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Hardcore worlds are the most unforgiving type of Minecraft world. It can take many attempts before actually reaching the credits, which can be very frustrating. This article focuses on Singleplayer Hardcore strategies, many, but not all, of which can apply to other game modes.
Before beginning a Hardcore world, it is advisable to beat the game on Hard a few times. Learn to act quickly and effectively. After starting a Hardcore world, it may be helpful to practice on other (non-Hardcore) worlds, especially to prepare for fighting the ender dragon.
- Always watch your back. The most common death is from a creeper or a ghast, both of which can't be ranged by sound. The fastest way a creeper can get to you is dropping from above.
- Never attack two creepers in a row or at once. The same goes for skeletons because their long-range shooting means it's hard to get in close.
- Never take unnecessary risks. Sometimes there are necessary risks, but most things probably are not worth the chance of death. For example, in most situations, it’s better to bridge a gap over a lava ocean to a Nether Fortress than to throw an ender pearl to get over there.
- Mobile inventory space can be increased through the use of ender chests, shulker boxes, horses, donkeys, mules, and llamas with a chest.
- Don't be afraid to place plenty of torches all over the ground. Surviving is easier in a well-lit area.
- Beds are critical, especially early game. They bypass monsters spawning at night. (and prevent phantoms) This is very helpful for exploring the surface and gathering basic resources in safety. To save materials, break and reuse the same bed.
- Avoid going out at night until you're well-prepared, with iron or diamond equipment and a preferably a safe zone to retreat to. If night suddenly falls upon you, retreat to a shelter (if one is close enough), or build one. Even a simple pillar is helpful for surviving the night.
- Avoid dangerous areas early in the game such as caves and ravines. It's best to stay away until you are better equipped.
- Wear your best set of armor at all times, replacing it as it gets worn. Remember that unenchanted armor doesn't protect you against falling damage, Poison, Hunger, etc.
- Sometimes it's better to flee than fight. Always have a solid block on your hotbar and practice key binding so you can build a barricade and shelter on a short notice.
- Try to keep your hunger meter full at all times - regenerating health might save your life and eating in the middle of combat can be hard to do. Remember, hunger can kill you.
- Walk and avoid jumping when you are not being pursued by a mob. Sprinting depletes a lot of your hunger bar.
- Do not jump too much. It takes down your hunger bar if you are not careful. Use stairs and ladders instead of jumping if you are low on food.
- Try not to take unnecessary damage. The fastest way to lose a full hunger bar is regenerating health.
- Do everything you can to make sure that you are not overrun by monsters. Plan ahead and leave escape routes ready. Digging into the side of a mountain to make an emergency dugout shelter should only be done in extreme emergencies.
- It's a good idea to keep a milk bucket and a water bucket on you at all times, with the milk on your hotbar while on the surface to counter witches’ potions, and the water while mining just in case you run into lava and need to put yourself out.
- When you find enough gold, make a golden apple, put it in your hotbar, and never remove it. This could save you and is by far the best use of gold. A potion of healing also works, preferably a splash potion as you can use it faster and it hurts undead mobs, like zombies. On a similar note, always keep a weapon on your hotbar.
- Don't worry about storing items away. It is important, however, to clear out inventory clutter. Keep anything useful in organized chests so it can be retrieved quickly.
- The Curse of Vanishing enchantment doesn't affect anything.
- It is recommended to avoid armor with the Curse of Binding enchantment, because once you put it on, you can't get it off unless it breaks or you die.
- Avoid Woodland Mansions until you have at least full enchanted diamond armor and a diamond sword. The Evokers are dangerous, but more so are the Vexes they spawn, as they dodge constantly and can go through blocks, usually spawned in groups of 3 or more.
- Kill any iron golem that villages spawn with lava and do not use them for protection. It's a tempting idea, but if you misclick and provoke them they will kill you very quickly.
Settings and Options
There are many ways, in-game and otherwise, to alter aspects of Hardcore mode.
- Try to maximize framerate.
- Close any other applications.
- Weigh the advantages of features that may cause low FPS (such as particles, graphics type, etc.)
- In particular, turning down the Rendering Distance (in [Esc] > Options > Video Settings) can greatly improve FPS as well as reducing lag spikes. In addition to performance, leaving the Rendering Distance at 2 effectively stops almost all mobs from spawning in low light levels, thus nullifying the greatest challenge associated with hardcore mode.
- Jungles and waterfalls cause lag on low-end systems. In some circumstances, client-side chunk update lag is instantly fatal. Consider restarting the game or reducing your chunk radius if you spawn in a jungle or mountains.
- In Video Settings, set brightness to "bright" to make things easier, or "moody" for greater difficulty.
- Use sound. Listen to everything; Creepers make sounds walking on blocks. Parrots can be even more useful for those purposes.
- Even if you do have sounds turned on, use subtitles; they can alert the player if any sounds are nearby.
- Avoid using unfamiliar resource packs. Sometimes it can be very beneficial to get a resource pack that changes certain textures slightly (for example, by slightly brightening the nether brick texture it becomes more obvious where it is safe to step in nether fortresses).
- Turn on hitboxes. It can be very useful to see monsters in the dark.
- By picking the seed (instead of using a random seed), the world can be controlled. This can vary the difficulty in many ways.
- For example, the uncharted island in the middle of the sea is easy to control mob spawning on, while in mountains and ravines, creepers descending from heights can more easily surprise you.
- A seed with a stronghold inside a mushroom fields biome would make the process of reaching the end portal much easier.
- If you know a world well from survival mode, you can use its seed (or the "Re-Create" button) to take advantage of that knowledge in hardcore mode.
- Some players choose to save a back-up of their hardcore world in case they die (especially before entering the End). Many people consider this cheating, as it can "ruin" the feel and purpose of Hardcore mode.
- Game rules can be used to increase difficulty. Example: In ultra hardcore mode, natural regeneration is turned off. The only way you can regenerate health is by consuming golden apples, enchanted golden apples or by using potions, for example Instant Health or Regeneration.
/gamerule naturalRegeneration false
Shelters are very important, especially on hardcore. Building a proper shelter will make hardcore mode slightly less difficult. Shelters are never optional for night-time, although they may be temporary.
- Mushroom fields biomes are very safe places to settle because hostile mobs do not spawn under normal conditions.
- A shelter built over an ocean away from land can also be very safe from hostile mobs, unless you are near an ocean monument. Also, drowned can spawn in oceans, making them not as safe.
- It's best to build shelters out of blast resistant materials. Cobblestone is cheap, although, if possible, permanent shelters should use obsidian.
- Make your shelter as visible as possible. Proper lighting outside the shelter adds visibility, and stops hostile mobs from spawning nearby.
- Build low (2 block) ceilings to avoid getting hit by endermen.
- Zombies can break wooden doors; however, iron doors require six ingots to craft. To solve this, use a fence gate with a pressure plate inside the shelter so it automatically closes. One gate will not stop skeletons from shooting over it, so a second gate can be placed on top of the first. Additionally, you can place the door such that its “open” state blocks entry, thus preventing zombies from doing any damage.
- Because the shady canopies of trees will protect skeletons and zombies from burning, build an indoor tree farm to safely harvest logs and apples when necessary. For the same reason, it is a good idea to cut down trees within 24 blocks of your shelter and fully light the resulting field.
- Even small farms with wheat, chickens, and cows can be a great asset. Use the wheat and seeds to breed the animals for meat and other drops. Indoor farms are safer. Pigs are nice to have because pork chops can be safely eaten raw if you're caught by surprise.
- Never go unprepared into a cave in case you get surrounded or cornered. Always bring blocks, weapons, food, torches and armor with you.
- Be careful around cave spiders. Poison cannot actually kill you but it will weaken you severely. Only fight cave spiders if you desperately need string or spider eyes. If you need spider drops it is best to fight plain spiders or loot dungeons if you have the choice.
- Diamonds are not very hard to find if you travel in deep caves. That being said, the common hazards are monsters, lava, and falls. The least you need is iron armor and a stone sword to go in.
- If you happen to fall in lava, swim to the surface and place water above (not under) the lava. This way, the obsidian formed can provide you with an escape route.
- Fall damage can be avoided by placing water to break the fall.
- Do not ever dig straight down or up. Digging straight down could cause the player to fall into lava, and digging straight up could cause a falling block such as sand or gravel to fall and suffocate the player, or lava to pour down and burn the player. It is best to dig straight up or down in a wider pattern, to have a platform to stand on before digging down the blocks. Having a platform with a block above it could help allow the player to escape falling blocks without death.
- Remember that a torch on the floor will break gravel and sand falling on it. This can save you from getting buried if you dig straight up (although you're still in trouble if you break into water or lava).
If you have thumb buttons, assign them to your weapon and water bucket. If a bucket is not available or you are in the Nether, equip a solid block instead. If you do not have a shield, it is best to put torches or food in your off-hand, as they can be used while having an equipped sword.
- Sword. Use the best material available and discard damaged/weaker swords.
- Axe/Shovel. An axe can shorten lumber trips and save daylight. One can be used instead of a sword to save inventory space. Shovels are unnecessary unless the player is doing lots of digging.
- Bow. Conserve ammo and only use it on witches. Skeleton arrows can be avoided by building a 2-block dirt pillar and hiding behind it.
- Pickaxe. Indispensable in cave systems or the Nether. Use an iron or diamond pickaxe if available. Can be used as a weapon in a pinch.
- Water bucket. They can extinguish you, prevent fall damage, let you safely travel down mountains or save you from an enderman.
- Torches. Very handy when exploring cave systems. Place them on the right walls when going deeper so you can remember how to exit.
- Dirt. Very common, can be broken without tools and does not obey gravity. Can be used to scale walls, build bridges, create quick shelters, stop skeleton arrows or prevent endermen from reaching you.
- Steak. As plentiful and effective as cooked porkchops, but killing cows will also give you leather. Keep your hunger bar full whenever your health is not full. Golden apples can be used for dangerous situations.
- (Offhand) Shield. They can block Skeleton's arrows from pushing you and reduce damage from attacks. It is best to have it in your offhand so you are able to attack and defend easier than without.
Step by Step Guide to Hardcore
Duration: 5–20 minutes
- Find the closest tree and punch it. Gather only 4 logs to save time.
- Craft a crafting table.
- Craft a wooden pickaxe.
- Find the nearest stone and mine 9 blocks to start. If there is no stone nearby, dig an angle shaft into the ground to reach stone.
- Craft a stone axe, stone pickaxe, stone shovel and stone sword.
- Get about half a stack of wood.
- Kill pigs, cows, and sheep to get at least 12 pieces of meat. Grab mushrooms if you see any. Having food now is worth the effort it takes to find more animals later.
- Since it is safer to skip the nights early on, kill enough sheep to craft a bed.
- Start looking for a cave system, although it's best not to explore a cave or ravine this early on.
- Don't make any stops. It is safer to wander around during the day with at least iron armor.
Duration: 15–60 minutes
At this point, either find a cave or create a mine (such as a branched mine). While it is usually safer to create a mine, using existing caves is often quicker. While descending to the depths, avoid risks. At first, it may be very dark so watch carefully for monsters and ores. Be sure to light everything in reach, and don't get lost. It is often very helpful to use signs or another distinguishable block to mark the path. Right-hand rule for torches is recommended.
Coal is the first resource to find. Since inventory management will become a problem, try to keep a stack coal as close to 64 as possible, but not above it, while keeping a similar number of torches in hand. If necessary, craft blocks of coal to store extra.
The next important resource is iron. 64 ingots will probably be enough; piling up stacks and stacks is not necessary except for longer games. When equipment is nearly used up, or you just have enough iron, find a safe area and set up a few furnaces to smelt/cook items quickly. Make, in this order: an iron sword, a shield, a pair of buckets (filling one with water), iron armor, an iron pickaxe, and an iron shovel. Also, toss any wood tools and store your stone tools.
Once fully equipped, go further down and collect diamonds. Only seven are necessary, although more is better (2 for a sword, 3 for a pickaxe and 2 for an enchanting table. These and full armor total up to 31 diamonds.) Use the diamond pickaxe to mine at least 14 pieces of obsidian for a Nether portal and an enchantment table.
It is hard to have too much gold because it is good for making golden apples. 8 ingots are required for a normal golden apple, and since the 1.9 update, enchanted golden apples aren't craftable. Be sure to grab some redstone for brewing potions. Lapis lazuli is required to make enchantments, so don't forget to mine it if you find some.
This sums up all mining you will need to do in the hardcore mode. If you gathered, at any point, enough string to make a bow, do not hesitate to craft it and use it with whatever arrows skeletons dropped. If you come across an abandoned mineshaft, be careful. Avoid cave spider spawners, but loot any chests.
When you get home, make an infinite water spring, then build farms for wheat, carrots and perhaps potatoes. If you've gotten seeds for pumpkins, cocoa beans, and/or melons, farm those too. Sugarcane is very important (for bookshelves), so spread and harvest up to 3 stacks of that.
Wheat, seeds, and carrots can be used to lure and breed animals, leading to large supplies of meat and resources over time, so it is worthwhile. You will need chickens (arrows) and cows (bookshelves). It is a good idea to tame ocelots to repel creepers, and wolves to fight.
Duration: 30 minutes–2 hours
The Nether can be very dangerous, so be prepared and try to bring:
- Enchanted Golden Apples can make the first travel to the Nether a lot safer because you probably don't have any Potion of Fire Resistance, and the Apple can provide 5 minutes of fire resistance. Try store at least one in your overworld exploration to use in your first travel to the Nether, and when inside of a Nether Fortress, use it to help you against the dangerous groups of Blazes or use it in any emergency, like Ghast's knockbacks. Remember, you can only respawn in Spectator mode.
- Diamond sword, iron armor, and pickaxe. (Iron pickaxes, or better are fine, but they shred netherrack very fast.), bow (and at least 32 arrows, unless it's enchanted with Infinity). Make sure to enchant everything with 1-skill-point enchantments. It barely costs anything but can make a difference.
- Flint and steel, to relight deactivated portals. if you have forgotten to bring, you can find it in a nether Fortress.
- At least 16 Wood
- Bones, dirt, and saplings: In case the supply of wood runs out, a tree farm can be started (ideally in a protected location, as trees are flammable). Using some bone meal will skip some time for it to grow. if you have ran out of bone meal, you can kill wither skeletons, but it's very dangerous and not recommended
- Any iron ingots, coal and food (Remember, you could only respawn in Spectator mode.)
- 64 blocks of cobblestone as an emergency blocking material. Ghasts can't destroy cobblestone.
- 64 blocks of sand or gravel might be handy for climbing down sheer drops. Be careful: getting shot off the top of a pile while descending is usually fatal.
A cauldron, because you can actually place water in cauldrons, so if you accidentally set yourself on fire, you can quickly extinguish yourself by jumping into the cauldron.
Some dangerous aspects of the Nether are:
- Ghasts. Their fireballs can seriously damage unprepared players, or deactivate portals. Without a flint and steel or fire charges, another fireball must hit the portal to reactivate it.
- Falling down huge distances. Even while moving carefully, an explosion can easily destroy the terrain, which may expose a lethally high drop onto blocks or even into lava.
- Lava. There are many little pockets of lava inside the netherrack, in addition to the lava sea. Lava is much more dangerous in the Nether because its flow is faster and will flow further. Since water cannot be placed in the Nether, potions of fire resistance are very useful.
- Zombie pigmen. An attacked zombie pigman will attract others.
- Blazes. Although they're not very challenging alone and in controlled circumstances, in groups of three or more they may present a significant challenge. An unexpected attack of just one blaze can be lethal.
- Enderman. Although they are rare, they can be dangerous when provoked due to their teleporting ability and high health, especially when they are accompanied by a Blaze or a Wither skeleton.
- Wither skeletons. Although they only appear in nether fortresses, this may be the most lethal Nether mob; they are fast, strong, and inflict the wither status effect.
The Nether contains four things that might be crucial for your adventure:
- Nether wart - they are necessary to brew any useful potion. They are found quite often in nether fortresses. Five is enough, but it's better to take every one. Collect at least six blocks of soul sand, so that a farm can be started.
- Blaze Rod - it is necessary to craft eyes of ender. It is also used to craft a brewing stand and brew strength and fire resistance potions. To obtain them you will need to kill blazes. It's best to fight lone blazes at first to avoid becoming overwhelmed. Find two rods (one if you already have magma cream); once you have those (and your Nether Wart), retreat to brew some potions of fire resistance. Collect more rods after applying the fire resistance potions, but remember that potions of fire resistance do NOT nullify Blaze melee attacks. For the main Blaze battle, find an enclosed spawner and kill them with a sword. This conserves arrows and saves the drops. About 12 blaze rods should be more than enough.
- Ghast tears - used for potions of regeneration. However, ghasts are dangerous, and their drops are often destroyed.
- Glowstone dust - used for strengthening potions. Glowstone appears occasionally in nether fortresses, otherwise look for it on low ceilings of netherrack.
Nether Survival: If there are no nether fortresses nearby, you may be forced to spend a lot of time in the Nether. Food supplies can be easily replenished, using very abundant mushrooms. Use torches or distinctive non flammable blocks, like cobblestone, dirt or crafting tables to mark the path back to the portal. After gathering all the needed supplies, return to the Overworld.
Duration: 1–8 hours
Remember, villages will provide good combat and survival supplies. Loot one if possible, but finding them can be somewhat difficult.
At this point there are two main goals: ender pearls and experience. Also, it is very helpful to have a chicken farm at this point, because feathers are needed to make arrows. Also, stay stocked on food and wood. In the night, be constantly on the move. Search for endermen while killing any threatening mobs. After accumulating levels, enchant weapons and tools:
- Bow (20 skill points). Infinity is very helpful, but it is rare (10% chance). Power will also help.
- Sword (30 skill points). The most useful enchantment is Sharpness. Fire Aspect is useless in the Nether, but is very useful in the End because endermen become neutral while burning.
Plan to collect 16-20 ender pearls and turn them into eyes of ender. Remember to be conservative while using them, as sometimes they will break when thrown and sometimes they won't. After locating the End portal, dig a staircase carefully downwards. Once inside the stronghold, break the silverfish spawner and pillage the place. Secure a shelter near the portal to prepare for the End.
Duration: 10–40 minutes
These items are recommended for the End:
- Diamond sword, pickaxe, bow and full diamond armor. Enchant any non-enchanted tools. Go for Protection IV on the armor, at least Sharpness IV on the sword, and Power V on the bow. The pickaxe can have lower-tiered enchantment levels, but it is recommended to use at least Efficiency III on it so that it will destroy the iron bars that surround some of the end crystals faster.
- Make sure that all equipment has as many uses left as possible(at least 100 durability). Make sure that nothing will break in the middle of the battle.
- Anywhere between 128 and 256 arrows, unless using an Infinity bow, then only one arrow is needed.
- At least 16 pieces of food, preferably steak, cooked porkchops, or pumpkin pie.
- A few stacks of cheap blocks, like cobblestone or dirt, to use for building.
- 2 buckets of water
- Potions of regeneration, about four of each type:
- Extended potions of regeneration. Should be active after taking damage, if not slightly beforehand.
- Splash potion of regeneration II, for quick healing.
- Potions of Strength. If inventory space is not a problem use tier II potions. Take two extended potions or six tier II ones.
- Splash potions of healing II. If melons are available, fill all remaining inventory space with splash potions of healing. Before entering the End, learn to differ them from regeneration potions.
- At least one spare ender pearl to teleport to the land, in case your spawnpoint is above the void. You can get easily knocked off by the dragon in the first few seconds, much before you can build yourself to safer ground. You will need to bring more in case you want to get to the outer islands without going back to the Overworld after killing the ender dragon.
Once you gather yourself and organize your inventory, jump into the portal and meet your fate. Upon entering the End, the first task is to take out end crystals, because they will heal the dragon. Use arrows (or snowballs) to remove all the towers, while avoiding the Ender Dragon. If you can't avoid her before taking out the crystals, don't hesitate to attack to prevent being blown or knocked off the island.
- While doing all this, make sure not to look at any endermen. It is much harder to fight the Ender Dragon while endermen are also attacking. However, if an enderman does become aggressive, place some water to damage them slightly; they will then become neutral again.
Once all the end crystals are destroyed, take aim at the Ender Dragon, once again avoiding looking at the endermen. Keep moving until the Ender Dragon is defeated. Gather the experience orbs, and enter the portal to see the credits, then return to the Overworld.
- Fight the wither.
- Explore natural generated structures like the desert temple or the ocean monument.
- For an extra challenge, return to the End. Use four end crystals to re-summon the ender dragon.
- If you thought Hardcore was too easy, there are extreme survival maps such as Skyblock and mods such as Skyzone (a Skyblock generator) and Ultra Hardcore.
- Invade a woodland mansion