Minecraft for Beginners
This starter guide provides advice for beginner players who do not know how to begin their Minecraft journey. It mainly teaches you what to do on your first day, so you can safely survive the first night.
Before reading this page, it’s expected for players to have already bought and downloaded the game. You must create a new world before starting the tutorial.
Your character can die in this game, but if you aren’t in Hardcore Mode, that doesn’t end the game. Indeed, it’s mostly an inconvenience. If you take enough damage to die, your things drop where you died, and your character respawns elsewhere. Initially this will be near where you started (the “world spawn”), but using a bed lets you pick the spot.
Minecraft is a sandbox game, in which your avatar wanders around in a world, collecting resources and using items. To get an advantage, you need to master the control system. If you are having trouble with it, you may want to start with a Peaceful Mode world to practice as a begiiner in Minecraft. Your world is made of blocks, mostly cubical. These blocks represent objects in the game, but their size also makes a standard measure of distance. This and many other pages talk in terms of, e.g., “five blocks away” (officially, each block is a one-meter cube). Your character can stand within a single block’s space, and it stands a little less than two blocks tall. Time passes within this world; a game day passes in 20 real-world minutes. Nighttime is much more dangerous than daytime; the game starts at dawn, and you have 10 minutes of game time before nightfall. The primary purpose of this guide is to let you “find your feet” and get basic equipment and shelter before night.
This article mostly assumes you are playing on Java Edition. Most of the controls can be changed in the game’s options menu, but this and other articles often refer to them by their default keys. In Java Edition, when you start the game for the first time, a short in-game tutorial appears to explain the basics of how to move and look around. The Controls page gives you a complete overview of all the controls.
When moving around the world and dealing with blocks and creatures in the world, there are four basic operations discussed below:
- Movement in four directions, as well as looking upward and downward, jumping, and sneaking. Variations include sprinting and swimming.
- As you move around, you occasionally see or produce items floating “loose” in the world. Interacting with those is simple: when you move close enough to them, they fly toward you and you automatically take them into your inventory (unless your inventory is full, see below). At the start of a game, just pick up every loose item you encounter. You may eventually find uses for them, and it takes a little while to fill up your inventory.
- “Mining” or breaking blocks, which is the usual way to collect resources from the landscape. In most cases, a broken block drops one or more loose items. Attacking mobile creatures (“mobs”) uses the same controls as breaking blocks, and they also drop loose items when killed. In general, attacking requires brief taps of the relevant control, while breaking blocks requires holding down the same control. Some blocks, such as tall grass, break instantly.
- “Using” items or blocks. This is more complex, since it can apply to blocks in the world or to tools in your hand. The same controls are used for some interactions with creatures (such as shearing sheep or trading with villagers), but this is a matter for later days in the game.
- Your character can also work with items in a GUI, especially managing your own inventory, crafting new items, and working with storage items such as chests. This uses the mouse and sometimes the keyboard differently, while you are focused on your inventory and/or a crafting task rather than the world around you.
Minecraft 1st Day Tutorial
For the first day, you have just a few basic objectives:
- Look around to see what your environment is, and if necessary go someplace else. (See “Biomes” below for more details on this.)
- Acquire resources and tools: Get wood, make wood tools (at least a pickaxe), use that to get cobblestone, make stone tools.
- Get coal (or make charcoal) to make torches, and find or make a shelter for the night.
- Optional goals include:
- killing animals for meat
- killing sheep in particular for wool to make a bed
- Breaking tall grass to collect seeds, and perhaps tilling the edge of a pond or river to start a wheat farm.
- Collecting some iron ore if you spot some near the surface.
As the first day begins, you need to collect logs. First, you should look around for trees, and go toward any you find, and break their trunks by “punching wood” as discussed above. You need to collect at least 5-8 logs for your first round of tools and items you need immediately. You’ll certainly want more a little later, but a few tools now make collecting more wood go much more quickly. As discussed above, the first thing to make is a crafting table, followed by a few sticks. The first tool you should craft is a wooden pickaxe (3 planks in the top 3 slots, and 2 sticks down from the middle plank). Crafting other wooden tools is not recommended, as you can quickly get cobblestone and make stone tools.
If any stone blocks are exposed close by, you can mine them with your new pickaxe to collect about 20 blocks of cobblestone. This is the amount you need to create every basic tool needed for this tutorial: a stone sword, pickaxe,axe, shovel and a furnace. If you are efficiency minded, just mine 3 blocks of stone with your wooden pickaxe, immediately make a stone pickaxe and mine the rest of the stone with it, as it is about twice as fast. While you’re doing this, keep an eye out for coal ore, and mine any you find. Depending on the position of the stone blocks, mining them might well make you a mini-cave to spend the night in, otherwise keep an eye out for possible places to lair up.
Once you have a stone axe, you should try to get more logs as time allows; extra logs are useful in many ways, such as building, crafting, securing your base and much more. If you have difficulty finding coal, you definitely want an extra dozen or more logs to make charcoal! With coal or charcoal, you can make torches (coal/charcoal above a stick on the crafting grid) for the night.
Optional goals: While you’re doing this, break any tall grass you pass and collect any seeds that drop (but don’t waste time on this), and once you’ve got a sword or an axe, kill whatever food animals you pass, especially sheep (up to 3 of them), collecting whatever they drop. (Not all animals are food animals: Only pigs, sheep, cows, chickens and rabbits drop meat. Horses, llamas, foxes, wolves, cats and bees are all best left alone for now.) Don’t spend too much time chasing down animals though, a few pieces of meat are plenty, and you only need 3 pieces of wool for now. If you happen to spot some iron ore, wait until you’ve got your stone pickaxe, and then mine that too.
If you are next to a river or an ocean, you might want to get some fish for food. Cod and salmon are some of the best food sources in the game, and new fish will reappear soon after you killed some (or even all) of them, so you don’t need to worry about preserving them for future breeding (they can’t be bred anyway). Before entering water, you should first make sure it is not too deep, and the bottom of the river/ocean is well illuminated, because not only are you more likely to drown in deeper water, but it is more likely to spawn drowneds, a variant of zombie that will attack you off guard. While in water, you can still use WASD to move around, but your movements will be much slower than on land. press space to move upward in water (also for getting back onto the shore), and ⇧ Shift to descend. pressing ctrl and W together will allow you to swim faster, and you can change directions flexibly by moving the camera. Remember to always watch the oxygen bar above your health bar, as when all bubbles are gone, you will start taking drowning damage. Cod and salmon can be easily killed with a swipe of a sword. After this tiny fishing trip, remember to cook your fish in a furnace, so you get cooked cod and cooked salmon.
By the time you’ve done this, sunset is likely imminent or in the past. If you’re really ahead of the game, you might take a moment to hoe some grass or dirt next to a river or pond, and plant seeds to get a head start on wheat. Place a torch near these so they can grow overnight. But at that point, it’s time to finish for the day: Head for cover, and either prepare a cave as your first night’s lair, or make a mini-house. If you were able to make a bed, you don’t strictly need a shelter, it’s better to have it someplace safe where you can leave it be, but you can also just find an open space to place it. Either way, use the bed as soon as you can.
During the Night
For most players, the first night is time to set up your crafting table and furnace, cook your meat and perhaps some logs for charcoal, and maybe craft a few things for the next day. If you managed to pick up some iron ore, smelt that too, and consult the “second day” tutorial for what to make with it. If you’ve settled into a cave, you might want to mine overnight to look for coal or iron ore, but don’t go too deep because you want to get an early start for the next day. If you managed to get wool for a bed, you also have the option of just skipping the night; if you managed to make yourself too hungry or hurt, or didn’t get much in the way of other resources, that might be a good idea.
At night time, the primary danger is hostile mobs (monsters) that spawn only in the dark. These include zombies, skeletons, spiders, creepers, and more. All of these are good reasons to stay put in a well-lit shelter. But if you are really seeking adventure, you could always arm yourself with a sword or an axe and fight some monsters. While you might be able to get some materials for further crafting, it is dangerous, and if you die, all of your items and experience levels drop where you died, and you respawn at your bed (or at your world spawn if you don’t have one). So a good idea before adventuring out is to sleep on the bed and leave it, or right click on the bed during the day. When you see “Respawn point set” in the chat message, you can be sure that in case you die, you will be respawning in your base next to the bed, instead of in the wild where you first spawned next to a bunch of monsters. However, most of the monsters you can fight at this point either burn (zombies and skeletons) or become less dangerous (spiders) when morning comes, and it is easier to fight them later when you have better equipment. If you must fight monsters this early, be especially wary of skeletons; in the open their arrows can easily get your health quite low or even kill you at a distance, and if they’re in the water or on higher ground, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to reach them before being killed at this stage. If you happen to see any of the more powerful monsters, keep well away from them: At this point, an enderman, a witch, or even a creeper can kill you easily.
If you are repeatedly being killed (too ambitious, a monster got into your shelter, or you didn’t manage to make a shelter), you can always dig a three-block deep hole, cover it up and hide there. However, consider that because this is the first day, you won’t actually lose much when you die (except for what has already been gathered that day), so if you do end up being killed you can just tough it out until dawn and start again. Keep on practicing killing mobs until you get the hang of it. If you’re completely desperate, you can consider switching to “peaceful difficulty”, which causes all the monsters to disappear until you switch back.
Minecraft Combat Guide
Surviving in Minecraft often requires a knowledge of the game’s combat mechanics. There are two combat systems that exist in Minecraft – the system in the Java Edition and the system in all other versions. In Java Edition, without a tool in the player’s hand, any attack deals 1 health point () of damage. In Bedrock Edition, a bare-handed attack deals 2 health points () of damage. Tools in general do a great deal more damage, and do more damage the higher their tier. In general, swords do make the best weapons, followed closely by axes. Pickaxes do less damage, and shovels do the least. Hitting a creature with a sword uses up 1 point of its durability, while using any other tool uses up 2 points of the tool’s durability. When a creature is hit, it turns red for a half second, marking its “invulnerability period”. A second attack in this time does no damage.
The combat mechanics for non-Java platforms are simple: While three blocks away or closer to an animal, monster, or other players, the player can attack that entity by clicking the attack button while their cursor is over the entity. Clicking speed does not affect the combat, instead, a player’s skill in combat is based more on their hit accuracy. The basic tools from above each deal multiple hearts of damage when the player attacks an entity while holding that tool.
In the Java Edition, a slightly different combat system is used. To attack any animal, monster, or other players, the player still must have the cursor hovering over the entity and be within three blocks of the entity when they press the attack button. However, after attacking, the weapon enters a brief “cooldown” period, indicated by the position of the weapon in the player’s hand, and also by an icon in the hotbar. This happens even if you missed, or if the target was still invulnerable for a previous attack! Different basic tools have different cooldowns between hits. If the player attacks while still in a cooldown period, the attack deals much less damage, making it more important to aim your attacks. In Java Edition, axes do far more damage per hit than swords, but their cooldown period is much longer, giving them lower overall damage than swords over time. They also still wear out twice as fast as a sword.
In addition to attacking, the player can also block attacks with the shield. (Crafting a shield requires first obtaining an iron ingot, so you probably won’t have one for your first day.) A shield completely negates any damage when it is raised with the right mouse button. In Java Edition, a shield can be temporarily disabled if attacked with an axe.