How difficulty works in Minecraft Dungeons

(Image credit: Mojang)
Defeat the Arch-Illager with these Minecraft Dungeons guides

(Image credit: Mojang)

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Mojang's new action-RPG Minecraft Dungeons tasks players with hacking and slashing their way through mob-filled levels and freeing villagers from the evil Arch Illager. It's a world away from its sandbox counterpart, so if you're new to action-RPGs, it might be tough to guess how tough Minecraft Dungeons will be.

One of Mojang's goals with Minecraft Dungeons is that anyone will be able to play regardless of skill level, giving it a pick-up-and-play feeling. Minecraft Dungeons has a bunch of customizable difficulty settings for both single and multiplayer modes. To start with, there are three basic difficulty levels: Default, Adventure, and Apocalypse. The higher the difficulty, the more likely it is that you'll grab some rare artifacts and gear. 

When you begin the game, Adventure and Apocalypse will be locked and to gain access to them you'll need to have finished the game on the difficulty setting one step below it In other words, you're stuck starting with Default. Mojang isn't going to let you run wildly around Apocalypse mode without some training first. But there are also some more granular choice beyond that difficulty preset with a threat slider.

Threat slider

Each difficulty level has a threat slider which can be toggled with when you first select a mission. The slider will be set to a recommended threat level, but you're free to move the slider up and down. The slider will also sit on a recommended threat level when you're in multiplayer, taking into account the number of players in your party as well as your character level.  

Here is a more detailed break down of the three difficulty modes:


  • Enemies are balanced for a first playthrough
  • Very few enchanted items
  • Rewards are average


  • Enemies are hard to defeat and hit hard
  • New enemy enchantments
  • Rewards are better
  • New gear and artifacts available


  • Enemies are ultra beefy and ultra punishing
  • Lots of enemy enchantments
  • Rewards are better
  • New gear and artifacts available

Combat in Minecraft Dungeons is relatively straightforward and is a mix of explosive hack-and-slash and ranged action. It's definitely more simplistic than other action-RPGs like Path of Exile because it's designed to be playable by a broad range of people, so don't expect too many intricate systems. However, for those who want to delve deeper into class-type builds and create OP characters, there's an enchantment system and artifacts to customise your playstyle. 

If you want to see the game in action and get a feel for the difficulty, check out our Minecraft Dungeons preview and watch some Minecraft Dungeons gameplay footage for a closer look at the action-RPG. 

Rachel Watts

Rachel had been bouncing around different gaming websites as a freelancer and staff writer for three years before settling at PC Gamer back in 2019. She mainly writes reviews, previews, and features, but on rare occasions will switch it up with news and guides. When she's not taking hundreds of screenshots of the latest indie darling, you can find her nurturing her parsnip empire in Stardew Valley and planning an axolotl uprising in Minecraft. She loves 'stop and smell the roses' games—her proudest gaming moment being the one time she kept her virtual potted plants alive for over a year.