Minecraft Survival Guide: What to Do When Dying Too Much?

Minecraft is famous for its high creativity. If we look for creations on the Internet, we can find tons of awesome and extremely grand buildings. However, that isn’t the only beauty of Minecraft, what’s inspires our adventurous sense is the Minecraft survival mode. Many players seem to feel hesitant to join in Minecraft survival mode since it can be pretty brutal. And if you are one of them, don’t worry because it’s time for Minecraft survival guide!


Table of Contents:
1. Starting the World
2. Getting started
3. How to fight enemy?
4. Some Minecraft Survival tips and tricks

1. Starting the World

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Are you ready to survive? (Source: Internet)

First thing first, what is the survival mode then? Basically, the survival mode put you into an enormous world of Minecraft in which you have to fight for survival. There are lots of restrictions in survival mode, unlike our easy-time creative mode. For example, in creative mode you won’t die if you fall from high ground. While in survival mode, gravity law will apply.

When you create a new world, you will have 4 choices of difficulty:

  • Peaceful: Frankly speaking, peaceful difficulty can hardly be called as survival. Although the environmental damage still applies like lava or falling, there is no monster. Players also don’t suffer from starvation and they won’t be able to eat (but since when they need to eat anyway?).
  • Easy: In easy difficulty, monsters will spawn yet they do low damage. Also, cave spiders won’t cause poison. In this difficult, food bar will start to deplete; however, players will still alive even if the food bar runs out.
  • Normal: This is probably the most common difficulty. With this option, monsters will do moderate damage. Players won’t die if their food bar gets exhausted, yet their health will be reduced by half.
  • Hard: This one is the most challenging difficulty of all. Monsters will deal high damage and players’ healthy will slowly decrease until they die if their food bar is depleted. In addition, while doors can still block most of enemies, zombies can actually break the wood doors.

If you are confident in your survival skill, Hardcore will be the finest challenge. The Hardcore mode is Survival mode but with highest difficulty and players can’t change it. Furthermore, players only have 1 life, which makes this survival games much tougher.

Personally, we would recommend Normal difficulty for most part. The Easy difficult is… really easy and we wouldn’t suggest it unless you are absolutely not confident in these kinds of survival game. Of course, Hard difficulty will be the best match for experienced survivors. And Hardcore mode will be the final challenge for the best among survivors.

So now that you have chosen the best difficulty for yourself, it’s time to get started!

2. Getting started

Basic Information

Basically there are 4 things we have to keep in mind while roaming the world of Minecraft survival:

  • Food Bar: Food Bar is located on the right side and it is your hunger check. If this bar gets depleted, you will suffer penalty depending on the difficulty. In Hard difficulty, your health will slowly decrease and you can die from hunger.
  • Health: It is located on the left with hearts icon. It simple shows how much health you have left.
  • Tool Durability: Similar to many RPGs, each tool has durability and if its durability is 0, the tool will be broken. The tool durability depends on the materials: Wood < Stone < Iron < Gold < Diamond. Of course, better quality material also provides more quality item, for example, diamond armors and weapon are always the strongest of all.
  • Day and Night: In Minecraft, daytime equals to 10 minutes in real life. This is quite important to note since nights in Minecraft survival is very different from daytime. Most importantly, at night monsters will start to appear. At day, some monsters can still appear but only in small number. Yet at night, monsters will appear in much higher number, making the nights incredibly dangerous especially at the beginning of the game.

So, what should we do in the first day?

Gathering Wood

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Gathering Wood and make Crafting Table (Source: Internet)

After starting the game, we will spawn at a random location, be it a forest, a desert, a plain, or a mountain. But no matter where we spawn, the first thing we want to do is to getting wood. If you spawn at places where trees are abundant, getting wood will surely be easier. If you spawn at a desert, you will have to look for a good area (the water is always a good hint).

Getting wood is easy. You can simply punch the tree several times and you can get wood when the tree is broken down. When you have wood, it’s time to make a Crafting Table:

  • From your crafting panel, just put 1 Wood Block in and you will get 4 Wood Planks.
  • Next, fill all 4 Wood Planks in and you will get 1 Crafting Table.

After having the Crafting Table, you can just put it on the ground in order to use it. The Crafting Table is essential since it allows you to craft more items, such as armors, weapons, and other tools.

Making Shelter

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A simple shelter inside a hill (Source: Internet)


The goal of shelter is to keep you safe especially at night. Therefore, a shelter needs to be able to seclude you from the outside world. Shelter can be made from various materials like wood, dirt, and stone. Other simple way to make shelter is to look for a dirt hill and punch your way through the dirt block. This way, you can easily have a shelter without building a totally new one. While making shelter, make sure that it has 1 hole, which size equals to 1 block, in order to fit in the window.

Next, we need to have a door and a Glass Block:

  • 1 Door can be made via Crafting Table by putting 6 Wood Planks in two nearby columns.
  • To make 1 Glass Block, you can gather 1 Sand Block or Red Sand Block and smelt it (this can be created via Furnace which is explained in Crafting and Mining section).

The door will block all monsters in Easy and Normal mode. But in Hard mode, Zombies will still be able break it. On the other hand, Glass Block will serve as window so that you can look at the outside.

Crafting and Mining

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Sticks – Pickaxe – Axe – Shovel – Sword – Chest (Source: Internet)

So now that we have Crafting Table, a safe shelter, what we lack are tools to survive in this “cruel” world. At the beginning, we will mostly use woods as our main material. So, let’s get to the Crafting Table and start making tools.

*Note: Crafting in Minecraft requires players to put materials in correct order. If materials are not put in correct order, players won’t be able to craft what they want.

  • Sticks: 4 Sticks are made by 2 Wood Planks put on top of each other.
  • Wooden Pickaxe: 1 Wooden Pickaxe is made by putting 2 Sticks at the bottom center and 3 Wood Planks on top row. Pickaxe is essential tool for mining.
  • Wooden Sword: 1 Wooden Sword is made by putting 1 Sticks at the bottom center and 2 Wood Planks on top. Sword is essential for… killing things, including monsters and animals.
  • Wooden Shovel: 1 Wooden Shovel is made by putting 2 Sticks at the bottom center and 1 Wood Planks on top. Shovel is used for breaking dirt, sand, and gravel. It is not really an essential tool, yet still useful.
  • Chest: 1 Chest is made by filling all the crafting slots with 8 Wood Planks, except for the center slot. Of course, chest is for storing things especially in later progression.

After crafting these tools especially Pickaxe, it’s time to go mining some stones. Though mining isn’t exactly necessary in the first day, it is still useful to get some stones for Stone Pickaxe and cobblestones for the Furnace.

Get some Light

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Craft the Furnace – Smelt the Coal – Get the Torches (Source: Internet)

Light is another essential in Minecraft for at least 2 reasons: to be able to see in the dark, and to prevent monsters from spawning near us or in our shelter. Most monsters can spawn under the light and therefore, carrying torches and having light in our shelter are always good ideas. So, how do we create light?

First of all, we need to create a Furnace. To create a Furnace, we need to fill all crafting slots in Crafting Table with 8 Cobblestones except for the center slot.

Next, we need to create Coal from the Furnace by putting one piece of wood (be it Wood Block, Wood Plank, Wood Piece, etc…) at the top and another piece at the bottom. The bottom slot of the Furnace serves as the burning fuel while the wood on top will be smelted to Coal. Since wood has short burn time, you will only get 1 Coal per wood piece. If you use other materials like Coal for fuel, it will burn longer.

Finally, we return to the Crafting Table and put 1 Coal on top of a Stick and we will get 4 Torches.

*Note 1: If you put an item in the Furnace as fuel, it will burn right away.

*Note 2: If you want to smelt multiple items in a row. You have to take the smelted item off first before putting the new item in for smelting.  

Getting Food

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Chicken for food! (Source: Internet)


In every survival game, food is always a big problem for survivors. In Minecraft, when you move around and work, your Food Bar will start to reduce. Of course, to refill Food Bar, we need to eat food. At the beginning, apples and meats are the 2 most common sources for food.

When we break down trees, the leaves will fall and there is a chance of apple to drop. However, this chance is quite low and therefore, apple is not really a reliable source of food.

On the other hand, we can kill animals like chicken, cow, or pig to get meats. Meats generally fill more Food Bar than apples. If you already have a weapon, killing them wouldn’t be much of an issue. That said; don’t worry if you don’t have a weapon since animals won’t fight back. They will just run away from you if they get punched, making this killing business to take quite a while. After you kill an animal, it will drop raw meat. While you can eat raw meat, you can be food poisoned. So if you already have a furnace, it would be better to cook raw meats via the furnace. This cooking process is no different than making coal.

*Note: Some people may suggest eating Rotten Flesh from zombies. And this is actually valid if you are confident in your zombies hunting skill and you don’t mind poisoning. (Well, in desperate time you may need desperate measure).

“Survive” the First Night

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Bed Crafting (Source: Internet)

As mentioned, a day in Minecraft lasts about 10 minutes; therefore, venturing too far is not really recommended. At night time, monsters will appear and you will have extremely tough time in dealing with them at the beginning.

The best way to “survive” your first night is to returning back to your shelter and close the door. Of course, you can choose to be adventurous if you want to, but just be careful.

If you are fortunate enough to have Wool (Wool can be gathered by killing sheep), you can craft a bed. Making a bed requires 3 Wood Planks and 3 Wools, and you have to put a row of 3 Wools on top of 3 Wood Planks. By sleeping on bed, the game will set your spawning area near the bed instead of your starting location.

After the night, you may still want to be careful since several monsters can survive the light such as Creepers or Spiders.

3. How to fight enemy?

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Sword – Armor – Bow – Arrows (Source: Internet)

This is probably what we interest the most in this entire guide. Unfortunately, there is no magic in Minecraft and therefore, we have to fight them with melee weapons and bows (unless you have magic mods). So before jumping in battle, we need to have weapons and armors first.

There are 5 materials for weapons and armors: Wood Planks < Cobblestone < Iron Ingot < Gold Ingot < Diamond. In case of armor, Wood Planks and Cobblestone can’t be used for armor and instead, we have to use Leather. Iron, Gold, and Diamond are still viable for making armor. The better the material is, the stronger and higher durability the weapon or armor will become. In this guide, we will feature the standard gear: sword, bow and arrow, helmet, chest armor, leggings, and boots. And remember, all of these items can only be crafted via Crafting Table.

  • Sword: requires 1 Stick at the bottom center and 2 materials on top.
  • Bow: requires 3 Sticks and 3 Pieces of String placed in triangle formation with the 3 Pieces of Strings at either left or right column.
  • Arrows: A stack of 4 Arrows created by 1 Feather at the bottom center, then a Stick, then a Flint on top. (Feather can be gathered by killing chickens or parrots, while Flint can be mined from Gravel Block)
  • Helmet: requires 5 materials placed in reverse U shape.
  • Chest Armor: requires 8 materials placed in all crafting slots except for the top center slot.
  • Leggings: requires 7 materials placed in reverse U shape.
  • Boots: requires 4 materials placed in 2 little columns at the bottom left and bottom right.

So now that we get our gear, let’s understand more about what we can face in this Minecraft survival world.


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Ka-boom! (Source: Internet)


These guys are the most iconic monsters in Minecraft. They even have merchandises of their theme, including the Creeper-theme Xbox One Controller in Xbox One S Minecraft Limited Edition bundle. Unlike many other monsters, they can survive under the light and therefore, we can still encounter them at daytime.

Creepers are literally moving TNT which will explode when they get near the players. Therefore, one way to fight them with melee weapons is to hit them and then run far away. Repeat this until they die. Another effective way to dispose these suicide bombers is to hit-and-run them with bow.

*Tip: Since Creeper’s explosion can destroy the surrounding area, you may want to diverse them to somewhere far away from things you don’t want to be destroyed. Water is a good location since Creeper can’t blow the area.


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Say hello to the green-skin Zombie! (Source: Internet)

These guys may not be as iconic as the Creepers, but they are definitely a considerable threat at night. Zombies spawn at night and fortunately, they only punch us and do not explode like those Creepers. However, they are more “intelligent” since they can use weapons and armors. Also, they can pick up your dropped items. Killing the zombies often drops Rotten Flesh, but in rare cases zombies also drop items like Iron Ingot.

There are various types of zombies, typically Zombie Villager and Baby Zombie. The Baby Zombie acts like other zombies, yet they are smaller and faster. More annoyingly, they are not burned in the light and they can fit in 1×1 gaps. There is a special version of Baby Zombie which is Zombie Jockey. The Zombie Jockey always rides a chicken and occasionally spawns a chicken.

*Tip 1: Zombie Villager can be cured with potion.

*Tip 2: Fighting zombies in Minecraft isn’t much different than other games. But in Minecraft, if you use sword, you can just stand on 1 block higher than the zombies and keep slashing it. In this position, zombies will have hard time hitting you.

Skeletons and Spider Jockey

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Beware! They can shoot you to death! (Source: Internet)

Skeletons are more dangerous undead than the Zombies since they use bow and armor. They only spawn at night and normally they are burned in the light. Yet, if they wear helmet, they can still survive under the light.

If you are archer, dealing with skeletons may be easier. While for melee fighters, you may want to jump around to dodge the arrow and approach near them for melee attacks. But if you don’t want to jump like mad man, you can use sword to block their arrows. Still, the safest way of dealing Skeletons is to sneak attack or attack them from underwater (these guys seem to be afraid of water since they won’t approach the water). Killing Skeletons often drops Bone and Arrow, and sometimes Skeletons drop Bow.

A rare and more dangerous version of Skeletons is Spider Jockey. Basically, it is a Spider-riding Skeleton. Both Spider and Skeleton can attack individually, making them much more dangerous. Also, you have to dispatch them one by one.

*Tip: You can try luring Skeletons to shoot other hostile monster; they fight each other instead of you.

Spiders and Cave Spiders

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Jumping Spider (Source: Internet)


The Spiders’ hostility depends on the surrounding light level. If it’s dark, the Spiders will attack you. While in daylight, they will stay neutral unless you attack them.

These Spiders are quite annoying since they can jump around (about 2 to 3 blocks) and they may even jump over low fences. One way to deal with Spiders is to wait until they approach near you and then slash them immediately to push them back. Repeat until they die. The Spiders often drop String or Spider Eye.

Next, we have a special version of Spiders which is Cave Spiders. Unlike normal Spiders which spawn normally, Cave Spiders can only spawn by Monster Spawners or Mine Shafts. These pestering spiders are smaller than normal Spiders, but they can cause poison which will gradually reduce our health. This poison isn’t lethal, yet it will leave us 1 Heart left.


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Slime-apocalypse! (Source: Internet)

Slimes are common monster in almost every RPGs, especially JRPGs. And in Minecraft, they are quite problematic and they can spawn at any light levels. These Slimes appear as green cube and they have 3 sizes: Small, Medium, and Large. When being attacked, they will split into smaller slimes (except for the Small version). In order to kill them, you have to destroy them until they don’t split up anymore.


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A typical Witch (Source: Internet)

The Witches only spawn at Witch Huts. They look exactly like normal villagers except their long clothes, wart nose, and typically the witch hat. These witches attack by throwing endless number of potions towards you. As the results, the best way to kill these witches is to shoot them with Bow and stay away from their throwing range. However, if you are melee fighters, you will want to rush into them as fast as you can.

*Note: You can use Milk to cure the potion effect caused by Witches.


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Does this guy look like Slenderman? (Source: Internet)

Compared to monsters above, the Endermen are much stronger and they are much more destructive. They are tall, black monsters which will only attack you when you hit them, and especially if you look at their face.

They only appear in the Overworld and The End. But if you happen to face one, ready to fight them with your life. The Endermen has tons of health and hit extremely hard. Especially, they can Teleport and pick up block which may even summon Golem. Luckily, they are still burned in the sunlight and they are damaged by water.

*Tip: If you wear Pumpkin on your head, you can look at Endermen’ face without being attack. This also applies when you look at them through Glass or when you are on Boat or Minecart.

Of course, there are more monsters, yet here are the most common hostile monsters you will face in Minecraft survival. It’s up to you to discover the rest!

4. Some Minecraft survival tips and tricks

Safe Digging

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Careful when digging, you don’t know when you fall into lava. (Source: Internet)


Digging underground is a fascinating part about Minecraft. But, one thing to note is that never dig block under your feet. Since there are tons of dangers underground like lava, you don’t know what will you encounter nor where you will fall to.

Digging blocks above your head may also be danger due to falling lava, gravel, or sand. If you spot any of those three, block it immediately with blocks such as Cobblestone.

Craft Some Items for Adventure

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Compass – Clock – Map (Source: Internet)

Adventuring in real life requires quite a lot of preparation. And in Minecraft, you may also want to prepare some of useful items for adventuring:

  • Compass: obviously we know what compass is used for. To make a Compass, you need 4 Iron Ingots and 1 Redstone Dust and you need to put them in information similar to crafting a Clock.
  • Clock: this tool is to detect the time of course. While it may sound useless when explore on the ground, it is important for underground since you can know the time any other ways (Unless it is already night time and bunch of monsters appear under your feet). Crafting a Clock requires 4 Gold Ingots and 1 Redstone Dust and you need to place them in cross formation in Crafting Table with the Redstone Dust at the center.
  • Map: if you travel to far lands, you also may want to have a Map to know exactly where you are and where you are going. Map will work similar to mini-map in many other games. To make a Map, you need to put 1 Compass at the center and 8 Papers surrounding it.

Some Helpful Food for Life

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Cake – Golden Apple (Source: Internet)

There are many types of food you can eat in Minecraft, and here are the two helpful foods to heal yourself and your hunger:

Cake: this food is quite complicated but it’s worth the effort. To craft it, you need 3 Milk at the top row, 2 Sugar and 1 Egg at the center row (with Egg right at the middle), and 3 Wheat at the bottom row. This food is great since you can eat it six times; each time gets you 1 point in Food Bar.

Golden Apple: this is an even more pricey food than the Cake, but its healing power is definitely superb. To make a Golden Apple, you need 1 Red Apple at the center and 8 Gold Nuggets surrounding it (yes, you heard it right – Gold Nuggets). The result is a Golden Apple which gives 2 points in Food Bar and especially generates your health for 4 seconds.

Always Bring Torches

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Remember to bring torch! You never know what lurks in these dark caves. (Source: Internet)

Again, Torches are essential in Minecraft and you always want to bring couples of them along, especially when you venture in the underground. The torches will have uses: to light up the way, to drive off the monsters, and to mark your path.

And that’s it folk! Thank you and stay tune for more news in the future!

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