How to crawl and brawl your way through Minecraft Dungeons

Minecraft Dungeons is Mojang's take on a Diablo-esque co-op dungeon crawler set in the Minecraft universe. If you're looking for some Minecraft Dungeons tips to help you fight your way through huge mobs of Minecraft monsters, battle massive bosses, and take down the Arch-Illager, keep reading.

You can play alone or with up to three friends, but before you wade into battle and start collecting enchanted loot, there are a few things you should know. Here are some tips to help you thrive and survive in Minecraft Dungeons.

Don't just follow the quest markers

(Image credit: Mojang)

Minecraft Dungeons does a great job of unobtrusively waypointing your quests, making sure you always know exactly where to go to reach your next objective. But don't get too reliant on keeping your eyes on those markers. The maps in Minecraft Dungeons can be deceptively big, and if you only follow the quest marker you're going to miss out on some goodies.

Periodically check your map to see where you haven't yet been, and before you leave an area make sure you uncovered every last scrap of map. There are often chests tucked away off the beaten path, and you don't want to miss out on extra loot.

Opening your map or settings doesn't pause the game

Make sure you've got your keybindings and other settings as you like them before starting a mission, because currently the game doesn't seem to pause, even in offline singleplayer. Opening the map or the settings screen doesn't stop monsters from continuing to attack you. 

I even died while looking at the "Pause Menu" entry in the key bindings, which is bound to Escape. Which I had just pressed to find it. In an online game, I get why you can't pause. In an offline game, I can't think of a reason you shouldn't be able to pause it and not die while looking at the map or changing your settings.

Salvage old weapons to recover enchantment points

Defeat the Arch-Illager with these Minecraft Dungeons guides

(Image credit: Mojang)

Minecraft Dungeons difficulty: How to tweak the challenge
Minecraft Dungeons multiplayer: How do get co-op working
Minecraft Dungeons builds: Healing, soul farming, and more
Minecraft Dungeons enchantments: All powerful upgrades
Minecraft Dungeons secret level: How to access it

There's not a typical shop in Minecraft Dungeons. The two vendors stationed at your camp don't even sell you stuff: you pay them gems and you get a random item in return. You can earn gems as loot and also from salvaging gear you don't want. But there's something else to be earned from scrapping your old weapons and armor: enchantment points.

If you've enchanted an item but don't use it much anymore, consider salvaging it. You'll not only get gems, you'll get a refund of a few enhancement points you can spend on making something else you own more magical.

Soul stealing is the best

You're going to be killing lots of mobs—thousands and thousands of Minecraft monsters will fall at your mighty blade. Did you know monster have souls? They do, and they're just going to waste if you don't harvest them.

If you find a relic with soul-stealing properties, congratulations! Now every fallen monster will give up the ghost, and that ghost will charge your soul-powered relic. The dead will fuel your death-dealing.

Just check out the Corrupted Beacon and Harvester artifacts I've got equipped in the gif above. The Beacon lets me unleash collected souls in a massive beam of energy, and the Harvester lets me set them off in a blast around my body. Fun! Plus, recylcing souls is good for the environment.

Have one build for mobs, and another for boss fights

(Image credit: Mojang)

Even when it seems you've found the perfect build of armor and weapons for slicing and dicing your way through the world, it pays to have an entirely different set in your inventory ready to equip. This is because what might be good for destroying mobs isn't so hot when it comes to bosses.

Take the soul gear I just said was great. It is! But when I wound up fighting a single giant redstone golem boss, I was completely screwed. He didn't spawn minions so there were no souls to steal, rending my two soul-powered items completely worthless. That's why having a backup set of gear ready to go at all times is extremely useful.

Test your gear on straw dummies at your camp

(Image credit: Mojang)

After a quest you'll probably have a bunch of new gear to try out, and plenty of gems to spend on even more items. But before you head back out to make Minecraft your killing grounds, strap on your gear and give it a test run.

There are a couple practice dummies at your camp you can whale on to see how much damage your weapons do and how your artifacts work. It doesn't hurt to try them out before giving them a true field test.

Some enemies work differently than in standard Minecraft

If you've spent any time in Minecraft sandbox you'll spot plenty of familiar foes, but a few of them have changed a bit as they graduated from the sandbox to the dungeon crawler. 

Spiders, for instance, don't just walk unimpeded through cobwebs, they actually fling them at you, which will trap you in their webbing for several moments. And Enderman, who used to only get hostile when you looked directly at him, now aggros based on how close you are to him. So while you already know a lot of the monsters you meet, be prepared for some of them to have learned new tricks.

Kill cows and sheep

(Image credit: Mojang)

Yes, their death rattle is upsetting, and hacking the life from the only innocent, harmless creatures you encounter may make you feel briefly bad. But within their chunky, wholesome bodies lie resources, hunks of meat you can use to replenish yourself. 

You're going to need all the help you can get, so put them out of their misery so something else doesn't put you out of yours.

Christopher Livingston
Senior Editor

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.