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Now that experience does something besides render regions of a server uninhabitable due to orb lag, what's the most efficient and safe way to get those excellent enchants?

A mob farmer may rank highly, but what about without tons of setup?

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13 Answers 13

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I made a pretty quick and dirty XP farm as such:

Find a zombie spawner, punch out all the blocks around it, leave 3ish blocks of space all around it, making a big dark room around the spawner.

Put water source(s) at one end of the room, pulling every zombie that drops to the other side of the room. Make a 1-wide hallway for the water to flow into. Where the water stream ends, put in a 1x1 vertical shaft for the zombie to drop down (place this RIGHT AFTER the water, don't let water flow down the hole).

Make the bottom of the "tube" out of glass so you can see the zombies inside the "kill zone". Leave a single block at the bottom so that you can swing your sword at the zombie's feet.

I made my vertical shaft high enough to take away ALMOST all the zombie's health. If the fall kills them, no XP bubbles. I got mine to the perfect height that I can 1-shot all the zombies with a stone sword (you wouldn't believe how fast this goes through swords).

Hope my description isn't gibberish, I'll get some screenshots later if this isn't clear. =)


                          |
                          |
   S   <-zombie spawner   |
                          |
                          |
WWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW | 
                        | |  <- vertical shaft - experiment with height
                        | |
                        G G  <- glass
                        G G
                             <- air for swinging sword
                    xxxxxxxx <- floor

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    you can extend this with a trapdoor in the shaft and a lever to shut it off when your not using it ;) – ratchet freak Dec 1 '11 at 2:08
  • DOOD! I didn't think of that. I will implement this immediately. =) – Cory J Dec 1 '11 at 2:11
  • @Cory J: wont the monsters not spawn if you have water running over the floor? ive experimented with water in my tower mentioned in my answer and water seems to prevent spawning. – Ender Feb 2 '12 at 14:42
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    @Ender: Monsters don't plan that far ahead. They will gladly jump down a harmless unclimbable 3-block drop into water. And then the water pushes them into the death pit, and even if they struggle not to fall, as more accumulate over the drop, they push the surplus crowd in. – SF. Jun 7 '13 at 6:30
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    @Ender: Also: beyond 32 blocks distance monsters stop moving. That also means they stop struggling against the current. So, that means XP grinding is split into three phases: Spawning (when you remain at given distance from the spawning place: 16 blocks from spawner, between 24 and 32 from darkroom (keeping as much of it within these borders. Phase two, dropping: move more than 32 blocks from the drop chute. Phase three, harvesting, self-explanatory. – SF. Jun 7 '13 at 11:14
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I use 3 main methods for rapid experience gain.

Spawner Camping

Very similar to what Cory described. You find a spawner; you kill everything it spawns.

Running Around at Night

This method requires the least prep of any, and is quite self explanatory.

Declaring War on the Zombie Pigmen

Head to the Nether and kill all you see. They spawn incredibly fast so by the time you've went to kill that group of 4 over there, 4 more have spawned back where you were. This method is the most dangerous, but becomes drastically safer with marginal experience loss if you take a buddy with you (obviously only in SMP).

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    What Cory describes is much more than spawner-camping; he made an actual XP farm. You could literally build it so that all you need to do is hold down the mouse button and walk away from the computer to farm XP. – BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Dec 1 '11 at 6:30
  • @Blue Well, yes. I described the bare-bones "least setup" way because I saw no value in repeating Cory's (very good) answer. – John the Green Dec 1 '11 at 14:32
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Those are all good methods BUT..., I think mine is best. ^_^

The current most effecient way to level up for enchanting is to mine.

The Following Answer Is Outdated

See, the thing is;

  • Monster Spawners take too long to spawn monsters.
  • The Ender-Dragon can only be killed once.
  • Running around at night can be dangerous, and you wanted the SAFEST method.

This method requires a heck of a lot of prep, and a good source of iron (your going to burn through swords like butter), but that aside, it's safe, extremely effective, and unlike the other methods mentioned, it's directly reactive to how much effort and time you put into it, meaning you get more 'umph' if you give it more 'heave'.

This is what I did:

I walked a short distance from my house (about 26 blocks from the closest side of your house is optimal for the best spawn rates), and built a tower. My tower has six floors, but you can make as many floors as you like, and more floors will mean more monsters to kill. (And more exp per 'run').

My towers' dimensions are 22 blocks long, by 17 blocks wide. I do not suggest you make it any larger and will explain why momentarily. (A little smaller might even be best, 16x16 perhaps) The tower is made entirely of cobblestone. The base of the tower has a stone floor as well. (And this is important, also explained momentarily.) Each floor of the tower is 3 blocks high, thats one block for the actual walking surface and two blocks of air. Each floor of the tower is featureless, and completly closed off to the outside. There is a circular staircase going up around the outside of the tower, with about a 6 block long 'flat' walking area located one block below the ground level of each floor.

Position your flat walking areas of the staircase so that if you break an 'eye-level' block of the tower wall you will be looking at the feet of anything that happens to be inside. Additionally the stone 'base floor' of the ground-floor of the tower should rise that floor up by the one neccesary block so you will be looking at their feet there as well.

If you've done this properly, since it's always dark inside the tower, monsters will spawn inside day and night, and in rather large numbers too. You simply walk up to the tower wall, bust a block so you can see them (and they you) and swing away. With my current dimensions 80% of the monsters inside approach me when I do this, so I occasionally have to break a few more blocks and enter the tower to attract the attention of the ones against the far wall. (And this is why you might want to make your's a tad smaller.) After you finish the first floor and re-patch the hole you made in the wall, just climb the stairs and continue on each additional floor. All done? Run back to your house, do the hokey-pokey, and head on back to your tower to go at it again.

This method is almost 100% safe with a FEW noted exceptions.

  • SKELETONS: Sometimes Skeletons will be far enough away from your 'wall of entry' to still have line of sight and peg you with an arrow when you break your entry block. The best way to avoid this (as much as possible anyway) is to stand off to the side as you break your block. Note that Skeletons will always try to strafe you as they shoot, and always in the same direction (they will walk to your left), so try and break the right-most possible block on whatever floor you happen to be on, and stand to the left of that block as you do so. The Skeleton should walk right up to the block like the rest of the mobs once it looses line of sight.
  • SPIDERS: Be sure to only break one block at a time and not two blocks adjacent to each other if Spiders are on that floor, else the Spider will be able to get out and eat your face. (Spiders can fit through a Two-Block-Wide by One-Block-High space.)
  • CREEPERS: Yes your safe from the Creepers, mostly. The primary issue is the Aforementioned Skeletons get rather trigger happy at times and sometimes they hit Creepers. Then the Creepers get angry at the Skeleton and proceed to re-arrange their face. This makes large holes in your floor, ceiling, and walls sometimes as well. (hence everything being made of stone, it helps minimize the creeper collateral damage)
  • FALLING: This can happen if your not carefull enough. And if your tower is high enough, it can be a real problem. I personally put fence railing on my 'walkway\staircase' around the tower to mitigate this problem. It works quite well, as I've never fallen.

Final Notes: Be sure to put torches on the roof of your tower, else monsters will spawn on the roof and dive-bomb you when you approach.

I THINK that's everything, I will edit if I remember something I've forgotten. Good Luck and Happy Hunting!

Afterthought: I'm aware your question asked for a method of farming\exp gain that did not require a lot of prep, but this was the best compromise I could come up with. Realistically if your trying to to get 'quick and easy' you could still use this method and only include the single first floor in your 'tower'. (which I suppose would then be a warehouse instead of a tower, heh). Then when your feeling bored or otherwise motivated you could add on to it as you see fit. I'm not sure what else to say to the 'lack of prep' feature. Asking for safe exp grind without prep is kind of like asking for free money, it just doesn't realistically happen.

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  • Awesome setup! Well done, sir. I will do this immediately. – andronikus Jan 20 '12 at 13:36
  • Doors might work better than block destruction, but they may leak light in. Redstone torches may help as they don't offer much light. – Broam Feb 2 '12 at 14:34
  • @Broam: doors destroy the safety aspect of the tower. A door allows things in and out when you open it, destroying one block located at foot level doesnt'. – Ender Feb 2 '12 at 14:40
  • @Broam although it has occured to me that putting a door so the top half is at foot level should work. But yea, that would let light in (just a little). The light allowed it might not be enough to drastically alter the spawn rates, but as of right now I'm on an "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" kick. Nice thought though. – Ender Feb 27 '12 at 5:37
  • +1 for 'the Creepers get angry at the Skeleton and proceed to re-arrange their face' – angussidney May 24 '15 at 11:43
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With the redstone update, mining Nether Quartz has become the fastest method to gain experience. You can reach level 30 in minutes actively looking for it.

Bring along a couple potions of fire resistance, make sure you don't attack zombie pigmen, and it's a relatively safe mining experience.

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    This is currently the fastest way to gain experience in the game. – James Jun 4 '13 at 15:16
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Probably the most consistent, easiest way to get a lot of XP is building an XP farm. It's a contraption that provides a constant stream of what is source of XP, in a way that is easily and safely obtainable. There are countless designs of XP farms, varying in difficulty and efficiency. I'll show a couple designs

Probably the easiest in general, but with very low efficiency, is a spawner-based XP farm built around a random zombie or skeleton spawner - normally dig in the ground, consisting of a 9x9x8 chamber with the spawner 2 blocks below ceiling, water streams transporting the mobs to a drop chute where they are dropped 23 blocks down into a hole where the player can safely slash their legs and 1-hit kill them with any weapon, and with the mobs unable to get out. The player must remain at most 16 blocks from the spawner, so that it works, spawning more mobs.

Pictured below - the structure of the spawner, with one side replaced with glass. Obviously, normally it's all dug, not built.

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The next step up is a general mob grinder. The design by Sethbling requires minimum of resources, but takes some more effort to light the caves around. See the next entry for construction details.

Easier, though requiring more cheap resources is "the same except built in the sky". with the kill platform (the area where mobs drop and are slain by the player) at around 130 blocks above ground (or preferably sea, to avoid fall deaths) level, spawning platforms respectively higher. DON'T build the "cross-shaped" grinder that depends on mobs wandering around. It's an easy way to get Youtube clicks, not XP or mob drops, the efficiency of it is abysmal.

The concept is based on waterlogged trapdoors periodically enabled by redstone to flush the mobs down a channel, then flushed into a 23 block deep drop chute, landing on bottom slabs on top of hoppers to collect their drops. The depicted layout assures mobs won't ever see the player, otherwise a creeper could blow the chamber up.

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If you're comfortable with the Nether, you can build a blaze farm instead - it grants roughly comparable amount of XP but the danger building it is quite obvious. You can build a farm similar to normal spawner farm, using lava instead of water to push blazes, no drop chute this time, because blazes float down slowly instead of falling, so you must take their full health. Linked below is an alternative using blaze pathfinding to gather them in one corner of the farm, in a small kill chamber - requiring a large area around the farm completely empty and a big clump of full solid blocks in the corner they should pathfind to.

Next, probably the most practical, providing the best XP gain rate relative to effort - very efficient and easy, is EnderMINI by Gnembon, a classic - which requires access to the End though.

This farm is based on the fact that the void around the central End island provides perimeter conditions - any spawns are limited to spawnable blocks you place. The farm is built at y=0, the lowest layer of the world, at least 128 blocks from the central island, As result, a small spawn platform (surrounded by leaf blocks to facilitate pack spawning) is the only area where endermen can spawn, and their spawn rates are just crazy. A nametagged endermite in a minecart placed across a 2-wide drop lined with trapdoors is everything needed to bring the endermen to the "kill hole". Double or triple carpets are used within 8 blocks from the drop chute to prevent endermen from teleporting when attacked, and the low area for the player makes him/her immune from the endermen attack. On regular vanilla servers, this type of farm produces enough XP that the production outpaces player's ability to absorb the XP orbs.

enter image description here

After that we're going into realm of mega-builds; they are way too complex for a simple Q&A site answer, so I'll just leave the videos with short descriptions:

The classic "sky donut" - a zombified piglin farm built over the Nether ceiling, design by Ilmango, has a great advantage of not requiring player interaction, while providing plenty of XP

A farm with even greater XP rates (thanks to the fact that guardians drop more valuable orbs) is a guardian XP farm, requiring lots and lots of work to build though, built at an ocean monument:

Let's not forget XP silos - builds based on furnaces constantly supplied with renewable fuel (e.g. bamboo) and smeltable material (kelp, cactus) so they are constantly active. Each smelted item adds a little XP that will be collected once the player manually removes a smelted item from the furnace; XP "builds up" slowly, over days, but can be "retrieved" in seconds:

And I think it should be included, even though it's no longer possible in the game, but for historical reasons the most efficient, and most epic XP farm ever deserves a mention: the fully automatic ender dragon farm.

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TaviRider's Relieable XP Grinder is probably your best option if you have the supplies and find a spawner.

It's compact, and nearly kills the skeleton so it's easy to finish them off.

If not, make a quick and easy grinder out of mushrooms:

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  • A lot of work, very well explained! – Allov Mar 14 '12 at 18:46
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Find a Nether Fortress and if you can hook up two blaze spawners together like Ethos its the most effieient as each blaze drops 10 XP. My XP Grinder is very efficient as I found 3 mob spawners and also hooked up a few dark rooms where mobs spawn and are pushed into a water elevator that brings them above ground and then drops them so they only have one heart of health check it out here...

I have now made it into a record grinder with the flick of a switch in episode 18

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I opted to make a similar mob farm as described above, except with a skeleton spawner. And I let the jerks drop about 14 blocks so that they are weaker--I'd drop them 22 blocks if I weren't already on bedrock. The only advantage to zombies is that you get arrows and bones rather than rotten flesh--I don't really care about the bones truthfully. The disadvantage is that they ARE going to shoot you, which is why i don't waste my armor on them, because they don't spawn fast enough to kill me. Its safe, effective, and efficient. (But slightly boring).

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  • You mean SKELETONS have the advantage of dropping arrows, this is correct. If you build it as I described however, I don't believe they will be able to shoot you. Only leave a 1 block gap at the bottom. – Cory J Dec 3 '11 at 16:31
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I will also advocate the zombie or skeleton farm (my design is different, but the idea is to move them away from the spawner, to allow for it to keep pumping out mobs, and trapped in an accessible, but safe, shaft).

The problem with this is that it takes many swords and a huge hit to the hunger bar.

I first saw Coestar get around this problem.

If you allow them to fill up for a while, then throw a health splash potion at them (undeads - zombies or skeletons - only), you can kill them all with one go, and reap the subsequent experience bubble swarm!

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I made an exp farm using a double dungeon and a piston pusher trap, with a 23 block drop fall (one kill on a punch on easy, a sword on normal)

Just stand above/on one of the pistons, with a pressure plate in front of it, that activates it and when they try to jump to you it pushes them off. simple and easy build, though you will have to find a way to get up/down to get exp (i used the spiral staircase method)

only works with zombies if you want to stand ON the piston, must walk back about 5 blocks for skeletons. (skeleton farm- good arrow supply, though)

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One thing no one has mentioned:

When you kill the ender-dragon, he drops enough experience to give several people 70 or so skill points (the max you can use on enchanting a single item is 50).

However, this can only be done once per game.

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    Isn't it impossible to return to the real world from The End? Levels are moot if you can't use them. – Nick T Dec 1 '11 at 14:17
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    No one mention this because he said mob farms were too much setup. Killing the Enderdragon is way more setup than that. – John the Green Dec 1 '11 at 14:45
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    You can return to the real world from The End. We killed the Enderdragon with 3 people - one player got level 68, one player got 96, one player got 378. (That last one is not a typo). – Broam Dec 6 '11 at 21:03
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Hey there! There are many ways you can earn XP in Minecraft:

  • Mining: Mining rarer ores grants more XP.

  • From killing most mobs, which drop experience orbs along with any other items.

  • Destroying a spawner block gives 15–43 points of experience as orbs.

  • From breeding animals, which produces orbs where the parents are, along with the baby animals.

  • From fishing. The experience is awarded immediately upon reeling in the fish, even if the fish itself is not picked up.

  • From trading with villagers.

  • A bottle o' enchanting releases orbs when broken

  • From disenchanting items in a grindstone.

  • From completing a challenge advancement

And, of course, the /experience command. If the gamerule keepInventory is set to true, the experience is kept even if the player dies.

I hope this helps you on your quest to gain XP!

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What I did was:

  1. I found a spawner about half way into the ground
  2. Made a elevator to the top where they would go
  3. Threw some lava back to water
  4. Then they only had half a heart, 1-hit-kill with my fists

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