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5 Common "Minecraft" Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Megan Rose is a "Minecraft" fan who has made plenty of mistakes along the way and shares advice for beginners.

Oh no, a fire! This is not the sort of thing you want to come home to.

Oh no, a fire! This is not the sort of thing you want to come home to.

Please 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!

Minecraft Mistakes That Everybody Makes

  1. Losing Track of Your Base After You Die
  2. Burning Down Your House
  3. Taking Too Many Items Into Caves
  4. Drowning
  5. Placing Doors Incorrectly

1. Losing Track of Your Base After You Die

The Story: Where Am I Again?

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. Oh no.

The Tip: Place Your Base Close to Your Spawn Point

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: Burning Down Your House

The Story: Burn, Baby, Burn

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.

The Tip: Fireproof Your House

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.

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3. Taking Too Many Items Into Caves

The Story: It Is Dangerous to Go Alone. Take This.

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.

The Tip: Don't Take Too Much

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. Drowning

The Story: Yes, You Run Out of Air 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.

The Tip: Make Sure You Can Resurface Easily

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 straight 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. Placing Doors Incorrectly

The Story: You Can Be Attacked Through Doors!

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.

The Tip: Place Your Doors From Outside

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.

Keep these guys out by placing your doors from the outside.

Keep these guys out by placing your doors from the outside.


I want to play Minecraft on August 03, 2017:

Kids want to play Minecraft

pranav on June 03, 2017:

such a noob she/he has a dirt house and wasted her iron on a shovel were there even beds at that time.

kris2 on August 18, 2014:

I just got on my survival world and bam a skeleton was in my house I died and respawned IN FREAKIN BEDROCK and died again IN THE WATER as far away from my house as posible I tried to get back but my compass was lost as I died now im lost

Katniss Everdeen on August 16, 2014:

PLEASE READ!!! Ok so, I was in this village, with no villagers, and I was out minding my own business, when a creeper pops out and blows me to bits!!! Lucky my friend was there to retrieve my things, but now when I spawn, I spawn in freaking LAVA!!! I did in fact have a bed that I sleep in the night before, but I keep spawning in the lava! I was extremely disappointed and I have no idea what to do! Anyone have any advice !?!? PLEASE help!

Alternate on May 06, 2014:

This article is OP! Follow those simple tips and you will certainly live 10x longer :D

ashthetornado on May 31, 2013:

I once had a house made of wood in a mpc village and some lava was nearby and it started to burn down but i was inside when it started so i

right-clicked it and the fire went away:)

Jack from United Kingdom on November 26, 2012:

Some great tips there! Helpful to those who are fairly new to the world of Minecraftia.

HappyNuke on November 14, 2012:

For your map freezing at specific places, some chunks are corrupted. It happened to my SMP map which had months worth of building on. I thought that it would be impossible to fix until I found MCsaver (not sure if I can actually link to it here, just google mcsaver minecraft). The guy who repaired my map was very helpful and knew what was wrong with it.

Hope you get it fixed.

infection4018 on November 11, 2012:

my world freezes whenever i place bricks or any block in a certain area and its happened in a numerous amount of places anything you could do to help

MC maker on September 22, 2012:

Yeah...I he'd in my nice tower all day. But somehow a creeper opened my door(around a corner and up some stairs, so I couldn't even see) while I was building! I heard a growl, turned around, and the thing scared me haf to death before I hacked it to pieces!(luckily, I had my axe on me!)

Kvejg on September 07, 2012:

one tip:

One can not die in lava, if he is using fire resistance potions ^^

Liam Godfrey on August 28, 2012:

The worst feeling ever is dying and then on the way back to your items you die again, and everything is gone.

sm825 from The Uknown on August 21, 2012:

I did not have as much problems dying in Minecraft, but that was more then likely because I watched the Yogscast before I bought Minecraft.

Kevin B. on August 12, 2012:

Ahaha... You Guys Are hilarious. Try Rei's Minimap mod.... Torches...

getting armor and coming up with survival plans.

I have always survived. Exept when it comes to lava... T_T

*lava Sounds*

Ooh! Diamonds! c:

*Mining sounds*


*Gets short by skeleton arrow, falling into lava near diamonds*

*You Died!*


Liam Dy on June 05, 2012:

Worst thing i did huh?!?!?! HUH MOTHA #$#%#% I MADE A PORTAL TO THE END USING TOO MANY ITEMS MOD, I THOUGHT I'D JUST GO BACK TO WHERE MY PORTAL WAS BACK TO MY HUGE CASTLE. BUT NO BUT NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I SPAWNED AT FLAT LAND MOTHA **#$&^ :( im so sad right now omg. i spend moths doing it but now :( no more all gone i tried to use the map but no sign of the castle. dont use portal when you are nears omething important u'll loose it. FML

bRO on April 24, 2012:

Your dirt fort must not of had a torch inside it...Mobs spawn in the dark.

Wtf!!!! on March 10, 2012:

i was happily building my dirt fort, with no available entrance, and BOOOM! a creeper from inside

tooooootalnoob on April 03, 2011:

didn't die as much after reading this ;)

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