Sunday, June 2, 2013

Minecraft is Spelunking

For those who’re unfamiliar with the term “spelunking,” it means essentially the same thing as caving or exploring cave systems. This is an activity that you’ll find is an absolute necessity in Minecraft, but holds with it many more dangers than just water and falls (though those are still present)

Why go caving
There are essentially two reasons for a person to go caving in Minecraft. The first of course is for the purpose of gathering resources. Cave systems, ravines, and abandoned mineshafts are rich with mineral wealth. A brief trip through a surface cave will likely yield you a full stack of coal and even some iron as well. The deeper you go the more there is to collect and eventually you can even find gold and redstone in these caves. Diamonds are rarer to find in cave systems as you have to go really deep to get at them, but it is possible.

The other main reason to go caving is to fill in or light up these cave systems to improve the efficiency of spawners or just prevent the irritating monster noise while you’re doing things underground. This will take lots of torches and nerves of steel as you clear out the mobs and light up the area, but it can be well worth it. Of course the two things aren’t mutually exclusive and you’ll often find that it’s quite easy to both gather resources and light up tunnels as you go, accomplishing both goals at once.

How to cave
There are a few basics you’ll probably want to have before jumping into the first hole that you find (though sometimes to get the resources necessary you have to risk it anyway). As you’ll be facing mobs you’ll want to make sure you’re armed and armored decently well. An iron sword, a set of iron armor, a bow, and a couple stacks of arrows should be more than enough. You can even bring an extra sword if you’d like just in case. You’ll also need a bunch of torches so bringing a full stack of them will get you started. I personally like to carry in with me a full stack of wood boards and sticks for making torches and tools as I go, but it’s not absolutely necessary. If you want to do this however, you’ll want to bring a workbench as well and just keep it with you in case you need to make something that requires more space than your inventory crafting window offers. Naturally you’ll also want to bring a pick to gather any resources you find along the way. This could be made of any material, but iron is pretty durable, can gather any resources you’ll find (except obsidian) and won’t hurt you too badly if you’re killed and end up losing it. Finally make sure and bring a full stack of a saturating food (steak or porkchops are great choices) to keep your health regenerating after fights and falls and to sustain you in case you get lost in one of these massive cave systems.

Once you’ve got the equipment you need, head into a cave and start lighting that thing up. Many people go with a “torches on the right” strategy to help them find their way back out when they’ve finished, but you can choose the best method for you.


While it can be a bit nerve racking, caving is one of the quickest and easiest ways to gather some more coal and iron and is absolutely vital to maximizing the efficiency of a spawner for item or experience farms. If you’ve not tried it yet, why not give caving a go in your N3rd C0rn3r.