For such an overwhelmingly popular game, Minecraft is nothing if not enigmatic. It’s not at all intuitive that you should walk up to a tree and slap it down, yet this is how essentially every Minecraft journey begins. Over the years, developer Mojang has added countless new features, some more inscrutable than others. If you’re here, though, you’re in a judgment-free zone. Everyone must start somewhere, after all. Here are a dozen useful tips that will help you begin your Minecraft adventure.


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1. How to Download Minecraft

Minecraft is far and away the best-selling game ever made. Although it has been available for slightly more than a decade, it’s managed nearly a quarter of a billion copies in sales. That’s a comfortable 70 million more units than Grand Theft Auto V, and more than twice as the next-highest game, Tetris.

That said, Minecraft’s gone through quite a few changes in that time, not least of which is how to download and play the game. There are two flavors: the Bedrock Edition and the Java Edition. The names refer to the type of codebase each game uses. Java is the original, but Java inherently runs slower than other code types, such as the C++ used in Bedrock. The ability to run faster opens compatibility with older systems or low-power phones. They are fundamentally incompatible for the most part, so Bedrock servers can’t have Java players, for instance.

That compatibility is felt most in multiplayer, where Java players have far more customization options for their servers. That said, Bedrock is notably more approachable for people who don’t want to fiddle with the details; a reincarnation of the classic tension between accessibility and granularity of control. There are a few other distinctions that are far-reaching, but comparatively minor. For example, Redstone—Minecraft’s in-game electrical circuitry that’s often used to recreate computers—is notably less flexible within Bedrock.

Most people should fire up their system’s store to download Minecraft; it’s available for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Android, iOS, and Windows 11/10.

For everyone else (including people using a Linux-based PC, macOS, or older versions of Windows), click here for download support(Opens in a new window). You can also check to see if your device can run it if you’re using something funky like an Amazon Fire, Raspberry Pi, or Oculus.


2. How to Mine and Craft


(Credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Minecraft’s namesakes are at once obtuse and elegantly simple. You must mine before you can craft, though the game’s interpretations are absurd at times. Thankfully, all current Minecraft versions include a list of recipes your character “knows” on the crafting screen, and it automatically expands as you collect relevant materials.

Beginning the game with no gear, you must punch the ground or a tree to start your journey. Once the object breaks, you’ve got your first bit of materials. Trees take longer to bust than dirt or sand, but they should be your first target. Here’s how to get started.

  • Find a tree and slap it down.

  • Open your inventory. You’ll see a Crafting section with a 2×2 square of inventory slots.

  • Place the log in any slot, and it transforms into four planks.

  • You can create a much-needed crafting table by placing a plank in each slot.

  • If you gather a bit more wood, you can whittle planks into sticks that you can use to make your first tools.


3. How to Get Honeycomb in Minecraft

Honeycomb is relatively easy to obtain in Minecraft, which is good. After all, it’s used for many things, including making sugar that goes into potions. You can harvest it from beehives using shears once the beehive is full (you’ll notice that the beehive is full when it oozes honey). Shearing yields three honeycombs, but also angers the bees, putting you at serious risk. However, you can make a simple, safe honey/honeycomb farm by taking the following steps.

  • Collect three honeycombs, and arrange them in the center of your crafting table with six planksa row above and one below—to make a beehive.

  • Plant flowers of any kind nearby.

  • Place the beehive wherever you want, but keep in mind that you’ll probably want at least two blocks of space below it.

  • Dig down 1-2 blocks and build a campfire. This will smoke the bees, preventing hostility.

  • However, the fire will harm the bees if the insects get too close. In the Minecraft Java Edition, you can carpet over the fire or use a trapdoor, blocking the flames but not the smoke. In the Minecraft Bedrock Edition, you can build a fence around the fire.

  • Shear when ready, or use a bottle to gather honey.


4. How to Make a Map in Minecraft

Maps are an essential companion for any adventurer. You simply need between eight or nine paper pieces, one redstone, and four iron ingots.

  • Depending upon the version, you can either place eight paper around a compass or fill the crafting table with nine paper to make a map.

  • If you don’t have a compass, place the redstone in the center of the crafting table with iron on its left, right, top, and bottom sides to create one.


5. How to Make a Saddle in Minecraft

Minecraft


(Credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Saddles are important if you want to ride a horse and move around the world a bit faster. Unfortunately, they are one of the few items you cannot make in Minecraft; you must find them. Here’s how to do so.

  • Saddles are most accessible through common dungeons. Simply wander the overworld, digging here and there until you find a dungeon. Once there, explore the dungeon until you find a chest. Odds are about 1:4 for finding a saddle, so it shouldn’t take long.

  • You can also find saddles in Nether fortresses, blacksmith chests, and even through fishing.


6. How to Make Potions in Minecraft

Brewing potions is a crafting sub-type that requires a brewing stand. They can be found in villages or made at a crafting table. To make a potion, you’ll need blaze powder (made from blaze rods), glass water bottles, and the proper ingredients for what you’re trying to make.

  • With a water bottle and blaze powder, you create a base potion (typically using nether wart).

  • Add the main effect (e.g., regeneration potion with a Ghast Tear) by running the potion through the brewing stand again, with the new ingredient at the top and your base potions in the bottom row.

  • Finally, run the potion through the brew stand with glowstone dust, redstone dust, fermented spider eye, gunpowder, or dragon’s breath to create effects.


7. How to Tame a Fox in Minecraft

Foxes are adorable. Minecraft foxes are no different. Plus, they don’t smell like their IRL counterparts. The general process for making a vulpine buddy are similar to most other taming efforts.

  • First, you’ll need to find them. Foxes are nocturnal and can be found in Grove or Taiga biomes

  • Track one pack down, and quickly build a wall around them a couple blocks high. You must be somewhat sneaky, as foxes are skittish creatures.

  • With at least two foxes in your makeshift pen, you’ll need to feed them sweet or glow berries until two foxes mate and have a baby fox.

  • Continuing caring for the fox until it’s an adult, then you can put a lead on the fox and take it back home!


8. How to Breed Axolotls in Minecraft

Breeding animals is a latter-stage concern. Once you’ve graduated from scavenging basics and start harvesting animal goods en masse, such as eggs and feathers, you’ll probably want to take a few steps to get ready. For axolotls, specifically, be certain that you have plenty of accessible water. In addition, make sure to have lots of lighting in the area to keep monsters from spawning nearby and munching your pets!

  • With your farm set-up ready, you’ll need to first find at least two axolotls in a Lush Cave.

  • Capture them with a bucket, and bring them back to your farm.

  • Next, find tropical fish in an ocean biome.

  • Catch the tropical fish in a bucket.

  • Feed them to your Alxolotls, and they’ll enter “love mode” and soon spawn a baby.


9. How to Breed Horses in Minecraft

Breeding horses requires that you first tame them. This requires a saddle, and that you simply ride one until it warms up to you. It will likely buck you off a couple times, though. Stick with it, then adhere to these steps:

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  • Once you have at least two horses tamed, bring them together in a safe pen or small, closed pasture.

  • You’ll need to feed the horse their favorite food to get them in the mood. In this case, that’s golden carrots (golden apples also work, but they tend to be rarer finds).

  • Carrots are quite common in village gardens; zombies also sometimes have them. Alternatively,  you can surround a carrot with golden nuggets in the crafting table to create golden carrots.

  • Feed both horses a golden carrot, and you’ll have a foal in a few seconds


10. How to Make a Minecraft Server

Minecraft


(Credit: Xbox Game Studios)

There are many great reasons to make and run your own Minecraft server. Fundamentally, it gives you total control over the game world. For kids playing Minecraft and parents wanting a safer digital playground, running a private server can be a great idea. Even so, it can be a pain, and unless you have a moderate level of technical home networking knowledge, Mojang recommends that Minecraft Realms, a private server subscription service, would be a better fit for most people.

If you’re running your own server, it will be Java edition; that means you must have Java installed and up-to-date. If you have trouble following the below instructions, it might be wise to look up how to use the command prompt, basic home networking (specifically port forwarding(Opens in a new window)), and how folder directories work.

  • Get the desired minecraft_server.1.XX.X.jar file (where the X’s will be the version number).

  • Create a folder with whatever name you choose, but we will call it “Minecraft Server” here.

  • Move the .jar file into the Minecraft Server folder and open the command prompt from the start menu.

  • Find the Minecraft Server in your computer’s directory.

  • Type “cd [.jar file’s address]” (without quotes or brackets) with the actual folder address on your PC.

  • Type “Java -jar [minecraft_server.1.XX.X.jar]” and hit Enter (without quotes and replacing the bracket section with the exact filename of the Minecraft Server jar file, which varies depending on exact version release).

  • You will see two errors. Don’t worry about them.

  • In the Minecraft Server folder, you now have a eula.txt file. Open it, and change eula=false to eula=true. Save.

  • There will also be a new “server.properties” file. Open that with Notepad, and take note of the query.port setting (default 25565), because we’ll be using that in the coming steps. You can also edit other basic settings, such as difficulty and the maximum number of players.

  • Type “Java -jar [minecraft_server.1.XX.X.jar]” and hit enter, without quotes or brackets.

  • This will bring up the server window showing stats, players, and server commands.

  • Once you’ve done all this, Run Minecraft, go to multiplayer, add a new server, add “localhost” in the server address, and you’re set!

  • For other people to connect to your servcer, you’ll need the query.port setting and your public IP address (which you can get by checking “What is my public IP?” in your browser).

  • Give this information to new people entering your Minecraft world, followed by :25565 or whatever your query.port shows.


11. How to Make Fireworks in Minecraft

Real-world pyrotechnics consist of black snakes, smoke bombs, sparklers, and the like, but Minecraft’s options are limited to mini rockets that launch themselves (and potentially you) through the sky before detonating. Even so, with the right ingredients, and if you’re ambitious, a redstone system to time them, you can celebrate anything you like with enough explosives to put any July 4th or New Year’s party to shame.

  • Making fireworks requires a minimum of one paper and one gunpowder.

  • Adding up to two more gunpowder increases the pyrotechnics’ flight distance.

  • You can make paper by placing three sugar cane in a horizontal line on the crafting table.

  • Gunpowder is found by killing a creeper before it explodes.

Creating a firework star modifies the effects of the rocket.

  • Craft the firework star, and then add it to the paper and gunpowder when making a firework rocket.

  • The basic ingredients are gunpowder and matching dyes, but you can also add gold nugget, diamond, glowstone dust, fire charge, or a head block for additional effects (like a sparkling trail or a Creeper-shaped explosion).


12. How to Make a Smooth Stone in Minecraft

Smooth stone is one of the simplest, albeit obtuse, things to create in Minecraft. It’s an important construction material, so use these steps to whip some up.

  • Once you’ve got a crafting table, make a furnace with eight bits of cobblestone around an empty square.

  • Take the furnace, fill it with cobblestone, and add any fuel (e.g. wood, coal) you’d like.

  • Wait for the furnace to finish cooking, and you’ll have clean, recycled smooth stone ready to go.


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