The Minecraft Diaries 4: Mining at last

A real home at last.

A proper home at last.

Minecraft is definitely more interesting in Survival mode. I was terrified of being outside at night when anything might attack me. Resources were scarce near me, except for trees. I spent the nights mining down below my hole in the ground, but I found almost nothing. No coal, and not enough iron to do anything with. At least I had lots of cobblestone and could replace my wooden tools with stone tools.

I killed some pigs and a few sheep, the pigs for food I could at least cook in my spruce-charcoal-fired furnace, the sheep supplying, unfortunately, several shades of wool , white, gray, and black (you need three of one shade to make a bed, at least you did at the time). I wasn’t finding anything, I wasn’t building anything, but it was a lot more fun and interesting than anything I had done in Creative mode.

I tunneled down as far as I could, finding only a room with a lava pool in it and about three blocks of redstone, which you can use to power contraptions if you’re that kind of person. I couldn’t even mine it because you need an iron pickaxe for that, and I didn’t have enough iron. I’d found just enough to make armor. Which is a good thing, because one of the blocks I hit released some kind of small hairy monster that attacked me! I killed it before it killed me, and went back upstairs to calm down. I guess it was a silverfish, which are supposed to be rare outside of strongholds. Lucky me.

Time to explore! Over the next hill I found a huge crater in the earth, a cave open to the sky. Peering in, I could see at least some coal and a few blocks of iron ore, so I was excited. I built a little hut next to it and made a bunch of torches and stone pickaxes, and set out one morning.

Sure, it looks safe enough now.

Sure, it looks safe now. Hello, sheep.

Even in Easy mode, there are a lot of mobs. I kept getting shot by skeletons, which fortunately were easy to kill, almost as easy as zombies, but they scared the crap out of me every time. Eventually I made my way down one passageway and found a ton of both coal and iron, and was happily mining away, watching the sun but not really paying attention to anything but my lovely dreams of all the things I could make with iron, when I got shot by another skeleton. I couldn’t see where this one was – I’d wandered too far into the cave, greedy for ore – and the bastard killed me before I could gather my wits and fight back.

And then, when I respawned in the little hut beside the crater and raced back to collect my stuff, I couldn’t find that part of the cave again. I looked for a long time.

When you die, all the stuff you’re carrying, including any armor you’re wearing, scatters all over the ground. It takes five minutes for it to disappear, so you have some time, but in this case, it wasn’t enough. I had a full set of iron armor, iron tools, and a lot of coal and iron ore. Gone. All of it. I was so mad, I quit the game and had to go walk it off.

When I returned, I decided to leave that area and go back to my spawn area and my original home, and maybe explore in the other direction.

There was a pretty significant body of water nearby, a sort of bay with lots of islands in it, opening out to what looked like ocean in the distance. So much to explore! I made a boat and figured out how to get in and use it, then ventured across to one of the islands. But I hadn’t prepared at all. I quickly realized that in order to explore properly, I needed to pack enough gear to quickly set up a shelter, because the days are so short. And I didn’t want to be too far from home without iron armor.

Say, I think that zombie's checking me out.

Hey, I think that zombie’s checking me out…

Back to mining. Sigh. Not too far from my spawn house, I found another surface cave, the kind you catch a glimpse of beneath your feet hopefully just before you tumble into it. It was still early days for me, and I was still pretty terrified of mobs, which kept appearing beneath me as I tried to widen the access hole and create a staircase down into it. I had no armor at all. There weren’t even any cows in my area to provide leather armor.

I decided to be clever. I pressed F3 and wrote down my coordinates as I stood above the cave. Then I went back to the mineshaft at my spawn house and began tunneling towards those coordinates. My understanding of coordinates in Minecraft was almost nonexistent; I didn’t even realize yet that the y coordinate was altitude, though of course it is, duh. So naturally I got lost underground several times and had to change direction. My tunnel to the cave, which should have been more or less a straight line, instead drunkenly lurches in one direction and then another, not a zigzag but a crazed, random flailing.

This room terrified me.

This room terrified me.

I did get there eventually. I broke through into a big room with a lava fall right next to a waterfall, and lots of passageways leading off into darkness. It took me a long time to make it safe enough to explore. I found enough iron there to make new armor, but it was still pretty scarce.

My spruce forest was pretty, but its only resource is trees. Time to find a new home.

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