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Some time ago (shortly after Beta 1.3 launched), I started a new minecraft game, and made a little base. (Didn't know about beds yet, so I just waited out the night). Anyway, when light came, I took out a spider and a creeper close to the entrance, and went out to build a tower on top of the base's location (so I could find my way back if/when I died.)

However, due to the rough nature of the terrain outside, I couldn't see very far, and I was promptly ambushed by another three creepers, and blown to bits.

So, my question would be the following:

In a new game (before you get the resources for a bow and arrow, or elaborate traps), how do you avoid copying my nefarious end? Creepers are the only enemy in the game that stay aggressive in sunlight (spiders revert to neutral, and other hostile ones burn up), do significant damage by blowing you up (making close combat risky, and you don't really have any alternatives at that stage), AND don't make any warning sounds until they're right on top of you. So what's the best method for dealing with these annoyances?

(Also, I'd prefer something aside from "Sleep at night to avoid the spawns". I know that will work in single-player, but I spend a lot of time on SMP servers, and that doesn't work as well there.)

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6 Answers 6

up vote 18 down vote accepted

If you want to play it safe, try putting all your gear into a box next to the entrance and take what you absolutely need out with you. Generally, it is a good idea to make sure you can easily see outside nearby, if you can't, you may want to spend some time leveling the zones around you if its feasible.

You can also try putting up a tower from within your house so you can take a look around you before heading out. Just remember to put some torches at the top.

Finally, if you don't mind dying a few times, just stash all your gear and go out and trigger them to blow up. After a while, you'll end up with a nice and flat area to work with.

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1  
+1 for sentry tower. –  Arkive Mar 4 '11 at 2:32
5  
+1 for "After a while, you'll end up with a nice and flat area to work with." –  Lucas McCoy Mar 4 '11 at 4:28
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Not if they're Creepers. You'll end with a bunch of blast craters. –  ropable Mar 4 '11 at 10:44
    
@ropable, usually you can fill in those craters from the rubble left after the explosion. –  zzzzBov Mar 4 '11 at 16:48

Get a stone sword.

Weapon          Damage/hit   Time to death      Durability
----------------------------------------------------------
Bare hands             0.5         20 hits        Infinite
 ↓ tree punching
Wooden sword           2            5 hits     12 creepers
 ↓ wooden pickaxes + stone
Stone sword            3            4 hits     33 creepers
 ↓ stone pickaxes + iron + furnace
Iron sword             4            3 hits     83 creepers
 ↓ iron pickaxes + diamond
Diamond sword          5            2 hits    781 creepers

You should be able to get one by the time night falls upon you.

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1  
I had one, I just didn't have much of a chance to use it. I basically got caught by three creepers five blocks away coming at completely different angles. –  Nicholas1024 Mar 3 '11 at 23:25
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@Nicholas eh, then there's nothing you can do short of fleeing... –  badp Mar 3 '11 at 23:28
    
OPunching them with my bare hands works fine. I really don't see the problem here :s –  fjdumont Mar 4 '11 at 6:09

It won't completely protect you but one thing I do is to simply cut down trees and create lots of torches. The idea is to try to light an area that is at least 24-30 blocks around your base, the larger the area the better. If the can't spawn close enough to actually see you, then the you will only occasionally see one as their random wandering make them come close to you.

It is important to remember that they can spawn on top of trees if you are on SMP or if you have your graphics mode set to fast, and the tree is tall enough or far enough away from the light source to permit spawning. So part of your initial setup will be to clear out any trees near your first base. Those trees can be used for all your lighting.

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Placing some torches around your island will lower the number of mobs, and waiting a while after sunrise to go out will usually despawn most of the creepers.

If you do need to go out early for some reason, like to collect string from spiders, you should make your house's lip out of glass so you can see where the creepers are hiding. If you're having trouble with creepers hiding in trees, cut down some of the trees.

I've managed to kill creepers from my roof before without them detonating, which the wiki says is possible to do completely safely, but I've also had them blow up the majority of my house before.

If you're having trouble fighting creepers, turning down the difficulty to normal/easy will make them cancel their explosions much earlier. That way you can just hit them, and not have to run away when you do. It'll also make their explosions hurt you less if you fail.

Although, usually, my general strategy is just to run.

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If you are the one hosting the server, go to the server.properties file, open it with Notepad, change spawnmonsters=true to spawnmonsters=false, then restart the server. Get what you need built up, then go back to the server.properties file and change spawnmonsters=false back to true and restart the server. Then the monsters will be able to spawn again. This is what I did.

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Wherever you build your base, put torches everywhere. In front of, all around, spread out a ways, and ESPECIALLY on top of whatever you're using for security. With the ability to create charcoal out of logs in a furnace, you can easily get enough torches to bask your outside area with light.

Putting torches on your roof, and in high places in general, cannot be overemphasized, as ambushes most often happen from above.

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