Going the Distance

“I can go the distance, I don’t care how far! Some day I’ll be strong! I know every mile, will be worth my while. I will go most anywhere to find where I belong!”

That song from Disney’s Hercules has been going through my head all day and now it’s probably stuck in your head too. The way my brain works though, it has a habit of creating visuals for music. And the visuals that this particular song creates are odd. They’re Minecraft visuals. Exploration. Traveling. Things like that. Which neatly brings me onto the subject of playing Minecraft and going long distances.

Minecraft Sunset

Now, I’ve talked about going long distances in Minecraft before, traveling a few thousand blocks away from a spawn point in a random direction. On a normal multiplayer server, it’s by far the best way to play, since you will most likely not be bothered by random players. The downside is that if you die, you will almost certainly lose all your stuff, but when you die at the hands of another player, all your stuff goes bye-bye anyway. Really, you’ve got a high chance of losing your stuff anyway, especially if you died in or near lava. Or in the Nether. Or the End.

Being far away from everyone else also means that you get more resources to yourself. Join any busy Minecraft server and you’ll find there’s no resources left. Trees may still be common, but animals will either be farmed or dead and finding diamonds will be difficult when you’re constantly digging into other people’s mines. On top of that, there’s always a risk of having your home raided. No matter how ‘safe’ and ‘grief free’ a server claims to be, someone will find a way to ruin your day. Of course, this is less of a thing in a proper community, but any public server that’s out in the open, living near spawn is a bad idea.

Plus, with the addition of beds back in Beta 1.3, you can easily move your spawn point around, so being far away from spawn isn’t a problem unless someone finds and destroys your home.

But when you travel, you need to pack lightly. The best way to travel is to assume that anything will kill you at any moment, so anything valuable you’ve got on you isn’t worth holding on to. If you find diamond armour of whatever, of course, wear it, but anything you carry should be considered temporary.

As you travel though, you should consider picking a few bits and pieces up – mainly a stack of wood and a stack of cobblestone, and any seeds you come across. Wood and cobblestone are both great at making impromptu shelters, even more so when you’re caught out in a thunder storm. Other essentials should include a crafting table, a furnace, a sword and a pickaxe.

Other items are mostly just for convenience. If you find a bucket on your travels, then cool, pick it up. If you find iron, smelt it and carry it, sure, but you’re better off using it to make armour and better tools than actually carry it. A stack of torches is always handy, but you might as well leave redstone and precious materials behind (unless you can make a clock or compass) because you’ll always fine more when you finally settle down and build your home.

If you’re playing single-player (or are in an empty multiplayer server) then you should carry a bed as well. While the spawn point from the bed will be lost if you destroy the bed, it’s quicker and easier than waiting for day normally, and far safer than dodging enemies – especially since there are so many these days. If you can spare the materials, it’s possible to create multiple beds and not destroy them, leaving each bed as a new ‘save point’ but when you’re on a multiplayer server, a bed in the middle of nowhere is begging to be stolen.

If you REALLY want to go a long way though, carry a boat. These days, boats are way sturdier than they used to be. They’re pretty much indestructible and you can travel across oceans super fast. For their incredibly low cost (five wooden planks) boats are bloody amazing. You only ever need one. Boats also have the added bonus of not draining your hunger while you travel, saving a huge amount of food resources in the process. Even if it’s just to cross a lake or something, the time it takes to place a boat, row across then break the boat and continue is often just as fast as going around. On top of all that, the further away from spawn you get, the more common oceans become, and using a boat becomes a necessity.

Seriously. Get a boat.

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