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10 Advanced Tips For Surviving Your First Nights In Minecraft

Updated on December 11, 2012
Pretty much says it all. Picture from
Pretty much says it all. Picture from

This will go on the assumption you know how to play Minecraft and understand the basics of the game. If not, please begin with my 10 tips on starting out in Minecraft guide Located in the link section at the bottom of the article. For those of you that do understand how Minecraft works, here are some advanced tips for surviving your first nights and making it to the Mid-game.

1. Charcoal

This item was practically put in by Notch for early survival. (I mean, really! It was on his blog described as such and everything.) It is meant to be as a secondary and quick way to gain “coal”. Gathering Coal requires a Stove and some logs of wood. One wood must be burned. Although it isn’t as efficient in cooking/smelting (6 times less efficient. 1.5 units per charcoal, 8-9 per coal); one charcoal still makes 4 torches like coal does, so it does become a great replacement for coal in torch making and an emergency backup for smelting/cooking if you are running low on coal.

2. Only one wood pickaxe is ever needed. Stone for everything else.

Truth be told, you only need to make one wooden pickaxe. From that you should be able to get much more than enough cobblestone to build stone tools. From then till you get situated, your wood should be dedicated to sticks, charcoal, and doors… And boats if anyone actually uses them for something other than vertical transport.

3. Carry two of every useable tool.

There is no exception to this rule, especially when exploring or digging deep underground. Minecraft is full of unexpected things that go bump in the night; or at least go “Sssssssss…”. Ironically, you will find that most Minecraft deaths are player caused. Gotta get that last piece of coal… Gotta reach that iron… Gotta cross this here lava… I wonder whats in here?... Suddenly, Death reaches out to you! Sometimes having that extra pickaxe you tunnel yourself out of a hole/up a cliff or that extra sword to take down a sudden creeper/zombie/skeleton/slime or even that emergency torch for when you fall into a dark space will allow you to escape death’s grasp.

4. Don’t need it? Box it!

Contrary to carrying two of every tool… do NOT carry two of every resource. If you are not using it, box it! Holding 57 coals in your inventory might be cool, but wait till that creeper shows up or you fall into some lava or a dark hole somewhere… THEN TELL ME HOW COOL IT IS. Bars, Ores, Seeds, feathers, silk, bones, special tools(hoe, fishing rod, ect) and any building or crafting material that is in your inventory and not being used. Box It! Box it good!

5. Bows are overpowered

Ever since the adventuring update(ability to hold and charge up arrow), I have had the opinion that bows in the “early game” are freakin overpowered when put up against the current roster of enemies. Some enchanted bows are even more ridiculous but by then you are probably dealing with diamonds and redstone so that line of thought is moot. For the newbie and novice adventurer, bows will be your best friend, especially when dealing with creepers. You can guarantee safe creeper kills from a distance rather than risking it in melee and possibly getting screwed over by lag. (Especially during multiplayer)

6. Explore for Cactus and Seagrass/Papyrus

Not exactly for survival purposes but Cacti are great to form barriers that NPCs will find hard to get through. Although walls are easier and probably much safer to construct, NPCs killed via cactus still drop loot. Extra points if you know how to make cactus traps (So much easier now with pistons, but that’s later.) Also not for survival, but the Seagrass is used to create paper, which is turned into books, which is turned into bookshelves, which are vital to enchanting. Although Enchanting usually comes much later in the game, if you haven’t put together a farm for Seagrass it’s going to hold you back for a good while.

Disclaimer: The Cactus doesn’t care if you are an environmentalist or if you think it’s your girl/boyfriend, it will sting you with impunity if you attempt to show it any physical affection.

7. Farming for dummies

Food, you will hate it and love it at the same time. Free life regeneration? YES PLEASE! One of the things you will have to do as soon as you get your bearings is start up a farm. If you don’t, be prepared to abuse tip #9 here with zombie flesh. Farming is pretty easy unless you spawned far-far away from water, in which you may have to bring the water to you via bucket. If you need to, feel free to swap blocks next to water with dirt blocks for farming. Gather wheat seeds and plant away! (DO NOT use pumpkin seeds yet because you –still- can’t eat them and its far too early in the game to start building golems.) Finally, make sure to be crouching when dealing with crops because your character will stupidly stomp out any young stalks before they can fully grow.

8. The art of Dooring

Doors are not just for houses anymore. Use them to separate parts of caves and structures not yet explored or for your farms. Dooring used to be amazing, but since the recent update that allows zombies the ability to break wooden doors they will be losing a lot of their early game safety. Truth be told, a door can easily be replaced by two solid blocks.

Doors Vs Blocks

Pros: Doors allow light to pass through, easier to get through a door than blocks, grants you vision outside from inside and it looks comfortable/homely.

Cons: You can draw enemy hate/aggro through the door, Skeleton arrows can be shot through the door, wooden doors can be destroyed by zombies, iron doors are hard for new(er) players to make, place and properly setup… And Piston doors are cooler!

9. Zombie Meat @ The Zombie Meet

If you happen to forget how farming works or were spawned in an area completely devoid of usable water/dirt, you will probably have to rely completely on zombie meat. Cooked fish, bacon, chicken and other meats are great, but there is no shame in living off zombie meat. It’s pretty easy and reliable to attain once you have crafted up a stone sword.

10. Glass Windows and You.

Glass is a relatively cheap investment when starting out. One of the greatest advantages glass has over other blocks is that it grants you the ability to build a wall or have a spot you can see through. This tactical advantage easily prevents many player deaths from blindly running outside into a hidden creeper/zombie/spider/whatever. The major downside of glass is that once you place it, you can’t get it back. Another downside is that glass is the weakest block out there… so if a TNT or a Creeper explodes anywhere remotely close to glass, you can be sure to say sayonara to it. Due to a recent update, enemies can now see you through the glass... S be double careful!

Protip: Spider-Riding-Skeletons can shoot their arrows through glass.


Honorable Mention

All monsters (Except creepers and some spiders, but light lowers their spawn rate) need darkness to spawn. If you suspect that you will be having trouble with monsters early on, craft up a ton of torches with charcoal and torch everything within a 20x20 square of your base. (This goes counter to #9 since Zombies will probably no longer spawn nearby. So take note when torching if you have food troubles.)

Well. This concludes our short guide of advanced tips to surviving your first night. Good luck to you all and happy Minecrafting!

If you have any comments or extra tips for others, leave them below!


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      angelvulpix 4 years ago

      lol when i first started playing i would get materials then just before sunset i would dig my own cave then wall it up and wait for sunrise XD

    • GamerAinion profile image

      GamerAinion 5 years ago from Miami, FL

      Oh man. Terrible luck man. D: Worst Ive ever had was either SURPRISE SURFACE LAVA! or a lone zombie i beat down with my fists :D

    • jasonmstyles profile image

      Caleb 5 years ago from Wichita, KS

      Great article. I used to play a lot of this and your meme picture explains it all. My first play, I never knew what to do the first night. Ironically, I ran into a cave, walled it up and hid. Unfortunately, a creeper snuck up behind me and it was too late.