5 Minecraft Mistakes You Will Kick Yourself For
(NOTE: This is not a tutorial. Many tutorials for new players are available, but this is an article regarding mistakes myself and friends have made. I am not by any means "pro" at Minecraft, but hopefully the things I have learned thus far will help you as well. If you enjoy this article have stories or tips you'd like to share, please leave a comment!)
#1: Where Am I Again? Regarding Spawn Points and Your Base
It's a fresh morning on the first day of your new world. All around you lies wild, untouched nature, and you can't wait to run out and chop, mine, dig, and blast your way through it. So you do. But once you've spent a few nights huddled in your 3 by 3 dirt block, shivering next to a single torch while zombies groan mere feet away from you, you start considering a more permanent structure.
Thankfully, once the sun rises you discover the perfect spot. After several hours of hard work, you finish a glorious stone tower, the pinnacle of beauty and augury of adventures to come. You step out of your castle the next morning, and a creeper waiting right outside your door takes advantage. BOOM.
Upon respawning, you look around and realize that you have no idea where your castle is in relation to your spawn point. You are hopelessly lost, and without any tools.
One of the earliest tricks I learned upon starting Minecraft was to build your base, house, or castle on or very near the area you start from. Currently, there is no way to change your spawn point in Alpha mode so every single time you die, you'll be transported to the same spot. There are two very good reasons for this: convenience and safety.
If you were carrying anything important when you died, you'll probably want it back. In some cases you'll need to bring something with you - maybe a sword or a few torches. Instead of respawning, finding your way to your base, and then heading out to recover your diamond ores, it's much easier to start right from your base, where your items are easily accessible. As an added bonus, a compass will always point towards your spawn point. If you get lost, it's easiest to travel back to your spawn point.
Taking safety into consideration, it's always better to spawn in a safe spot. Even if your base is near your spawn point, it can be difficult to get in at night if you spawn out in the open. When the countryside is teeming with aggressive creatures and you have absolutely nothing to defend yourself with, even a short trek to your base can turn into death after death. Remember, you want to return to the items you dropped, but if you have to fight off zombies with your bare fists the whole way there, your progress is going to be severely impacted.
#2: Burn, Baby Burn: Tips for Fireproofing Your Home
Let's just get this out of the way: I am a big fan of planks. They're aesthetically pleasing, they're renewable, and they're easy to mass produce; one log block will create four planks. And when I created my first home, I chose to make a humble one-room abode with wooden walls and a cobblestone floor. Sometime later, my adventuring led me to acquire my first bucket of lava. I wanted to store it in a chest for later use, so I returned home and right clicked on the chest.
This was a fatal mistake, because when you right click an object, you also use whatever you happen to be holding at the time - in my case, a bucket of molten lava. The lava spread out over the floor, killing me instantly. Since my respawn point was some distance away from my house (I was making that mistake too), I hurried back to my home too late, only to find a ball of flame where my house once stood.
If you plan to be working with lava, be careful not to walk around with it in your hand. In fact, keep it entirely in your inventory so you don't scroll into it by accident. If you do use wood to build a structure, try not to bring lava into it. It might be a good idea to have a room made of non-combustible material to work with lava, especially if you intend in making an obsidian farm.
Fireplaces are another hazard if not constructed properly. A burning log can ignite materials a few blocks away so build a fireplace that walls in the firepit. A simple fireplace can be made using a few building guidelines:
- Take out a 3-block-wide section of your wall. Dig a 3 by 3 hole, 1 space deep, with the center lining up with each end of your wall.
- Inside this hole, make a 3 by 3 ring with 8 blocks of non-combustible material (I used bricks). Leave a hole in the center where you'll put a log later. Make sure the hole lines up with the
- Build a half-open tube as far up as your house goes, using 5 blocks of non-combustible material per layer and leaving the front three spaces open.
- For the top layer, make another 3 by 3 ring and build this into your roof.
- For extra safety, add two vertical stacks (I used glass so you can still see the fire) on the two exposed corners of the fireplace, leaving only 1 space where the fire is actually exposed to your house. This will ensure that no flames will jump around the edges of your fireplace and ignite something.
Place a log into the hole in the bottom layer, so only the top is showing. Use a flint and steel to ignite the log. It will never burn out, because at least two side of a log needs to be burning for it to be destroyed.
#3: It is Dangerous To Go Alone. Take This. But Not Too Much of It.
Underground caves are dangerous places. If you thought defending your countryside castle from hordes of evil shuffling, arrow-shooting, explosive enemies was bad enough, try doing the same thing in a relatively tight space with little light and a lot more danger. In addition to the normal mobs you encounter aboveground, caves carry the risk of steep drops, lava caverns, getting stuck and/or lost, and dungeons. When you get close enough to bedrock, slimes can appear, which split into smaller slimes unless you fight them off with a sword.
Taking all this into account, one thing can be made very clear: caves are not a safe place to be in. You will probably die numerous times.
This one is easy to follow. Don't take a whole lot down with you. If you die, you won't be losing much. Build as many chests as you need in your base, and store all your valuables there. When you go underground exploring or mining, bring only what you need and make sure you have a clearly-defined path to the surface. A good rule of thumb is to bring a worktable, a stack (64 pieces) of planks or logs, a stack of torches, and maybe some wheat to heal yourself, should you do battle. All of this is easy to produce and mostly renewable, and all of your basic tools can be made with wood or stone, which you will collect much of underground.
If you've collected a good store of valuable ores while underground, don't get too greedy. Return to the surface to deposit them somewhere safely, then return to the point where you left off. The last thing you want to do is push a little bit farther only to die and lose your 20 diamond ores, 35 gold ores, and 75 iron ores.
#4: Yes, You Run Out of Air When Underwater
I shouldn't even have to talk about this one. Yet I've seen friends die underwater because they don't resurface in time to take a breath, so it's worth a mention. One you are submerged, an air meter appears above your health, showing your air in bubbles. The bubbles deplete rapidly, and once you are out of air you begin taking heavy damage. Note that water can be frozen in ice climates, but you can break through it.
Needless to say, if you decide to go water exploring, make sure you have an easy way out! Hold space to head straight up. When you're underwater, try not to go in places where you can't shoot stright up to the surface. Be very careful when breaking ice to go underwater; in addition to only having one square where you can exit, it may freeze over while you're underwater, making your chances of escape slim. Retrieving items from the ocean floor is not easy.
#5: You Can Be Attacked Through Doors if They're Placed Incorrectly
I was spending the night in a small dirt outpost while mining clay, and while I knew I couldn't be attacked through glass, I still felt uneasy as enemies built up around my hut. Suddenly, an arrow whizzed past my line of vision, and I jumped a foot in the air. Before I knew it, I was dead in my own outpost, courtesy of skeleton-arrows. I didn't know this at the time, but the placement of a door determines whether you can be attacked through it.
Always, ALWAYS place your doors from outside. They occupy the side of the space you are closest to, so when you stand outside and place doors, they are the closest they can get to danger. This means you can stand near your doors and attack through them, but cannot be attacked in return. If you place your doors from the inside, the opposite is true. You can be hit (and shot!) through your door but will be unable to defend yourself.