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What is Minecraft? Intro for Beginners

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Tminator's Avatar Tminator
Level 40 : Master Crafter
I was recently in our Planet Minecraft chat rooms, when several people came on asking what Minecraft was, they said they were looking into the game and wanted to know more about it. I told them all I knew in hopes of helping them out a little, but then it occurred to me, How many people come here wondering what Minecraft is? So I thought I would make a blog explaining it to beginners.

Please leave an up vote so this can gets on the popular reel for beginners to see when they enter our website.

Basic Overview And History Of The Game

Minecraft, in short, is a sandbox building game, which essentially means it is free roam, freebuild, and can also be classified as an RPG. You can do anything from mine, hunt, and battle for resources, built fantastic creations, develop electrical works of art, or play multi-player with your friends.

Minecraft was developed in Sweden by a company called "Mojang" a coding team who develop many different games. This team was spear-headed by Notch (Markus Persson) and Jeb (Jens Bergensten) in creating this game.

Notch, Jeb, and their team all have Twitter accounts. Notch's Tumblr account, "The Word Of Notch" is where he posts daily stories, and the whole team of course has Minecraft accounts.

As of now, the game has 18 million registered on the website and 4 million games bought, the number increases by the minute.

The game has a free outdated "Creative Mode" with limited blocks and non-savable worlds. The real game costs 25 British Pounds, or $30 American, and comes with all blocks, savable worlds, free updates, and full multi-player support.

Minecraft is now fully released so many bugs are gone, but some may persist and Mojang will eliminate them in future updates.

Game Modes: Survival, Creative, and Hardcore

There are three game modes as of Minecraft 1.0.0: Survival, Creative, and Hardcore. When you create a new Minecraft world, you will be asked which mode you would like to play in:

Choosing Survival spawns you with an empty inventory, health bar, and a food bar. You must fight for survival against numerous enemies (mobs), collect resources, beat starvation, and try to live in the adventure land of Minecraftia. This is the ideal choice for the full Minecraft experience.

Choosing Creative spawns you with an unlimited inventory full of every block type. All natural blocks and placed blocks can be destroyed with one hit, you cannot be killed, and you can fly by double tapping space. This is the ideal choice for experienced builders who want to make incredible creations, or people who don`t want to fend off monsters at every turn.

Choosing Hardcore is just like survival, you have a health bar, a food bar, and must collect resources. Except for one thing....you have 1 life. That's right, ONE. When you die in this gamemode, your world is deleted and all work detroyed. This is the ideal choice for seasoned Minecraft veterans. I do not recommend this for beginners.

The Nether Realm

The Nether is a alternate world accessible in Minecraft only by building a 5x4 frame of obsidian and lighting it on fire. The Nether is thought to be a video game version of "Hell" and the whole terrain consists of Lava flows and lakes with small land areas. In Minecraft 1.0.0, strongholds and bridges were added to the Nether. Strongholds contain Nether warts, and Blaze (a new mob type) spawners. Both of these are vital to making any sort of potion in the game. Zombie pigmen now drop gold nuggets, and Ghasts drop Ghast tears, both useful potion ingredients.

The Ender (Also Called The End)

As of Minecraft 1.0.0, a new realm was added into the game. This realm is called The Ender. Basically the Ender (or End) is the final stage of Minecraft. To get there you must find a stronghold, of which there are only one per world, find the end portal in the stronghold, defeat a silverfish spawner, and have enough ender eyes to light the portal. And that's only the beginning, once you enter the end, that's when the real fun begins!

The End is basically a floating island in a different dimension of Minecraft. It is made of the same material, Endstone, and has obsidian pillars scattered throughout it. The main mob of The Ender is, of course, The Enderman, but there is another one too.... The End is home to the final boss of Minecraft, the Ender Dragon. I'm not going to spoil what the Ender Dragon is for you beginners, but if you can't wait, there are many videos on Youtube about it and how to kill it (Yes, it is hostile)


In the Minecraft 1.0.0 update, many new things were added. Potion brewing was one of the larger portions of this update. Potions give the player new abilities in-game, whether they are fire resistance, regeneration, healing, or speed. There are also potions of harming including poison, weakness, or instant damage. Potions are brewed in brewing stands by placing glass vials filled with water in compartments and placing an ingredient in the top compartment. The different ingredients placed affect what the potion will be and up to three potions can be brewed simultaneously. There are many different potion combinations and a full map of them can be found by Googling "Brewing Minecraft Wiki" One of the more notable things about potions is that adding gunpowder to them results in a splash potion. These can be thrown by right clicking much like a snowball. Be careful handling harming potions on Minecraft Multiplayer as most people do not like being poisoned and you could be banned.


Modifications, or, mods, are special programs developed by young or old game-coders that change the Minecraft experience in many different ways. From adding new blocks and items, to adding new monsters, to adding an entirely new world, mods are always being created and will always be available.

Installation tutorials for most mods can be found either on their webpage, or on a Youtube video, and mods can be found via any search engine (Google, Yahoo, etc.) or under the "mods" section of Planet Minecraft.

Some notable mods/modders are: Aether Mod, Risugami's Mod's, or MightyPork's Mods.

Skins are the image your Minecraft character is seen looking like. For example, Minecraft comes with a default skin, nicknamed "Steve" who wears a turquoise shirt and blue pants. Skins can be changed manually via download, or automatically via Minecraft.net. Skins more-or-less represent your characteristics/ personality/responsibility when going on multi-player servers. For example having a skin of a man with a giant penis is not going to get you respected (true story it happened on a server I was an admin on) This action will probably get you kicked, or banned from that server.

Many programs for making skins are available, such as: minersneedcoolshoes.com, adobe photoshop, or MCSkinEditor.

Some notable skin makers are: Studnicky, Sashoke, Zacko320, or AnunC8.

Texture Packs are packs that change what Minecraft looks like, unlike mods or skins, they don't add anything to the game, and they don't change the character's looks. There are many different techniques to making textures, ranging from packs with a pixelish look, to themed packs (e.g. movies, books), or HD packs designed to look as real as possible.

Adobe Photoshop, or MS Paint are to programs used to make texture packs and are fairly easy to use. To install Textures, simply place the ".zip" into the "textures folder in your .minecraft file. If you are having problems understanding that, there are many tutorials on Youtube explaining how to install textures

Some notable texture makers are: Scuttles (LB Photo Realism), Doku (Dokucraft), or Ovocean (Ovo's Rustic Pack)

Multi-Player Mode

The full version of Minecraft comes with a section labelled "Multiplayer" clicking this will result in an IP address being asked of you. All Servers (places to play multi-player) have an IP address and it is usually posted near the top of a submission. On Planet Minecraft they are found at the top of every entry in the "servers" section. Servers are controlled by other Minecraft players with good enough programming knowledge and fast enough computers that they can host a multiplayer game.

Servers are run by admins and moderators, much like planet minecraft. These specially chosen people can do anything from spawn blocks, to ban players. All servers have different rules about Opping, but many have a rule that if you ask to be a mod, you will be banned. All moderators/Admins work for their rank by showing responsibility, respect, and by being helpful, whining about being an op will get you no where.

Servers are equipped with chat to allow friendly communication between players whilst enjoying Minecraft. If someone spams the chat window with inappropriate content, images, or other, they will be muted, or banned.

Tutorials for how to make servers can be found on Youtube but it is a very complex, tiring, task that sometimes leads to frustration due to griefers.

Griefing and Griefing Clans

Griefers (also called Trolls) are individual users who patrol server sharing websites looking for vulnerable sounding servers, usually ones with promises of "Join and we will Op you!" Once they find one, they will log on and wreak havoc, Killing players, wrecking projects. Especially on Insta-Op servers where they have the full server commands at their disposal. There are three types of griefers:

Kamikaze Grieifers: Kamikaze griefers are griefers that join servers and immediately let their intentions be known, whether spamming the chat as soon as they get on, killing other players, or doing all other frowned-upon things. These griefers usually use the Insta-Op servers I have mentioned before. They join, get opped, and spawn TNT by the stack, or ban all other mods/admins and destroy the world.

Griefing Clans: Griefing clans are groups of people who for some twisted reason, enjoy destroying other peoples stuff. Griefing clans usually have tens to hundreds of users patrolling websites almost 24/7 and once a good one is found, they take action. The founder signals about 20-50 other griefers (depending on max server slots) and they all come on together and obliterate the server. The section printed above about kamikaze griefers, think of that amount of damage times 20, or 30, or 50. There are several huge griefing clans who's names I will not mention for the sake of not giving them any exposure. I have seen the work of several griefing clans myself, and how devastating it can be.

Deception Griefers: The third and final type of griefer, these ones are the most dangerous, but thankfully the most rare. Deception griefers are patient, malicious users who can wait for long periods of time before taking action. These are the hardest kind to detect because they usually appear on a server as a friendly, easy-going, helpful person, who follows the rules and makes sure others do to. Eventually though, if a moderator or admin decides to award them for this good behavior by opping them, all hell breaks loose. They will usually have extensive knowledge of the server and its commands due to the long time being spent there. They will know all the mods/ admins and which ones are the most competent and quick to react, and take them out first. These griefers are lethal to a server and can sometimes completely destroy the server's integrity if someone with server controls isn't watching. I have seen Deception Griefers first-hand as an admin on many servers, and just how powerless myself and other users are to stop them.

The best anti-griefer methods are adding a white-list, or a plugin ranking system that allows users no commands unless promoted. These techniques disable griefers in their tracks, much like ant poison does to ants, and stop their annoying deeds.


Every so often, Minecraft will recieve an update from the Mojang team. These updates are free to people who have bought the game and add all sorts of new features into the game. 1.8 and 1.9 were/are the two highly anticipated "adventure updates," probably the most influential updates in minecraft history (aside from 1.0 that is) These updates added the most features since the game was created.

Currently, there is a Minecraft pocket edition available for all Android supported devices, and a rumour is being spread of a Minecraft edition for the Xbox, but it hasn't been confirmed.

I hope you found this useful to help you understand Minecraft more, and if you are reading this as a beginner, I hope you have a great time playing this amazing game :)
CreditAll opinions expressed in this blog are mine and mine alone. The users mentioned in the Skins/Mods/Textures section are people I personally think are very good at those things. If any offence taken from that section it can be brought to me via PM/comment.

4 Update Logs

Update #4 : by Tminator 12/12/2011 12:01:26 amDec 12th, 2011

-Added section on "The Ender"
-Added more info regarding Nether strongholds
-Added section on "Potions"
-Fixed minor grammatical errors

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10/31/2011 3:08 pm
Level 1 : New Miner
Hembakad's Avatar
his name swortownMA
10/31/2011 3:08 pm
Level 1 : New Miner
Hembakad's Avatar
my house got destroyed by black holes created by one of the kamikaze griefers
10/11/2011 2:39 pm
Level 44 : Master Artist
Thothdjehuty100's Avatar
Nice guide, do you know any publishers? Why not get it printed out?
10/11/2011 2:41 pm
Level 40 : Master Crafter
Tminator's Avatar
thanks but sadly I dont know any publishers :(
10/11/2011 2:44 pm
Level 44 : Master Artist
Thothdjehuty100's Avatar
Hows bout an E-Book for kindle? :P
10/11/2011 2:52 am
Level 2 : Apprentice Miner
dingo990's Avatar
your excellent job at providing a guide for non minecraft veterans has awarded you a like and a subscribe =P
10/11/2011 7:12 am
Level 40 : Master Crafter
Tminator's Avatar
I`d like to thank the academy XD
12/12/2011 11:30 pm
Level 2 : Apprentice Miner
dingo990's Avatar
just doing my job of being one of the few friendly people on the internet
10/09/2011 8:27 pm
Level 26 : Expert Cake
Zenith V
Zenith V's Avatar
An actual book would of been nice, xD
10/09/2011 8:13 pm
Level 1 : New Miner
KingMako's Avatar
Deception griefer, finally a name for me, I wait a while, even teaming up with players for building a home, then from time to time I grief. You might want to add a 4'th and 5'th griefing type: Part-time griefer. Naturally building and then griefing when wanted; Ninja griefer, always using sneak to hide their name, rarely caught, you could find your home in tact, but your secret room of chests entirely gone...
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