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In Minecraft, what advantage do you have, playing on any difficulty, other than easy? Are there better rewards?

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cue smoke Thousands of years ago, before the time of Sigourney Weaver, people played games for the challenge and sense of accomplishment. – user9983 Nov 19 '11 at 17:30
@OrigamiRobot Was trying to think of a great answer for this, which wouldn't have involved one sentence, but your comment sums it up perfectly +1. Mark, there is absolutely no reward for playing hard against easy, however, some people prefer the challenge of playing a game on hard mode. – IttyBrittyGirlGamer Nov 19 '11 at 17:32
Do more monsters spawn so more gunpower/bones? – Mark Lalor Nov 19 '11 at 17:37
@Mark the monsters are simply tougher and stronger – Martin Melka Nov 19 '11 at 17:56
@Mark No. No more or less monsters spawn based on difficulty level. See: Specifically the top paragraph before the table. – IttyBrittyGirlGamer Nov 19 '11 at 17:56

6 Answers 6

up vote 19 down vote accepted

The reward is a bit more challenging gameplay:

  • Mobs hit for more damage
  • Much larger no-cancel radius for creeper explosions
  • If your hunger bar depletes, you will die (your health stabilizes on lower levels)
  • Zombies break down doors
  • Only way to play "hardcore" mode (i.e., you die, your world's deleted)
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@Timelord64 I've read that over and over and over again and see no mention of it. And that site is far from reliable either way. Mobs spawn with more armor (based on local difficulty), but I don't know if the drop chance is increased. – ydobonebi Aug 7 at 21:53
> Says my source is unreliable >> Uses same source in own answer.. To clarify, though, @ydobonebi; While playing on a harder level of difficulty does not directly appear to increase the "random loot" drop, enemies have a higher chance of spawning with gear, which in turn improves that gears chance of dropping, as per Minecraft Wiki – Timelord64 Aug 8 at 0:08
@Timelord64 I cited that as a secondary source. Not reliable doesn't mean false, just questionable (which I included a section about). The only thing I used from that site, teh list of postive buffs spiders could have, which honestly, I could have just looked up in the game since it could be any of the postive buffs. I just prefer be honest since thats where I got it from. As for gear dropping, Yeah, there would be that, but that is an indirect side effect and not directly related to game difficulty itself. Though I did include it. Armor drops increase (avg) by 1.2% and weapon drops by 0.4% – ydobonebi Aug 8 at 2:25
@Timelord64 I mentioned the answer is incomplete because I intend to include exact/average percentage changes like that. – ydobonebi Aug 8 at 2:26
@Timelord64 Oops, I just checked, the drop rates are based on local difficulty and not game difficulty. The wiki says 'difficulty' but then has a note that its refering to the local difficulty. As a fun note, loot chests and villages were going to be (and may still be) deteremined by chunk age and difficulty. Its already in the code starting v1.7.2 but not techniquelly included (it's not in the update notes, but there is a mention to 'other improvements and secrets' mentioned in a couple of the updates. They also changed how mineshafts generate (based on the actual code) – ydobonebi Aug 8 at 2:33

The only reason to play on Hard mode is for the challenge or sense of danger. The extra difficulty may make the game a more rewarding experience, but it doesn't give any extra loot. The same number of enemies spawn on Hard as on Easy, and they drop the same amount of stuff.

In Hard mode, according to the Minecraft wiki:

  • Enemies deal more damage
  • Creepers will not cancel their explosion unless you move further away
  • You can die from starvation (on Normal difficulty you can only be reduced to half a heart of health from starvation).
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I forgot where I read it but, according to that guy, there is a difference to the spawn rate of the different enemies on the various difficulties, easy, normal, hard. – DemonicMushy Nov 20 '11 at 8:46
@DemonicMushy this stems from an oooooold alpha bug where Easy mode spawned more enemies than hard – Ben Brocka Mar 20 '12 at 21:01

In hard mode, there is a higher chance of mobs holding gear like armor and weapons. And a higher chance of them being enchanted items. These items might be dropped on death for you to pick up.

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This is a direct copy paste from here – Timelord64 Aug 7 at 17:51
only weapons, armor is more based on local difficulty. however if a zombie does have armor, hard will check again to add more armor. – ydobonebi Aug 7 at 22:12

The following is based on MC for PC version < 1.7.x, and no facts have been checked against a higher version of the game, at this time. I will attempt to update it as soon as possible.

The different difficulties change the over all feel of the game in terms of difficulty. Whether or not the game seems more difficult is a personal opinion.

If you are the type of person who prefer to set goals and challenge themselves, then you might be more inclined to play hard mode. If you played through the game, killed the dragon, and really didn't break a sweat, then trying hard mode may provide a more enjoyable and challenging experience.

Its not so much advantages or rewards, just slightly different mechanics and experience.

Strictly speaking of Hard Difficulty, the following things make the game a different experience:

Exclusive to Hard difficulty

  • All hostile mobs have increased HP
  • All hostile mobs have increased damage
  • Creepers explosion no-cancellation range is increased (meaning you have to back off further than normal or easy to have them cease exploding)
  • Hunger decreases, and you die immediately, when it depletes
  • Poison will kill you
  • Withering can kill you
  • Spiders will have higher chance of spawning with positive a status effect (Strength, Speed, Invisibility etc.)
  • Zombies have higher chance spawning with a weapon
  • Zombies spawning with armor have higher chance of having additional armor
  • Explosions deal more damage
  • Villagers killed by Zombies have higher chance of converting to Zombie Villager (rather than simply dying)
  • Overworld Portals will spawn Zombie Pigmen more often
  • Actions consume more satiation/hunger

In addition to your difficulty setting, there is a Regional or Local Difficulty, that affects certain aspects of the game. The calculation for this local difficulty partially depends on your set game difficulty. Some of these effects can occur on lower difficulty, due to how the calculations are done, however they are more likely on Hard difficulty.

Based on Local Difficulty, influenced by Game Difficulty

The phase of the moon also affects these chances

  • Higher chance of Zombies spawning with armor
  • Armor and weapons that Zombies spawn with will have higher level of enchants
  • Zombies are more likely to break doors
  • Zombies are more likely to pick up items from the ground (not like Endermen, who take blocks)
  • A Zombie that spawns has a chance of receiving a HP bonus + additionally, a higher chance to break doors (stacks with existing chance)
  • A Zombie that spawns has a higher chance of calling for reinforcements (when killed, see Zombie Packs)
  • Slimes will spawn larger.
  • Slimes are more likely to spawn in swamp biomes. (This is not affected by game difficult, only by moon phase difficulty)

Lastly, there is a MODE (separate from a difficulty) called Hardcore. in this mode death is permanent, your world will be deleted. Mobs spawn rates are increased. And your difficulty is locked to hard (hardcore is a mode and can't be changed in game) However, though you start in hard difficulty with Hardcore mode, this can be changed in game. As an interesting note, even though Hardcore is a mode and so is Creative, you can be in creative in a hardcore world (dying still has the same result).

The following are changes in difficulty that either used to be true or were rumored to be true or which I have not found a reliable source to substantiate them.

  • Crops grow slower (random game ticks is decreased slightly)
  • Drowning and suffocation occurs faster
  • Skeletons shot arrows faster
  • Skeletons have better accuracy. Skeleton and other mob AI has been changing since at least version 1.7.2 and at the time the effect is same for all difficulties.
  • Additional/Better Loot in dungeons and fortresses and strongholds Notch and Jeb has said they want and intend to implement this in a future version. But it is not true at present.
  • Zombies can break down doors in easy mode if local difficulty is high enough This was fixed in a earlier version. Mojang claims it was unintentional according to bug tracker
  • Multiple players makes the chunk age faster. Mojang has confirmed this to be false, the age rate is fixed regardless how many players occupy the chunk are because it is based on loaded time only.
  • Killer bunnies have a greater chance of spawning, and even more on full moons Killer bunnies were removed prior to release version and this has not been confirmed for the snapshots it was present in.

Additional notes and clarifications:

  • Zombies can break down doors in normal mode if local difficulty is high enough
  • Chunks have 'age' based on how long they have been loaded which contributes to local difficulty.
  • Neither more nor less mobs spawn in hard mode than easy/normal. This was changed back in pre-beta. The only except is Pigmen near Overworld portal, which do spawn more frequently.
  • Chunks have age based on how long they've been loaded.
  • There are many side affects caused by the difficulty settings and local difficulty as well as moon phase that are not directly but rather indirectly related such as getting more rare drops due to increase in chance of spawning with items. The chance for items to drop is the same, and the number of items is the same.
  • Herobrine is not, was never, and will never be in the game. Don't believe me? Check the change logs.

This answer is still being worked on


Fun notes:

  • Your hearts in hardcore mode are evil, seriously, just look at them.

Herobrine watches you while you sleep and he knows when you're awake.

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Nice one, even better that you'll improve it. – ardaozkal Aug 7 at 23:10
Exact values of change will greatly increase the value of this answer. As is it is fairly more detailed then the top answer. I might suggest trying to group sections under headings, ousing markdown. Breaks it up a bit easier, and generally helps with positive reception, for these more in-depth solutions. – Timelord64 Aug 8 at 2:30
@Timelord64 That's why I said "still being worked on" it's in the planning. So, whats your opinion, should I give all numbers, edge case limits, or just averages? IE: multiple things affect a roll outcome, and multiple rolls means I'd have to give multiple ranges for a single item, or just give overall range (ie: 1-5% on the low, and 15-30% on the high end, or just say 1-30% or just say average 2.5 - 27% average – ydobonebi Aug 8 at 2:38
Also note, the wiki doesn't break some of the numbers down into difficulty, just says 0-15% for easy-hard. Though I could just go thru the code, the would likely violate the ToS/TaC of this site. – ydobonebi Aug 8 at 2:49

Simple, mobs deal more damage, zombies break down doors and the harder it is, the more fun it is.

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More monsters do not spawn due to difficulty levels. – Joe the Person Mar 20 '12 at 22:22
Also, "the harder it is, the more fun it is" is only true for some people. – SevenSidedDie Feb 25 '13 at 2:50
@SevenSidedDie I have a friend who loves Hard, goes out at night to kill monsters at frensy, and doesn't even care if he dies. He plays for fun. At the contrary, I love Creative much more than Survival, if I ever play Survival I put it on Easy, and if I ever hear a zombie while mining, even if I have a diamond sword or something like that, I go running away to my home. And Joe the Person: That explains why going out at night is always hard for me. (Unless Peaceful) – Anonymous Pi Oct 24 '13 at 15:58

On hard:

Mobs spawn a little less, but have a greater chance of having armor and tools, and if enchanted, have a better chance for higher levels.

All mobs have increased health and do more damage. Creepers explode even if you are farther form the standard three block radius.

You can die of hunger, and your saturation does not last nearly as long.

Zombies can break down wood doors.

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protected by Frank Feb 27 at 16:24

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