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This chapter is from the book

Avoiding Monsters

There’s a key difference between the Minecraft world on the first day and the second day. In a word, mobs (hostile ones, to be specific). Mobs spawn only in dark areas, and some only during the night, so if you are outside during your first day and stay in well-lit areas, you’ll be reasonably safe. By the second day, however, mobs have had a chance to build their numbers and wander about. It’s not very likely you’ll encounter them on day 2, but it’s best to be prepared.

There are over two dozen types of hostile mobs: Enderman, Iron Golem, The Wither, Creeper, Ender Dragon, Zombie, Baby Zombie, Zombie Villager, Endermite, Giant, Blaze, Slime, Wither Skeleton, Ghast, Silverfish, Witch, Human, Skeleton, Spider, Cave Spider, Wither Skeleton Jockey, Magma Cube, Spider Jockey, Zombie Chicken Jockey, Guardian, and Elder Guardian. Of those, here are the ones you might meet on your second day outside:

  • Zombies—Zombies burn up in sunlight but can still survive in shadows or rain or when wearing helmets, and, of course, they’re fine in caves all hours of the day or night. They are relatively easy to defeat, and if any come after you from out of the shadows, just head to a well-lit area and keep your distance while they burn up in the sun.
  • Skeletons—Skeletons also burn up in sunlight unless they’re wearing helmets, and they can survive at any time in lower light conditions. They’re quite deadly with a bow and arrow and best avoided for now.
  • Spiders—Spiders come in two varieties: large and cave. You’ll probably only see the large spiders at this stage. They are passive during the day but become hostile in shadows and can attack at any time if provoked. They’ll climb, they’ll jump, and they are pretty darn fast. Fortunately, they’re also easy to kill with some swift sword attacks. The blue spiders are the smaller, poisonous cave spiders. They live only in abandoned mineshafts underground, but they do so in substantial numbers. If you suffer from arachnophobia, I don’t have much good news for you, except that with a little time, you’ll get used to them, and they won’t seem quite so nasty. If you see a skeleton riding a spider, you’ve just encountered the rather rare spider jockey.
  • Creepers—Creepers have a well-earned reputation as the Minecraft bad guys. They are packed to their green gills with gunpowder, and they’ll start their very short 1.5-second fuse as soon as they are within three blocks of you. Their explosion can cause a lot of real damage to you, nearby structures, and the environment in general. If you hear a creeper’s fuse—a soft hissing noise—but can’t see it, run like heck in the direction you’re facing. Remember to sprint by double-tapping and holding your W key. With a little luck, you’ll get three blocks away, and the creeper’s fuse will reset. Creepers are usually best dealt with using a ranged attack from a bow and arrow. However, if you sprint at them with an iron or diamond sword and take a swipe at just the right moment, you can send them flying back out of their suicidal detonation range, causing the fuse to reset. Most creepers despawn around noon, leaving the afternoon generally free of their particular brand of terror.
  • Slimes—Slimes spawn in the swamp biome and in some places underground. They initially spawn as small, medium-sized, or quite large gelatinous green blocks and are more than capable of causing damage. Attacking eventually breaks them up into two to four new medium-sized slimes. These slimes can still attack but are relatively easily killed, at which point they spawn a further two to four tiny slimes each. These last slimes don’t cause any attack damage but may still push you into peril if you’re unlucky.

If you come across a lone spider, a zombie, or even a slime, that’s as good a time as any to get in some sword practice. Just point your crosshairs at the creature and strike with the left mouse button. Keep clicking as fast as you can, and you’ve got a very good chance of killing the mob and picking up any items it drops before it lands too many blows. Try to avoid the other mobs for now.

Use these tips to survive and avoid mobs:

  • Stay in the open as much as you can, and avoid heavily wooded areas if possible.
  • Most mobs have a 16-block detection radar. If they can also draw a line of sight to your position, they will enter pursuit mode. (Spiders can always detect you, even through other blocks.) At that point, they’ll relentlessly plot and follow a path to your position, tracking you through other blocks without requiring a line of sight. Pursuit mode stays engaged much farther than 16 blocks.
  • Keep your sound turned up because you’ll also hear mobs within 16 blocks, although creepers, as their name suggests, are creepily quiet.
  • Avoid skirting along the edges of hilly terrain. Creepers can drop on you from above with their fuse already ticking. Try to head directly up and down hills so you have a good view of the terrain ahead.
  • Mobs are quite slow, so you can easily put some distance between them and yourself by keeping up a steady pace and circling around to get back to your shelter. Sprint mode will leave them far behind.
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