The Minecraft Logs #1: Humble Beginnings

Minecraft is one of the most ubiquitous games in modern history. Just ask someone who play games and in the majority of the cases they will answer they played it at least once.

Until a few days ago I was one of the few who never played it. Not for a lack of interest mind you, I mean, I bought the game back when it was still in beta. At that time it was already popular and it was still being sold for a cheaper price than the intended one for the launch version.

Since I often have an itch to do creative stuff in games this seemed like a pretty good deal at the time. The problem is that I just kept forgetting I had Minecraft or would give it a try for 5 minutes, figure out I actually wanted to play something else and then proceed to forget about it again.

But lately I’ve been having an itch to do something more creative so I decided I might as well give the game a try for real this time. I also figured out I might as well write some posts about it as I go along. Just in case I go some years without playing again, decide to start over and forgot everything. Or at a worst case scenario to amuse myself on the foolishness of my past self.

Having said that I have no idea how long I will post about Minecraft. I will write about it for as long as I keep playing it regularly…. which might end up providing a couple posts or might be a hundred. Who knows?

With all that explained let me tell you how my first attempts went…

Punching trees and dirt houses

Since I want to learn the basics of the game first I am playing with just vanilla Minecraft. No mods, on a single player world with default options. Well, I lie. I did enable the option for cheat codes just in case there is some terrible bug that requires using the cheat codes to bypass it like in Bethesda games. But since Minecraft is a very different beast I doubt I will need them. Or at least I hope so. :p

Since Minecraft pretty much drops you into the world without any tutorial whatsoever I did search for a tutorial for starting out. Having also played Terraria before also helped to understand a lot of its concepts: start by getting some basic materials like wood to build basic tools then proceed to build a shelter for the night.

With those basics taken care of, I proceeded to hunt down some sheep for wool and meat. It didn’t take me too long to find them from my spawn point. Still once I made a bed I decided to move my shelter to a small cave not too far from there as it would put me much closer to other caves in the area.

Exploring those caves taught me two things:

  1. Trying to pick a fight with a monster while armed only with a wooden sword isn’t usually a good idea (to the surprise of no one)
  2. Finding iron ore is pretty hard

Now if this was Terraria my modus operandi would be to just dig down until I found some good sources of iron. Since this is not Terraria I decided to google about it to get some tips. Unfortunately all the tips I found were pretty vague, pretty much telling me to keep exploring the caves.

I kept trying that still getting very little in terms of iron. I also tried to explore further away from my home base which only led me to getting lost.

Eventually I got so frustrated that I decided to start over with a new world.

This new start turned out to be slightly better. I found a small flat piece of land amidst some hills, with sheep, cows, pigs and even some lamas not too far from it. It also had a huge cave entrance nearby that I went exploring.

Since I got so much cobblestone digging I decided to make stairs for my mines. I mean, why not?

It was still a bit rough due to some dumb mistakes I made like trying to work on the shelter during the night only for a creeper to sneak behind me and destroy half my shelter. Let me tell you, spending the night playing tag with monsters isn’t as fun as it sounds.

While in my first world I did manage to find some iron ore by exploring caves in this new one I had no such luck.

Since I didn’t learn my lesson the first time I just went googling for tips on finding good sources of iron. This time I finally stumbled on something more tangible. The advice was to mine down to about y 11. At that level they should be more common.

It also taught me that I could check the coordinates by pressing F3.

I don’t know if that is the best way to do it but while mining down to that level I did find some iron ore. Enough to make me a whole set of iron armor, a sword, a new pickaxe plus some left over ingots for future projects.

It also gave me an actual goal which helped a lot.

I also got so much cobblestone that I decided to change my shelter from dirt to stone as well as expand it a little. It still looks like crap but at least I got some more space.

Right now I am not entirely sure what my next goal shall be. I am thinking of exploring my surroundings a bit more but I want to make more paper first to make a map. I found some canes on a river nearby but not enough to make all the paper I need. The leftover canes I planted by a lake nearby to harvest later.

While I wait for the canes to grow I might just expand my mine a bit more to see what I can find.

There is so much more I want to do but for now I think keeping those goals small are the best way to go.

6 thoughts on “The Minecraft Logs #1: Humble Beginnings”

  1. I’m also in the same boat. I’ve been interested in Minecraft but haven’t played maybe more than 10 hours of it. If vanilla doesn’t stick with you, heavily modding the game might be the answer because the provide more structure and guidance for the game. The feeling of aimlessness is usually what trips me up.

    • I think vanilla will work for me, at least in the immediate future. Like I said in the post there is a bunch of stuff I want to try. It is just a question of prioritizing and getting the materials. But I definitely want to try some mod packs in the future too.

      Another reason I want to get the basics down with vanilla first is because a while ago some of my friends started a Minecraft server. I think the idea was abandoned rather quickly as nobody said anything about it in a long while but since we got it I’d like to build something in there eventually then maybe others will be interested in it too and build something themselves.

  2. I quite agree with learning Vanilla Minecraft first, for someone starting out. Especially since they’ve been adding more and more stuff to it with each version.

    If the default pixelated graphics get to you after some time though, there is a rabbit hole of resource/texture packs to improve the eye candy factor.

    Modpacks are great once vanilla gets boring – when you’re drowning in diamonds, have gone through all the vanilla biomes and resources, and have gotten very very sick of storing everything in chests.:)

    • Indeed. Even from researching what can be done, vanilla minecraft feels like a big rabbit hole to fall into. I can only imagine how much deeper the hole goes with mods. XD

      The graphics don’t bother me. I find them pretty charming. But perhaps I might change my mind about that once I get into modding the game.

  3. Minecraft is one of the titles that I follow rather often but I don’t play it as much as I used to. I did play it quite a while back quite actively but nowadays I only really watch Hermitcraft videos now and then while doing laundry or other chores. Lately, I also started playing some Hardcore Minecraft over on my Twitch channel.

    I feel like it’s one of those titles that you play now and then or that you pick up again, then get bored of,… and then you eventually play it up again. Looking forward to reading more on it by ya. 😀

    As far as cheats go, I can see why you’re concerned but there aren’t any bugs like that in Minecraft, as far as I know. There is nothing that can’t be fixed by reloading the world/save file. What I could recommend for the purpose of starting out, however, is to basically change the gamerules. On death, you basically respawn at your spawn point/bed and can gather your items… unless they burnt up, got blown up or they despawned (typically after five minutes). You could use the keepInventory gamerule to stop that from happening. Setbacks happen and with that gamerule it’s less frustrating to lose diamond pickaxes or a lot of items all at once.

    The command for that would be “/gamerule keepInventory true” and if you want to turn it off again, you could just do the same but with false instead. There are also rulesets that allow time to pass faster, weather to be turned off, the deactivation of the day/night-cycle. You can also turn off mob-griefing (aka Zombies breaking doors or Creepers/Ghasts blowing up your house or whatever). There are a lot of ways to make the game somewhat easier or at least less frustrating. 🙂 Hope you have fun!

    • Oh, I can easily see myself going through the pattern of getting tired of Minecraft then some months later getting back into it again. Happens to me with any game that allows a certain degree of creativity.

      I probably won’t change those gamerules right now but it is good to know they are there in case I decide to use them. Thanks for the tips! 🙂

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