How to Play Minecraft

Six Parts:Creating Your Own WorldSurviving the First NightPlaying the GameDefending YourselfFinding Materials and Crafting ObjectsHaving Fun With Minecraft

Minecraft is a giant sandbox game where you can fight monsters, craft tools and items, and create your own world. It has one of the biggest communities in any game, and it has revolutionized the indie gaming industry. The game comes with a tutorial, and the learning curve is a bit steep, making it one of the most popular indie games of the decade.

This guide focuses on the PC and Mac version of Minecraft. While some aspects of this guide may apply to the Xbox 360, Playstation and Pocket Edition, not all will steps will equally apply.

Part 1
Creating Your Own World

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    Choose player mode and options. When first starting the game, you will need to choose if you want to play single player or multiplayer. In single player, you obviously play alone, while in multiplayer you play with other people across the Minecraft servers. If playing the free version of Minecraft, multiplayer will not be available to you. You will also need to set the main options, which include the sound and difficulty settings, among other settings as well.
    • The difficulty settings determine whether or not monsters which are also known as "hostile mobs" will show up at night or underground. These are specific to each world, so your difficulty settings on one world may be different to another. Peaceful (for beginners) will prevent hostile mobs from spawning, while Easy will give you a small spawn rate, and Hard will give you a massive one. The amount of attack damage given to you by each mob will differ depending on the difficulty settings too. Also, in the hard mode, Zombies, which are hostile mobs, can break down wooden doors down and kill you!
    • If you are playing multiplayer, it will be unnecessary to create a world, as you can simply join someone else’s server. To find a multiplayer server, you can visit a website such as However, if you only want to play Minecraft with a few close friends, then making your own server may be the best option.
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    Choose your game mode. If you are playing on your own, you will need to create a world for your character to inhabit. When creating this world, you will need to choose the game mode, as this will change how the world you create will work. This functionally makes the game easier or harder to play. The available modes are:
    • Survival: When playing in survival mode, you will have many of the familiar requirements of other games. Health, hunger, armor, and oxygen (when swimming) bars will appear, as well as an inventory. You will also need to gather materials for crafting, through mining and other means, as well as gain experience points.
    • Creative: You will have unlimited access to materials in this mode, and your needs (such as health and hunger) will be gone. Also, you can fly.
    • Hardcore: This mode is the same as survival except hardcore permanently locks the created world into the Hard difficulty setting, and your world will be permanently deleted if you die. So, be careful! (By the PC update for 1.9, you will be stuck in spectator mode after you die)
    • Spectator: This mode will allow you to simply fly through the floor to see the world. You can only get it by using the /gamemode command or by dying in hardcore mode.
    • Adventure: The correct tools will be needed in order to harvest the individual types of materials in this mode. However, other items can still be interacted with. This will only appear in custom made adventure maps or by using the /gamemode command.
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    Set your World Options. This is a helpful menu which allows you to control the world you are creating better. You can type in a seed (or code which generates a specific world), toggle cheats, and set your World Mode, among other options.
    • World modes include - Default which does the basic generation, Superflat, which is essentially a flat world, Large Biomes, basically creates much larger biomes than the default settings, AMPLIFIED which generates huge mountains and deep caves, Customized that can make awesome different worlds, and finally a special mode called Debug that generates every single type of block in one world but you can only look at them.

Part 2
Surviving the First Night

Surviving the first night is essential to all players playing in survival mode on difficulty setting easy or above. If you are playing on peaceful or creative mode, this information will not apply to you.

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    Get to work right away. When you first start playing the game, the most important thing will be to survive the first night. The game goes through day-night cycles and the monsters in the game appear at night. You will need to build yourself a shelter before the in-game sunset so that you will be protected.[1]
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    Gather materials. You will need to mine and collect materials in order to build anything in the game. The first material you will need to collect to survive your first night is wood. Find trees and punch them, by holding down the left mouse button, to destroy them and collect wood.
    • Twenty pieces is a good starting point.
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    Build a crafting table. A crafting table will be used to create all of your items in the game. Build a crafting table to continue to build your shelter. You can build a crafting table by following these instructions:
    • Open your inventory by pressing “E” on your keyboard and place one wood in one box on the top right under Crafting. This should allow you to build wood planks.
    • Grab the wood planks that it gives you and put them in your inventory.
    • Take those wood planks and fill all four boxes under “Crafting” with wood. Do this by right clicking each square or holding left click as you drag your mouse over all 4 squares.
    • This will allow you to craft a crafting table. Take it and place it by right clicking somewhere near where you intend to build your shelter.
    • When crafting at a crafting table, there are 9 positions in which to place items. Which order items are placed in is important, but position isn't important for certain items, From here on, the positions will be referred to as 1-9, going left to right and then down (as if reading a book).
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    Craft your tools. You will need tools in order to harvest many materials. Build your first tools using wood and your crafting table. The main tools will be a pickaxe, an axe, a shovel, and a sword.
    • Begin to make tools by making sticks. These are made using two planks in your inventory crafting boxes. Two planks make four sticks.
    • Make a pickaxe by placing sticks in positions 5 and 8, and wood planks in positions 1-3. Notice how it makes the shape of a pickaxe?
    • Make an axe by placing planks in positions 1, 2, and 4, and sticks in positions 5 and 8.
    • Make a shovel by placing 1 plank in position 2, and sticks in positions 5 and 8.
    • Make a sword by placing planks in positions 2 and 5, and 1 stick in position 8.
    • These tools can be improved by making them with cobblestone, rather than wood. However, don’t waste time finding stone during your first day. You can make better tools during the next day.
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    Mine some coal. You want to have some torches in your house. Otherwise, your home will be dark and hostile mobs will spawn in.
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    Build a structure. Build some kind of structure in any location which is large enough, though on top of a hill or mountain is usually a good idea (it will be easier to defend and find later). You can build a house-like structure or you can dig yourself a cave. The goal is to make a structure which you can shut yourself in to (although don’t forget to leave yourself an initial way to get in!). A roof is not necessary, though spiders will be able to enter. You can place an overhang around the shelter so that spiders are barred. Your character is 2 blocks high, so if you want a doorway, make it 2 blocks high.
    • Ensure that your shelter has enough light to prevent hostile mobs from spawning inside of it.
    • Craft a door by placing wooden planks in positions 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, and 8 while crafting. To open a door, right click it. However, this is true only for wooden doors. If you somehow find iron and make an iron door, you will need a pressure plate or other redstone mechanism.
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    Kill some sheep with your sword. It may seem cruel, but its how you will survive. They will drop 1 piece wool if you kill them but if you somehow find iron and craft shears, they will drop 1-3 pieces of wool. Collect 3 pieces of wool and 3 wooden planks to craft a bed. To craft a bed, place the 3 wool in positions 4, 5, and 6 and the 3 wooden planks in 7, 8, and 9
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    Find food. Once you have survived the first night, you will want to find some food. Going hungry will lower your health over time and make you easier to kill. The easiest way to find food is to kill animals. If you are too nice, then use apples or plant seeds to get wheat. Food will be unnecessary on Peaceful difficulty.

Part 3
Playing the Game

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    Play RPG style. Once you’ve built your basic shelter and tools and you’ve survived the first night, the rest of the game can largely be played however you wish. One way to play the game is in the style of an RPG. Go around collecting and crafting better items, and slowly work your way up to The End (another world where you will need to fight a dragon to “beat” the game).
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    Play Sandbox style. You can play what is called “sandbox” style, where you use the materials and environments to create cool environments and structures. Minecraft players have recreated cities from Game of Thrones, the menacing Helm’s Deep from Lord of the Rings, even the White House and Notre Dame!
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    Play Inventor style. The game can also be fun for budding inventors, as it has mechanical aspects. You can figure out how to build working elevators, cannons, or anything else you can think up, through the use of redstone. Some players even managed to build a working computer in the game!
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    Keep your game mode in mind. Some game modes work better for certain playing styles than others. If playing Sandbox style, for example, you’re probably better off playing in Creative mode.

Part 4
Defending Yourself

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    Get weapons. You will want a weapon to defend yourself from the various monsters in the game. A sword is a great place to start and the method of building it is described above. Make sure that you use stronger materials than wood for the blade on your more permanent weapon, as wood will degrade quicker than other types of tools.
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    Get armor. You will want to craft yourself some armor. Armor will help protect you from damage when fighting monsters. You can create several different pieces of armor and, as with many items in the game, you can craft them out of different types of materials.[2]
    • Materials you can use to craft armor include: leather, iron ingots, gold ingots and diamond gems. You can also buy chainmail armor off of NPC Villagers.
    • Craft a helmet by placing your material in positions 4, 5, 6, 7, and 9.
    • Craft a chestplate by placing your material in every position, but position 2.
    • Craft leggings by placing your material in every position BUT 5 and 8.
    • Craft boots by placing your material in positions 4, 7, 6 and 9.
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    Place torches. Monsters cannot spawn in areas with strong enough light. To keep areas lit at night, you will need to place torches. To make a torch, you will need 1 stick and 1 coal (coal placed above stick when crafting).
    • Coal can be found in mountainous areas or underground. It looks like stone with dark spots on it.
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    Know the different Mobs. Mobs (or mobiles) are any creatures which move in the game. These can be good or they can be hostile. Knowing how to identify which is which is very important, as it can mean the difference between life or having to find your way back after respawning.[3]
    • Peaceful Mobs, such as cows, chicken, and sheep, will never attack you. You can attack them in order to collect meat for food.
    • Neutral Mobs will not attack you until you give them a reason. Different actions will set off different neutral mobs. Zombie Pigmen, and wolves, for example, must be attacked before they will hurt you. On the other hand, endermen will become hostile as soon as you look at them (so avoid getting them in your crosshair). Endermen are neutral but will become hostile if you look at them from the upper legs and up or if you attack them first.
    • Hostile Mobs will always attack you if they see you. These mobs only spawn at night or underground. Common hostile mobs include skeletons, zombies, creepers, endermen, and spiders.

Part 5
Finding Materials and Crafting Objects

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    Look for materials underground. Some materials, such as dirt, stone and cobblestone, are generally found underground or on exposed hillsides. You will need to dig with the pickaxe or shovel to harvest these materials.[4]
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    Look for materials above ground. You can also find certain materials above ground. This includes materials like wood, sugar cane, seeds, and wheat. You can also collect things like wheat in villages. Axes or your hands are often enough to get these materials.
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    Look for materials from creatures. Some materials will need to be obtained from creatures. You can get wool from sheep (avoid killing them by using shears), eggs from chickens, and milk from cow, among a number of other items.
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    Use your crafting table. Use your crafting table or your inventory crafting to create items. Don’t forget that the shape you make when crafting items can often be important in making your recipes work (although some items do not require this). Click and drag items from your inventory into the crafting boxes, placing the lot with a left click or just one with a right click. Take the item you've created by clicking its image and dragging it into your inventory.
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    Find crafting recipes. There are far too many game items to list all of their crafting recipes here.[5] You can find recipes for the different items by searching our Minecraft section or by looking at a variety of other websites online. You can also ask your fellow players.

Part 6
Having Fun With Minecraft

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    Make a map or make a compass so you can find your way around.
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    Breed animals and build a basic farm to provide for yourself and give you materials to use or trade.
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    Get a horse, cat or dog to keep as a pet.
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    Brew potions to heal yourself, make yourself stronger, invisible, or produce a number of other effects.


  • Hostile mobs only spawn on a 25 (or more) block radius away from you.
  • Use tools properly. Swords are for killing mobs (such as zombies, skeletons, creepers, etc.), shovels are for digging out blocks (such as dirt, gravel, sand, etc.), axes are for cutting wooden items (such as chests, logs, crafting tables, etc.), pickaxes are for mining stone/stone sources (such as stone, cobblestone, coal ore, etc.), and hoes are for planting farmland.
  • Animals are the most common food resource. If you happen to come across a pig, cow, or a chicken, kill it and collect the drop. Use furnaces to cook the raw meat you have retrieved from animals. Cooked food is more than twice as good as raw food.
  • You should make a wood pickaxe in the beginning and then from there, mine stone. With those materials, you can create more tools.
  • You can get Chain armor if you trade with villagers or if a mob drops it.
  • If you can't find or build any shelter when it is getting dark, dig a 3 block deep ditch, and place a bed to sleep (leave a hole in the ditch, because if you close it up, it will be very dark and monsters will spawn when you try to sleep. Otherwise, if you have some torches, block up the hole, place a few torches, and have a good night's rest).
  • Villages can be your temporary shelter if you cannot build a shelter before dusk.
  • When trying to survive the first night, if you can't find coal smelt some logs in a furnace to make charcoal. That makes it easier to cook your food.
  • If you hold shift on the modes you can get to debug mode.
  • You don't need to build a shelter for night. If you get enough blocks (preferably ones that break easily) you can build straight up and survive on top, when you are done jump into the nearest water source or break each block under you. This is only temporary, but can be extremely useful, if this structure is not tall enough (20 blocks or so) it will not work.
  • Cutting into mountain sides are an easy shelter.
  • Use good armour. Leather is worst to use.
  • Raiding village chests will give you resources, the Blacksmith's shop has a flat roof, and lava in the front. They don't appear in all villages, but if they do they contain a chest.
  • Stay in your shelter at night.
  • If you want to make a shelter, make sure to put a lot of light sources in there, so that monsters don't spawn in your house.
  • Be aware of the following mobs:
    • Zombie: A slow but strong mob that deals around 2 and a half hearts of damage if you get too close. Sometimes travels in mob packs, and sometimes wears armour or wields weapons. It is advised that you target these mobs last in a monster group, as they are very slow.
    • Mini Zombie: Also called a baby zombie. These zombies are much faster than normal zombies (they run at the same speed as you can) and deal the same amount of damage as an adult zombie, however their hitbox is the same size as the adult zombie.
    • Skeleton: A dangerous mob that rapidly shoots arrows dealing 2 hearts of damage and knockback. When encountering skeletons, it is recommended that you were full leather armor or stronger, since they can target you from long range and are very dangerous in groups.
    • Spider: A fast, climbing mob, they are proven to be versatile and dangerous in groups. Either target these or skeletons first in a monster group.
    • Creeper: A silent, yet deadly mob that will make no noise when sneaking up on you, unless it is too close. It will hiss if you are close to it, giving only a few seconds chance of escaping it. In close range, it's explosion attack could so much as kill you. In medium range, it can still deal lots of damage, totaling of up to 4 hearts. In a monster mob, it is advised that you use the creeper's explosion to your advantage. Get close to it to make it explode, and run back about 7 blocks when you hear it hiss. If you're lucky, you could take out an entire monster mob with this strategy.
    • The Spider Jockey is a skeleton riding a spider. It is very rare, so don't expect to see it as soon as it gets dark! Unless you have an iron sword and armor, run immediately!
    • These aren't the only mobs, yet they are the most common. Follow these tips so you can deal with each of them!
  • If you press and hold Shift and click an item in your inventory, it will automatically move to your slots without manually having to move it yourself.
    • If your slots are full, the items that you want to move will move to your inventory.
    • If both your inventory and slots are full then it will not work.
    • It works too while you craft many same items/take items from chest or furnace and want to move them to inventory/slots with Shift. But you can only put back the items on your inventory/slots automatically into the chest.
    • You can't put the items back in crafting table/furnace in inventory menu with Shift.
  • Try going to other worlds in the game.
    • The Nether: Make a square or rectangle out of obsidian that is at least 4X4. It doesn't matter how big as long as it is a perfect rectangle or square. Corners do not matter. Once inside, be careful of lava.
    • The End: Kill Endermen and craft eyes of Ender. Throw them and whatever direction they go, follow them. They will lead you to The End portal where you can slay the Ender Dragon.


  • Always have torches when you mine or else you might get a surprise of mobs in where you are mining!
  • Watch out for monsters even during the day, as creepers and spiders will not die from sunlight like zombies and skeletons. Also, skeletons and zombies can survive the day if they are in water.
  • Never make a fireplace. If you have flammable blocks, it might spread, burning these blocks, causing a fire that can burn you.
  • Not all the same tools break the same blocks. E.g a Wooden Pickaxe can not break any ores except Coal. A Stone Pickaxe can mine Iron ore and Coal ore. An iron Pickaxe can mine Coal Ore, Diamond Ore, Iron Ore, Redstone Ore, Gold Ore and Emerald Ore. A Diamond Pickaxe can mine every ore, and it is the only tool that can mine Obsidian.
  • Never run into a creeper as it is deadly and will kill you if you do not have strong armor.
  • If you fall from a great height you will take damage, or even die.
  • Never dig straight down as you might just fall into a lava pool or dark cave full of hostile mobs.
  • Wooden tools are ok for a beginner, but will not last you long, so build stone tools so you can get iron tools, and iron tools let you get diamond tools.
  • Never dig straight up because lava could be right above you!
  • Never sleep in a dark place since hostile mobs will spawn and attack you.
  • Don't try to kill a skeleton in water!
  • Don't try to break bedrock in survival, hardcore, nor creative. If you mine it, you will fall into The Void, and on layer -64, you start losing health. Once you die, you lose your inventory forever!

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