When it comes to casual sandbox games that let you craft for months with no real end in sight, Minecraft is certainly at the top of our list. With monsters to fight, animals to tame, and castles to build, just one look at it will make you wonder just what Minecraft is and how it works.
Well, you have the best seat in the house, as we’re about to go into detail on how to play Minecraft. We’ll show you how to get started, which aspects you should focus on as you progress, and how you can power up for the more advanced mobs. You’ll also find lists of the various versions available.
How to play Minecraft Offline as a Single Player
We recommend you start playing Minecraft in single-player mode before you attempt trying it with other gamers. You can spend as much time as you need learning how the tools, mobs, and crafting work, giving the experience you need before you head out into the online world.
The first step is purchasing Minecraft on a platform of your choice. We’ll cover these in more detail later. Suffice it to say that it’s available on computer systems in various versions, PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, Android, and iOS. You can also get Minecraft free on the Xbox Games Pass for Windows 10 and 11.
The Main Menu
When you have the game and you’re ready to start, you’ll see the launcher on the screen. To play Minecraft offline, you’ll need to select Single Player. You’ll have several modes available from which you can choose, which we’ll get to in a second.
For now, all you need to know is that you can create a new world with various settings. You can toggle different configurations, such as which biomes to include and how large the map is. There are some options that will deactivate trophies or achievements, which you can read about in the description pane.
Minecraft Creative Mode vs. Minecraft Survival Mode
The two most significant modes for playing Minecraft offline are Creative and Survival. For the former, you can select any blocks, mobs, or items you want to spawn immediately. Create freely as you wish, letting your imagination run wild. You can even fly around at will without any wings, and you can’t die.
When it comes to Minecraft Survival Mode, the rules are strict. You’ll need to survive each day while searching for the resources needed to build items. If you select easy mode, you won’t lose health or become hungry, and no enemies will spawn. Should you opt for harder settings, you’ll need to eat to keep your health full, and the creatures will appear at night to attack you on sight.
If you have a taste for the dangers, you can try Minecraft Hardcore mode. It’s the same as Survival, but you won’t respawn when you die, and mobs are harder to kill.
Minecraft Adventure mode is more of a cheat system than part of the standard package and is reserved for online play. You can visit other players’ maps and embark on quests they set for you.
Finally, you have Minecraft Spectator mode, which just lets you visit other maps and float through objects. However, you won’t be able to interact with anything, and it’s mostly used for inspiration and YouTube videos.
Your First Day in Single Player Mode
So, you’ve set up your Minecraft world, and you’re ready to explore. If this is your first time, you can access the tutorial that will show you the basics. It consists of hitting trees to collect wood so you can make a wooden ax. With this tool in hand, chopping trees is easier, and you can start crafting some essential objects.
Once you have the hang of wooden items, you’ll learn how to collect stone and make tools and weapons with that material. You’ll primarily work from a crafting table, but there are a few essential items you can create directly from your inventory menu. It always helps to carry a space crafting table with you wherever you go.
With the fundamentals out of the way, your first mission is to create a home to protect you from the monsters that will appear at night. You can start small, as you won’t have much time. Also, make sure you kill some sheep for their wool and meat, so you can build a bed to sleep in and eat to keep your health up.
If you’re playing Survival mode with the settings not on easy, you’ll notice your hunger going down. When you lose health, you’ll need your stomach full to regain hearts. Just cook some food in the furnace. At a more advanced stage, you can upgrade it to a smoker.
Watch out for the Dark
As soon as the night sets, the monsters will appear. They’re afraid of the sun, but when there are clouds or rain, they’re more likely to remain when the dawn arrives. However, full sunlight will burn them unless they’re in the water or under shade. Should they die, you can run and collect the loot they drop.
Of course, you’ll reach a stage where you have armor and weapons. You can use these to kill the mobs at night, which gives you rare resources. You’ll also gain experience, which you can use to enchant objects with magical properties at a later time.
If you want to skip the night, you’ll need your bed to sleep in. Should there be any monsters nearby, you’ll be unable to rest. Another benefit of the bed is that you can spawn in your home when you die.
Now that you know the basics of how to play Minecraft offline, it’s time for you to set out on your own and conquer the world you created. As you collect more advanced resources, it lets you obtain items with higher levels of durability and value. For instance, an iron pickax enables you to gain gold and Redstone ore, while a diamond pickax gives you access to obsidian.
Here’s a detailed crafting guide for Minecraft, while you can also check out the following articles:
- What Can You Make with Copper in Minecraft?
- How to Make Smooth Stone in Minecraft in 3 Easy Steps
- How to Make a Fence in Minecraft in 3 Fast Steps
- How To Make An Anvil In Minecraft in 3 Easy Steps
- How to Make a Shield in Minecraft in 3 Fast Steps
- Minecraft mining guide
- How to find diamonds in Minecraft
Farming and Taming Creatures
Two other essential elements in how to play Minecraft includes farming and taming. You can check out our Minecraft Farming Guide but, in essence, it helps you grow crops at home so you don’t need to spend daylight hours hunting for them. You can even create some Jack O’Lanterns for Halloween if that’s your thing.
Taming creatures helps you breed them to expand your cattle and stock, which gives you access to more resources like wool, leather, and milk. When you place fences around them, they won’t wander too far, and you won’t have to worry about mobs spawning in that space.
Here are some more Minecraft guides for farming and taming:
- How to Get a Blue Axolotl in Minecraft in 4 Easy Ways
- What do Glow Berries do in Minecraft?
- How to Get Honey in Minecraft in 3 Easy Steps
- How to Tame a Cat in Minecraft in 3 Simple Steps
- How to Tame a Horse in Minecraft
- How to Breed Horses in Minecraft in 3 Easy Steps
Elements to Work Towards
Minecraft isn’t merely about playing casually with absolutely no meaning at all. Besides the educational factors, there are some goals you can aim towards. For instance, you can build portals to other dimensions, such as the Netherworld and The End. You can also use these portals to teleport to different locations on the map.
When you kill the final dragon, in The End, the credits will roll as if you’ve completed the game. However, you can return to Overworld (the normal Minecraft world) and continue crafting and fighting as usual.
How to play Minecraft Online in Multiplayer
While playing offline can be fun for several months, you’ll want to start playing Minecraft online with friends or other players. It works differently for PC and console, which we’ll cover here quickly.
Playing Minecraft Online on Console
There are some funs modes available for console when you learn how to play Minecraft on PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch. You won’t really need to fiddle with as many settings as with PC. All you do is connect your console to the internet, configure the basic options, and enter one of the lobbies.
You can play the Creative and Survival Minecraft modes with your friends locally or online. There are also mini-games that provide intense competitive fun.
Playing Minecraft Online on PC
When it comes to multiplayer on PC, you’ll need to create or join a Minecraft server. It’s not as simple as console, and there are various settings you need to customize. You might also need to use a virtual private network in some instances.
Here are some guides you can look at:
- How to create and connect to a local Minecraft server
- How to start your very own Minecraft server
- How to setup a VPN for Minecraft with Hamachi
Various Versions of Minecraft
There are plenty of Minecraft versions available, depending on which platform you use. This section lists them under different categories based on the type.
Platform and Story Editions
These Minecraft games are versions of the original title. While most of these are self-explanatory, we’ll add some notes for those that need some more information.
- Minecraft Classic: the original, vanilla edition without all the add-ons and frills.
- Minecraft Bedrock Edition: the latest version that’s compatible with Windows 10, 11, and consoles.
- Minecraft PC
- Minecraft Xbox One / 360
- Minecraft PS5 / PS4 / PS3
- Minecraft Nintendo Switch
- Minecraft Pocket Edition: made for mobile devices
- Java Minecraft: supports cross-platform play between Linux, Windows, and macOS
There are also special editions of Minecraft not made by the original developers or have a unique twist to them.
- Minecraft Dungeons: dungeon crawler, hack-n-slash version of Minecraft with no open-world setting
- Minecraft Story Mode: a detailed story mode over several parts where you only get to make choices on how the story unfolds
- Minecraft Earth: augmented version started in May 2019 and closed in June 2021
- Lego Minecraft: Lego kits with blocks that you can build in the real world
- Educational Minecraft: The Minecraft Education Edition servers to aid schools in using the same crafting systems to teach children some fundamental lessons.
Communities, Mods, and Skins
Finally, there are plenty of mods and skins you can add to Minecraft for a more enjoyable experience. These primarily work on PC versions, but you can buy modded packs for consoles that are easy to add. We’ll provide a few of the top examples, but there are plenty more you can look at.
- Planet Minecraft: a community of Minecraft gamers that provides skins and items
- Minecraft Pokemon
- Minecraft Jurassic World
- Minecraft Hunger Games
- Minecraft Super Smash Bros Ultimate
- Minecraft Jenny Mod
- Minecraft Factions
- Skindex Minecraft
- Minecraft Optifine
Be sure to check out our guides for how to install Minecraft mods and install skins in the game.
Other Minecraft Guides
Before you leave, there are some other guides you should look at to enhance your Minecraft experience. They may assist you if you find that you’ve played an outdated version, or you want to change your character details.
- How to Update Minecraft Bedrock in 5 Ways
- How to Update Minecraft in Windows 10
- How to Change Minecraft Username in 3 Simple Steps
- How to Get a Cape in Minecraft in 3 Simple Steps
- How to Allocate more Ram in Minecraft
- Minecraft for Parents: 7 Tips to Get Involved
An enjoyable crafting experience
As you can see, there’s a whole universe out there when it comes to playing Minecraft. You can either stick to the single-player experience or take it online with friends and family. Either way, you’ll love all that the various games have to offer.