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Minecraft beginner's guide

Now that you have a shelter built, the next order of business is to make a pickaxe, the most useful tool in the game. The pickaxe requires the use of a crafting table, which gives you access to a 3x3 crafting grid instead of the beginning 2x2 one. Just put four wood-plank pieces into your inventory crafting grid, like so:

And then place the resulting block in your house. Then, right click to start crafting on it. Make sure you have wood planks, then make some sticks (another important crafting unit) like so:

Then, arrange the sticks and some wood planks like so to get a pickaxe:

Above: With this tool, you shall pierce the heavens

This baby can carve through stone MUCH quicker than punching it, and also allows you to gather stone blocks. Tools will degrade through use, and wood is the least durable material for a tool to be made of, so make a stone pickaxe as soon as possible. To do this, replace the wooden blocks in the above recipe with pieces of rock. For an iron axe, replace the stone with iron ingots (which you’ll figure out how to make later), and so on. Now that you have a stone pickaxe, you can get some coal. Coal is an important item for crafting, as it’s a base ingredient in torches, and provides heat for your furnace to smelt ores and cook food. It’s also pretty easy to find. Check around open rock faces, or buried not too far underground. There should be some around.

Above: As you can see, it’s like a stone block flecked with black

Carve it up and gather the resulting coal. Then, arrange the coal and a stick like so to make some torches:

You get four torches for every coal piece and stick you combine, so make a bunch. (Note: Currently, torches last forever, but the game’s developer states that it will eventually make torches temporary.) Place some torches in your home and on the outside. Monsters won’t spawn in lit areas, so putting a couple torches around your house might be handy, too. Also, if you’re lucky enough to find a pumpkin block, you can craft a jack o’ lantern with the following recipe:

Now that you have light at nighttime and your home is built, you should gather and craft a few more useful items before you really begin mining or exploring too much. First off: Armor. Kill some cows to get leather to craft basic armor. The dropped leather looks like this:

Cows are pretty easy to find - they’re all over the place, and they make a pretty constant racket when lowing. You can make a tunic, leggings, helmet, and boots to protect your oh-so-squishy character from their leather, too, so they have great utility.

You can also kill pigs to get raw porkchops which, when eaten, will restore health. Cooking your porkchops in a furnace (which we’ll get to shortly) will increase their potency. Every animal serves some sort of purpose. Even chickens drop eggs from time to time.

Above: These gormless animals serve great utility when you punch them

You can also make a sword to defend yourself from skeletons, zombies, giant spiders and Creepers.

Now that you have armor, torches, and a pickaxe, you’re ready to get mining. Our location in the side of a cliff face means we can start our mine shaft right from our own living room. Dig downwards in a DIAGONAL fashion - not straight down. Getting back to the top of a shaft that’s perfectly vertical is a pain in the ass, and if you hit an underground lava deposit while digging straight down, you’ll fall in and die, losing all your fancy new items. So dig diagonally, occasionally pausing to put up a new torch to light your way.

As you mine, you’ll come across deposits of coal and ores. Likely, you’ll find iron before anything else. Mine it quickly, get back to your crafting table and make a furnace out of cobblestone, like so:

Place the resulting furnace block in your home, and get smelting. To use the furnace, right-click on it, place fuel (coal or wood) in the lower box, and the item to be heated in the top. If you place food items in the top, you’ll get cooked food items, which heal more than normal food items. If you place iron ore, you’ll get precious iron ingots, which you can use to make new tools and armor.

In addition, iron pickaxes can successfully mine gold ore from gold blocks, and precious gems such as diamonds (the most resilient crafting ingredient in the game), redstone and lapis lazuli.