Survival (Game Mode)

From Minecraft Wiki

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Survival mode, with a diamond pickaxe in hand and a house in background.
For the guide itself, see Survival Mode Guide.

Survival is the primary game mode in Minecraft where players must collect resources, build structures, battle mobs, manage hunger, and explore the world to survive, thrive, and “complete the game”. Until mid-Alpha, Survival was the only available mode besides Classic creative mode. Survival may be played online or offline, as long as the user has initially played it while connected to the Internet (which allows the game files to download to their computer).

Aim of the game

Upon the introduction of Minecraft 1.0.0 (the first full release of Minecraft), it is possible to play "through" the game to a "proper ending" (although there is no real goal).

  • A player spawns in the Overworld, where they must learn to survive using a player's skills, common sense, and resources.
  • A player may search Caves, Ravines, Villages, Dungeons, and so on for specific items to survive their first night.
    • A player may also raid a village if they chose to do so. However, as of 1.14, beds will naturally spawn in villages, making the process easier, but harder in some circumstances. They just need to be aware of Iron Golems if there are any of them spawned.
  • A player crafts their first tool which, under most circumstances, will either be a wooden pickaxe or a wooden sword.
  • A player builds a home featuring a Bed, Chests with spare materials, a Crafting Table, and a Furnace to be safe from hostile mobs, such as Zombies amongst others.
  • A player successfully finds a cave, ravine, or a large underground opening that contains large deposits of usable minerals (preferably iron, as that, is needed to mine the rest) such as Iron, Gold, or Diamond.
  • A player finds and smelts Iron Ore into Iron Ingots and uses it to make tools, or if they have enough, possibly (but not necessarily) armor.
  • A player finds and mines Diamonds! While looking for diamonds, a player needs to keep a level head as to their surroundings, for in large caves there are usually many monsters that can hunt down a player, so a few Iron or Diamond Swords and a full set of Iron or better armor is usually necessary.
Diamond Ore.
  • A player goes on a search for Obsidian, which can occur naturally in some larger cavern systems with underground lava lakes and natural underground waterfalls. An easier way to do this is to craft a bucket, filling it with water and pouring it over lava (or using any other way one has learned to make obsidian).
  • A player builds a Nether Portal to the dimension known as The Nether with the newly acquired Obsidian.
The Nether Portal.
  • A player appears in the Nether: a new world with no minerals (other than Nether Quartz, fungal wood, Nether gold, and ancient debris) and many mobs which pose a new, scary threat to a player: Zombie Pigmen, Magma Cubes, Ghasts, and Blazes.
The Nether, with Blazes, Zombie Pigmen, a Ghast, and a Nether Fortress in the distance.
  • A player locates a naturally generating structure called a Nether Fortress, where they find a Blaze Spawner and attack the Blazes, killing them and collecting their Blaze Rods from their defeat for use in the Brewing of Potions, as well as accessing the last challenge.
    • Brewing stands can spawn in Temples of Villages (as of 1.14).
  • A player navigates safely and successfully through the Nether and returns to The Overworld, where their job is to find Endermen and kill them to obtain their Ender Pearls.
  • A player constructs a peculiar item with unusual properties called an Eye of Ender, which when thrown will direct a player to the destination of an End Portal.
  • Up to 12 Eyes of Ender must be kept with a player when they find what they are looking for. This is important.
  • Once the 12 Eyes of Ender are in place, the portal into The End will open and a player will now meet their destiny: Battling the Ender Dragon.
File:Ender dragon.jpg
Fighting the Ender Dragon.
  • Once the Ender Dragon has been beaten and a player enters the exit portal, a story will scroll and credits will roll and then, and only then, a player will be teleported to their spawn location. (One can press Esc if one wants to skip the story and credits, but one only has one chance to read the story unless one goes back into the End and re-enter the exit portal).
  • After one "beats" the game, one can continue exploring the world and playing in general.
  • Alternatively, with the release of Minecraft 1.4, there is a new boss to defeat called the Wither. Some argue that the Wither is more difficult to defeat than the Ender Dragon. However, the Wither is more difficult to summon. To meet this foe, one must come across three wither skeleton heads by killing Wither Skeletons in the Nether. Once all three have been acquired, they can be used to construct the Wither by making a T-shape out of Soul Sand with the three wither skeleton heads on top, making sure that one of the wither skeleton heads is the final block placed.
  • It is advised to bring a full set of enchanted diamond armor, with an enchanted diamond sword and bow. The best place to fight the Wither is very far away from the user's home. The Wither causes great destruction and is almost stronger than the Ender Dragon. Another great place to fight the Wither is in a small cave as it won't be able to escape a player very easily.
  • If the player chooses to do so, they can visit the End City and collect resources, or complete the challenges (viewed by pressing L on the keyboard in Minecraft Java).

Survival Multiplayer (SMP)

Survival Multiplayer (SMP) is played by users who connect to a central Minecraft server. This enables them to interact with other users. One would use this feature to do PVP (Player Versus Player) Combat or cooperate to thrive in Survival.


The multiplayer variant of this game mode also took place in the Alpha version. Originally, Notch had only allowed a limited number of people from the Minecraft IRC channel to participate in the first tests of SMP. These invitees could invite other people to test out this mode as well. However, the password was leaked, and the server was quickly filled up. Notch released the first version of the SMP server software on August 4, 2010. The client was updated so that players could enter the IP of a server to join it.


Player versus Player (often abbreviated to PVP) refers to combat in Minecraft which involves more than one player fighting each other in multiplayer.

The command to toggle a player's game mode (survival or creative) in multiplayer (must be an operator to use this command) is: /gamemode [survival/creative/adventure/spectator] (spectator mode is unavailable in Bedrock Edition).