Difficulty

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Mobs in full armor are a common sight in higher difficulty levels.

Difficulty is an option in Minecraft that has a direct impact on the ease of gameplay.

General difficulty[edit | edit source]

There are currently four difficulty settings in the game:

DifficultyButton.gif

Peaceful: No hostile mobs can spawn naturally (with the exception of the ender dragon, which does not deal damage). When hostile mobs attempt to spawn (whether naturally, though mob spawners, spawn eggs, or commands), they are removed from the game instantaneously. Switching from any other difficulty setting to Peaceful removes existing hostile mobs, except for hostile wolves, iron golems, and shulkers. Players regain health over time. Despite regaining health over time, it is still possible to die if damage is received quickly enough. The hunger bar never depletes and players cannot eat anything except golden apples, unless the player has switched to Peaceful when their hunger bar was below the maximum. If it is below the maximum, it quickly regenerates.

Easy: Hostile mobs spawn, but they deal less damage than on Normal difficulty. The hunger bar can deplete and will leave the player with 10 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg) if it drains completely. Cave spiders cannot poison players on Easy difficulty, and the Wither won't cause the wither effect, although wither skeletons will. Lightning only sets the struck block on fire, not surrounding blocks.

Normal: Hostile mobs spawn, and will deal standard damage. The hunger bar can deplete and will leave the player with 1 (Half Heart.svg) if it drains completely.

Hard: Hostile mobs spawn, and deal greater damage than on Normal difficulty. The hunger bar can deplete and the player will starve to death if it drains completely. Zombies can break through wooden doors and can spawn reinforcements when attacked. Spiders can spawn with status effects.

Hardcore gamemode[edit | edit source]

Hardcore Heart.svg

Hardcore causes the player to spawn in Hard difficulty and does not allow it to be changed. In single player, if the player dies, the player can choose to respawn in spectator mode or delete the world. In Multiplayer, if a player dies they are automatically banned from the server.

Mob damage[edit | edit source]

The damage mobs deal to players is affected by the difficulty of the game. The below values represent the amount of damage taken per hit.

  • This only applies to mobs attacking the player. Mobs attacking other mobs (wolves, iron golems, etc.) always deal the 'Normal' damage listed, regardless of difficulty.
  • Values for the creeper and ghast assume the player is directly adjacent to the explosion.
  • The damage of slimes and magma cubes depends on their size. Tiny-sized slimes, while hostile, are unable to do damage directly.
  • In contrast, the damage for an iron golem just has a large random factor.
  • Mobs deal no damage on peaceful, apart from the wolf.
Mob Difficulty
Easy Medium Hard

Blaze
4 (Heart.svgHeart.svg) 6 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg) 9 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg)

Blaze
's
fireball
5 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg) 5 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg) 5 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg)

Cave spider
2 (Heart.svg) 2 (Poisoned Heart.svg) 3 (Poisoned Heart.svgPoisoned Half Heart.svg)

Creeper
's explosion
25 (Heart.svg × 12.5) 49 (Heart.svg × 24.5) 73 (Heart.svg × 36.5)

Charged creeper's explosion
49 (Heart.svg × 24.5) 97 (Heart.svg × 48.5) 145 (Heart.svg × 72.5)

Elder guardian
5 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg) 8 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg) 12 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg)

Ender dragon
6 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg) 10 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg) 15 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg)

Enderman
4 (Heart.svgHeart.svg) 7 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg) 10 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg)

Endermite
2 (Heart.svg) 2 (Heart.svg) 2 (Heart.svg)

Ghast
's
fireball
impact
6 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg) 6 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg) 6 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg)

Ghast
's
fireball
explosion
9 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg) 17 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg) 25 (Heart.svg × 12.5)

Giant
(unused)
26 (Heart.svg × 13) 50 (Heart.svg × 25) 75 (Heart.svg × 37.5)

Guardian
4 (Heart.svgHeart.svg) 6 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg) 9 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg)

Iron golem
4 (Heart.svgHeart.svg) - 11 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg) 7 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg) - 21 (Heart.svg × 10.5) 10 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg) - 31 (Heart.svg × 15.5)

The Killer Bunny
5 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg) 8 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg) 12 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg)

Magma cube
(big)
4 (Heart.svgHeart.svg) 6 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg) 9 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg)

Magma cube
(small)
3 (Heart.svgHalf Heart.svg) 4 (Heart.svgHeart.svg) 6 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg)

Magma cube
(tiny)
2 (Heart.svg) 3 (Heart.svgHalf Heart.svg) 4 (Heart.svgHeart.svg)

Polar bear
4 (Heart.svgHeart.svg) 6 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg) 9 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg)

Silverfish
1 (Half Heart.svg) 1 (Half Heart.svg) 1 (Half Heart.svg)

Skeleton
's
arrow
1 (Half Heart.svg) - 4 (Heart.svgHeart.svg) 1 (Half Heart.svg) - 4 (Heart.svgHeart.svg) 1 (Half Heart.svg) - 5 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg)

Slime
(big)
3 (Heart.svgHalf Heart.svg) 4 (Heart.svgHeart.svg) 6 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg)

Slime
(small)
2 (Heart.svg) 2 (Heart.svg) 3 (Heart.svgHalf Heart.svg)

Slime
(tiny)
0 (Empty Heart.svg) 0 (Empty Heart.svg) 0 (Empty Heart.svg)

Spider
2 (Heart.svg) 2 (Heart.svg) 3 (Heart.svgHalf Heart.svg)

Wither skeleton
4 (Withered Heart.svgWithered Heart.svg) 7 (Withered Heart.svgWithered Heart.svgWithered Heart.svgWithered Half Heart.svg) 10 (Withered Heart.svgWithered Heart.svgWithered Heart.svgWithered Heart.svgWithered Heart.svg)

Wither skull
5 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg) 8 (Withered Heart.svgWithered Heart.svgWithered Heart.svgWithered Heart.svg) 12 (Withered Heart.svgWithered Heart.svgWithered Heart.svgWithered Heart.svgWithered Heart.svgWithered Heart.svg)

Wolf (tamed)
3 (Heart.svgHalf Heart.svg) 4 (Heart.svgHeart.svg) 6 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg)

Wolf (hostile)
2 (Heart.svg) 2 (Heart.svg) 3 (Heart.svgHalf Heart.svg)

Zombie
2 (Heart.svg) 3 (Heart.svgHalf Heart.svg) 4 (Heart.svgHeart.svg)

Zombie pigman
5 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg) 9 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg) 13 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg)

Moon phase[edit | edit source]

The phase of the moon has effects on the spawning of slimes in swamp biomes, and contributes to the calculation of regional difficulty. The fuller the moon is, the greater the effect. Note that the moon does not actually have to be out for this effect to take place—the effect of the moon's phase exists even at daytime.

Moon phase Value Percentage
Full 1.0 100%
Gibbous 0.75 75%
Quarter 0.5 50%
Crescent 0.25 25%
New 0.0 0%

Regional difficulty[edit | edit source]

Regional difficulty is a variation in difficulty calculated based on several factors, including the “inhabited time" of the current chunk, the total play time in the world, the phase of the moon, and the current difficulty setting. The current regional difficulty is shown on the Debug screen as “Local Difficulty".

The “inhabited time" of a chunk increases for each tick a player spends with the chunk loaded. This is a cumulative measure of time—if 50 players spend a single hour in a chunk, it counts the same as if one player spent 50 hours there. The effect of inhabited time on regional difficulty is capped at 50 hours.

Total play time in the world also contributes to regional difficulty. This effect doesn't begin until after the first hour of play time and is capped at 21 hours.

In pseudocode, the calculation of regional difficulty is:

TotalTimeFactor, ChunkFactor, and RegionalDifficulty are floating-point variables
MoonPhase is as in the table above.

 if ( TotalPlayTime > 21 hours )
     TotalTimeFactor = 0.25
 else if ( TotalPlayTime < 1 hour )
     TotalTimeFactor = 0
 else
     TotalTimeFactor = ( TotalPlayTimeInTicks - 72,000 ) / 5,760,000

 if ( ChunkInhabitedTime > 50 hours )
     ChunkFactor = 1
 else
     ChunkFactor = ChunkInhabitedTimeInTicks / 3,600,000
 if (difficulty is not Hard)
     multiply ChunkFactor by 3/4

 if ( MoonPhase / 4 > TotalTimeFactor )
     add TotalTimeFactor to ChunkFactor
 else
     add MoonPhase / 4 to ChunkFactor

 if ( difficulty is Easy )
     divide ChunkFactor by 2

 RegionalDifficulty = 0.75 + TotalTimeFactor + ChunkFactor

 if (difficulty is Normal)
     multiply RegionalDifficulty by 2
 if (difficulty is Hard)
     multiply RegionalDifficulty by 3

 return RegionalDifficulty

The regional difficulty ranges from 0.75–1.5 on easy, 1.5–4.0 on normal, and 2.25–6.75 on hard.

When actually used in the game, this raw number is usually converted to a value in the range 0.0–1.0 as follows:

 if ( RegionalDifficulty < 2.0 ) {
     value = 0.0;
 } else if ( RegionalDifficulty > 4.0 ) {
     value = 1.0;
 } else {
     value = ( RegionalDifficulty - 2.0 ) / 2.0;
 }

Thus, on easy, regional difficulty will have no effect; on normal the effects will reach the maximum after 21 hours of play time in a fully-inhabited chunk on a full moon; and on hard after 21 hours of play time the effects will reach the maximum in chunks inhabited only 4 16 hours during a full moon and will remain at maximum in chunks inhabited over 16 23 hours.

Attributes affected by difficulty conditions[edit | edit source]

Attribute Probability value Condition
Higher difficulty setting Regional difficulty Moon phase

Mobs are more likely to spawn with armor.
0–15% Yes Yes Yes

Mobs which spawn with weapons are more likely to have enchantments.
0–25% Yes Yes Yes

Mobs which spawn with armor are more likely to have enchantments.
0–50% Yes Yes Yes

Mobs spawning with enchanted equipment will have higher levels of enchantments.
Level 5–22 Yes Yes Yes

Skeletons and zombies are more likely to have the ability to pick up dropped items.
0–55% Yes Yes Yes

Zombies are more likely to have the ability to break wooden doors.
0-10% Yes Yes Yes

Zombies are more likely to have a greater follow distance.
Multiplier of 1–1.5 Yes Yes Yes

Zombies are more likely to be “Leader zombies" (gaining a bonus to max HP, a bonus to the chance to spawn reinforcements, and the ability to break doors).
0-5% Yes Yes Yes

Slimes are more likely to be big.
33–50% for Big,
33–16% for Tiny
Yes Yes Yes

Spiders are more likely to have status effects.
0–10% Hard Only Yes Yes

Lightning strikes are more likely to spawn a skeleton trap horse
3.75–7.5% on Easy
7.5–20% on Normal
11.25–33.75% on Hard
Yes Yes Yes

Zombies are more likely to spawn with weapons.
1% on Easy and Normal,
5% on Hard
Yes No No

Mobs spawning with armor are more likely to have more armor.
Easy & Normal: 75%/56%/42% of having 2/3/4 pieces;
Hard: 90%/81%/73% of having 2/3/4 pieces
Yes No No

Villagers killed by a zombie have a greater chance of becoming zombies.
0% on Easy,
50% on Normal,
100% on Hard
Yes No No

Explosion damage to players is higher.
Damage is 50% on Easy, 150% on Hard Yes No No

Zombie Pigmen spawn from Nether Portals in the Overworld more often.
12000 on Easy,
22000 on Normal,
32000 on Hard
Yes No No
Mobs are more willing to take fall damage when pursuing a target.[note 1] Easy: 33% + 8 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg)
Normal: 33% + 4 (Heart.svgHeart.svg)
Hard: 33%
Yes No No
Burning zombies are more likely to set their target on fire, and the burn duration is longer. Easy: 30% chance for 2 seconds
Normal: 60% chance for 4 seconds
Hard: 90% chance for 6 seconds
Yes No No

Slimes are more likely to spawn in swamp biomes.
See above No No Yes
  1. Mobs will accept fall damage as long as it won't bring their health below 33% of their maximum health (rounded up to the nearest 1 (Half Heart.svg)), plus a constant reserve based on difficulty. This even applies to ground-based mobs immune to fall damage.

Video[edit | edit source]

History[edit | edit source]

Alpha
October 22, 2010 Notch made a tweet on October 22, 2010, stating that he's “changing difficulty to realism. Lowest setting = creative. Highest setting = starve". This was never implemented, however a “hardcore" mode was added along with a creative gamemode.
Official release
1.0.0 Beta 1.9-pre2 Hardcore mode added.

Issues[edit | edit source]

Issues relating to “Difficulty” are maintained on the issue tracker. Report issues there.

See also[edit | edit source]