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The Art of Vanilla PVP

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avatar Cypher777
Level 38 : Artisan Grump
34
The Art of Minecraft PVP in a Vanilla Survival Server
A Minecraft PVP Strategy Guide
By Cypher

Are you ready to PVP?
You have been playing Minecraft for a few weeks, maybe several months, surviving the night, building a castle with your friends. Maybe you have even been using creative mode and you are entirely bored with using infinite resources of every kind, flying around and being invulnerable. Now you have an interest in fighting something more dangerous than any NPC created in any game, another player determined to end your life in PVP combat. First, you must ask yourself, are you prepared to die and lose everything you've spent hours collecting, simply to test your own strength and intellect? If you are prepared to take that risk, you must now arm yourself with the necessary knowledge to compete against other players who know everything about the game of Minecraft. You must know how and where to find diamonds, iron, and feathers, how to build underground farms, how to navigate using a compass, a map, or F3 to see your coordinates. You must know every type of biome and its unique qualities. You must have no fear of lightless caverns, charging into crowds of monsters in a moonlit desert, and raiding the fortresses of the Nether. You must have built and used the peaks of Minecraft technology, the Enchanting Table, the Anvil, the Brewing Stand, and the Ender Chest. You must know that Day and Night each comprise of 10 minutes, completing a 20 minute cycle per sunrise. You must have slain the Ender Dragon itself entirely on your own, starting with nothing, and playing on Hard difficulty, where Creepers obliterate your entire health in one blow. If you have reached this level of skill in the game of survival, you are ready to engage in the game of slaughter and domination.

The Note Sheet, your critical information
Before you even connect to a PVP server, you need to get a pen and paper ready next to your mouse pad because you will be recording several important locations in the form of X and Z coordinates. By hitting F3 you will have visibility of your coordinates and the direction you are facing. The Y coordinate represents your altitude, and unless you are recording an underground location you do not need to note your Y value because you know that it is on the surface. It should be common knowledge that Y=64 is the default sea level. Do not record anything to the right of the decimal point, that level of detail is not necessary and overcomplicates your information. This is an example of important points of interest to note:
1. World Spawn
2. Villages
3. Your Base
4. A Nether Portal built in a safe location
5. The Nether coordinate of your Nether Portal
6. Surface lava pools for Obsidian farming
7. Nether Fortresses
8. Buried Chests, one at least containing your extra Ender Chest

A Rundown on Resources
While playing Minecraft you end up gathering so many items that at some point you are forced to throw out at least a few stacks of them just to fit one more slot of higher priority goods. Here we're going to review some things you should be keeping for battle whose use may not be immediately apparent for combat.
1. Apples, Needed for Enchanted Golden Apple (NOT regular Golden Apple!).
2. Gold, For Enchanted Golden Apple. You need 72 for each apple!
3. Feathers, Every feather is potentially 4 arrows.
4. Flint, They seem easy to gather, but saving them while mining is easier.
5. Spider Eyes, Used for potion of poison later on.
6. String, Used for making bows. You will be making many bows.
7. Redstone, Used for brewing, traps, and compasses.
8. Glowstone Dust, Used for brewing.
9. Slimeballs, Used for sticky pistons for traps.
10. Bones, Used for taming wolves.
11. Leather, Used for making books for enchanting table and shelves.
12. Sugercane, Used for books and brewing.
13. Gunpowder, Used for brewing and TNT.
14. Seeds, Used for chicken breeding for a feather farm.
15. Sand, Used for brewing and TNT.

You just logged in!
You enter the world and either you see no other players, or you are the only player connected during low traffic hours. Take full advantage of your isolation, it is your safety. You now have minutes or hours to prepare before you engage in PVP. Record the coordinates of the spawn location on your note sheet and begin moving away from the World Spawn. As soon as possible gather your first 16 wood to craft your wooden pick, axe, shovel, and sword, use the pick to gather 10 stone, use this stone to craft two stone picks and two stone swords. These are your traveling necessities. By referencing your note sheet, travel away from spawn until you are between 500-2000 blocks away from the spawn location. As you travel, every kind of animal you encounter should be slain, providing you with the food you need to make hunger a trivial threat, and hopefully a few leather, wool, and feathers to be used later. You should also collect any sugarcane you see, as this is used for the paper you need for critical strategies later.

Spawn Camping Counter Tactics
You enter the world and you are hit with an arrow immediately! There is a player waiting just to kill the new players. You now have two options, apply evasion tactics to break away from the attack, or engage the attacker with the goal of depleting their offensive resources. At this point you have nothing to lose and your attacker is expending hunger to chase you, sword durability to strike you, or most importantly arrows which are somewhat time consuming to gather. While you have the determination you should cause them to exhaust as many arrows as possible. Once you are prepared to begin evasion and escape, begin sprinting directly away from your attacker, being conscious of your direction. If the attacker chases you and is able to catch you, they are now potentially hundreds of blocks away from the spawn location. You are now freshly spawned with your attacker a relatively great distance away. Begin sprinting in the opposite direction of your previous heading. Your attacker now has little to no chance of making up this distance and you are likely to successfully evade their pursuit. Once you are a few hundred blocks from the World Spawn, you may now begin your standard operations of gathering wood so that you can use a wooden sword to collect meat, wool, feathers, and leather as you continue increasing the distance between your future home and the World Spawn which is the PvP kill zone.

Building a Secret Base
You are now 500-2000 or more blocks away from the World Spawn; this is a relatively safe area to build an underground home that has a low probability of being found by another wandering player. Your new base entrance should be highly concealed, such that unless you record its coordinates, you would never find it again yourself. This could be hidden between the leaves of a tree near a hill in a forest or jungle biome, or it could be through an underwater tunnel, using ladders to block the flow of water. Once you establish your entrance tunnel it should continue for enough distance to allow for light from within your home cave to fade before reaching and revealing the entrance. Your first priority is to place your bed, one or two large chests, and 6-8 furnaces. You will want to expand into two other rooms, one to contain a 4x3 Enchanting Library, Anvil, and Brewing Stand, and a second room that is quite large to contain an underground farm approximately 7x18 blocks. Each room should be separated by a wooden door to prevent creepers from moving freely through your base because they will at some point spawn inside the darkness of your entrance tunnel. This is a dangerous result of the requirements of a fully concealed and dark secret entrance. After you place your bed in the initial room, you must make sure you wait until night and use your bed to set your spawn point in your new base. Placing your bed and not using it is an unacceptable mistake. Now that you have this base you can gather and develop your resources in relative safety. Do not ever leave your character unattended even in your own base. If you must leave your computer to get a drink or use the restroom, log off even if only for 15 seconds.

Food and Farming
Although meats restore a lot of hunger and can be farmed by breeding livestock, the best foods are Potatoes, Melons, and Carrots due to their ease of renewability. Unfortunately each of these foods are rare to find and will only be found by randomly dropping from a zombie at night or from finding an NPC village. Your best chance of locating an NPC village is to craft a map and expand it to maximum size and then systematically sweep the terrain until the map is fully revealed. Seeking out an NPC potato farm can be very time consuming, so once you have a single potato it will be one of your most valued items. Make sure you also save any bones you gather from skeletons so that you can use bone meal to expand your farm as rapidly as possible from your single lonely potato or carrot. Once you have an Ender Chest you should place at least 1 raw Potato, Melon Seed, or Carrot to protect your ability to start a new farm as required and never be at risk of it being stolen.

Iron is Common, Diamonds are Rare
A full set of armor takes 24 Iron or Diamonds. You will also be using these resources for your Swords and tools, likely requiring a minimum of 10 more Iron to craft two Swords, a Pick to use on Diamonds, and a Bucket to use for pouring water on lava pools. Therefore when gathering Iron you will want to collect at least 34 Iron Ore before returning to your base to smelt and craft. While your initial Iron supply is low you will want to use Stone Picks to tunnel and gather, because mining with iron picks will consume your iron at a rate that may be greater than the rate you collect it. Despite this you will need to carry at least one iron pick so that you can gather Diamonds when you find them and sometimes to break through redstone for XP. Diamonds only generate in the first 16 layers of the world, right above the bedrock, so it is statistically best to mine between layers 8 and 12 to maximize the chance of finding diamonds. The most efficient method of mining is known as branch mining. This involves reaching your target depth and creating a main tunnel of 1x2. After this you begin mining 1x2 branches perpendicular to that tunnel and spaced 2 blocks apart, allowing visibility on every single block of those 2 layers and partial visibility of the layers above and below you. When you do locate Diamonds it will be tempting to use your first 2 diamonds to craft a diamond sword, but you must resist this temptation because your first 5 diamonds are of critical importance in producing an Enchanting Table as soon as possible. Use your first 3 diamonds to craft a diamond pick which you will then use to gather the 4 obsidian you need for your Enchanting Table.

The Nether, to Hell and Back
One of the first things you will have to do after getting your basic combat supplies prepared is enter the nether and search for a Nether Fortress. This is absolutely necessary for two important resources; Blaze Rods and Netherwart. You simply cannot progress in Minecraft without these two items. Never build a Nether Portal inside your base! This greatly increases the chances that someone will find it and be teleported directly into your home. Build your portal on the surface in a random location in the wilderness. Exploring the Nether is extremely dangerous and likely to get you killed so take only the minimum of what you need and consider it potentially a one way trip. You may want to include a larger than normal stack of food so you can wander around for an extended period, as well as 10 obsidian blocks and a flint and steel to craft an exit portal right inside the Nether Fortress once you find one. When you find a Blaze spawner, block it off and leave only a 1x3 opening to the bottom step of the spawner area, so that you can farm up as many Blaze Rods as possible.

The Ender Chest, the only Security
In order to protect your resources on a server which allows grief and stealing, you will want to craft an Ender Chest as quickly as possible. Unfortunately this comes after the challenging task of locating a Blaze spawner in the Nether. Alternately, you can seek out a village and try to trade with a priest to purchase an Eye of Ender. This may require you to build a villager breeding enclosure, some structures with lots of extra doors, and probably a farm for tradable goods such as wheat, beef, paper, or wool. Below is a quick breakdown of how someone might organize the 27 slots available in their Ender Chest. Choosing what to put in your Ender Chest is simply a matter of deciding which items are the most time consuming to replace if someone were to raid your base. Once you have your Ender Chest created, it would be wise to create a second Ender Chest and hide it a few hundred blocks away so that you can recover your items if a raider destroys your first Ender Chest.
1. Diamond or Diamond Blocks
2. Diamond or Diamond Blocks
3. Iron or Iron Blocks
4. Obsidian
5. Gold Blocks or Enchanted Golden Apples
6. Emeralds
7. Enchanted Bow
8. Enchanted Bow
9. Enchanted Bow
10. Enchanted Diamond Sword
11. Enchanted Diamond Sword
12. Enchanted Diamond Sword
13. Saddle
14. Horse Armor
15. Brewing Stand
16. Enchanting Table
17. Wither Skeleton Skulls
18. Glowstone Dust
19. Netherwart
20. Blaze Rods
21. Eyes of Ender
22. Bookshelves
23. Feathers
24. Gunpowder or TNT
25. Potatoes (raw for creating new farms)
26. Melon or Melon Seeds
27. Carrots

There are only 2 weapons, Swords and Bows
Combat in Minecraft is limited to two basic weapons, the Sword and the Bow. In any given combat you will probably use both of these weapons. A player without a bow is at a huge disadvantage, and in my opinion the bow is more important than the sword. Once you have your 5 diamonds for a pick and enchanting table, the next 2 diamonds you collect will be used for your first diamond sword. Any further diamonds you collect you may want to save for more swords instead of diamond armor. This sword will be primarily for PvP and I recommend you also carry one or two iron swords for use against mobs, especially if your sword has a nice enchantment and you want to make it last. The most important tactics of sword fighting are critical hits and blocking. You can perform a critical hit for up to 50% extra damage by jumping and striking your target while in midair. This can take some practice, but you can perfect your technique while hunting animals or mobs. A critical hit will display white sparkles when you hit. Blocking is extremely important especially while closing range against someone using a bow. You will have many opportunities to practice your block skills when you are fighting Skeletons. Once you have a sufficient selection of swords from enchanting, I recommend carrying both an offensive sword without knockback, and a defensive sword with knockback, so that you can utilize these to your advantage based on the circumstances of your combat. Your bow, unfortunately, comes with the added challenge of consuming ammunition, so you have to carefully consider whether it's worth it to spend arrows at any given time. In general, you don't want to use arrows on mobs, which are relatively simple to fight. When fighting players, you want to time your shots so that you have a high probability of hitting the target. You do not want to spam arrows or shoot at distant targets or targets moving perpendicular to your line of sight. When possible you want to choose terrain and positioning that forces your opponents into moving straight towards you, through a channel of blocks forming a choke point or up a ladder.

Flint and Steel, the Ultimate Tool
One of the few utility items which is also viable for combat is the Flint and Steel. Whether someone is charging at you down a hallway or pursuing you on open ground, the ability to light the ground on fire is an important area denial strategy. If your opponent is foolish enough to hide inside or on top of something made of wood, they are going to quickly regret that decision when you turn their defenses into a bonfire of death. The second important use of fire is to destroy someone's supplies once they die and drop a pile of goodies. If you don't have the room to hold them or the time to sort out what is best to take, your only choice is to burn everything up to prevent recovery by the enemy or their allies.

Fishing Pole Grappling and TNT, the Counter to Archers
Once an archer is positioned in a well-built tower, it may seem impossible to get to them without taking significant damage. At this point you can either use your fishing pole to grab them and pull them off their ledge with the added benefit of causing fall damage, or you can place some TNT under their floor to destroy their position and probably cause them a lot of damage. When placing TNT be careful to position it on top of another block so that it doesn't just fall away from the target surface after being lit.

Enchanting at Peak Efficiency
Some people like to enchant at level 30 but it has been my personal experience that enchanting at level 23 is also very effective. This provides access to all of the high level effects such as Flame, Infinity, and Fire Aspect at near optimal chance. To build a library for level 23 enchanting you will need 11 shelves. Technically 10 would work but you will have to spend a lot of time replacing your item in the table for a level 23 enchant to appear, so I do 11 shelves to make things less time consuming. To enchant at level 30 you will need 15 shelves. If you build a library of 15 shelves you can place torches over 4 of the shelves when you want to do a level 23 enchant as well. A 15 shelf library is going to require 45 Leather and 135 Suger Cane, so you need to constantly be on the lookout for those resources. Once you have enchanted a few swords or bows, you will likely end up with 2 to 4 Sharpness 3 or Power 3 items. At this point you want to start using your levels on an Anvil to combine them into Sharpness 4 or Power 4, and eventually if you have enough work put in, combine those into Sharpness 5 or Power 5 items. Once you have a rank 5 sword or bow though, it is the culmination of hours of work and potentially over 100 levels of experience, so you must keep this item safe in your Ender Chest until the appropriate time to risk using and possibly losing it. You should never carry it while exploring, going to the Nether, mining, or caving. This weapon is only used when applied for a direct attack against a known target and location in which you have assessed the risk and your probability of victory. After your attack is executed, go put it back as soon as possible. In general, my personal preference for bows is Flame instead of Infinity, due to the increased damage per second. If you do end up with an extra Power 3 Infinity bow that you don't have much necessity for it can be useful as your spamming or target practice bow for distant and moving targets, so that you can have fun shooting at people without consuming your ammo or costing durability on your main Flame bow. A Punch bow is also much more effective than it may seem because it gives you more time to fire on your target as they are closing distance to you. Do not underestimate the effectiveness of a Punch II bow in the hands of a skilled warrior.

World Spawn, the Kill Zone
While wandering the world, your chances of encountering another person decrease the farther away you are from spawn. In effect, there is really only one point on the map in which you can reliably make contact with other players, and that is the spawn area. The second point would potentially be one of the End portals, but in reality very few people have an interest in locating this portal or hanging around nearby. Everyone should know that the compass points towards the spawn point and it is the center of your entire Minecraft world. Hanging out near spawn affords you opportunities to either recruit allies or slaughter new players. If someone is foolish enough to build a base and not set their spawn there using a bed then when they die you can try following them from the spawn to locate their base and then loot and pillage. If you are so prepared, you might also consider stashing your best items in your secret location and carrying minimal supplies to risk an alliance. You can offer a few items like food and an iron pick to a new player, and then offer to build a new secret bunker with them. While you cannot easily trust anyone on an open PvP server, you can minimize the risk of what you will lose if they turn on you. The reward of making a new ally for combat could easily outweigh the costs. No matter how well you feel your alliance is going though, you should never reveal your true secret base to anyone. If you feel the need for more opponents than allies, you can simply attack anyone and everyone that comes into the server or gets within sight of the spawn. This provokes everyone into bringing the fight to you and basically gets the PvP game underway. My personal tactic is to build a simple tower to stand in and shoot arrows at new people as they join. Spawn killing people endlessly though is a waste of resources as it costs you hunger, durability, and arrows, while it costs your victim nothing. It is better to wait until they gather some resources and then kill them.

The Brewing Stand, the Final Combat Advantage
With weapons and armor being equal or near equal between combatants, brewing will determine the victor by a noticeable margin. To get started with brewing you are going to need one Blaze Rod, one netherwart, and one or more soulsand. Before going into combat you're going to want to prepare Potion of Strength II, Potion of Swiftness II, Potion of Instant Healing II, Splash Potion of Poison II, Splash Potion of Harming II, Splash Potion of Slowness Extended, and Splash Potion of Weakness Extended. At the minimum, you should carry the Strength, Poison, and Healing potions. The others are additional help based on the circumstances of the fight, whether you are attacker or defender and whether you are primarily a melee or ranged fighter. Potion of Invisibility Extended can be useful for certain surprise attacks but in order to be effective you have to remove all of your armor. You can find the recipes for brewing these on the Minecraft wiki. One potion I haven't mentioned is the Potion of Regeneration II. While this is an effective potion, not only does the main ingredient, Ghast Tear, make it prohibitive to craft, but it's my belief that the Enchanted Golden Apple is slightly easier to craft and far superior in effect. The regeneration provided by Enchanted Golden Apple is effectively equal to Regeneration IV and lasts 30 seconds. This effect regenerates health faster than most sources of damage and provides a massive advantage in combat. While Enchanted Golden Apple is not brewing recipe and therefore doesn't require any materials from the Nether, it is used in the same manner as a potion so I've listed it in this section.

Trapping, the Hunter becomes the Prey
One possible effective method for eliminating a powerful opponent is to lead them into a death trap. This provides the benefit of disarming them of all their carried combat gear and supplies as well as putting you at no risk in combat. There are a few trap designs that can be utilized effectively in vanilla PvP worlds. These fall into 3 primary categories; drop into lava, drop to bedrock, and TNT. In order to construct these you will need to collect a supply of redstone, slimeballs, and gunpowder. The other materials are simple to gather. Various designs may be reviewed elsewhere. The strategy for luring someone into a trap can be difficult to execute. You need to lure them in personally or you need to somehow give away the coordinate location of your trap as if it were a base. For entertainment you can build a pit trap around 2000 blocks from spawn and when new players connect they will often ask you where you are. When this happens you simply tell them the coordinates of your pit trap and wait for the death message.

The Unwinnable Fight, what are the options?
Sometimes you are faced with an enemy that has been gaining power for weeks or months and is armed beyond a reasonable point for you to challenge their superiority. Sometimes even when equally armed, a particular opponent is just a great fighter and always seems to come out alive. In this case you are left only with subversive strategies. First, you can attempt to lead them into a trap to disarm them of their best gear. Secondly, you may attempt to recruit more new players to gang up on them and end their reign of terror. Lastly, you or another new player you've coerced with may attempt to gain the enemies trust and turn on them at an opportune moment. At this point it is pure war strategy; anything it takes to shut down the top dog is a viable action.

You are the Warlord, now what?
After all this fighting and studying tactics, you've destroyed everyone you've gone into battle against. It has been weeks since you've been killed. Now you can expect that other people are going to try to use all of these tactics against you and you can't trust anyone. You spend your time in the spawn terrorizing new players and hoping they'll build an army against you, but no one manages to bring a challenge to you. Maybe you can make some YouTube videos to draw in bigger threats and display your prowess. Maybe you can write an essay on PvP tactics. Minecraft is not a very content heavy game and very quickly you will have seen all there is to see, so without additional mods, plugins, or scenarios the only thing left is the depth of the PvP metagame. Unfortunately, as with all games, the metagame depends on other players being skilled and dedicated enough to develop and apply new strategies in your environment and in vanilla Minecraft there are relatively few players interested in vanilla PvP. For the majority of Minecraft players their interest in PvP is more about width than depth; that is, they are interested in playing scenario maps such as Hunger Games or using a class system in a team deathmatch arena. They would like to experience many things rather than master one thing. My interest here is only in expanding the depth of vanilla PvP as it is presented by Notch. I hope this guide has excited your desire for vanilla PVP and piqued your interest in the strategies and tactics that are applied in that environment.
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Update #3 : 08/08/2013 4:03:37 pmAug 8th, 2013

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As an avid pvper i say you made a Great guide although the enchanted goldenapples are really hard to get it will give you the victory most likely


also you should make a desert version of the monument :p
  • Hjormel
  • Level 14
  • Journeyman Skinner
  • August 11, 2013, 12:39 pm
nice, i knew 99% of it ^^
  • yodudel
  • Level 10
  • Journeyman Taco
  • August 9, 2013, 6:27 am
Actually in my opinion enchanting books at level 1 is the best option, since you can get more and then just combine them on an anvil. Probably the most effective way to get what you want and have high level enchants of a specific kind
  • Cypher777
  • Level 38
  • Artisan Grump
  • August 9, 2013, 10:36 am
Enchanting books at level 1 will never result in more desirable enchantments like Fire Aspect, Infinity, or Flame. In order to do that you would need to be enchanting yours books at levels 10, 21, and 21, respectively. In this case you have about a 25% chance to get multiple enchantments on your item vs a 0% chance for multiple on a book. If you just want Sharp 3 on your sword for instance, using books will require a minimum of 20 levels. 4 for the Sharp I books, 4 to combine them to Sharp 2, then 5 to combine them to Sharp 3, and finally 7 to apply them to the sword. This doesn't account for the very high likelihood that you will have spent 10 more levels getting other books while you were trying to get Sharp books. At that point you may as well have enchanted your sword directly at level 23 to give yourself a chance at Fire Aspect, which is arguably the most important of sword enchantments. Now those other books you end up with aren't a waste since you can use them later, but they will come with more application overhead, will not provide you with any chance at the higher level effects of Flame, Infinity, etc, and will still be eliminating you chances at multiple enchantment efficiency. The book method does, however, eliminate the 25% chance that your 23 level sword will end up with Smite III or Bane III, so that can provide a strategic decision as a player. The question then is, are you willing to give yourself 0% chance of getting Fire Aspect in order to also have 0% chance of getting Smite or Bane? A viable decision.

If someone is looking for Fire Aspect II specifically, they have about a 12% chance of getting it on their sword at level 30 vs a 1.6% chance on a book.

In the case of building your first set of Prot 1 iron armor, books are strictly less efficient. If you want apply a level 1 book to each piece of armor it's going to cost at least 12 levels. 1 per book and then 2 per application. Once again this doesn't account for levels spent trying to get Prot books. Now I will say that there is a slight benefit in that books will not roll Projectile Protection or Blast Protection, so that weighs in it's favor. But does it outweigh the cost of application overhead? That is a viable strategic decision. Someone can spend 4 levels to get a mixed protection set, or spend 12-20 levels to get a strictly Prot 1 set. It depends on how important a perfect set is and how much iron and books you have.

I am not convinced that book enchanting is effective for the majority of one's enchanting goals, but if there is an efficient application for it I would have to see the numbers to support it as well as outweigh the downsides of application overhead and 0% chance at multiple enchantments. Naturally though you are still entitled to your own opinion about books and I respect that.

Thank you for reading my article and commenting! :)
  • TacoDip
  • Level 57
  • Grandmaster Taco
  • August 9, 2013, 4:22 am
Nice tutorial dude, haven't read all of it but most of it is awesome!
Very good guide, have you got anything to say about building a base that is well hidden yet well defended?
  • Cypher777
  • Level 38
  • Artisan Grump
  • August 8, 2013, 3:23 pm
I took my answer a little step further and posted a schematic of my basic combat tower design I've been using lately. The real intention isn't to share the schematic but to share the screenshots, but listing it as an individual project was effective for that goal.

http://www.planetminecraft.com/project/basic-combat-tower/
  • Cypher777
  • Level 38
  • Artisan Grump
  • August 8, 2013, 2:09 pm
Thank you! Excellent question. In general, I try to keep my base as small as possible to minimize the chance of it being discovered by random diggers or chunk loading latency. In the ideal game of Minecraft the probability of anyone finding your concealed underground base by fair play is extremely low. I try not to account for xrayers when I build a base because it should be up to the server admins to review and correct these kinds of attacks if you believe you've been hit by a cheater, but sometimes admins are not that attentive or just don't have the logging plugins used to identify cheaters. The only defense against xraying is greater distance from the spawn. That aside, I always build the entrance to my base as a straight down tunnel with a ladder for about 10 blocks, usually in water around 3-6 blocks deep. I feel that depth isn't that important but you never want to build your base in the 1-16 layers where players will be branch mining for diamonds. You also don't want to start a mineshaft for branch mining from inside your base. Such a structure greatly increases the footprint of the base and the chance of discovery. Don't hang around near your base longer than you need to and once you leave your base always cover the entrance with a block matching it's surroundings. Unfortunately when it's on dry ground it's best to hang around for a minute or 2 so the grass will cover it again.

In terms of combat readiness, you just never want to have a battle at your real base. If someone has discovered it's location, it's done, that base is burnt and you need to move everything hundreds of blocks away assuming you can survive the initial fight. In rare instances I have built a trap using a false iron door with a button linked to tnt, but they were never triggered and I always felt like the most likely person to trigger it would be me absentmindedly. Besides that if anyone had managed to get into my tunnel, the chances of them being an xrayer would be extremely high and the trap would be discovered. You can build a kind of "safe room" out of obsidian that is as small as possible, but in my experience using such a structure, although it works well for combat, doesn't functionally do what a secret bunker is meant to do, which is hide your stuff safely while you are away. The only true security your main bunker can have is an Ender Chest so that it's just literally impossible for anyone to steal your best stuff if they get into your base.

For your actual combat base, I recommend a structure as close as possible to the spawn area and built as a tower about 8-12 blocks high. By fighting from a tower your opponents will virtually never be able to get close to you without taking a lot of arrow fire. A small 5x5 box room with 1x2 doors and a 1 block wide balcony on each side will provide effective cover and as close to a 360 degree field of fire as possible. You always want your balconies and walls to have a corner so you can't be knocked back and off when you have to fight inside the tower. A second story platform is effective for retreating if someone managed to make it onto the first floor. Making the center of the first floor out of 3x3 obsidian will prevent most people from being able to destroy the floor beneath you and makes it much safer to log out inside your tower without logging back in to discover there is no floor at all. For the entrance method, I tend to use a hole in the center of the floor to pole up into. Essentially though, any combat structure is going to need to be too close to spawn to put anything of value in, and you should always expect it to be obliterated by the time you log in again.

I hope this addresses the question! Thank you very much for taking the time to read my article and comment! :)
Great tips! I'm going to go look at your defence tower now. :P
  • ninja246810
  • Level 39
  • Artisan Ninja
  • August 8, 2013, 9:58 am
Best tutorial ever.
  • Cypher777
  • Level 38
  • Artisan Grump
  • August 8, 2013, 2:26 pm
Thank you very much, sir! :)
  • Ivain
  • Level 52
  • Grandmaster Terraformer
  • August 8, 2013, 4:11 am
This is one big blog. And it goes very deep indeed. I quite like it, but perhaps you should split it up in spoilers, so it becomes easier to oversee. and, if possible, try a slightly bigger font. Apart from that, Well done! I know few people who are willing to go as deep into any subject!
Another tip is to not fight a fight that you will lose. If you stand for nothing you fall for nothing.
  • Cypher777
  • Level 38
  • Artisan Grump
  • August 7, 2013, 5:21 pm
Agreed! Once you see your opponent has better armor, or there are more of them than you expected, do not be afraid to turn back and flee. They will probably taunt you, but you will not have lost the fight, you will have survived it. At this point in the battle the skilled application of a Knockback sword and a flint and steel can increase your chances of survival.

Very good point Creeper! Thank you for reading my article and commenting! :)
Yah i learned that the hard way when i wuz a noob :P I luv this blog you sound like the minecraft Sun Tzu :P
  • Cypher777
  • Level 38
  • Artisan Grump
  • August 7, 2013, 5:42 pm
Sun Tzu was a legend of a man so it means a lot to me to get a compliment like that. Thank you very much!
:D
  • elvisio
  • Level 26
  • Expert Nerd
  • August 7, 2013, 11:28 am
There's propably more pvp tips here than in minecraft wiki :D
Awesome blog.
  • Colonellooo
  • Level 14
  • Journeyman Wolf
  • August 7, 2013, 9:28 am
This is really well written and very informative I may have to use this guide. :D
  • 0CAPguy0
  • Level 1
  • New Miner
  • August 7, 2013, 9:04 am
Great tut, but I think 2000 is to close to spawn, I tend to go anywhere from 3000-15000 from spawn. (depending on the size of the server)
Diamond for you. :)
  • Cypher777
  • Level 38
  • Artisan Grump
  • August 7, 2013, 9:14 am
Very nice, thank you! I can understand why some people may want to be extremely far away from the kill zone. It all boils down to risk vs reward, in that once you are over a few thousand blocks away it begins to take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to travel from your base to the spawn. It's just my personal opinion that walking 20 minutes between deaths is about my limit, but if anyone is willing to travel for longer periods of time it will definitely make their base more secure. In one instance I did make a base on a mushroom island about 8km away from spawn, which wasn't entirely unreasonable due to boat travel, but eventually it did wear on me to travel back and forth so far when I needed to.

Thank you for your view and your comment! :)

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