When I first started playing Minecraft a few months ago, I played with a rule: if I die, I have to delete the entire world. This is the eleventh entry in the diary I kept of that experiment - the first is here .
< Day 10
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So I'm going to hell, getting as far as I can through it, then coming home. It's going to be hard - The Nether dimension is scary enough when you can respawn, and I'm not the kind of hardcore player it was designed for. But I learned a lot in my death slump, and I almost feel like I know how to play this game now.
First up, wood. Punch trees.
Next, coal. I need light. I've found this is much easier if you don't actually mine for it - wander around for a while and you'll usually spot some on the side of a mountain. I make a quick sandy beacon before setting off, so I can find my way back, then go on a coal hunt.
This world is really nice - a secluded bay in a densely forested coast, set against a- shut up! I see coal!
Coal coal coal coal coal.
The sun is setting by the time I head back to the bay, and it's almost night when I get back. I have everything I need from the surface world, though, so I make a stone pickaxe and burrow carefully down from a little cove.
I don't mine directly up, I don't mine directly down, I don't mine directly ahead, and pretty soon I hit black. Not coal, but empty space. I've dug into the roof of a pitch black cave complex.
I'm not dropping down there. Instead I dig horizontally for a while, one block above the roof of the cave, then down. It's solid rock here, so I can double back on myself as I go down, and eventually hit the cave from a more survivable angle.
I drop my first torch, and it lights up a still pool of water, with veins of coal and metal running through the rock above it. Now we're in business.
Still playing it as safe as possible, I don't mine anything yet - I want to light up this whole cave network before I risk turning my back on it. It's an awesome place, riddled with underground rivers that spill out of the walls into pools, and ominous sub-levels I'm not prepared to go down yet. And there's more metal here - lots.
I get to business. What I've learnt from my death slump is that armour is not optional, so once my first batch of metal is smelted I bend it into a breastplate and some boots. I also make a stone sword - metal is better, but it doesn't seem to make much difference in combat.
Once I'm kitted out, I go back to my staircase and start digging down. That's another thing I've learned - resume digging where you stopped digging, or your route back to the surface can get bafflingly complex.
Before long, I hit light. Wait, what? Could this be- oh, it's a torch. It's that lower bit of the cave I lit up, I've just dug through a wall. Oh well, back to the coal face.
Before long, I hit dark. Any sense of deja vu is interrupted by a chilling clatter of bone. Skeletons.
I hate skeletons.
But I'm ready. This cave isn't so deep it'll hurt to drop down, and if there were any other threats down there I'd hear them. I glimpse him for the briefest moment, then drop.
Where is he?
In the corner!
I'm about to start putting down torches when I realise - it already is light down here. There's a glow coming from the far side. I head towards it and see this:
A waterfall into a lavalake. Short of a lavafall into a waterlake, that's the best thing I've ever heard of. And wait, is that... I brick off the flow of water to check.
It is! I've struck obsidian.
Next: Yeah, good luck mining that .