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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, tailoring your skills depends on difficulty.

World settings[edit]

DifficultyButton.gif

There are four difficulty levels in the game: Peaceful, Easy, Normal and Hard. These can be set in the settings, as well as by the /difficulty command.

Peaceful[edit]

No hostile mobs can spawn naturally, except for shulkers and the ender dragon, but they cannot deal damage to the player. Also, no spiders, cave spiders, zombie pigmen or endermenneutral rather than hostile mobs – can spawn naturally. When any of these mobs attempt to spawn (whether naturally, through mob spawners, spawn eggs, or commands), they are removed from the game instantaneously. When the difficulty is switched from any other setting to Peaceful, all mobs that are not allowed to spawn on Peaceful are removed from the world. Players regain health rapidly over time. Despite this, 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, chorus fruits, and milk buckets unless the player has switched to Peaceful when their hunger bar was below the maximum‌[Java and Legacy Console editions only]. Players can eat normally though the hunger bar never depletes.‌[Bedrock Edition only] Additionally, if the hunger bar is below the maximum, it quickly regenerates.

Easy[edit]

Hostile mobs spawn, but they deal less damage than on Normal difficulty. The hunger bar can deplete, leaving the player with 10♥♥♥♥♥ if it drains completely. Cave spiders cannot poison players on Easy difficulty, and the wither does not cause the Wither effect, although wither skeletons do. Lightning sets only the struck block on fire, not surrounding blocks. Zombies do not turn villagers into zombie villagers.

Normal[edit]

Hostile mobs spawn and deal standard damage. The hunger bar can deplete, leaving the player with 1♥ if it drains completely. Villagers killed by zombies have a 50% chance of turning into a zombie villager.

Hard[edit]

Hostile mobs spawn and deal greater damage than on Normal difficulty. The hunger bar can deplete, and the player starves to death if it drains completely. Zombies can break through wooden doors and can spawn reinforcements when attacked. Spiders can spawn with a beneficial positive status effect (speed, strength, regeneration & invisibility) and these effects have an infinite duration.‌[Java and Legacy Console editions only]. Villagers killed by zombies have a 100% chance of turning into a zombie villager.

Hardcore mode[edit]

Hardcore Heart.svg At the world creation screen, selecting Hardcore from among the game mode options causes the player to spawn in Hard difficulty, does not allow it to be changed, and allows the player only one life. In a single player world, if the player dies, the player can choose to respawn in Spectator mode or delete the world. In Multiplayer, the player's gamemode automatically sets to Spectator mode upon the player's death.

The only way to change the difficulty of Hardcore is to use cheats and make it a LAN Server.

Currently not available in the Realms.

Moon phase[edit]

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.

The moon does not actually have to be in the sky for this effect to take place, the moon exists in daytime and across dimensions.

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]

Regional difficulty values shown on the debug screen

Regional difficulty or local difficulty is a value between 0.00 and 6.75 that the game calculates by considering not just the world difficulty setting, but also the inhabited time of a chunk, the total play time in the world, and the phase of the moon. This value is shown on the debug screen as the first value listed after the heading "Local Difficulty". This value determines several aspects of the difficulty of gameplay (see below).

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.

The total play time in the world is a factor that 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 Medium )
     multiply ChunkFactor by .75
 else if ( difficulty is Easy )
     multiply ChunkFactor by .375

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


 RegionalDifficulty = 0.75 + TotalTimeFactor + ChunkFactor

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

 return RegionalDifficulty

The raw regional difficulty therefore ranges from 0.75–1.5 on Easy, 1.5–4.0 on Normal, and 2.25–6.75 on Hard.

Clamped regional difficulty[edit]

How clamped regional difficulty relates to regional difficulty

The clamped regional difficulty is a value between 0.00 and 1.00 based on regional difficulty. This value is shown on the debug screen as the second value listed after the heading "Local Difficulty". This is yet another value that affects the difficulty of gameplay (see below).

The regional difficulty value is clamped 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, where regional difficulty is never higher than 1.5, the clamped value is always zero.

On Normal, the effects 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 reach the maximum in chunks inhabited only 4 16 hours during a full moon and remain at maximum in chunks inhabited over 16 23 hours.[verify]

Effects[edit]

Mob damage[edit]

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.
  • If a creeper explodes in water, they deal no damage.
  • In contrast, the damage for an iron golem just has a large random factor.
  • Mobs deal no damage on peaceful, apart from the wolf[Bedrock Edition only] and the llama.
Mob Difficulty Status effect(s)
Easy Normal Hard
Bee[upcoming: JE 1.15] 2♥ 3♥♥ Poison for 10 seconds on normal difficulty and for 18 seconds on hard difficulty
Blaze (melee) 4♥♥ 6♥♥♥ 9♥♥♥♥♥ No
Blaze fireball 5♥♥♥ No
Cave Spider 2♥ 2♥ 3♥♥ Poison for 7 seconds on normal difficulty and for 15 seconds on hard difficulty
Creeper explosion (normal) 25♥ × 12.5 49♥ × 24.5 73♥ × 36.5 When exploding: No

If having a potion effect when exploding, it leaves an effect cloud with the effect, like a lingering potion.

Creeper explosion (charged) 49♥ × 24.5 97♥ × 48.5 145♥ × 72.5
Dolphin 2♥ 3♥♥ 4♥♥ No
Drowned 2♥ 3♥♥ 4♥♥ No
Drowned trident (Ranged) 8♥♥♥♥ No
Drowned trident (Melee) 5♥♥♥ 9♥♥♥♥♥ 12♥ × 6 No
Elder Guardian 5♥♥♥ 8♥♥♥♥ 12♥ × 6 Inflicts Mining Fatigue III for 5 minutes on nearby players
Ender Dragon (Melee) 6♥♥♥ 10♥♥♥♥♥ 15♥ × 7.5 No
Ender Dragon (Breathe) Deals damage area of effect cloud Aoe cloud of instant damage
Ender Dragon Dragon Fireball Deals damage from area of effect cloud Aoe cloud of instant damage
Enderman 4♥♥ 7♥♥♥♥ 10♥♥♥♥♥ No
Endermite 2♥ No
Evoker fangs 6♥♥♥ No
Ghast fireball (Impact) 6♥♥♥ No
Ghast fireball (Explosion) 9♥♥♥♥♥ 17♥ × 8.5 25♥ × 12.5 No
Giant (unused) 26♥ × 13 50♥ × 25 75♥ × 37.5 No
Guardian 4♥♥ 6♥♥♥ 9♥♥♥♥♥ No
Husk 2♥ 3♥♥ 4♥♥ Hunger when attacking any mob for 7 × RD seconds
Illusioner arrow 1♥ – 4♥♥ 1♥ – 5♥♥♥ Throws Blindness spells on the player, if regional difficulty is 3 or greater
Iron Golem 4♥♥ – 11♥ × 5.5 7♥♥♥♥ – 21♥ × 10.5 10♥♥♥♥♥ – 31♥ × 15.5 No
The Killer Bunny 5♥♥♥ 8♥♥♥♥ 12♥ × 6 No
Llama spit 1♥ No
Magma Cube (big) 4♥♥ 6♥♥♥ 9♥♥♥♥♥ No
Magma Cube (medium) 3♥♥ 4♥♥ 6♥♥♥ No
Magma Cube (small) 2♥ 3♥♥ 4♥♥ No
Phantom 4♥♥ 6♥♥♥ 9♥♥♥♥♥ No
Pillager arrow 3♥♥ 4♥♥ 6♥♥♥ No
Polar Bear 4♥♥ 6♥♥♥ 9♥♥♥♥♥ No
Pufferfish (Melee) 2♥ 3♥♥ 4♥♥ No
Pufferfish (Poison) 5♥♥♥ Gives the player Poison for 7 seconds
Ravager (Melee) 7♥♥♥♥ 12♥ × 6 18♥ × 9 No
Ravager (Roar) 6♥♥♥ No
Shulker bullet 4♥♥ Levitation for 10 seconds
Silverfish 1♥ No
Skeleton arrow[Java and Legacy Console editions only] 1♥ – 4♥♥ 1♥ – 5♥♥♥ No
Skeleton arrow[Bedrock Edition only] Damage varies with proximity No
Skeleton (melee) 2♥ 2♥ 3♥♥ No
Slime (big) 3♥♥ 4♥♥ 6♥♥♥ No
Slime (medium) 2♥ 2♥ 3♥♥ No
Slime (small) 0♥ No
Spider 2♥ 3♥♥ No, but can spawn with effects
Stray arrow[Java and Legacy Console editions only] 1♥ – 4♥♥ 1♥ – 4♥♥ 1♥ – 5♥♥♥ Slowness for 30 seconds when their tipped arrow hits any mob (including another stray)
Stray arrow[Bedrock Edition only] Damage varies with proximity Slowness for 30 seconds when their tipped arrow hits any mob (including another stray)
Stray (melee) 2♥ 2♥ 3♥♥ Slowness for 30 seconds
Vex 5♥♥♥ 9♥♥♥♥♥ 13♥ × 6.5 No
Vindicator 7♥♥♥♥ 13♥ × 6.5 19♥ × 9.5 No
Witch Deals damage by throwing potions Throws splash potions of Poison, Instant Damage, Slowness and Weakness
Wither Skeleton 5♥♥♥ 8♥♥♥♥ 12♥ × 6 Wither for 10 seconds
Wither Skull 5♥♥♥ 8♥♥♥♥ 12♥ × 6 Wither II for 40 seconds on Normal and Hard difficulties
Wither (dash attack)
[Legacy Console and Bedrock editions only]
15♥ × 7.5 No
Wolf (tamed) 3♥♥ 4♥♥ 6♥♥♥ No
Wolf (hostile) 2♥ 3♥♥ No
Zombie 2♥ 3♥♥ 4♥♥ No
Zombie Pigman 5♥♥♥ 8♥♥♥♥ 12♥ × 6 No
Zombie Villager 2♥ 3♥♥ 4♥♥ No


Other effects[edit]

Attribute Notes Condition
World difficulty Regional difficulty (RD) Clamped regional difficulty (CRD) Moon phase only
♥ Mobs have higher melee damage against players. Easy: 12 of Normal damage, rounded down, +1
Hard: 1 12 times Normal damage, rounded down
Yes No No No
Guardians (both types) have higher laser damage. Easy/Normal: 1♥
Hard: 3♥♥
Yes No No No
Explosion damage to players is higher. Easy: 12 of Normal damage, rounded down, +1
Hard: 1 12 times Normal damage, rounded down
Yes No No No
Starvation more harshly affects health. Easy/Normal/Hard: starvation brings health down to 10/1/0 HP Yes No No No
Mobs that spawn 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 No
Zombies are more likely to spawn with weapons. 1% on Easy and Normal,
5% on Hard
Yes No No No
Zombies are able to spawn reinforcements. Hard only Yes No No No
Zombies are more likely to be able to break wooden doors. A zombie having the ability to break a door: (10×CRD)%
The door actually breaking: Hard only
Yes No Yes No
Villagers killed by zombies have a greater chance of becoming zombie villagers. 0% on Easy,
50% on Normal,
100% on Hard
Yes No No No
Zombie pigmen spawn from Nether portals in the Overworld more often. 12000 per tick on Easy,
22000 on Normal,
32000 on Hard
Yes No No No
The skeleton or stray does not wait as long between bow & arrow attacks. Easy/Normal: 2s cooldown
Hard: 1s
Yes No No No
A skeleton or stray is more accurate in ranged attacks with its bow. Easy/Normal/Hard "inaccuracy" value is 10/6/2 Yes No No No
Damage from arrows slightly increases. Easy/Normal/Hard damage bonus = +0.11 / +0.22 / +0.33 Yes No No No
Spiders can naturally spawn with status effects. Hard only
(10×CRD)%
Yes No Yes No
The Poison effect given by a cave spider lasts longer. Normal/Hard: 7s/15s Yes No No No
The Wither effect given by a wither skull lasts longer. Normal/Hard: 10s/40s Yes No No No
A wither shoots wither skulls when idle. Normal/Hard only Yes No No No
A wither spawns 3–4 wither skeletons when brought below half health.‌[Bedrock and Legacy Console editions only] Normal/Hard only Yes No No No
Lightning can cause fires in the surrounding blocks, not just the block struck. Normal/Hard only Yes No No No
Fire lingers for a bit longer. The raw encouragement value of blocks surrounding fire gets a bonus of (Easy/Normal/Hard) +47 / +54 / +61, before being adjusted for fire age, humidity and rain. Yes No No No
Mobs are more willing to take fall damage when pursuing a target.[note 1] Easy: 33% + 8♥♥♥♥
Normal: 33% + 4♥♥
Hard: 33%
Yes No No No
Lightning strikes are more likely to spawn a skeleton trap horse. Chance = (RD)%
(0.75–1.5% on Easy, 1.5–4% on Normal, 2.25–6.75% on Hard)
No Yes No No
Burning zombies are more likely to set their target on fire, and the burn duration is longer. Chance = (30×RD)%
Burn time = 2 × RD seconds
No Yes No No
The Hunger effect caught from being attacked by a husk lasts longer. Effect time = 7 × RD seconds No Yes No No
Illusioners can cast blindness. If RD > 2. No Yes No No
Skeletons and zombies are more likely to have the ability to pick up dropped items. Having the ability: (55×CRD)% No No Yes No
Zombies are more likely to have a greater follow distance. if (random # in range 0–1.5) × CRD is greater than 1, that becomes a bonus multiplier on the follow distance. No No Yes No
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). Any given zombie being a "leader": (5×CRD)% No No Yes No
Mobs are more likely to spawn with armor. Chance of getting any armor at all: (15×CRD)% No No Yes No
Mobs that spawn with weapons are more likely to have enchantments. Chance for the main hand item = (25×CRD)% No No Yes No
Mobs that spawn with armor are more likely to have enchantments. Chance per armor item = (50×CRD)% No No Yes No
Mobs that spawn with enchanted equipment have higher levels of enchantments. Level = 5 + 18×CRD No No Yes No
Slimes are more likely to be bigger. Tiny: (33×(1-CRD)/2)%
Small: 33%
Big: (33×(1+CRD)/2)%
in other words:
Tiny/Small/Big: 17%–33% / 33% / 33%–50%
No No Yes No
Slimes are more likely to spawn in swamp biomes. See above No No No Yes
Raid has more waves Easy: 3 waves

Normal: 5 waves
Hard: 7 waves

Yes No No No
Illager patrol can spawn vindicator‌[Bedrock Edition only] Easy and Normal: 100% pillager

Hard : 80% pillager, 20% vindicator

Yes No No No
Illager patrol can spawn on any light level‌[Bedrock Edition only] Easy: Light level 0-7

Normal and Hard: Any light level

Yes No No No
Vindicator and Pillager spawn from raids having higher chance to drop special loot.‌[Bedrock Edition only] Normal: 65% chance

Hard: 80% chance

Yes No No No
Vindicator are able to break down Wooden Door Peaceful and Easy: unable to break door

Normal and Hard: can break door

Yes No No No
  1. Mobs accept fall damage if their health would not be reduced below 33% of their maximum health (rounded up to the nearest 1♥), plus a constant reserve based on difficulty. This even applies to ground-based mobs immune to fall damage.

Video[edit]

History[edit]

Java Edition Classic
June 14, 2009Notch discussed how his vision for Survival mode would incorporate the concept of difficulty: "When generating a new level or loading a creative mode level, you also select a difficulty. Difficulty levels will probably vary from 'challenging' to 'impossible', since I want the game to be difficult. If it's not fun to always be challenged, I'll add easier difficulties."
Java Edition Indev
0.31February 5, 2010Added the option to change difficulty to Peaceful, Easy, Normal, or Hard.
Java Edition Alpha
October 22, 2010Notch tweets stating that he is "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.
Java Edition
1.0.0Beta 1.9 Prerelease 2Hardcore mode added.
Pocket Edition Alpha
0.4.0Added peaceful difficulty.
0.12.1Added easy and hard difficulties.

Issues[edit]

Issues relating to "Difficulty" are maintained on the bug tracker. Report issues there.

See also[edit]