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So.. What does one actually DO in Minecraft?

Xylia

Terrarian
Terraria always keeps saying "Also try Minecraft!" and I've heard everybody talking about Minecraft, for years and I finally, within the past few months, decided to buy the game and give it a go.

I've put in maybe 20 or so hours into the game, and I've also browsed the wiki some, and honestly... I can't figure out what I'm actually expected to do.

I got to the point where I'm wearing full iron armor, using all iron tools, I have a base (however basic, but functional) built, I have a bed to sleep in, it's safe from monsters, etc. I have several stacks of coal, a couple stacks of iron bars, almost a full stack of gold, a few stacks of redstone powder, I even made a twice-zoomed out map, and....

I can't figure out what else I'm supposed to do.

I know about trading with villagers, but ooof. That seems like a grind that would take hundreds of hours to complete so I kinda gave up on that. I went to the wiki and looked up what seemed like the easiest, and the best I could find was using wheat or potatoes to get emeralds, but even if I did that... you gotta level the villagers up (some 16+ trades to get the first level!) to get anything decent.

I know that there's stuff having to do with enchanting, but IIRC that requires obsidian to make the table for that, and you can't mine obsidian without a diamond pickaxe.

I probably spent about 10+ hours trying to find diamonds, just tunnelling around in areas that give gold and redstone (and according to the wiki, Diamonds can theoretically spawn here too) and I've even went all the way down to the bedrock layer and only found a single vein of two diamonds, once.

So, I thought maybe I'd explore the world some.. after walking around in a featureless desert that had nothing but sand and sticks, after finding dozens of huge mountains that were similarly featureless, it leaves me to ask.... what am I missing here?

Is that all the game is?

I don't want to diss the game or anything, I mean, on a mechanical level, it's fun to play (though the arrow skeletons are way too annoying and you gotta turn destructive mob actions off to preserve your sanity, as well as keep inventory on death), but the huge swaths of featureless land makes the game seem so empty and bleak. I've found a couple villages, and those are neat... but you gotta be careful or the villagers get killed off (another reason I don't want to level them, it'd stink to put all that work and some zombie eats the villager without you knowing about it).

Or is it one of those games like Starbound where you absolutely must mod it to get any kind of decent experience out of it?
 

ShadowGenius

Terrarian
Diamonds are a pretty important resource since it opens up obsidian, which opens up enchanting, as you said, as well as the Nether. I'm kind of surprised that you haven't found all that many diamonds, since I've heard a few complaints that diamonds have gotten too plentiful in the modern day due to shipwrecks and whatnot, although that might just be because you don't know the "techniques" for finding diamonds. Try strip mining around y-level 11, though it still might take a while.

Minecraft is much more of a sandbox than Terraria is, so if you feel you need some kind of goal to get towards, you'd probably be best setting one yourself (admittedly, that might be tough if you don't know much about the game). The most obvious goal would be killing the Ender Dragon, although that also opens up some more "endgame" content as well. You can have other goals, like getting as many advancements as possible, or personal goals like building a large good looking castle or something.

Personally, my enjoyment out of Minecraft comes from:
- Tapping into my creativity and building "nice looking" buildings or structures
- Tapping into my creativity and designing fun and/or functional redstone contraptions
- Tapping into my creativity and messing around with commands and designing data packs
- Playing with friends and getting into wacky hijinks with them

Maybe try to find some inspiration in other people and watch build tutorials or playthroughs on youtube and see what they do. I stress the "find inspiration" part since just copying them won't give you all that much satisfaction, obviously.

If you find you're still not having fun, I suppose modding the game is an option. There are many modpacks out there that have a certain design philosophy in mind, such as Rebirth of the Night, which focuses on the survival and combat aspects of the game, or Roguelike Adventures and Dungeons, which focuses on exploration and quests, or something like Skyblock inspired packs, which are more focused on progressing and automating resources.
 

Scratch Lunin

Skeletron Prime
Oh, there's plenty you can do with Minecraft. Seems like you haven't gotten to a certain dimension yet, which requires obsidian, which requires diamonds... like the person above said, try strip mining at around Y11 and you'll likely find more.

As for the dimension, you may have seen a specific structure around while exploring. It may look like a strange building made of obsidian, stone bricks, and some other hellish-looking blocks. These are Ruined Portals, broken versions of portals that can take you to the Nether. This dimension allows access to many new resources (as well as a tier of armor and tools above diamond), the most important for progression being Blaze Rods. These drop from Blazes in Nether Fortresses made of Nether Brick. You can craft them into Blaze Powder, which combines with Ender Pearls to make Eyes of Ender. Throw a few until you find a Stronghold, then place your remaining eyes into the End Portal Frames to activate the End Portal. Once you're ready and geared up, enter the portal and prepare to battle!

There's also hundreds of thousands of servers you can join to play minigames and other things on, the most popular one is Hypixel (mc.hypixel.net). It's got dozens of minigames for you to play, though these days many players are competitive as hell so look out.

Anyway, if you want to learn more about the game without having to go in fully blind, Minecraft is the most popular game on the internet so there's literally countless posts and videos online for you to watch and read.

Point is, there's a lot more to this game than you might think! After all, it's the #1 game for a reason.
 

Lord Garak

Retinazer
Not finding diamonds in Minecraft is like not getting a Voodoo Doll in Terraria. You're going to go nowhere fast on the progression tree.
 

Xylia

Terrarian
So after an hour ish in various tunnels at Y-23 (on 1.18 snapshot), I finally found one.

One.

Argh.

Hopefully I can find/break into some more caves, but there's so stinking much water everywhere, like every other cave system I find is flooded.

EDIT: Reason I'm playing on the 1.18 snapshot is because 1.18 is going to release on Nov 30th, and I don't want to start all over again or risk the world being corrupt or what-not, figured I might as well just load the pre-release snapshot that way I already got a 1.18 compatible world going.
 

Scratch Lunin

Skeletron Prime
So after an hour ish in various tunnels at Y-23 (on 1.18 snapshot), I finally found one.

One.

Argh.

Hopefully I can find/break into some more caves, but there's so stinking much water everywhere, like every other cave system I find is flooded.

EDIT: Reason I'm playing on the 1.18 snapshot is because 1.18 is going to release on Nov 30th, and I don't want to start all over again or risk the world being corrupt or what-not, figured I might as well just load the pre-release snapshot that way I already got a 1.18 compatible world going.
Why are you mining at Y-23?
 

Bethany

Steampunker
If you can make a pickaxe enchanted with Fortune, you'll often get more than one diamond per block of "diamond ore". Use a regular pickaxe for other stuff and keep the Fortune one in reserve for valuable items that drop ores rather than whole blocks. Also keep a bucket of water you can pour on lava to make it into obsidian for later mining.

(To get a magic book with Fortune you'll need to do some fishing. Keep an eye on what you fish up; sometimes you'll get a fishing rod with Mending, which increases the rod's durability in exchange for experience points that would've gone to your experience level. You can start with a nearly "dead" fishing rod and return it to like-new condition just by fishing, since each catch yields a little experience. If you get a rod with Mending plus Luck of the Sea and/or Lure, you're golden.)

You won't find many blocks of diamond ore unless you're on or near Y = 11 (the number might be different in versions other than the one I use, but I think it's always just above lava-lake level). Just randomly digging around won't do it. Instead, make long straight tunnels at Y = 11, with two or three blocks separating them. At three blocks between tunnels you might miss one isolated block or a thin sliver, but because most blobs are at least two blocks wide you'll find most.

[eta: Caves aren't that great a way to get to diamonds. I dig staircases down to Y = 11. Dig out a stack of five blocks vertically, then another five a meter lower, and so on. Carry a stack of cobblestone or other stairs so you won't have to jump every step of the way back up. IIRC, if you don't make enough vertical space, you'll hit your head on the ceiling and damage your helmet; don't know if it damages heads if un-helmeted. Naturally you can start in a cave and dig downward from there.]

What else to do? Well, explore, of course. After getting lost embarrassingly close to known territory, I tend to build pole houses — stack up wood, rock, dirt, nearly any kind of block, then run ladders or vines up the side. At Y = 100 or so, climb onto the topmost block and start building out a platform, then add walls (I always use glass windows) and a roof. Now you are above most terrain features and can survey a large area easily. Use torches to make visible roads between points of interest and you can see them at night, making it easier to understand the surroundings and plan where to go next.

To keep safe while building high in the air, hold down the Shift key to "sneak". You can back out until you seem to be standing on thin air, which gives you a view of your platform's outer edge so you can stick more blocks on the sides. Of course, leave a missing block in the floor so you can climb back down the ladders/vines.

You can often get rid of water by finding its source. Use an empty bucket to scoop up the source block and the flow will vanish. You could also stick a block of anything where the water source block is.

Good luck!
 
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Xylia

Terrarian
Why are you mining at Y-23?


According to the chart on this page, Diamonds spawn between Y+16 to Y-64 (deeper = more of them) and the "sweet spot" for Gold is right around Y-23 or thereabouts, and that just happened to be where that cave system was that I found, that had that diamond in it.

You can often get rid of water by finding its source. Use an empty bucket to scoop up the source block and the flow will vanish. You could also stick a block of anything where the water source block is.

When I say "flooded cave systems", I mean humongous caves 100% flooded by water, lol.

But yeah I'll keep that in mind in case I ever flood a strip mine tunnel or something.

To get a magic book with Fortune you'll need to do some fishing.

So, you just randomly catch these enchanting books while fishing..? Huh. Okay.
 
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Scratch Lunin

Skeletron Prime
So, you just randomly catch these enchanting books while fishing..? Huh. Okay.
You can also get enchanted books from villager trading and, well, enchanting. You'll need a bunch of bookshelves (which improve the quality of the enchants) and an enchanting table for that, though.

According to the chart on this page, Diamonds spawn between Y+16 to Y-64 (deeper = more of them) and the "sweet spot" for Gold is right around Y-23 or thereabouts, and that just happened to be where that cave system was that I found, that had that diamond in it.
Ah right, I forgot about that! In previous versions before the Cave Update the best place to mine was at Y-11.
 

Bethany

Steampunker
I think Mending is a "treasure-only" enchantment, meaning you can't make a book with it, just get it from treasure (fishing, chests, trading if you luck out). One of the best, so it's tough to get.

And yes, it will require a fair amount of hacking (in the mining sense) to get everything. Once you're outfitted in diamond it's worth the effort.

I've not yet got the Cave update so I'm scooping up diamonds at 11. Got about ten cubic meters (90 diamonds) from my most recent mines in the village of Central Cupcake.
 

Xylia

Terrarian
Well, as an update, I did get extremely lucky and found 2 diamonds.

And I don't know how, but I was searching for lava, and I went through a cave system I already went through and found a lone diamond block tucked under a "staircase" of blocks, and when I mined that one, it revealed two more and then two more.... for 9 in total, lol.

Got the pickaxe, got myself some obsidian and went to the nether, also made an enchanting table but I should really get the bookcases made next, after looking that up lol.

Probably end up taking some gold to the nether to barter with the pigs, seems like a better way to get leather than by trying to find lots and lots of cows.
 

Bethany

Steampunker
Yay! *applause* RNGeezus sometimes provides, sometimes withholds.

You don't need to find more than two cows. Fence them in, grow some wheat, feed two cows, and you have three. It can take a while but the process accelerates as your herd grows. When it's time for slaughter, feed all the adult cows one last time so there will be plenty of calves. Cruel but that's life for you.
 

Etotheipi

Retinazer
Try and make some farms, automation really helps with a sense of progression and cuts down the grind. A good one to start with is ianxofour's iron farm, if you're ok with using tutorials, its very simple and iron is crucial for making more large farms.
 
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