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Can I just leave a spawner trap that uses fall damage alone for about half an hour, or will the mobs recover their health, rendering the fall damage trap useless?

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up vote 11 down vote accepted

Mobs do not recover health. Refer to this link. However, if it is a fall damage trap, they should ideally be dying when they hit the bottom anyway so them recovering health should be irrellevant. If setup right they die on impact, and you have the ability to get in there and pickup their drops.

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There is a situation where keeping mobs a hit from death is useful, and that's EXP farms. Keep in mind that mobs only give experience when killed by a player. –  Alexis King Feb 28 '12 at 14:04
3  
Yes, this is an xp farm I'm working with here. –  Unionhawk Feb 28 '12 at 14:36

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