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.

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, which do not 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. Mobs will still remain hostile to the player, though will be unable to inflict damage, apart from the wolf[Bedrock Edition only] and the llama[Java and Legacy Console editions only] . 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 and chorus fruits, unless the player has switched to Peaceful when their hunger bar was below the maximum. 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 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. Zombies won't turn villagers into zombie villagers.

Normal[edit]

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. 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. Villagers killed by zombies have a 100% chance of turning into a zombie villager. Spiders can spawn with status effects.

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.

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 exists even in the daytime, and in any dimension.

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 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 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.
  • 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)
4 (Heart.svgHeart.svg) 6 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg) 9 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg) No


Blaze fireball
5 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg) No

Cave Spider
2 (Heart.svg) 2 (Poisoned Heart.svg) 3 (Poisoned Heart.svgPoisoned Half Heart.svg)
Poison
for 7 seconds on normal difficulty and for 15 seconds on hard difficulty

Creeper explosion
(normal)
25 (Heart.svg × 12.5) 49 (Heart.svg × 24.5) 73 (Heart.svg × 36.5) When exploding: No

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


Creeper explosion
(charged)
49 (Heart.svg × 24.5) 97 (Heart.svg × 48.5) 145 (Heart.svg × 72.5)

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

Drowned
2 (Heart.svg) 3 (Heart.svgHalf Heart.svg) 4 (Heart.svgHeart.svg) No


Drowned trident
8 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg) No

Elder Guardian
5 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg) 8 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg) 12 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg) Inflicts
Mining Fatigue
III for 5 minutes on nearby players

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) No

Enderman
4 (Heart.svgHeart.svg) 7 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg) 10 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg) No

Endermite
2 (Heart.svg) No


Evoker fangs
6 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg) No


Ghast fireball
(impact)
6 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg) No


Ghast 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) No

Giant
(unused)
26 (Heart.svg × 13) 50 (Heart.svg × 25) 75 (Heart.svg × 37.5) No

Guardian
4 (Heart.svgHeart.svg) 6 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg) 9 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg) No


Illusioner 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) Throws
Blindness
spells on the player, if regional difficulty is 3 or greater

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) No

The Killer Bunny
5 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg) 8 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg) 12 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg) No


Llama spit
1 (Half Heart.svg) No

Magma Cube
(big)
4 (Heart.svgHeart.svg) 6 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg) 9 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg) No

Magma Cube
(medium)
3 (Heart.svgHalf Heart.svg) 4 (Heart.svgHeart.svg) 6 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg) No

Magma Cube
(small)
2 (Heart.svg) 3 (Heart.svgHalf Heart.svg) 4 (Heart.svgHeart.svg) No

Phantom
4 (Heart.svgHeart.svg) 6 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg) 9 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg) No

Polar Bear
4 (Heart.svgHeart.svg) 6 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg) 9 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg) No

Pufferfish
(melee)
2 (Heart.svg) 3 (Heart.svgHalf Heart.svg) 4 (Heart.svgHeart.svg) No

Pufferfish
(poison)
5 (Poisoned Heart.svgPoisoned Heart.svgPoisoned Half Heart.svg) Gives the player
Poison
for 7 seconds


Shulker bullet
4 (Heart.svgHeart.svg)
Levitation
for 10 seconds

Silverfish
1 (Half Heart.svg) No


Skeleton 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) Normal skeleton: No

Stray:
Slowness
for 30 seconds when their tipped arrow hits any mob (including another stray)


Slime
(big)
3 (Heart.svgHalf Heart.svg) 4 (Heart.svgHeart.svg) 6 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg) No

Slime
(medium)
2 (Heart.svg) 2 (Heart.svg) 3 (Heart.svgHalf Heart.svg) No

Slime
(small)
0 (Empty Heart.svg) No

Spider
2 (Heart.svg) 3 (Heart.svgHalf Heart.svg) No, but can spawn with effects

Vex
5 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg) 9 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg) 13 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg) No

Vindicator
7 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg) 13 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg) 19 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg) No

Witch
Deals damage by throwing potions Throws splash potions of Poison, Instant Damage, Slowness and Weakness

Wither Skeleton
5 (Withered Heart.svgWithered Heart.svgWithered Half 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)
Wither
for 10 seconds

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)
Wither
II for 40 seconds on Normal and Hard difficulties

Wither
(dash attack)
[Legacy Console and Bedrock editions only]
15 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg) No

Wolf (tamed)
3 (Heart.svgHalf Heart.svg) 4 (Heart.svgHeart.svg) 6 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg) No

Wolf (hostile)
2 (Heart.svg) 3 (Heart.svgHalf Heart.svg) No

Zombie
2 (Heart.svg) 3 (Heart.svgHalf Heart.svg) 4 (Heart.svgHeart.svg) Normal zombie and zombie villager variant: No, but transfers fire

Husks:
Hunger
when attacking any mob for 7 × RD seconds


Zombie Pigman
5 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg) 8 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg) 12 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.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: 1 (Half Heart.svg)
Hard: 3 (Heart.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[more information needed] 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.[more information needed] Yes No 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 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

Illusioner
s
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.[more information needed] 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
  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]

History[edit]

Classic
June 14, 2009 Notch 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."
Indev
0.31 (February 5, 2010) Added the option to change difficulty.
Alpha
October 22, 2010 Notch made a tweet on October 22, 2010, 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.
Official release
1.0.0 Beta 1.9 Prerelease 2 Hardcore mode added.
Pocket Edition Alpha
0.4.0 Added peaceful difficulty.
0.12.1 Added easy and hard difficulties.

Issues[edit]

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

See also[edit]


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