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Survival (Game mode)

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Survival mode, with a diamond pickaxe in hand and a house in background.

Survival is the original game mode of Minecraft. Until mid-Alpha, Survival was the only available mode besides Classic creative mode. Survival may be played online or offline, as long as the user has initially played it while connected to the Internet (which allows game files to download to their computer).

Aim of the game

Upon the introduction of Minecraft 1.0.0 (the first full release of Minecraft), it is possible to play "through" the game to a "proper ending" (although there is no "real goal").

  • The player starts in the over-world where they must learn to survive using the player's intuition and common sense.
  • The player must have an achievement first which is the "Taking Inventory".
  • The player must search caves, canyons, villages, dungeons, and so on for specific items to survive their first night.
  • If you trade things for emeralds (in a village) and use those emeralds to trade for Eyes of Ender, you don't need to go to The Nether.
  • The player crafts their first tool which, under most (although not all) circumstances, will be a wooden pickaxe or wooden axe.
  • The player builds a home featuring a bed, chests with spare materials, a crafting table, and a furnace to be safe from Zombies, Spiders, etc.
  • The player successfully finds a cave, ravine, or large underground opening which contains large deposits of usable minerals.
  • The player finds and smelts Iron Ore into Iron and uses it for tools, or if they have enough, possibly (but not necessarily) armor.
  • The player strikes Diamonds! While looking for diamonds it is important the player keep a level head as
    Diamond ore

    The Diamond Ore.

    to their surroundings, for in large caves there are usually many monsters that can hunt down the player, so a few Iron or Diamond Swords and a full set of Iron or better armor are usually necessary.
  • The player goes on a search for Obsidian, which can occur naturally in some larger cavern systems with underground lava lakes and natural underground waterfalls. An easier way to do this is to craft a bucket, filling it with water and pouring it over lava (or using any other way you have learned to make obsidian.).
  • The player builds a portal to the dimension known as The Nether with the newly acquired Obsidian.

    The Nether Portal.

  • The player appears in The Nether: a new world bereft of minerals (other than Nether Quartz ore) which poses a new, scary threat to the players: Zombie Pigmen, Magma Cubes, Ghasts, and Blazes.

    The Nether, with Blazes, Zombie Pigmen, a Ghast, and a Nether Fortress in the distance.

  • The player locates a naturally generating structure called a Nether Fortress, where they find a Blaze Spawner and attack the Blazes, killing them and collecting their Blaze Rods from their defeat for use in potion brewing and to access the last challenge.
  • The player navigates safely and successfully through the Nether and returns to The Overworld, where their job is to find Endermen and kill them to obtain their Ender Pearls.
  • The player constructs a peculiar item with unusual ghostly properties called an Eye of Ender, which when thrown will direct the player to the destination they know they must go to now.
  • 12 Eyes of Ender must be kept with you when you find what you are looking for. This is important.
  • Once the 12 Eyes of Ender are in place, the portal into The End will open and you will now meet your destiny: Battling the Ender Dragon.
    Ender dragon

    Fighting the Ender Dragon.

  • Once the Ender Dragon has been beaten and the player enters the exit portal, a story will scroll and credits will roll and then, and only then, the player will be teleported to their spawn location. (You can press ESC if you want to skip the story and credits, but you only have one chance read the story unless you go back into the End and re-enter the exit portal.)
  • After you "beat" the game, you can continue exploring the world and playing in general.
  • Alternatively, with the release of Minecraft 1.4 there is a new boss to defeat called the Wither. While some argue it is more difficult than the End's boss. Regardless, it is more difficult to initiate the fight. In order to meet this foe, one must come across three wither skeleton heads by killing wither skeletons in the Nether. Once three have been required, they can construct this abomination by making a T-shape of soul sand with the three wither skeleton heads on top, making sure that one of the wither skeleton heads is the final block placed.
  • It is advised to bring a full set of enchanted diamond armor, with an enchanted diamond sword and bow. The best place to fight the Wither is very far away from your home. The Wither causes great destruction, and is almost stronger than the Ender Dragon.

Survival Multiplayer (SMP)

Survival Multiplayer is played by users who connect to a central Minecraft server. This enables them to interact with other users. You would use this feature to do PVP (Player Versus Player) Combat, or to cooperate to thrive in Survival.


The multiplayer variant of this game mode also took place in the Alpha version. Originally, Notch had only allowed a limited number of people from the Minecraft IRC channel to participate in the first tests of SMP. These invitees could invite other people to test out this mode. However, the password was leaked, and the server was quickly filled up. Notch released the first version of the SMP server software on the 4th of August, 2010. The client was updated so that players could enter the IP of a server to join it.


PVP means Player Vs. Player. It is when two or more survival players start a fight, either for fun, for training, or for defeating and taking the items of the other players. This usually occurs on servers that SMP. PVP is also like a war, but in Minecraft.

The command to toggle a player's gamemode (survival or creative) in multiplayer (must be operator in able to use this command) ls: /gamemode [0/1/2/3 or s/c/a/sp] (0 for survival, 1 for creative, 2 for adventure, 3 for spectate mode).

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