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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 Overworld where they must learn to survive using the player's intuition and common sense.
  • The player must have the "Taking Inventory" achievement which is complete when the player opens their inventory.
  • The player must search Caves, Ravines, Villages, Dungeons, and so on for specific items in order to survive their first night.
  • If the player trades things for emeralds (in a village) and then they use those emeralds to trade for Eyes of Ender, the player would not have to go to The Nether.
  • The player crafts their first tool which, under most (although not all) circumstances, will be a wooden pickaxe or a 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 a large underground opening which contains large deposits of usable minerals such as Iron, Gold, Diamond, etc.
  • The player finds and smelts Iron Ore into Iron Ingots and uses it to make tools, or if they have enough, possibly (but not necessarily) armor.
  • The player strikes Diamonds! While looking for diamonds, it is important for the player to keep a level head as 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 is usually necessary.
    Diamond ore

    The Diamond Ore.

  • 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 one has learned to make obsidian.).
  • The player builds a Nether 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 with no minerals (other than Nether Quartz ore) and which poses a new, scary threat to the player: 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 as well as accessing 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 properties called an Eye of Ender, which when thrown will direct the player to the destination of an End Portal.
  • 12 Eyes of Ender must be kept with the player when they find what they are looking for. This is important.
  • Once the 12 Eyes of Ender are in place, the portal into The End will open and the player will now meet their 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. Some argue that the Wither is more difficult to defeat than the Ender Dragon; however, the Wither is more difficult to summon. 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 acquired, they can be used to construct the Wither by making a T-shape out 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 the user's home. The Wither causes great destruction, and is almost stronger than the Ender Dragon. Another great place to fight the Wither is in the Nether since it won't be able to escape the player very easily.

Survival Multiplayer (SMP)

Survival Multiplayer(SMP) is played by users who connect to a central Minecraft server. This enables them to interact with other users. One 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 as well. 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. (versus) Player. It is when two or more survival players start a fight, either for fun, for training, or for defeating and taking items off of other players. This usually occurs on servers that allow PvP. PVP is similar to a war, but it is in Minecraft.

The command to toggle a player's game mode (survival or creative) in multiplayer (must be an operator in order 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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