of your slots (and the beginnings of crafting), press E to open your personal inventory. (This also announces your first advancement or achievement; you can safely ignore all such announcements.) This is your first GUI ("Graphical User Interface") and shares many features with the other GUIs encountered in the game:

Your cursor no longer controls your view. Instead, you use it to pick up and drag items among various slots. Left-click picks up or drops an entire stack; right-click picks up half of a stack or drop one item at a time. There are more complex options, see the "Inventory" article linked above for details.
Opening a GUI does not pause the game, but while you are attending to the inventory you can see only a little bit of the world around you. Be careful about fooling with your inventory while monsters are around! On the Java Edition, opening any GUI also allows you to switch away from Minecraft and to another desktop window, without pausing the game

Also on your inventory screen is a 2×2 arrangement of squares. This is your inventory crafting grid. Here you can take some of the items you've collected and turn them into new items. Below the crafting grid is the Recipe Book icon, which provides assistance with remembering and using crafting recipes (see its page for full details). You do not actually need to use the Recipe Book, but for a beginning player, it can be helpful in finding out what your options are, and even for advanced players, it adds a bit of convenience. In general, you learn new recipes automatically when you pick up (or craft) a key item for the recipes in question. Actually crafting an item certainly gets you its recipe, if you somehow didn't learn it by picking up the ingredients.

When starting a game, your first craft typically involves two steps: First, take a single log of wood and put it in the 2×2 crafting grid. The output slot then shows a stack of four matching wooden planks, which you can then take. Then take those planks and put one in each of the crafting grid's four slots by holding the right mouse button. The 2×2 crafting grid is now spread with wood planks. The output slot then shows a crafting table, which you should take, put on your hotbar, and place down in the world to begin more advanced crafting. Without the crafting table it is impossible to beat the game, so this is the most useful tool. Having placed the table, you can right-click on it ("use", as above) to open a UI similar to your inventory, but with a 3×3 crafting grid. This lets you do many more recipes, as you can craft any block craftable. you can also use it for any recipe you could craft in your inventory, but the larger crafting grid allows many more possibilities, like weapons, armor and tools. Notice that the crafting table also has a Recipe Book icon, as do several other utility blocks you encounter later in the game. Any of these recipe books show only the recipes that apply to its block. So your inventory's recipe book shows only 2×2 recipes, but the crafting table's recipe book shows all of its crafting recipes. Similarly, the furnace's recipe book shows smelting recipes, and so on

The basic tools the player can acquire come in multiple tiers based on your materials, and they include the pickaxe, the axe, and the shovel, for mining, respectively, stone-type, wood-type, and dirt & sand-type blocks. Each tool has a certain damage on certain blocks. The pickaxe is slow at mining dirt, and the shovel can break lots of dirt at a time. The fourth tool is the hoe, which is a little different than mining — it is mostly used later, as part of farming, but can also be used to break some lightweight blocks such as leaves faster. Swords are similar to tools, and come in the same tiers, but these are used for attacking animals or monsters rather than breaking blocks. Swords cannot mine anything as it does absolutely nothing when you try to mine with a sword. The six tiers are wood, stone, iron, gold, diamond, and netherite, but for the first day you are limited to wood, stone, and possibly iron. Higher tier tools break blocks faster and last longer, and swords do more damage. For pickaxes in particular, many blocks require a minimum tier for you to collect them: pickaxes can collect stone and coal ore, but iron ore requires at least a stone pickaxe, and more advanced ores (again, unlikely on your first day) require at least an iron pickaxe. Gold is a special case; it probably isn't relevant for your first day, but don't make gold tools, swords, or armor — they are usually high-speed but they are weak and fragile. If you happen to find golden items in chests, you can use them as long as they last.

his guide deals only with the beginning of the game, but here are a few words on the shape of the game as a whole. "Progression" in Minecraft is simpler and less linear than most other games, mostly a matter of finding various materials and resources,, each of which allows new capabilities and options. For example, making a wooden pickaxe lets you mine stone to make a stone pickaxe and a furnace; this in turn lets you mine and smelt iron ore; the iron pickaxe lets you mine diamonds, and then a diamond pickaxe lets you mine any block that can be mined. Similarly, various crops let you breed different animals, each of which provides different resources over and above "better food". Various enemy drops likewise each have their uses (some more useful than others), and combining various resources from mining, farming and breeding, let you enchant your equipment. Collecting and crafting various materials also lets you build with them; even beyond the practical factors of secure bases and farms, building your own structures is a big part of the game experience.

Progression beyond the Overworld is fairly limited: Eventually you can build a Nether portal to reach the Nether, where you can get materials for more complex crafting, the resources to brew potions, and the top tier of tools and armor. The Nether materials also let you reach the End dimension, where you must defeat the Ender Dragon to unlocks the outer End Islands, where you can get an elytra that lets you fly, and shulker boxes for more storage. There are also two optional bosses: the Elder Guardians in the Overworld oceans, and the Wither, which is summoned with Nether materials.


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