Minecraft Dungeons: Beginner Tips and Tricks

How To Survive The Voxel Dungeons

Mojang Studios, the developers that brought us the hugely successful game Minecraft, has been hard at work creating a new game in the Minecraft universe – Minecraft Dungeons. This new dungeon crawler may not be as complex as some of the best games in the genre, but there is plenty of fun to be had in the blocky world that released on May 26 for Xbox One and PC, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch. It may look like Minecraft but the gameplay is pure dungeon crawler. To help you on your way, we’ve put together 11 tips and tricks to get you started on the path to destroying the evil Arch-Illager.

Salvage Unwanted Loot

Even if you have the perfect gear don’t discard any of the loot you pick up. Instead, salvage it for extra emeralds to use at the blacksmith and wandering trader. Each of these vendors will gladly give you gear appropriate to your level in exchange for your hard-earned emeralds. If having an inventory cluttered with a ton of worthless loot sends shivers down your spine don’t forget that you can salvage items even when you are away from your camp. 

Choose Your Enchantments Wisely

Weapons and armor with good enchantments can be worth a small drop in overall damage. Those few points of damage you lose will often be offset by the increased power of the enchantments you choose on a new piece of gear. Make sure you choose enchantments that fit your playstyle, though. Picking an enchantment that creates additional arrow bundles is worthless if you rarely use your bow. It would be better to pick an enchantment that bolsters your health or increases your damage instead. You aren’t able to reset the enchantment choices on a piece of gear, but don’t get too hung up on this, though. You will have a steady stream of loot dropping from enemies and you can always swap to a new piece of gear to reset your enchantments.

Don’t Forget To Roll

Rolling in combat is a great way to avoid an attack. It is also a wee bit faster than regular movement and can help you close the gap on a fleeing archer or caster. Speaking of gaps, you can also roll across small gaps in the map to get to a chest you otherwise couldn’t reach. After rolling, there is a short period where you move at a slower speed (there is an enchantment to counteract this), so keep that in mind if there are a lot of enemies nearby.

Maximize TNT Damage

I can’t count the number of times I have thrown some TNT into a group of mobs only to have them leave the blast zone before it goes off. To maximize the damage of your TNT, try to stay right on the cusp of the blast radius. Any enemies chasing you will still be caught in the explosion and it could even lure ranged combatants like skeleton archers and evokers in before the TNT explodes. The downside to using TNT is anything caught in the blast will take damage, including you, your friends, and even your pets. It feels really bad when your wolf goes flying across the screen and dies. Not so much when it’s your friend, though.

Don’t Play Favorites When It Comes To Gear

As you start to discover the different armor, weapons, and artifacts that each map has to offer you are bound to find some favorites. Be sure to try out all the different types of gear to get an idea of what you like and don’t like, but don’t hang on to a favorite for too long. As you progress through the levels your enemies will grow in power but, unfortunately, there isn’t any way to level up your gear. So even if you have found the perfect combo and are finding it difficult to let go, remember that even a non-optimal upgrade is still an upgrade. Switching to more powerful gear will make cutting through enemies and finding a new favorite that much easier.

Explore The Whole Map.

Following the quest markers and heading straight towards the boss battles may be the quick way to clear a level, but there are several reasons to do a little exploring first. The obvious reasons to explore the level are gem caches and treasure chests but don’t forget about all the easy XP you will gain by killing off all the trash mobs as you explore. Some of the enemies will drop loot, giving you even more chances to find new gear, and don’t forget to pick the random arrows they leave behind to replenish your ammo.

Pro tip: If you hear a high pitch humming sound it means there is a secret area nearby. Look for an area you can only reach by rolling. There may be a lever to pull to open a secret door or an item to click on to start an encounter. Just remember, if you hear the hum,  don’t be dumb, look for the secret stash.

Kill The Cattle

When you kill monsters they sometimes drop bread or apples. If you’re feeling a little low on health and need a quick meal you can also kill the cows and sheep that you come across. It’s not guaranteed, but they can drop food for you to use, and I promise PETA won’t show up at your door and slap you in the face with a wet fish.

Replay Maps At Higher Difficulties For Better Loot

Just because you’ve cleared a particular map doesn’t mean it isn’t worth going back and running through it again. Each of the maps has specific drops and choosing a higher difficulty level yields higher level gear. This makes it much easier to farm a more powerful version of your favorite weapon or armor when your current one needs an upgrade.

Higher difficulty – risk vs. reward

Run Away!

Dying in battle doesn’t automatically mean you failed a level, but you do have a limited number of revives. Even worse, if you are playing with a friend those revives are shared between the two of you. Using them all up before you make it to the boss battle will greatly diminish your chances of completing the map; it’s not a huge deal to rerun a level, but it does mean you’ll miss out on the boss battle loots.

Use Your Arrows Wisely

150 or 200 arrows may seem like a lot but in Minecraft Dungeons you can chew through your ammo in no time. Wasting arrows on single enemies means you might not have any ammo left when you really need to dispatch a pesky ranged foe or, even worse, when you need to keep your distance from a boss with a strong melee attack.

Bring A friend

Just like Minecraft, playing Minecraft Dungeons solo can be fun but playing with friends is even better. Compared to other dungeon crawlers, Minecraft Dungeons has a fairly basic feature set, making it easy for friends not familiar with the game to pick up a controller and get right into the action. There’s even an option to clone your hero so even if a friend isn’t able to play all the time, any time they are able to jump in they won’t be underpowered. 

The familiarity of the Minecraft world along with the basic feature set of Minecraft Dungeons also makes this a great chance to introduce a new genre to the kiddos. My daughter has never been willing to team up with me when I play other dungeon crawlers and when I asked if she wanted to play Minecraft Dungeons she quickly said no. Then, when she saw the iconic voxel world and the same creatures she is so familiar with she grabbed a controller and joined in on the fun.

Written by
Old enough to have played retro games when they were still cutting edge, Mitch has been a gamer since the 70s. As his game-fu fades (did he ever really have any?), it is replaced with ever-stronger, and stranger, opinions. If that isn't the perfect recipe for a game reviewer, what is?

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