Tricky Survival Worlds in Minecraft

While most people see Minecraft as a place to build amazing creations and pretty buildings, many people also play Minecraft as a survival game. Prior to Minecraft Beta 1.8, there wasn’t much actual survival to do. You used food to heal, you fought enemies, you mined things and that was it. After 1.8 Beta, the Hunger Bar was added to the game (along with tons of other stuff, such as better Zombie AI) to make the game harder. On top of that, we now have Hardcore Mode, which locks a world to the hardest difficulty and either locks the world should you die in single player or bans you from the server completely should you be playing multiplayer. A single life to look after.

A floating jungle temple
One small step can mean death.

But really, once you’ve got the basics, even Hardcore mode is pretty trivial. Unless you want to go to the End or anything like that, but the difficulty is more luck-based than genuine hard times due to the materials you need. So people end up creating survival worlds. Custom-made worlds which makes surviving as hard as possible.

And these worlds can be insane. My favourite was always the Sky Block challenge, a floating island with a chest and a single tree on it. In the chest would be a bucket of water and a bucket of lava, and maybe some food – generally a handful of wheat seeds. The aim would be to build a bridge over to normal land or some destination far away.

The addition of Amplified, Large Biomes and Custom Worlds which can be generated in-game makes even more possibilities. Amplified worlds make for incredibly tall, perilous, mountainous terrain which is generally incredibly hard to navigate, even during the day. Large Biomes does as the name suggests, making biomes stretch out for hundreds of blocks – not a problem in a forest, but a real struggle in a desert or mountain biome. Custom Worlds allows you to change a whole lot of settings – from how common water and lava oceans are, to how rare dungeons are, to where and when rare ores can spawn.

Not only that, but you can tweak a lot of extra things. You can create a world where biomes are huge AND the world is amplified. Or you can create little tiny biomes barely a chunk or two (16×16 blocks) wide. You can also vastly increase dungeon spawns so you run into them all the time, stop villages from spawning or even remove caves and ravines entirely, meaning that there’s nothing in the ground apart from stone, dirt and ore. You can also set a map to be entirely made of a single biome, which makes for interesting adventures.

But there are advanced options too. Ones that tweak world generation. I have no idea what they do, but they always create something insane. Generally though you end up with really tall landscapes that are almost impossible to traverse unless you’ve got flight or Creative Mode on. One of these monstrosities, I ended up recording for a SPUF of Legend thing.

Unusual results are to be expected. Hills are far more common these days.
Unusual results are to be expected. Hills are far more common these days.

What brought me to write this article though was a custom world I’d made, which turned out far harder than I expected.

One of the biomes you can pick is the Mushroom Island biome. I used this biome to create a custom world – sea levels of about 100, huge amounts of iron, gold and diamond but vast oceans of lava and water as well. I also made the custom world incredibly mountainous, with floating islands everywhere. Why a Mushroom Island biome? This biome has no enemies or mobs apart from Mooshrooms and enemies that spawn via dungeons. But there’s also no grass and no trees. I loaded into the world and all I had in my starter chest (don’t look at me, I like the starter chest!) was a wooden pick axe, a wooden axe, 20 wooden planks and a single sapling.

Luckily you can place and destroy saplings repeatedly. Same can't be said for other plants...
Luckily you can place and destroy saplings repeatedly. Same can’t be said for other plants…

If I hadn’t had that single sapling, this world would have been impossible to live in.

That being said, this world is pretty hard to live in. There’s no food aside from soup and beef (with no way to spawn or breed Mooshrooms after killing them thanks to a lack of wheat), and because I have to ration wood, I have no torches either and no bed. Luckily, the bed problem was solved thanks to a spider dungeon and the ability to make wool blocks from string. But otherwise it’s harder than you think, especially on Hard difficulty.

So the moral of this story is, be careful when creating custom worlds. Otherwise you’ll have to actually put effort into surviving.

That is, until you get diamond tools...
That is, until you get diamond tools…

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