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10 Secrets to a Successful, Long-Term World in "Minecraft"

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Dan K is an avid Minecraft player, who has enjoyed Mining, Crafting, Exploring, and turning NPC Villages into sprawling cities since 2011.

Have you ever started a Minecraft world, fully intending to keep it going for as long as possible, only to quit and start again within a few weeks? Maybe you got bored, or you weren't happy with the terrain, or a creeper blew up your perfectly crafted starter home, forcing you to quit in a rage while cursing the name of Notch for developing these explosive bas-... ahem. Got a bit carried away there, didn't I? Anyway, if you're wondering how anyone can manage to commit to a single world for years at a time, you've come to the right place. These are 10 tips to a successful world in Minecraft.

1. Finding the Right Seed

When it comes to Minecraft terrain, the seed that you start with is everything. While it can be fun to explore a random seed that no one has likely ever seen before, the fact is you never know what you're going to get from a random seed. You could prefer Jungles and Badlands biomes but end up in a seed with Snowy Plains and Old Growth Taiga. This is not the way to ensure that you will become attached to a world in the long-term. While it's true that you can find any biome if you search long enough, who wants to travel thousands of blocks to find the biome they're looking for? If you know going in that the biomes you are looking for are easy to find, you'll be more likely to stay in the world for a long time. You can find the right seeds by using tools like ChunkBase's seed map. Do a little research, and save yourself the pain of spawning on an island in the middle of a giant ocean.

My Main Base

My Main Base

2. Build a Base, Keep it Stocked

One of the most important parts of long-term survival is having a place to call home. Having a base of operations to come back to after going off on an adventure or finishing up a project will remind you that your world is more than the sum of its parts. It makes sense to set your base up somewhere near your world's spawn area, as this will be close to the world's origin (0,0). It makes it easy to find no matter where you are in the world. Your base should be stocked with all the necessities: extra sets of armor and tools, food, a back-up elytra with firework rockets, an ender chest, and extra storage for blocks. If you find yourself working on projects far from your main base, it helps to set up a temporary base near the project so you don't have to travel all the way back to your main base for items or to sleep. You could even set up multiple main bases throughout your world, so you can easily restock no matter where you are, but keep the base closest to the world spawn point as a central base of operations.

To Do List

To Do List

3. Set Goals and Plan It Out

Like most things in life, maintaining a long-term world starts with setting goals. Want to kill the Ender Dragon and get an elytra? Write it down. Kill six Wither bosses and set up a Mega Beacon? Write it down. Create a Metropolis by building up and connecting two separate NPC Villages? Write it down. Once you have your goals written down, start thinking about how you're going to accomplish these things. Break up these goals into steps to take toward achieving your ultimate goals. Don't be afraid to change or update these goals over time, and always try to add to the list as new ideas come to your mind. Keeping a list of short-term and long-term goals will remind you to keep working toward these things as time goes on.

Creative Mode Testing

Creative Mode Testing

Planning a project before starting to build will make reaching these goals much easier. There's nothing worse that finishing a build, only to realize that you didn't leave enough room for decoration and other builds. Using frameworks made of wool or some other easily dismantled material to create a rough plan of your builds will ensure that you have enough space and a proper layout before you start building. You can also work out the details of a build design (palette, layout, redstone mechanisms, etc.) in creative mode before building in survival. This will save time in gathering materials and allow you to perfect a build before you commit to it in survival. I suggest keeping a creative world in tandem with your survival world, giving you a chance to hone your building skills without worrying about wasting materials.

Map Wall

Map Wall

4. Explore and Map the World

Minecraft worlds are essentially infinite, meaning it can be easy to go off on an adventure only to become horribly lost. By mapping out the areas that you have explored, you can find your way back to base without much effort. Using a locator map, a cartography table, and some paper, you can scale your maps to cover a much larger area than the standard map. I suggest zooming the map out to a size 3; this allows for mapping a large area, without sacrificing detail. You should also keep a map wall, using item frames, in your base with important areas marked using banners.

A Builder's Redstone Sheep Farm

A Builder's Redstone Sheep Farm

5. Learn New Styles

There are nearly as many play styles in Minecraft as players. However, these can be distilled down to several, more generalized, styles. Whether you consider yourself a builder, a redstone master, or an adventurer, you will be more likely to stay interested in a single world if you are willing to branch out and try other styles. Supplementing your building skills with some redstone mechanisms can take your builds to another level. If you're more of a resource hoarder, consider putting those blocks to use by building some silos and storage areas. Maintaining a long-term world can act as a record of progress, reminding you of how much you have improved as a player over time as you learn and implement new skills, ideas, techniques, and play styles.

6. Transportation Network

It can be difficult to stick to a single world for long if you don't have an easy way to get around. When you're working on projects thousands of blocks away from your main base, it helps to have an easy way to get there.

There are many options for transportation in Minecraft, all of which have their positives and negatives. Cart and rail systems are faster than walking, but require large amounts of resources and time to set up. These are useful for short distances, perhaps between your base and your mine, or between villages that aren't too far apart. Carts and rails are a great option for early game travel, but become unnecessary when you gain access to an elytra and firework rockets. Elytra can be found in the End Ships that populate some End Cities, but getting enough gunpowder to craft large amounts of firework rockets can take a lot of work, but gets easier if you build a creeper farm. One of the best options for transportation is using packed or blue ice to form ice highways and traveling on them with a boat. Ice highways are the fastest form of travel in Minecraft, but gathering enough packed or blue ice to travel long distances can take a lot of work, on top of all of the time it takes to build these pathways. Using a horse on overland road networks is the cheapest and easiest way to travel, but is not as fast as the other methods, and is best used for travelling within a few hundred block radius.

Combining some of these methods with Nether travel is probably the best option, as each block you travel in the Nether is eight blocks traveled in the overworld. This allows you to travel vast distances in a short amount of time. The Nether is a dangerous place, though, so it pays to create a tunnel and hub system utilizing either ice highways, cart and rail, and/or horse (or strider) and road systems. This will make traveling long distances in your world safe and easy.

A Work In Progress (Long-Term Project)

A Work In Progress (Long-Term Project)

7. Multiple Projects

Having multiple projects to work on will make your time in a single world much more interesting. If you're not feeling up to working on one project, you can always work on another while you wait for inspiration to strike. A long-term Minecraft world should always be a work in progress, and having more than one project to work on at any given time will ensure that your world is never fully "complete." You will be more likely to stick with a world if you know that you still have work to do in it. If you use the temporary base tip from earlier in this article in combination with multiple projects, you can leave all of the materials you need in one spot, go off and work on another project, and then come back later knowing that you will still have everything you need to work on the original project. This eliminates the need to transport materials to and from a project every time you take a break, making it easier to take some time away when needed.

8. Show Off Your Builds

While there's much self-satisfaction to be taken in completing a build in Minecraft, there's nothing like getting compliments on a build that you have worked hard to complete. Showing off your builds to friends, family, or even complete strangers can have fantastic results. They may be complimentary, or they may have suggestions for how to make your builds better; either way showing off your builds can make you feel even more connected to your long-term world. Be open to constructive criticism, as taking suggestions from others can result in becoming a better builder.

9. Don't Cheat

Nothing kills a long-term world faster than feeling like you've cheated yourself. You get to decide what is and isn't cheating, but as soon as that line is crossed, interest in the world and the game is certain to wain. Set your boundaries, and don't cross them no matter how tempting it may be. Duplication glitches, summoning ores with commands, or switching between survival and creative mode can all be tempting, but resist that temptation. While there are no real consequences to any of these cheats, you will know that you cheated and you will not feel as satisfied with the results than if you had progressed through the game organically. You may not be able to build whole houses out of diamond blocks, but you will feel a greater sense of achievement for the handful of diamonds you found naturally than for those that you gave yourself with commands.

10. Make Back-Ups

This final tip may be the most important. The old cliche' that "things happen," is completely true. You never know when something might go wrong, resulting in the loss of your Minecraft world. Making sure to regularly backup your Minecraft world can save you a lot of heartache should the worst happen. I use a memory stick to backup my save files, that way if the worst happens I won't have to start back from the beginning. After two full years in my current Minecraft world, I don't know that i would be willing to restart for some time if I were to completely lose it. By backing up my world, I am ensuring that hundreds of hours of work are not lost to cruel fate.

Bonus: Take Breaks When Necessary

Sometimes, no matter how much you enjoy Minecraft, you just get burnt out. That's what makes keeping a long-term survival world worthwhile. You can go off and play other worlds, other games, or do something else entirely, and your long-term world will still be there waiting when you return. You won't have to go through the effort to build up resources and items, because you already have; they're just waiting for you to come along and retrieve them. It's reassuring to know that you can go back and see what you have accomplished in the game at any time, and continue progressing on projects that you haven't yet finished. Don't be afraid to take a break whenever you need one, you can always come back to Minecraft later.

That is the beauty of Minecraft; it is always growing and changing, yet the core experience remains the same. Minecraft is a game about changing the world around you, however you see fit. The worlds you create become an extension of who you are. A long-term world, then, helps you track how you've changed as a player and as a person, and what is important to you at any given time. It isn't the world itself that is important, it is how you change, shape, and transform the world that matters.

Do you have a long-term Minecraft world? Plan on starting one? What is the longest you've spent in a single world? Let me know in the comments!