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While making edits to the server.properties file, I noticed there was a difficulty setting, which is currently set to 1.

I assume this is related to the client-side setting of the same name, but what options are valid in the properties file, and what does each difficulty setting change?

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up vote 11 down vote accepted

Server Difficulties

The difficulty of a server is configured on the server-side, regardless of what a players client is configured as. The difficulty property is an integer and has 4 potential values. The value defaults to 1, or easy.

Peaceful

Peaceful mode is active when difficulty=0. Hunger is disabled, as is eating, and health is regenerated all the time. Hostile mobs spawn if spawn-monsters is true, but they are removed immediately. (It is worth, therefore, to also set spawn-monsters to false).

Easy

Easy is the default difficulty, and is active when difficulty=1. Hunger is enabled, but will only cause damage when Steve has more than 5 hearts. Hostile mobs have less health and cause less damage, while creepers have a smaller detection radius.

Normal

Normal mode is active when difficulty=2. Hunger is enabled, and can cause damage down to 0.5 hearts. Hostile mobs have 'normal' health and cause 'normal' damage (see table).

Hard

Hard mode is active when difficulty=3. Hunger is enabled, and can kill Steve. Hostile mobs deal greater damage and have a small amount of extra health. Creepers have a larger detection radius for triggering their attacks.

TL;DR:

| difficulty | id | hunger | zombie/enderman | skeleton | spider | creeper |
+------------+----+--------+-----------------+----------+--------+---------+
| peaceful   | 0  | n/a    | n/a             | n/a      | n/a    | n/a     |
| easy       | 1  | 5      | 1               | 1        | .5     | 5.5     |
| normal     | 2  | 0.5    | 2.5             | 2        | 2.5    | 10      |
| hard       | 3  | 0 (die)| 3.5             | 3        | 3.5    | 10.5    |
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+1. It's been a while since I played but is it still the harder the difficulty the less monsters that spawn or has that been changed? – IttyBrittyGirlGamer Nov 18 '11 at 14:53
    
Hunger [...] can kill Steve if left unattended Not true. You don't lose health for just standing there. – John the Green Nov 18 '11 at 21:58
    
Wait, did you mean the hunger can kill Steve if the hunger is left unattended? In that case, you're right. – John the Green Nov 18 '11 at 23:08
    
@John Yeah, that's what I meant. I was't sure how to phrase it at the time. – user821 Nov 19 '11 at 1:06
    
@JohntheGreen I've edited it. It should be clearer now. – Studoku Apr 3 '15 at 10:26

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