Feature Article

Minecraft Dungeons Beginner's Guide: 9 Essential Tips And Tricks

Here’s how to excel at Mojang’s new "Minecraft but not quite Minecraft" dungeon crawler.

Minecraft Dungeons introduces a brand new spin on the classic Minecraft formula. Instead of collecting resources, crafting items, and building custom structures from a variety of block types in first-person as you would in Minecraft, you'll be mostly third-person dungeon-crawling in Minecraft Dungeons, which places a bigger emphasis on looting treasure and combating enemies, all along the way in your quest to reach the nefarious Arch-Illager’s castle and take him down once and for all.

Although Minecraft Dungeons is not the most difficult game, there are definitely some things you should take on board before booting it up--especially so if you’re a Minecraft fan who hasn’t got a lot of experience with dungeon-crawlers. Luckily, we’ve compiled a handy, spoiler-free guide for you to bring you up to speed while you’re waiting for Minecraft Dungeons to install.

In this guide, we've highlighted nine of the most essential tips and tricks that we gleaned from our time playing Minecraft Dungeons. Once you think you've got a handle on the basics, stay tuned for more guides focussed on things like how the enchantment system works in Minecraft Dungeons. If this is the first you've heard about the Minecraft spinoff game and you have unanswered questions, consider reading our article that collates everything you need to know about Minecraft Dungeons.

It's easy to become overwhelmed by mobs if you're not aggressive enough.
It's easy to become overwhelmed by mobs if you're not aggressive enough.

How To Fight Mobs

One of the first things you’ll notice in Minecraft Dungeons is that mobs--huge groups of enemies who attack you all at once--are totally vicious. Instead of panicking and running away, it’s best to charge right in and tackle them head-on. This is because if you find yourself backed into a corner, it’s easy to become overwhelmed without any means of escape, whereas being aggressive on your own terms allows you to carve your way through enemies in a more methodical manner.

Basically, be sure to take mobs on in large chunks at your own pace, and with growing momentum. Also, don’t be afraid to mix things up: As well as your primary weapon, you have a bow, artifacts, and enchantable armor to accentuate your staying power--don’t worry, we’ll break all of those down in detail, too.

Spare No Enchantment Point

Enchantments are your bread and butter in Minecraft Dungeons. Every piece of weaponry and armor in the game can be assigned an enchantment--some rarer types can even hold three!

Enchantments generally offer a range of buffs designed to increase your overall power rating. One enchantment might speed up how quickly you reload your bow, while another could charge your armor with lightning dispelled with each and every strategic combat roll. Almost every enchantment in the game is viable for use, so it’s worth playing around with a few until you find a combination that works for you.

To actually apply enchantments to your items, you need to spend enchantment points. You gain one point every time you level up, but fret not: if you enchant an item, you can regain the enchantment points you invested in it by salvaging the item, which destroys it and nets you some cash, too. Basically, don’t be afraid to enchant items early on--you can sell them once you get better ones, getting a hefty amount of enchantment points back and allowing you to go wild with new, more powerful weapons and armor.

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Use Your Bow And Arrow (Almost) All The Time

If you have used a bow and arrow in a video game before, you might be aware of how necessary it often is to be conservative with your quiver. Luckily, although arrows in Minecraft Dungeons aren’t quite infinite, they’re certainly farmable.

Replaying old levels at lower difficulties enables you to quickly and easily gain a crazy amount of arrows, so you should never be worried about zeroing out your quiver. Arrows are dropped by enemies, particularly skeletons, as well as brown chests labelled "Supplies." So yes, arrows are easy to get--but here’s why they’re important.

Arrows are remarkably versatile in Minecraft Dungeons--on one hand, you can take out heavy enemies before they ever even come into melee distance, especially if you’ve got a bow enchanted with the ability to fire gigantic arrows or get bonus ricochet shots. At the same time, you can quickly snipe pesky mages who run away whenever you get in close enough to swing a sword. Don’t even get me started on bosses--arrows are your best friend here too.

Essentially, arrows are abundant, powerful, and extremely helpful--use them!

Chests Are Important

Chests in Minecraft Dungeons are quite difficult to come by, but they’re also well worth searching for.

Every individual area in Minecraft Dungeons has its own unique array of weapons, armor, and artifacts to uncover. Sometimes you might get a rare drop after defeating a miniboss like an Evoker or a Redstone Golem. However, the best way to nab unique loot, at least most of the time, is by choosing to actively ignore quest markers and exploring the unnecessary parts of Minecraft Dungeons'… dungeons.

There are different types of chests here, too. Often, you’ll find a supply chest, which is a sort of checkpoint marker designed to provide you with health-restoring food and a handy quiver full of extra arrows. But sometimes you’ll find a different kind of chest, which has the potential to contain unique weapons, armor, and artifacts that can’t be obtained anywhere else in the game.

If you’re struggling with a higher level dungeon, it’s worthwhile to train in one you have already cleared. And when doing so, you should make a conscious effort to explore every nook and cranny in the lower-level dungeon--it’s much easier now than it was before anyway, so you’ll probably be able to explore the entire map faster than your original linear run. Chest-hunting will ensure you’ll be wielding the strongest weapons, donning the best armor, and launching the most powerful arrows in no time. So don’t be afraid to retread old tracks--just make sure to pay extra attention if you do.

How To Jump Over Passages

Minecraft Dungeons has no dedicated jump button, so you might find yourself scratching your head once you see a deep and seemingly uncrossable chasm separating you from a fancy chest.

Don’t fret: if a drop is only a couple of squares wide, simply using the roll button in the direction of the chasm will allow you to access difficult-to-reach areas, which are often home to incredibly rare gear. Just don’t forget that a lot of these jumps are rigged so you get ambushed after opening said chest--the gear is always worth it, but you’ll want to make sure your preparations are airtight before committing.

However, if the gap looks pretty big, don’t even bother trying. You don’t lose a life from falling off the map, but you respawn with less health, which, when combined with the fact that you usually respawn mid-mob, is almost as bad as dying in the first place. By similar logic, little jumps, while certainly crossable, are not to be underestimated either--time them properly, or you’ll come back to life upset you even took a chance in the first place, listless, lootless, and about to be lifeless.

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How To Best Approach Boss Fights In Minecraft Dungeons

There is one very, very important detail to remember about Minecraft Dungeons boss fights. If you lose a life, and it’s not your last one, you can try again from where you left off. So, if the boss only had a tiny sliver of health left when you died, for example, you’ll only need to land a single hit when you return to the arena, which you’ll respawn right outside of. It’s pretty convenient!

So, if you have two or three lives to play with, it’s actually worthwhile to experiment with some pretty radical strategies. Occasionally, killing yourself with TNT could be a really bold but ingenious move, in that it does devastating damage to the boss and you can come back to the fight fresh as a daisy.

Just remember to always keep an eye on your lives, because you only have four. If you’re on your last legs, you’ll want to prioritize avoiding all incoming damage and getting one or two hits in when it’s safe, Dark Souls style. TNT explosions are not recommended in these situations, obviously.

How To Prioritize Your Targets

Enemies in Minecraft Dungeons are versatile. You can kill some with one hit, whereas others can tank what seems like a million arrows. The less sturdy types are definitely the ones you need to get rid of first.

In Minecraft Dungeons, all enemies can deal damage to you, but only some can withstand it. If you focus all your energy on a heavily-armored enemy first and foremost, all of the easily-killed ones will simultaneously wail on you and you’ll be dead in no time. On the other hand, killing them with a single hit apiece will enable you to go one-on-one with the heavier lads, which really puts the odds in your favor. With swords, bows, and artifacts at your disposal, these slow-moving tanky types won’t stand a chance.

So, clear out the easy enemies first, and when there’s only one big, armor-clad villain left, they’ll essentially just be arrow fodder. Fight clever and you’ll never lose.

Break all of these rules if you see a mage, though. They should be killed first every time, no matter what, as they buff enemies until they’re almost unkillable. Honestly, if you see a mage, drop everything and go straight for them, even if it means making a beeline through the middle of a mob. They’re weak, so a single arrow will take them down, but make sure you actually shoot said arrow or you’ll have an incredibly tough fight on your hands.

There are two progression metrics in Minecraft Dungeons: character level, and power rating.

The truth is that neither one matters all that much. Levelling up nets you access to enchantment points, which are hugely important, but power mostly just denotes an almost arbitrary numeric recommendation for entering dungeons. I completed some level 22 dungeons at power level 16, but was defeated within minutes when I tried a level 16 dungeon shortly afterwards.

That’s why it’s important not to worry about power ratings too much. If a dungeon is recommended as 20 power, and you’re only at 12, it can still be worth a crack. Each piece of gear and equipment has a power rating, but higher power ratings don’t necessarily make them better items, meaning that an overall power level of 30 could be dramatically worse than another build ranked as 15.

The reason for this is mostly because each item has unique enchanting potential, so even though one axe might be rated as 12 power, it could have two enchantment slots, whereas a level 18 version might only have one. On top of that, because each enchantment is unique, the 18 axe might have a poor selection available, whereas the technically less valuable one could allow you to combine lightning attacks with soul absorption. What is soul absorption, you ask? Well...

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How To Use A Soul Build In Minecraft Dungeons

This last tip isn’t completely necessary, but if you really, truly want to deal damage in Minecraft Dungeons, you can commit to a magical build based on something called "soul gathering."

On top of standard armor in Minecraft Dungeons, you can collect rare Soul Robes that enable you to harvest the souls of the enemies you kill. Now, this might sound complex, and it is a little bit tough at first, but here’s the deal--Artifacts in Minecraft Dungeons are sort of like spells, which you can use instead of your weapons. Some allow you to summon a wolf or a llama, whereas others enable you to light your quiver on fire, or put down a special totem that will heal you mid-battle.

So what is soul damage? Well, the above artifacts can be used with any build, but certain soul artifacts function as reservoirs for the souls you collect. These artifacts do one of two things: deal damage, or regain health. It’s worth noting that Soul robes reduce artifact cooldown times, acting in a similar capacity to mage robes in traditional RPGs, and if you play smart, you’ll essentially have an infinite loop of devastating soul damage and last-ditch soul healing.

So, if you’ve gotten the hang of Minecraft Dungeons and want to try something a little more fun, deck yourself out in a nice soul outfit, equip a soul dagger and soul bow--which harvest souls quicker, as you might expect--and get your best magical soul artifacts in order. All of a sudden you’ll be nigh-invincible--just don’t forget any of the previous tips along the way.

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