[The Minecraft Diaries is an on going editorial that focuses around living through the highs and lows of the Minecraft world. Follow Geoff as he begins the game as a newbie to discover, create, and ultimately tame this incredibly deep game. New entries are posted every week.]
Welcome back to our fifth and possibly final issue of “The Minecraft Diaries.” For the last couple of weeks we’ve successfully mined and survived our first night, we walled off our mine, we built a real home (not just a cave), and then we prepared, planted and harvested our own crops for food. All of these things were integral steps to being able to do what we are going to do today: explore and survive.
Minecraft, as I’m sure you know by now, is a game that’s about crafting items and mining materials. However, surviving is an equally large portion of this game. There are many monsters that come out at night or inhabit caves and, unfortunately, if you want to get decent materials (gold/diamonds) you’ll need to explore beyond your own little safe haven.
So let’s begin!
Okay, do you remember this area from our earlier entries? This is that portion of our cave that just keeps going and going. Seeing as how we’ve already built around this cave, this will be where we go exploring today. I can guarantee two things out of this: first, that we’ll find some monsters back there and second, that there’s gonna be some sort of rare material hidden in the depths.
But before we go we need to prepare.
Now, being that we are going to go exploring, we’ll need some weapons an armor which means we’ll need iron to make it. Armor will help us survive longer should we encounter any monsters and weapons will help us kill them faster.
Now, like we did before with the buckets, we’ll need to smelt the iron ore to make iron ingots which can then be used on the workbench to make various armors and weapons.
First we’ll make a sword. As I said earlier, weapons will help us kill anything we find down there.
Once complete, simply drag and drop them into the appropriate place next to your avatar in the inventory screen. You’ll also notice that, as you equip the items little armor icons will appear next to your health indicator. Once you equip armor, any damage you take will now be divided amongst your armor and health instead of everything going straight to your health.
Next we are going to take all the bread we can find/make. Bread heals 2.5 hearts per loaf eaten. Despite having armor and weapons there’s still a very real danger going into caves to explore. Having bread will make it so that, if the worst should happen, we have something we can fall back on.
And, finally, here is what we are bringing. As you can see I’ve added a bunch of torches. It’s going to be dark down there, after all. Also, I’ve made myself a couple iron pickaxes and an iron shovel. Iron is simply a better material than stone and it will help me break things apart faster, especially if I come across gold or diamond.
Also, be sure to leave plenty of open space in your inventory. We are going down there to not only explore, but to collect as well. Who knows what we’ll find down there so it’s better to have lots of space to carry it all back.
So, now that we’re prepared, let’s head into the cave.
Now, there’s no telling what’s in this cave or if we’ll make it back. So let’s just take a moment and ponder that scenario for a second. If we die down there, we lose not only all materials we’ve collected but also all our armor, bread, and items.
Now, as you go through the cave, you’re going to notice that it’s not a straight line. These caves are long, lengthy, and completely randomized. So be prepared for that.
And here we have our first example of that. As I was heading down that tunnel from before the floor just kind of disappeared. This isn’t a rare occurrence so be sure to place torches ahead of you instead of behind you.
Deeper and deeper we go. You know, I’m actually surprised we haven’t found any zombies or creepers yet. Don’t let your guard down though because they’re definitely in here somewhere.
Wow! See? This is what I was talking about earlier when I said this caves are completely randomized. Here we are, no place left to go but down this huge pit. Now, being the miners and crafters we are, we’ll approach this more creatively than simply jumping down. Instead we’ll build our way down.
As you can see we’ve built crude stairs/steps all the way down. If you need materials to do this remember, just start digging.
Great. Dead end. This happens sometimes, although it’s pretty rare, where a cave will just end with no monsters or rare materials. Bummer.
But wait! What’s this? Half way up the stairs we just climbed down I noticed this small hole in the wall. This is another reason to bring tools. Sometimes the apparent cave may end but really there’s another part of it hiding somewhere behind the walls. We were lucky enough that we built our stairs down in such a way so that we didn’t miss it going back up.
Well this is funny. Just the other day we traveled how far to get some water? And here we have an underwater spring sitting right beneath our home. Hilarious.
Ah-hah! Right next to the spring, we’ve successfully discovered gold! This is a very rare material that will help us create even better tools, weapons, and armor. The only thing better than gold are diamonds. Hopefully we can find some of those as well. Correction: gold tools are not stronger than iron, in fact they are about equal to wood. Gold is best used as a decorative device.
Well that certainly took a while. Shortly after finding gold, I managed to stumble upon our first unwelcome visitor. Well we didn’t prepare for nothing, let’s take out our sword and deal with this once-scary abomination.
Now, once you get down deep enough, you’ll hit lava. Lava, at first, doesn’t seem like it could be very useful. However, there are plenty of things you can do with lava so we’ll just keep a mental note of it’s existence down here.
Hey! I forgot about this stuff. This is redstone. Redstone acts as a sort of “wire” that allows you to connect a redstone torch with a lever and other types of items to enable a reaction. For example, if you want a lever to open a door you’d need to connect them with redstone. It’s a fascinating concept in Minecraft and one that I have yet to fully explore.
Now, whatever you do, you do not want to come in contact with lava. No way, no how. You will die instantly. That said, however, if you do come in contact with a lake of lava and need to get across, you can use regular stone to build a bridge. Unrealistic? Sure, but it works!
Well that way turned out to be bust. Regardless, we’ve been down here for a while and should probably take our considerable haul back home before we die and lose it all.
Now, when you’re heading back, be sure to not get lost. Caves can be very confusing even if you’re lighting your way. Take this as an example. I can go left or right. Both ways are lit up because I’ve explored both previously. This kind of scenario is not uncommon and I’ve heard stories of people having to kill themselves (in game) simply because they couldn’t find their way out.
Home sweet home.
And here was our final haul. We managed to get 12 iron ore, 16 gold ore, and 27 redstone dust. Not bad at all. I’d have liked to have found diamonds, but, realistically, this cave was pretty easy to begin with. I’ve been in some caves where creepers will just drop down and you and explode.
So yeah, that’s it. We’ve done most basic things in Minecraft at this point. I hope you’ve enjoyed the series for what it is, a lengthy step-by-step tutorial on all the nooks and crannies of starting out in Minecraft.
I mentioned earlier this being the final entry in “The Minecraft Diaries,” but if you have any ideas or would like me to explore some other part of the game and do an entry on it, I’d be more than happy to.
Until then, be sure to check out our Minecraft server!