In Survival, players have an inventory in which they may gather items. These items may be combined using certain recipes to create tools and other items. This process is known as crafting. Most crafting recipes need a crafting table. Players are also able to create potions by brewing.
 Survival single player (SSP)
Survival single player is the original game mode of Minecraft. Until mid-Alpha, SSP was the only available mode besides Classic creative mode. SSP may be played online or offline, as long as the user has initially played it while connected to the Internet (which allows game files to download to their computer).
 Aim of the game
Despite being marketed as a game with no pre-determined goals, Minecraft does have a basic structure, that of a scavenger hunt. Collecting various items and resources adds to the player's capabilities, attacks, and defenses, with many items enabling access to others. The player can reach a "proper ending" in Survival mode by defeating the Ender Dragon, but this does not actually terminate play; it provides a trophy item, a huge amount of experience, and leaves the End dimension open for exploitation. There is also an optional boss, the Wither, which becomes accessible in the mid- to late game.
To summarize the course of a typical game:
- The player starts in The Overworld where they must survive various dangers and gather the materials and tools to survive.
- The player must search the landscape to collect specific items to survive their first night.
- If the player finds an NPC village, dungeon, temple or stronghold early on, steps 3-8 could be skipped
- The player crafts their first tools which, under most (although not all) circumstances, will be a wooden pickaxe. This is then used to acquire stone tools.
- The player builds a home featuring a bed, chests full of spare materials, a crafting table, and a furnace.
- Over time, they will generally add farms for crops and pens for animals, build more structures for various purposes, and explore large sections of the world in search of new resources.
- The player either finds a cave, canyon, etc. or digs their own passage to deep underground, in search of various minerals.
- The player finds and smelts iron ore into iron ingots and uses it for tools, and armor.
- The player delves deeper to collect other ores, culminating in diamonds.
- Using a diamond pickaxe, the player mines some obsidian. With additional diamonds, this also allows construction of an Enchantment Table to enchant weapons and tools.
- The player builds a portal to The Nether with the obsidian.
- The player enters the Nether dimension; a new world with new resources to collect, and an assortment of new monsters and other threats.
- The player finds a Nether Fortress and attacks some Blazes, killing them and collecting their Blaze Rods. This allows potion brewing, and is also part of the key for reaching the endgame.
- The player returns to The Overworld, to find Endermen and kill them for their Ender Pearls.
- The player uses the Ender Pearls and Blaze Powder to make Eyes of Ender, which when thrown will direct the player to the Stronghold they must go and find.
- Using more Eyes of Ender, the player locates and repairs the End Portal, which gives access to the the End dimension and the endgame.
- Once their most worthy adversary, the legendary Ender Dragon has been beaten, a story will scroll and credits will roll and then, and only then, the player will be teleported to their spawn location. (You can press ESC if you want to skip the story and credits.)
- After you kill the Ender Dragon, you can continue to explore, ransack, and modify all three dimensions to your heart's content and the limits of your imagination.
- An optional thing to do is to kill the Wither to make a beacon, which can be used to give the player(s) buffs near where it is placed.
- The player can also take up any purposes of their own design; one common one is to fulfill all of the predefined achievements.
 Survival multiplayer (SMP)
Survival multiplayer is played by users who connect to a central Minecraft server. This enables them to interact with other users.
This game mode was introduced on 1st of September, 2009 in Survival Test under Classic. During this time, players experienced permadeath, meaning they could not respawn and the level needed to be restarted unless a save file had been created.
The inventory and crafting was only introduced in the Indev version while the Infdev version features infinite map generation. This version also drops the permadeath feature allowing the player to respawn. The Alpha version improved the map generation by introducing biomes.
The Multiplayer variant of this game mode also took place in the Alpha version. Originally, Notch had only allowed a limited number of people from the Minecraft IRC channel to participate in the first tests of SMP. These invitees could invite other people to test out this mode; however the password was leaked and the server was quickly filled up. Notch released the first version of the SMP server software on the 4th of August, 2010. The client was updated so that players could enter the IP of a server to join it.
As of version 1.3, SSP was abolished in a technical sense. Instead, the player hosts a server that they can either close or open to others at any time. This change was intended to reduce the labor required to fix bugs for two different parts of Minecraft, at a slight performance cost.
Survival mode added to pocket edition in 0.2.0.