Minecraft gameplay overview
The official Minecraft wiki is an important resource that even seasoned players refer to. If you're new to minecraft, you might want to start with this handy list of tutorials, and also this list of recipies.
Early game starts with extreme emphasis on survival: food, shelter, basic tools.
Survival itself is actually very easy. If you dig a hole, get in it and cover the top, then nothing can hurt you. You just won at Minecraft (so long as you didn't cover your hole with sand or gravel, which will fall and suffocate you.) If you stay in your hole and don't do anything, you will never need food.
If you want more for yourself, then you'll need food to sustain your activities, a shelter so you can hide from the monsters at night, light so you can keep working on projects at night and so that monsters don't spawn in your home while you're not there and then you come home from a hard days work to find a skeleton in your house, wearing your favourite trousers (I made this last part up, there are no trousers in MineCraft).
There are three 'dimensions': overworld, nether, end. The overworld is the 'normal' world where you start in. By constructing a nether portal, you can go to the nether which is a place with lots of lava. try not to get lost there. You can also build a nether portal in the nether that will take you back to the overworld in a different place, in proportion to how far you walked. However, every step you took in the nether is equivalent to 8 steps in the overworld. We exploit this property for fast transport between far away places. There's a network of tunnels and nether portals in the nether that can be connected to. The end can only be traveled to by activating an end portal (this has already been done). The end is sort of like space. There are floating islands made of this off-white stuff called endstone. If you fall off you will die in the void. Don't point at any endermen. There is no horizon.
- Beginning crafting: The first thing you will want to craft is a crafting table. When you press 'E' to access your inventory you will see four crafting slots (2x2 grid) in the upper right of your inventory UI. You won't have tools when you start, so just go punch a tree until it drops wood. Place your logs in one of your 4 crafting slots, and you will get planks. Place 4 planks in a square (one in each of your crafting slots) to get a crafting table. The crafting table has 9 crafting slots (3x3 grid) so you can craft more things. Place your crafting table on the ground and click the to use it. The first thing you'll want to craft are some wooden tools, such as a pickaxe, an axe and a shovel. Note that in ConsentCraft wooden shovels are used for making claims, so you will not be able to use them as normal shovels- you should craft a stone shovel instead. Use your pickaxe to mine for cobblestone, which you can use to craft stone tools. The next thing you'll want to craft is a furnace- this is done by placing 8 cobblestone in a circle on your crafting table grid (all but the middle square should be cobblestone). Place your furnace and click to use it; you will see a to and bottom slot on the left and a third slot on the right. The item you want to smelt/cook will be placed in the top left slot, fuel in the bottom left slot, and the resulting item will appear in the right slot. You can any form of wood (logs, planks, sticks), coal, or charcoal for fuel. Furnaces are used to cook food and smelt materials. Next you should craft a chest (using the same crafting pattern as the furnace, but with planks instead of cobblestone) to store your items. You can place two chests next to each other to create a large chest. Note that if you break your chest, all your items will drop from it. This means you generally shouldn't place a chest in a place you won't be staying for long. You should start thinking of where you want to place a base, which in ConsentCraft means creating a claim. See How to claim land for help with this. You should also craft a sword to defend yourself from monsters; swords are crafted in a three-block column of your crafting table, with a stick on the bottom and two wood planks, stone, iron, gold or diamond on top.
- Food: You can get food by killing animals and cooking their meat in a furnace, or if you'd prefer a more animal-friendly approach you can find crops to plant and make a vegetable farm. You can get wheat seeds (just called "Seeds") from breaking grass, and zombies have a small chance of dropping a carrot or potato upon death. If you find a village you can harvest crops from their farm- they will have wheat, carrots, potatoes and beetroot. You can also find pumpkins and melons in the world. You can obtain pumpkins seeds by placing a pumpkin in a crafting slot, and melon seeds by placing a melon wedge in a crafting slot.
- Lighting: After you have a bit of food, the next thing you'll need is light, which means you have to craft torches. To make a torch, you will need either coal or charcoal and sticks. Place two planks on top of each other in two crafting slots and you get sticks. You can find coal by mining (it looks like stone with little black bits) or you can make charcoal by burning logs in a furnace. When you have sticks and coal/charcoal, craft torches by placing a stack coal/charcoal on top of a stack of sticks. Now get ready to light things up! Hostile mobs will spawn wherever the light level is 7 or below, so use the debug screen (Press F3) to check the light level of the block you're standing on. There are other types of lighting in MineCraft (such as end rods, jack-o-lanterns, and sea lanterns) but you will learn about those later.
- Shelter: There are many different ways and materials to build a shelter in MineCraft. For beginners, you could start by digging a hole into a mountain, or making a simple square/rectangular building with planks, logs, or cobblestone. You can craft a door for your shelter by arranging 6 planks vertically in a crafting table (3 rows of 2 planks). You can make glass for windows by smelting
- Mining: You will need to mine to gather materials. At the least, you will want to bring a pickaxe, a shovel (for gravel, dirt, and sand), torches, a crafting material, and materials to build more tools (at least until you get tools with high durability, i.e. enchanted or diamond tools). You will need to light up your mine as you explore to stop monsters from spawning. There are many caves underground, and you will likely run into them while mining. Be careful, as there will be monsters in the cave. You can try to defend yourself, but be prepared to make a retreat if there are too many monsters in the cave. And the number one rule of mining in Minecraft: DO NOT DIG STRAIGHT UP OR STRAIGHT DOWN. If you dig straight up, gravel or sand may fall on your head and suffocate you, or there may be water or lava above you which will drown your or, in the case of lava, burn you to death with all of your belongings. If you dig straight down you may fall into lava below you, or you could fall into a cave- if the fall doesn't kill you, monsters probably will. Go to the MineCraft wiki page for mining to get more information.
- Death When you die, you will be respawned at either world spawn, or the last bed you slept in. If the last bed you slept in is destroyed or removed before you have a chance to sleep in it again, you will respawn at world spawn. Everything in your inventory will drop at the spot of your death (unless it's enchanted with the Curse of Vanishing). If your stuff drops in lava, or you died by falling into the void, your stuff will be unrecoverable. If your stuff is safe, you will have 5 minutes to get it before it despawns. If you spawn in a place far away from where you died (far enough away that the chunk you died in in unloaded), the 5-minute de-spawn time won't start until you travel back to the area you died in. If you died close to spawn, you will only have the 5 minutes no matter how far away you are, as the chunks around spawn are always loaded.
- The nether: The nether (a.k.a. Hell) can be a scary place, but it allows you to travel large distances much faster. This is because each block in the nether corresponds to 8 blocks in the overworld. This means that if you go through a portal in the overworld, then travel to and go through another portal in the nether (bringing you back to the overworld in another location), you will have traveled to the second location 8x faster than you could have walked there in the overworld. ConsentCraft has a nether network established for fast/safe travel between different overworld. It is located at the very top of the nether, safely away from hostile mobs. You may see some zombie-pigmen in the tunnels (at least until the floor is covered with netherbrick slabs), but they are passive unless you attack them first. Go to this page to learn how to connect a portal to the nether network yourself, or to find out how to get someone else to do it for you.
If you want to progress beyond early game (you may not want to, a lot of fun can be had in early game!), within your lifetime, you'll need to progress up the "tech tree" a bit.
Unlike many RPGs, Minecraft doesn't have "character progression". All player characters have the same innate abilities. The way that you progress is by improving the quality of your equipment and structures. Since equipment and structures aren't bound to players, the potential for players to help each other is enormous. On servers like ConsentCraft, there will most likely be many public resources, so you don't have to do **everything** yourself. One day perhaps we'll get to such a point of abundance, that players won't have to do anything at all if they don't want to!
If you (or your server) want to be on the fast track to easy street, it's all about diamonds. Diamond tools are faster and more durable than anything else, diamond armour is most protective.
You will also need to learn about enchanting. Enchanting improves the durability and speed of tools even further, and can even make them eternally maintainable so they never need to be replaced unless you die in lava again.
Many items can be 'farmed'. For most items, you can contstruct some kind of structure or machine that will produce that item either automatically, or with very little player effort. For example, an iron farm has recently been built near spawn. Yes, that big thing.
Farming stuff instead of doing it manually means everything is less and less work, and there's more and more stuff, enabling you to focus your efforts on ever more ambitious projects.
Late to End Game
There are some items which cannot be farmed, or cannot be fully automated, so the goal for them is generally to minimise the work required in producing them. For example, diamonds must still be mined, but with level 4 beacons, Efficiency 5 pickaxes, and a bunch of other buffs, mining is no longer limited by how fast your pickaxe breaks the rock, because rock breaks instantly. So you mine as fast as you can sprint, which, with speed buffs, is very very fast.
You can wear armour that makes you virtually unkillable.
You can get to pretty much anywhere in the world quite quickly by flying.
You can transport huge amounts of material in Shulker boxes in your ender chest.