Five Minecraft situations you should never get into, and how to get out of them without suiciding.

If you play Minecraft then you’ve been there.  You’ve braved dark, Creeper filled chasms, and after hours of careful exploration your inventory is bulging with loot.  For possibly the first time ever you have an embarrassment of Minecraft riches, a full stack of diamonds, several stacks of iron ore, loads of lapis and red dust, and of course endless quantities of coal.

The only problem now is that you’re stuck.  Somehow you’ve painted yourself into one of several corners, leaving yourself with that classic of Minecraft conundrums.  Find a way out of this, or suicide and just give up on the riches you’ve gathered.

Well worry not friend, here at Random Ruminations we don’t want to see you drop a fortune in diamonds just because you’re lost.  So we’re here to give you a way out, a way out that doesn’t involve charging a Creeper in nothing but you skivvies.  A lot of these will seem to be very obvious pieces of advice, and they are.  But it’s advice which took me time to learn for myself, because believe me when it all goes in the pot, you find very quickly that logic takes a back seat.

1. Damn it I got carried away and went digging straight down:

Every Minecrafter makes this mistake at some point.  You hit a really promising vein of coal or iron and tunnel vision ensues.  I like to think of this as going with gravity, and just like in reality, gravity in Minecraft is a cruel mistress.

You see if you dig straight down there are several nasty possible endings. You might pop through the roof of a cavern.  It’s not much of a fall so it doesn’t kill you outright.  Unfortunately though the floor is made of lava, now that’s a tan that’ll kill you.  Or there’s a body of water down there with some tricky currents that wouldn’t be a threat at all, if you could see.  Or it turns out to be the nesting grounds of many, many Creepers, spiders, zombies and skeletal archers.

Alternatively you might just hit bedrock. But either way you now have to get the hell out of Dodge before you end up as lunch for something.

First piece of advice, do not dig straight down.  It doesn’t matter how unbelievable that vein is, do not dig straight down. At the very least dig in a spiral around it. But if you lose your sanity for a few moments, leading you to go with gravity, and somehow you don’t end up instantly dead, for a start don’t panic.  Don’t go wandering, don’t decide to compound the problem by going any further in any direction apart from up.  After all you got into this situation because of a sweet load of something, wouldn’t it be nice to get back to your base with all that sweet, sweet loot?

So start digging upwards on a diagonal.  It’s that simple.  If you hit a cavern don’t explore it just find another wall and dig upwards some more.  After all this way once you’re home, unloaded and reloaded for bear you can always go back.

2. I went exploring and got lost, Mommy!:

There’s really two Minecrafts, the subterranean Minecraft and the surface world.  And strangely when I get lost playing Minecraft it’s never underground.  You see underground you have the tunnels you’ve dug to follow back out, along with a bread crumb trail of torches.

But on those occasions where I take it into my head to do some impromptu exploration of the surface world, it almost always ends with me hopelessly lost.  It happens very easily, I mean let’s face it Minecraft generates some truly beautiful landscapes.  But it also creates some very disorienting ones.

So take Sunday night.  I decided to scout around the giant water tank I’m building to see what resources were easily available in the area around my two bases.  Five minutes later I was completely lost.  I did not however panic.  I simply remembered that I was infinitely better equipped to survive that I had been when I started building on this particular map.

So steps to surviving without suiciding and thus losing the three diamond picks, three diamond spades and the diamond sword I was carrying.

Find the lowest point nearest to my current position and stop going further away.

Cut down some trees and make a crafting table and forge.

Dig down until I found iron, coal and red dust.

Do what I should have done before I left my base, and build a compass.

That’s all there is to it.  The compass will bring you back to the last bed your character slept in, thus making everything hunky dory.  But it get’s better and there’s a way to make this minor disaster a good thing.  You see you just dug a mine, if you’re lucky like I was you may even have found a great cavern system with tonne’s of resources.  It would be a shame not to find that again, wouldn’t it? Well then my friend just leave a trail of torches behind you as you return home.

See? Simple and you’re mommy didn’t even need to come and hold your hand.

3. I don’t know how but I just got trapped by lava:

This one is an oddity which happens with horrific frequency to me.  I’m minding my own business digging away looking for yet more diamonds, they are after all a geeky, minecraft playing, girls best friend, when I make a break through.  Right into a pool of lava.  When that happens you have a tiny amount of time to react, if you’re fast you can back away enough to get out of the line of flow.  If not you get burnt to a crisp.

Sometimes though through over enthusiasm, poor planning, or momentary idiocy, it’s very possible to end up with lava all around you, while you stand on a single, solitary block.  This is especially possible somewhere like The Nether though occasionally it can even happen in regular caverns. Well as usual don’t panic, I know broken record or what?

You’re going to have an inventory that’s packed with things to walk on.  So pick a direction, preferably one that’s going to get you to solid ground fast, start crawling backwards and lay one block at a time very carefully.  I know most of you are scratching your heads right now.  After all this is basic, basic Minecrafting technique.  But I have chatted with players who genuinely didn’t realise you could do that.

Alternatively you can go for the overkill method, and smother the lava all around you. Leaving a moat of lava, which might lead to the future construction of the Bond villain hideout to beat all other Bond villain hideouts.

The main this is to always be prepared for lava to start pouring near you, move fast and think carefully.  It’s all about protecting those ores, diamonds and the tools you’re carrying.

4. Great now I’m trapped, underwater and drowning:

I’ve saved the funnest one for last.  Nothing is quite as unpleasant in Minecraft as being trapped underwater, okay Creepers are but that’s sort of a given. Well let’s paint a picture.  You’re exploring and you bravely dove into the waters of some cove, you found a small cave down there.  They do show up occasionally, after all the land underwater is generated much the same way as the dry land.  You peeked in and thought you could see an air pocket.  Turns out you were wrong and now you’re watching in horror as your air supply vanishes.  You’re screwed, right?


Just dig an air pocket for yourself.  I’ve been playing Minecraft for months now, and I only discovered this trick in recent weeks (I should point out I don’t use the Wiki’s or guides, I decided to figure everything out the hard way).  But it turns out that if you’re quick enough you can create air pockets in the cavern roof, better still you can even plant a torch in it.

But best of all this technique opens up the ability to efficiently build underwater.  Now how awesome is that?

So I hope that this will be of some help to someone.  As I come across other life saving techniques I might even write a follow up.  If you have some creative, awesome or just plain odd method of avoiding the suicide escape in Minecraft please feel free to add it to the list.

4 Responses to “Five Minecraft situations you should never get into, and how to get out of them without suiciding.”

  1. I have to admit, I haven’t played minecraft since Beta 1.5.X, but when I was branch mining, I’d run into lava pockets. I quickly learned that the best thing for me to do was to put a stack of glass at the end of my quick bar (one mouse-roll away from my pickaxe, basically) and plug the hole with glass whenever I saw it.

    It served a couple of purposes. First, it warned me to be careful digging around there (if I use plain old cobble, I don’t know if I’m hitting a dungeon or a lava pocket I’ve previously mined). Second glass backlit by lava tends to look cool.

    • Good hint that Aoife, I usually use sandstone for that situation myself, because you never see it at those depths which makes it stand out. Glass blocks hadn’t occured to me, but they no go to the top of my list for using those times when a river of lava is poised to give me a facial. Thanks.

  2. You should be on creative mode or on pocket edition so that does not happen!!


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