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.

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 vindicators, evokers, shulkers, and the ender dragon, but they cannot deal damage. 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 and will leave the player with 10Heart.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. Zombies won't turn villagers into zombie villagers.

Normal[edit]

Hostile mobs spawn and deal standard damage. The hunger bar can deplete and will leave the player with 1Half Heart.svg 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 will starve 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 only allows the player 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, if a player dies, their gamemode is automatically set to Spectator mode.

The only way to change the difficulty of Hardcore is to use cheats.

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.

Note that the moon does not actually have to be in the sky for this effect to take place—the effect of the moon's phase also 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 which 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 will always be zero.

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.[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.
  • Creeper explode in water, deals 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
Blaze (melee) 4Heart.svgHeart.svg 6Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg 9Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg No
Blaze fireball 5Heart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg No
Cave Spider 2Heart.svg 2Poisoned Heart.svg 3Poisoned Heart.svgPoisoned Half Heart.svg Poison for 7 seconds on normal difficulty and for 15 seconds on hard difficulty
Creeper explosion (normal) 25Heart.svg × 12.5 49Heart.svg × 24.5 73Heart.svg × 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) 49Heart.svg × 24.5 97Heart.svg × 48.5 145Heart.svg × 72.5
Dolphin 2Heart.svg 3Heart.svgHalf Heart.svg 4Heart.svgHeart.svg No
Drowned 2Heart.svg 3Heart.svgHalf Heart.svg 4Heart.svgHeart.svg No
Drowned trident (Ranged) 8Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg No
Drowned trident (Melee) 5Heart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg 9Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg 12Heart.svg × 6 No
Elder Guardian 5Heart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg 8Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg 12Heart.svg × 6 Inflicts Mining Fatigue III for 5 minutes on nearby players
Ender Dragon (Melee) 6Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg 10Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg 15Heart.svg × 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 4Heart.svgHeart.svg 7Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg 10Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg No
Endermite 2Heart.svg No
Evoker fangs 6Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg No
Ghast fireball (Impact) 6Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg No
Ghast fireball (Explosion) 9Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg 17Heart.svg × 8.5 25Heart.svg × 12.5 No
Giant (unused) 26Heart.svg × 13 50Heart.svg × 25 75Heart.svg × 37.5 No
Guardian 4Heart.svgHeart.svg 6Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg 9Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg No
Husk 2Heart.svg 3Heart.svgHalf Heart.svg 4Heart.svgHeart.svg Hunger when attacking any mob for 7 × RD seconds
Illusioner arrow 1Half Heart.svg – 4Heart.svgHeart.svg 1Half Heart.svg – 4Heart.svgHeart.svg 1Half Heart.svg – 5Heart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg Throws Blindness spells on the player, if regional difficulty is 3 or greater
Iron Golem 4Heart.svgHeart.svg – 11Heart.svg × 5.5 7Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg – 21Heart.svg × 10.5 10Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg – 31Heart.svg × 15.5 No
The Killer Bunny 5Heart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg 8Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg 12Heart.svg × 6 No
Llama spit 1Half Heart.svg No
Magma Cube (big) 4Heart.svgHeart.svg 6Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg 9Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg No
Magma Cube (medium) 3Heart.svgHalf Heart.svg 4Heart.svgHeart.svg 6Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg No
Magma Cube (small) 2Heart.svg 3Heart.svgHalf Heart.svg 4Heart.svgHeart.svg No
Phantom 4Heart.svgHeart.svg 6Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg 9Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg No
Pillager arrow 3Heart.svgHalf Heart.svg 4Heart.svgHeart.svg 6Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg No
Polar Bear 4Heart.svgHeart.svg 6Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg 9Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg No
Pufferfish (Melee) 2Heart.svg 3Heart.svgHalf Heart.svg 4Heart.svgHeart.svg No
Pufferfish (Poison) 5Poisoned Heart.svgPoisoned Heart.svgPoisoned Half Heart.svg Gives the player Poison for 7 seconds
Ravager (Melee) 7Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg 12Heart.svg × 6 18Heart.svg × 9 No
Ravager (Roar) 6Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg No
Shulker bullet 4Heart.svgHeart.svg Levitation for 10 seconds
Silverfish 1Half Heart.svg No
Skeleton arrow[Java and Legacy Console editions only] 1Half Heart.svg – 4Heart.svgHeart.svg 1Half Heart.svg – 4Heart.svgHeart.svg 1Half Heart.svg – 5Heart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg No
Skeleton arrow[Bedrock Edition only] Damage varies with proximity No
Skeleton (melee) 2Heart.svg 2Heart.svg 3Heart.svgHalf Heart.svg No
Slime (big) 3Heart.svgHalf Heart.svg 4Heart.svgHeart.svg 6Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg No
Slime (medium) 2Heart.svg 2Heart.svg 3Heart.svgHalf Heart.svg No
Slime (small) 0Empty Heart.svg No
Spider 2Heart.svg 3Heart.svgHalf Heart.svg No, but can spawn with effects
Stray arrow[Java and Legacy Console editions only] 1Half Heart.svg – 4Heart.svgHeart.svg 1Half Heart.svg – 4Heart.svgHeart.svg 1Half Heart.svg – 5Heart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg 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) 2Heart.svg 2Heart.svg 3Heart.svgHalf Heart.svg Slowness for 30 seconds
Vex 5Heart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg 9Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg 13Heart.svg × 6.5 No
Vindicator 7Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg 13Heart.svg × 6.5 19Heart.svg × 9.5 No
Witch Deals damage by throwing potions Throws splash potions of Poison, Instant Damage, Slowness and Weakness
Wither Skeleton 5Withered Heart.svgWithered Heart.svgWithered Half Heart.svg 8Withered Heart.svgWithered Heart.svgWithered Heart.svgWithered Heart.svg 12Withered Heart.svg × 6 Wither for 10 seconds
Wither Skull 5Heart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg 8Withered Heart.svgWithered Heart.svgWithered Heart.svgWithered Heart.svg 12Withered Heart.svg × 6 Wither II for 40 seconds on Normal and Hard difficulties
Wither (dash attack)
[Legacy Console and Bedrock editions only]
15Heart.svg × 7.5 No
Wolf (tamed) 3Heart.svgHalf Heart.svg 4Heart.svgHeart.svg 6Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg No
Wolf (hostile) 2Heart.svg 3Heart.svgHalf Heart.svg No
Zombie 2Heart.svg 3Heart.svgHalf Heart.svg 4Heart.svgHeart.svg No
Zombie Pigman 5Heart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg 8Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg 12Heart.svg × 6 No
Zombie Villager 2Heart.svg 3Heart.svgHalf Heart.svg 4Heart.svgHeart.svg No


Other effects[edit]

Attribute Notes Condition
World difficulty Regional difficulty (RD) Clamped regional difficulty (CRD) Moon phase only
Half Heart.svg 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: 1Half Heart.svg
Hard: 3Heart.svgHalf Heart.svg
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 will bring 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 won't wait as long between bow & arrow attacks. Easy/Normal: 2s cooldown
Hard: 1s
Yes No No No
A skeleton or stray will be more accurate with its bow & arrow attacks. 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 will last longer. Normal/Hard: 7s/15s Yes No No No
The Wither effect given by a wither skull will last longer. Normal/Hard: 10s/40s Yes No No No
A wither will shoot wither skulls when idle. Normal/Hard only Yes No No No
A wither will spawn 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% + 8Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg
Normal: 33% + 4Heart.svgHeart.svg
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 will last longer. Effect time = 7 × RD seconds No Yes No No
Illusioners will 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 will 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 will accept fall damage as long as it won't bring their health below 33% of their maximum health (rounded up to the nearest 1Half Heart.svg), 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]