MMORPG Info Logo Surviving Minecraft

So, another young whippersnapper, come all excited because you’ve heard of Minecraft. Yeah, I know, you think want to be a miner. A wannabe: I can tell by by the lack of callouses on your hands. You know, you aren’t the first to come this way, blathering about mining the ore and then making yourself the most magnificent castle of them all. I know, I know, I’ve heard it all before: you’ve seen them on YouTubeand you want a piece of that action. But this aint no Lego. You aren’t going to walk in and find gold. Most likely, you’ll get eaten. If I were you, I’d turn around and go home now.

Still here, huh? Well, maybe you’ll listen. Just forget all about the gold and the turrets and automated firing systems. You’ve got one goal right now: survival. Once you’ve survived a week in the wilderness of Minecraft, you can think about expanding your horizons but for the moment, you should only think about one basic fact: the world is inhabited by skeletons with bows and zombies who want to eat your brains. That’s the only thing that should be on your mind in these early days.

A Night in the Wilds

Let me tell you the secret: you don’t start by looking around the place, thinking about what a beautiful sunny day it is. Do you know why not? Do ya? Because the shadows are FULL OF UNDEAD waiting to eat your brains. And once the sun starts setting, they’ve already got you surrounded. So don’t be thinking it’s a nice sunny day, be thinking about how to get to shelter, fast.

The moment you arrive, you should start preparing for night. You need light. You need shelter. Everything else can wait.

First Step: Attack a tree. Yes, with your bare hands, this aint no place for wimps. Just keep hitting that tree until it falls to pieces and pick up the largest chunks of wood. You are going to need half a dozen pieces of wood. Now don’t go getting distracted and knocking down all the trees in the area. Stay focused.

You have the makings of a workbench now but you are going to need some coal. No, you don’t have to scrabble through the rock with your bare hands but you need to know where it is. So the clever miner goes searching before he starts making tools.


There is no longer a dependency on coal for torches. Update 1.2 has included charcoal with can be created with your furnace and wood. See the detail here: MMORPG Info ยป Charcoal in Minecraft.

Second Step: Find coal. It’s easy to spot: look for any grey rocky area. You’ll find them on the sides of cliff or sometimes at the entrance to one of the shallow pits. Don’t even think about going into the dark caves: there’s things that lurk down there, day and night.

Remember your priorities: light and shelter. Anyroads, run around, looking for black-speckled rock. It stands out against the grey rockface once you know what you are looking for, black bits of coal sticking out from the stone. Once you find that, just plunk yourself right in front of it. This is going to be your camp for the night. Now you are ready to make some tools.

Third Step: Make a workbench. Hit “i” for inventory and you’ll see your basic crafting area. Take that wood you gathered and drop it into one of the slots. On the right side, you’ll see refined wood which you can remove. Click it, drop it in your inventory. If you use right-click to pick up the stacks you can keep on refining until you use up all your raw wood. You should have 24 planks of refined wood in your inventory now. That’s a good start.

Now you need a workbench, nothing special, just a bit of countertop so you have space to make stuff. Go into your basic crafting area and drop one plank of refined wood into each of the four slots. On the right side, you’ve got a workbench. Pick it up and put it into one of your hotkey slots.

Now you just right-click to drop the workbench on the ground. Just be careful not to drop it onto your toes.

Fourth Step: Make a mining pick. You may think you are making good progress but keep moving fast; I can see that sun starting to set. Right-click on your workbench and you’ll see a nice, big crafting area. Take your refined wood and put two pieces in, one piece on top of the other, which is how you make sticks, four at a time. Do this once again so that you have 8 sticks. Sticks are useful.

Now, take two sticks and place them one over the other in the center column to make a handle. Add your refined wood to the top row, three across and you should have a wooden mining pick to drop onto a hotkey slot. Just make one of these right now, we’ll make a stone one soon enough.

Fifth Step: Get coal for your torches. Still got natural light? Good. Head over to that coal you found and use your pick (select and left-click) to break it out of the stone.

Sixth Step: Make torches. Once you’ve got at least one piece of coal, go straight back to your workbench and make torches. Just one stick and a piece of coal over it (you could even make this in your inventory if you wanted) and you’ve got four torches.

Now you have a chance of making it through the night.

Seventh Step: Make shelter. Now just start hacking away at that rock to make yourself a little space to sit in. Put torches on the walls (select the torches on a hotkey and right-click on the wall) to light the place up. Make you you have enough space for you and your workbench to sit quietly through the night. Hack away at your workbench with the pick to break it down. Once it falls to pieces you can pick it up and drag the workbench indoors with you while you wait for dawn.

Use the debris that you are picking up and seal off your entrance and take a deep breath. You are safe now and you can take a moment to make yourself a better pick. Hack away some more rock if you need it and then sit down at the workbench. Just use the same configuration, two sticks in the middle and three pieces of rock across the top row. A decent axe would be useful: two pieces of stone on the left of the top row and sticks in the center column underneath. You can make a shovel for getting through the dirt, just one piece of rock in the center of the top row. While you are at it, make a stone sword as well, two rocks balanced upon a single stick.

You can expand your shelter, mine for some more rocks for your tools and maybe even a bit coal. Keep plenty of torches on hand to drive the shadows away.

If you are feeling antsy, you can break out a small hole as a window to check for morning (just make sure it’s off the ground and no more than one square wide) although you may be able to tell just by listening. If something is moaning out there, you’d be best to simply stay in your hidey-hole. They’ll disappear once the sun comes out and your best option is to make a decent set of tools before venturing out anyway.

Well done, you’ve survived the night. That’s more than most of the whippersnappers achieve. I’m almost impressed. You aren’t out of the woods yet, though.

Oh fine, go on then, have a run around and explore the area while the sun is shining. You’ll get lost and night will take you by surprise and you’ll get eaten, I’m willing to bet. Don’t bother to come haunt me; I’ll just tell you I told you so.

Just remember your priorities: light and shelter. If you can manage not to do anything stupid, I’ll meet you here tomorrow at dawn and we’ll talk about what to do next. Meanwhile you can look at these Postcards from a Survivor at Twenty-Sided Die. Or you can go explore and get lost and kill yourself. Up to you, whippersnapper.

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