Newbie Guide

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Firstly welcome to HCSMP (Hardcore Survival Multiplayer), if you're reading this prior to your first visit to the server, congratulations! Most who enter the server are not aware of the full consequences that they face. Hopefully after close reading of this guide you'll know the ins-and-outs of the server. Remember to check out the server rules.

Pre-Spawn Tips

A new player hides from the night-time mobs.

Before even entering the server you'll want to make sure everything is just right for your first embark.

Golden Rules:

  • Don't trust anyone.
  • Don't sprint and avoid jumping until you have found enough food.
  • Don't risk travelling during the night (except by boat away from the shore where monsters can not reach you)
  • Don't trust anyone.


Ping (often referred to as latency) is the time it takes for you (the client) to receive conformation that a packet (data) you sent to the server (host) was received successfully, it then notes this time and is call your ping and is expressed in ms (milliseconds). You can check your ping to the server by opening up the cmd prompt (Windows) or terminal (Mac OSX) and typing "ping" and then pressing enter.

Player Count & Players:

The slot size for this server is 100, that means at most there can be 100 players online at a given time. What does this mean for you? If you check the server to see that it is heavily populated it may not be the best time to spawn now. Why? Spawn campers. People will and do patrol around spawn hoping to catch off some unsuspecting individual on his first trip out of spawn to net a quick kill. They are generally found patrolling around 300-1200 blocks from spawn.

To find out who the biggest killers currently are you can look at the Killers List.

Find out if any newbies have died recently by looking at the Death List. See someone that was just killed with a very low play time? Chances are high that someone is lurking nearby!

Take note of people with high a kill count. Online players can be seen on the server page here. If they aren't online, then you might be in luck. Aim for a lower player count, between 0-40 players.


Be sure to set yourself some goals prior to joining and estimate how long it will take to achieve them. Keep in mind the overworld map is 20k x20k x256, there is plenty of space on the map and time for you to achieve what you want. You don't have to aim to reach the far extents of the map within your first day of play, you don't have to have a permanent base set-up at-all. However try to aim to have a reliable source of food, armour w/ sword and be outwith the spawn-campers radius. If you meet those goals you'll likely to go far. You have plenty of time, don’t rush.


PvP can be a frightening experience if all you want to do is survive and build things. Some of us choose to avoid it at all costs, others go straight for it. When a month-long ban is involved you have to think more about your actions. As such, some people will "Combat Log" to escape a PvP fight or death. Please be aware that we run the Combat Tag plugin. If someone strikes you and you log off an NPC character will be left behind in your position, and with all of your items. Any damage dealt to the NPC will be given to you on your next log in.

If you are able to log out before you are struck, you will likely be trapped in lava upon your return, so it is a good idea to try to escape or fight your attacker in another way.

Please note: The admins frown upon abusing the 3-second join invulnerability repeatedly to escape from lava. If you find yourself lava trapped, get your coordinates and see if you can rouse a friend to help you escape.

Entering the Server

So you've just spawned. The first thing that should’ve been highlighted to you if that you have 60mins of Campfire protection remaining. What is this?


Campfire is a plug-in that gives you Player-vs-Player invulnerability for a set amount of time. You cannot be harmed by other players but please keep in mind that any falls, violent mobs (creepers etc), lava and all environmental damage will still affect you. While protected, you will be unable to open chests until your PvP protection has expired, or you have terminated it. This is so that if you come across someone in the wild you cannot steal their things without repercussions. You can terminate your campfire protection at any time with /campfire terminate.

Be aware that some killers may hide and wait for new players to terminate their protection to open a chest in the wild. The Campfire timer does not decrease while you are logged out, or in a safe No-PvP zones. However, while you are logged out people can trap your location, so make sure you log out somewhere safe.


Where do I go now? Where ever you want. Upon leaving spawn, skim your surroundings and look for any signs of life, note the biomes, and the time of day. If you are happy with what you see, it's time to leave.

Head roughly straight in a single direction, avoiding hills and mountains. Doubling back and climbing will waste your hunger with little benefit.

Leaving Spawn

Upon leaving the spawn area you'll be faced with a few issues before your real adventure begins.


A new player's best friend

At last count (27-04-2012), 13% of players have died from starvation, so the first thing you want to do is make sure you can live through the first few days, and that requires food. Remember actions like jumping and sprinting decrease your hunger bar much quicker. Climbing mountains and swimming oceans can exhaust your hunger meter very quickly. If you are lucky enough to find pigs/cows on your travels then keep going, however the worst happens and you find yourself 500 blocks away from spawn with half hunger and nothing in the horizon there a few things that you can do.

Due to the nature of the server most friendly mobs within a 1.5k (usually more) radius of spawn are killed and eaten early on by new players making their way from spawn. This can make meat difficult to come by, making either mushrooms or grown wheat more common foodstuffs for new players. Grass to break for seeds is fairly plentiful in the right biomes but you must remember that growing wheat without bonemeal can take HOURS, and during that time players may wander by. A good strategy is to sit in a small safe cave with the growing plants and in the morning venture out and try to find bones from burnt skeletons (Skeletons now move towards shade in 1.2). Using these you can make bonemeal which should provide you with at least one loaf of bread, repeat this until you are confident that the amount of bread you have can sustain you for another trip away from spawn.

Oak trees (and only oak trees) will drop apples from their leaves on occasion. If you encounter a forest and are running out of options, chop down a few trees and break the leaves. Be sure to replant so people after you can do the same. Or don't, if you're evil like that.

A more risky strategy involves hunting spiders or heading down into an abandoned mineshaft for string. The string can be used to make a fishing rod to find fish from any body of water. However remember that the server difficulty is 'Hard' and that killing spiders may not be easy.

If you can stomach it, zombie meat can sustain you. Gather rotten flesh from zombies that have died in daylight (Zombies now move towards shade in 1.2) and consume as much as you need. This may poison you, but if you stand completely still until the poison has worn off (your hunger bar returns to the normal colour), you'll still be left with 9.5 hunger bars.
It can also be a good idea to enter the nether from within spawn to kill pigmen. The 100x100 block area within the nether is protected and players can't take damage from pigmen, ghasts or anything else within the area. Staying in the area and killing pigmen until you have a good supply of flesh before heading out will set you up for the rest of the journey to wherever you decide to base.

Mushroom Stew:
Mushroom Stew is a brilliant way of ensuring that you do not starve to death. Combining a red mushroom, brown mushroom and wooden bowl will give you mushroom stew. Mushroom stew will restore 4 hunger bars but the downside to them is that they will not stack. Brown mushrooms can easily be found in swamp biomes underneath trees. Red mushrooms however are a little more hard to find. They can be found in swamp biomes underneath trees or in cave systems. The Nether is an easy source for mushrooms, it should be easy to find a few just outside the protected area.

Out of Options:
So you've tried to get food and were unsuccessful, you’re sitting in a hole watching your hunger drop past the last few bars, or even watching your health drop. There may still be hope! Record your coordinates and log off, head to the subreddit or IRC channel (#hcsmp on Esper) and ask for help. Do NOT put the coordinates in the thread, or announce them globally in chat, or a serial killer may find you and turn up with a sword instead of food. The funny ones may beat you to death with a melon slice.

Remember that the Killers List will show you how many kills a player has, the higher the kills the less likely it is that they are actually planning to help you out.

Remember that standing still and sailing in a boat will not decrease your hunger bar. Sailing allows you to cover great distances without losing hunger.


Like edible mobs , wood and trees around spawn will also become depleted. Some players spend time replanting trees, others burn the forests down intentionally to increase the size of the barrier that new players face. Towards the end of the month you may find yourself a long way from spawn before encountering your first tree. Having Wheat is good, but unless you can turn it into bread, you'll starve just the same.

Abandoned Mineshafts:
Minecraft is littered with mineshafts, within these structures you'll likely to find wooden support beams for the tunnels – this is your wood. Be wary of cave spiders and other mobs however. Chests hidden in abandoned mineshafts may contain food, iron, melon seeds or even diamonds, and fence-posts from the supports may be burned in a furnace if you have yet to find coal. It may take you a while to break through enough stone to find one but the gain is worth it and remember to never dig straight down or up.

Ruins and abandoned bases:
If you are lucky enough to come across a prior base of someone’s you may find yourself some wood. There are also crafting benches scattered around the map that players have placed and didn't take with them.


So you've left spawn, been given, found or stolen food and are now free to travel anywhere you like. There are still a few basics you need to keep in mind.


Most players recommend you get at least 2500 blocks from spawn before even considering starting a base. This puts you outside of the radius of spawn-campers, and into mostly "un-touched" territory. You may see evidence of other players that have passed this way before you.

Making a Home:

If you choose not to be a nomad forever, you'll end up building a home. It will be your safe place, the base of all your operations, and you will come to live and breathe what is your base. It is inevitable that you will spend more time here than anywhere else, you'll do well to hide it and make sure you don't have neighbours. Remember that large above-ground structures are more likely to be spotted and attacked than hidden mountain caves or bedrock homes. The home should have a food source (usually a wheat or melon farm) to ensure you never run the risk of starving again.

The Entrance:
Pistons are useful for hiding a base in an obvious place with the use of a redstone torch a NOT-Gate you can make a very well hidden entrance, you can also have a hidden waterfall or the common seal it up with dirt method it all comes down your preference. If feel you wouldn't find your base then you're on the right track.

You want to make sure you never go hungry again, whenever you see larger bases you be sure to see a large farm for everything. Be sure to check the [ Minecraft Wiki] for the most efficient methods, and information on automated farming.

You will want a storage room, but it is highly advised to keep anything valuable on you when you log out, or you may not find it there when you come back. If you find yourself with more valuables than your inventory can handle you'll need to hide an additional chest somewhere. Chests are commonly hidden under the water blocks in farms and under your waste bin (small lava pit), so try to be original in your choice of hiding location.

XP and Mob Grinders:
XP and Mob Grinders are dangerous to set up. Details on XP and mob farming can be found on the Minecraft Wiki, or on Youtube (try searching for Ethos Method).

Rise to Power

You now have a base, enough food to feed the Roman legion and have taken all necessary precuations for your base's safety. What now? Diamonds and Warts my dear Watson!


There is an incredibly efficient method of mining called grid-mining. Details of different mining techniques can be found on the Minecraft Wiki, or by referring to other articles, such as this guide from our subreddit.

It is advisable to keep mines away from your main base - it is very easy to stumble across these and follow a mine back to your base.


The elusive Netherwart can be one of the most valuable map resources. Netherwart is the basis of all potions, which is why they can be very rare. For a guide to finding Netherwarts on the hcsmp server, please view the Nether Warts article.


Everyone of power had some form of animal companions, Scarface had Tigers, Pablo Escobar had his Hippos and well you can have Wolves and/or cats! Be careful when using Wolves. Their loud barking can give away your base, they can attack your friends by accident, and can push you off cliffs and into lava.

Other Players:

Other players are the leading cause of death on this server, but playing can be boring without working with others. Come join the IRC channel or the subreddit, and have a chat to see if you can get to know anyone before meeting people randomly.

Final Tips


Details of server plugins can be found here.

Local Chat

The Herochat plugin allows players to use Local chat using /l
Local chat works within a 100 block radius, and if no-one is nearby you will be greeted by the message 'No one hears you'. This can be very double edged, as if you chat locally and you see nothing, you have probably just alerted someone else of your presence...


Holding shift to sneak is your friend. It reduces the sound you make, makes your name tag near much fainter, and walk on dangerous or narrow ledges without falling. While sneaking on a ledge be careful to not open your inventory, the chat, or jump, as it may force you off the edge.
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