Enchantment mechanics

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This article is about the mechanics of enchanting.


Basic mechanics[edit | edit source]

Whenever the player places an eligible item on the Enchantment Table, the enchantment levels available are randomly generated for each slot using the formula below. The enchantment level is dependent upon the number of nearby bookshelves (capped at 15) and which slot position it is in.

Base enchantment level available (base) = (1..8 + floor(b/2) + 0..b),

where b is the number of nearby bookshelves (maximum of 15) and x..y generates a uniformly distributed random integer between x and y inclusive. This is then modified according to the slot position:

Top slot enchantment level = max (base / 3, 1)
Middle slot enchantment level = (base × 2) / 3 + 1
Bottom slot enchantment level = max (base, b × 2)

max (x, y) will return the greatest number.

Number of Bookshelves 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
Min Level (in top slot) 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2
Max Level (in bottom slot) 8 9 11 12 14 15 17 18 20 21 23 24 26 27 29 30
Number of Bookshelves 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
Level range of top slot 1 - 2 1 - 3 1 - 3 1 - 4 1 - 4 1 - 5 1 - 5 1 - 6 1 - 6 1 - 7 2 - 7 2 - 8 2 - 8 2 - 9 2 - 9 2 - 10
Level range of middle slot 1 - 6 1 - 7 2 - 8 2 - 9 3 - 10 3 - 11 3 - 12 3 - 13 4 - 14 4 - 15 5 - 16 5 - 17 5 - 18 5 - 19 6 - 20 6 - 21
Level range of bottom slot 1 - 8 2 - 9 4 - 11 6 - 12 8 - 14 10 - 15 12 - 17 14 - 18 16 - 20 18 - 21 20 - 23 22 - 24 24 - 26 26 - 27 28 - 29 30 - 30

Note that a higher experience cost for a specific slot does not necessarily mean that the enchantments from that slot will be better than the others with less cost.

In Creative mode, no levels or experience are necessary for enchantments.

Bookshelf placement[edit | edit source]

Nearby bookshelves raise the available enchantment levels; without any bookshelves the experience level cost will never exceed 8.

In order to have an effect, a bookshelf must be placed exactly 2 blocks, laterally, off the enchantment table and be on the same level or one block height above the table, and the 2-high space between the bookshelf and table must be Air (even a torch, snow cover or carpet will block the effect), where “between” is as shown in the following diagrams (the white spaces are air, and the
do not matter):

Like this from the top:








or








and like this from the side:




or




Note that the glyph particles which fly from bookshelves follow different rules and may appear even if the bookshelves are not enhancing the table.

There are many possible bookshelf arrangements that can reach the enchantment limit. A simple method is to surround the enchantment table with a 1-block high square of bookshelves with an empty space anywhere on the perimeter:

















Another alternative that is now available is to build a 'library corner' where each bookshelf is two blocks high, as in the plan below. This arrangement gives space for 16 shelves, which is one more than needed.


















Selecting an enchantment level[edit | edit source]

As enchantments offered depend on the enchantment level and the enchantment level depends on the number of active bookshelves, an easy way to change the enchantments offered is to disable bookshelves by placing torches between them and the enchantment table. That way one can still have the entire 'ring' of bookshelves around the table but get lower-level enchantments. Breaking the torches will restore the effect of the bookshelves.

Enchantment table bookshelf placement.png

With the layout shown here, enchantments with any number of bookshelves from 0–15 may be easily checked:

How enchantments are chosen[edit | edit source]

"Enchantment level" is the required experience level (the green number on the bottom-right). "Enchantment power" is the strength of the particular enchantment. For example, "Sharpness IV" has a power of 4. The enchantment algorithm uses a three-step process.

Step one - Applying modifiers to the enchantment level[edit | edit source]

The first thing that Minecraft does is apply two modifiers to the base enchantment level. Each modifier is restricted to a certain range, with numbers close to the middle of the range more common than those near the ends.

The first modifier is based on the item's "enchantability," which depends on the material and the type of the item (see the table below). Minecraft picks a number between 0 and half the enchantability, then adds that number plus one to the enchantment level. Bows, books, and fishing rods have an enchantability of 1 for this purpose. This random value follows a triangular distribution (like rolling a pair of dice and adding) so results close to a quarter of the enchantability are much more likely than results at the extremes.

modified enchantment level = base enchantment level + Random(0, enchantability / 4) + Random(0, enchantability / 4) + 1
(Rounding Down after each step)
Material Armor enchantability Sword/Tool enchantability
Wood N/A 15
Leather 15 N/A
Stone N/A 5
Iron 9 14
Chain 12 N/A
Diamond 10 10
Gold 25 22
Book 1 1

Next, Minecraft picks a value between 0.85 and 1.15, again with a triangular distribution. The modified enchantment level is multiplied by this value (so it could increase or decrease by up to 15%) and then rounded to the nearest integer.

Step 1 pseudocode[edit | edit source]

// Returns a uniformly distributed random integer between 0 and n - 1, inclusive
function randomInt(n);

// returns a uniformly distributed random real (fractional) number between 0 (inclusive) and 1 (exclusive)
function randomFloat();


// Generate a random number between 1 and 1+(enchantability/2), with a triangular distribution
enchantability_2 = enchantability / 2;
int rand_enchantability = 1 + randomInt(enchantability_2 / 2 + 1) + randomInt(enchantability_2 / 2 + 1);

// Choose the enchantment level
int k = chosen_enchantment_level + rand_enchantability;

// A random bonus, between .85 and 1.15
float rand_bonus_percent = 1 + (randomFloat() + randomFloat() - 1) * 0.15;

// Finally, we calculate the level
int final_level = (int)(k * rand_bonus_percent + 0.5);
if ( final_level < 1 ) final_level = 1

Source:[1]

Step two - Find possible enchantments[edit | edit source]

A sword with several enchantments.

Now, based on the modified level, Minecraft makes a list of all enchantment types that can be applied to the target item along with the power that each enchantment will have.

The power of each enchantment type is determined by the level and the values in the enchantments levels table. For each power value of an enchantment type, there is a minimum and maximum modified level that can produce the enchantment at that power. If the modified enchantment level is within the range, then the enchantment will be assigned that power. If the modified level is within two overlapping ranges for the same enchantment type, the higher power value is used.

Treasure[edit | edit source]

Some enchantments are "treasure" enchantments, meaning they can never be created by an enchantment table, and can only be discovered in certain situations: when generating chest loot (equipment and books), when fishing, and when generating enchanted book trades.

Step three - Select a set of enchantments from the list[edit | edit source]

Now that it has a list of the possible enchantments for the item, Minecraft must pick some of them that will actually be applied. Each enchantment has a statistical "weight" - enchantments with higher weights have a higher chance of being selected.

P(enchantment) = (enchantment weight) / ( ∑i=1number of possible enchantments〖enchantment weighti 〗)
Armor Enchantments Weight Treasure?
Protection 10 No
Feather Falling 5 No
Fire Protection 5 No
Projectile Protection 5 No
Aqua Affinity 2 No
Blast Protection 2 No
Respiration 2 No
Depth Strider 2 No
Frost Walker 2 Yes
Thorns 1 No
Curse of Binding 1 Yes
Sword Enchantments Weight Treasure?
Sharpness 10 No
Bane of Arthropods 5 No
Knockback 5 No
Smite 5 No
Fire Aspect 2 No
Looting 2 No
Sweeping Edge 2 No
Tool Enchantments Weight Treasure?
Efficiency 10 No
Fortune 2 No
Silk Touch 1 No
Bow Enchantments Weight Treasure?
Power 10 No
Flame 2 No
Punch 2 No
Infinity 1 No
Fishing Rod Enchantments Weight Treasure?
Luck of the Sea 2 No
Lure 2 No
"Anything" Enchantments Weight Treasure?
Unbreaking 5 No
Mending 2 Yes
Curse of Vanishing 1 Yes

The player always gets at least one enchantment on an item, and there is a chance of receiving more. Additional enchantments are chosen by this algorithm:

  1. With probability (modified level + 1) / 50, keep going. Otherwise, stop picking bonus enchantments.
  2. Remove from the list of possible enchantments anything that conflicts with previously-chosen enchantments.
  3. Pick one enchantment from the remaining possible enchantments (based on the weights, as before) and apply it to the item.
  4. Divide the modified level in half, rounded down. (This does not affect the possible enchantments themselves, because they were all pre-calculated in Step Two.)
  5. Repeat from step 1.

When enchanting books using an enchantment table, if multiple enchantments were generated then one selected at random will be removed from the final list. This does not apply to other sources of enchanted books that use enchantment mechanics, such as fishing or chests in generated structures.

Conflicting enchantments[edit | edit source]

Some enchantments conflict with other enchantments and thus both can't be enchanted into the same item, effectively taking down the possibility for one to get an overpowered weapon.

The rules for enchantment conflicts are:

  • Every enchantment conflicts with itself. (The player can't get a tool with two copies of the Efficiency enchantment.)
  • All protection enchantments conflict with each other, so an item can only have one at a time.
  • All damage enchantments (Sharpness, Smite, and Bane of Arthropods) conflict with each other.
  • Silk Touch and Fortune conflict with each other.
  • Depth Strider and Frost Walker conflict with each other.
  • Mending and Infinity conflict with each other.

Conflicting enchantments may appear on an item with specially-crafted /give commands. Behavior of such items should not be relied upon, but in general:

  • An item with multiple copies of the same enchantment will use the level of the first copy of that enchantment in the list.
  • For armor with conflicting protection enchantments, all enchantments will take effect individually.
  • For weapons with conflicting damage enchantments, all enchantments will take effect individually.
  • For tools with both Silk Touch and Fortune, Silk Touch takes priority over Fortune on blocks affected by both enchantments. Fortune will still apply to blocks such as crops that are not affected by Silk Touch.
  • For bows with both Mending and Infinity, both enchantments work individually.
A chart showing all possible enchantments on diamond tools..

Video[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Minecraft 1.8 source code

External links[edit | edit source]