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The MineCraft pre-releases have finally implemented enchanting, which gives us something to do with all the experience we've been collecting since 1.8.

The enchanting screen features random requirements annotated with nonsense phrases in Commander Keen's Galactic Alphabet script, and these choices, other than the amount of levels required, are identical.

I know that placing bookshelves near an enchanting table increases the maximum level cost available (I've seen as high as fifty), but is there any point to this?

Does spending more levels to enchant an item provide more potent, better, enchants?

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Did find this: pernsteiner.org/minecraft/enchant/algo.html –  Raven Dreamer Oct 20 '11 at 0:23
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up vote 3 down vote accepted

As far as I could tell from experimenting, the enchantments provide random effects, but the level of the effects is based on experience spent. So, an exp-level-5 enchantment is much more likely to be a level II or III version rather than a level I version. A sword with "Sharpness V" does a lot more damage than one with "Sharpness I", for example. It'll be a much higher-level enchantment spell, too.

Some enchantment spells create multiple effects, and I think the total level of all effects is equal to the spell level. So, a Level-I sharpness plus a Level-II Fire Aspect would be something like 7 exp levels (2 for sharpness, plus 5 for fire aspect). I need to figure out the actual exp level to enchantment level curve, but I think each level (I, II, II, IV, V) requires substantially more experience.

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Your answer is correct, but the actual enchantment selection is a bit different than your guess; if you are interested, the full details of the mechanics can be found on the wiki. See also Enchanting. –  IQAndreas Aug 8 '13 at 22:53
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