Recently I have been designing a mob farm utilising the zombie reinforcement mechanic, which I have got mostly working there are just a few issues that I don't understand and can't find anywhere.

  1. When I AFK at the farm I am positioned 40 blocks above the damage source (magma block) that triggers reinforcement spawning in 2 cardinal directions. When I am at this level spawn rates appear to significantly decrease, not stop just decrease.

  2. Do mobs going through to nether side impact farm efficiency in any way, especially in relation to the afk distance?

The farm is fully working when I am closer to the damage source (10-20 blocks away) in previous testing before I had the designated afk spot, which cannot be changed easily. It is also not an issues with general reinforcement requirements as I am adamant I have those correct.

I thought it may be something to do with the spawn sphere and algorithm, however I'm not sure exactly how this works or if it even applies to reinforcement spawning. Or potentially simulation chunks or render distance may effect it but I'm also not sure. It is also important to note that the reinforcements spawning are locking onto villagers as their target when taking damage from magma blocks to spawn reinforcements in cardinal directions.


2 Answers 2


Zombie reinforcements spawning is affected by player's distance as below:

  • Reinforcement spawning distance: Zombies can only spawn reinforcements within a certain distance of the player which is 32 blocks on easy difficulty, 48 blocks on normal difficulty, and 64 blocks on hard difficulty.
  • Reinforcement spawn rate: The rate at which zombies spawn reinforcements increases as the player gets closer to them.

This means that if you are far away from a zombie, it is less likely to spawn reinforcements. However, if you are close to a zombie, it is more likely to spawn reinforcements, and it will do so at a faster rate.

  • Thank you for your response! Where did you find this information as I had never heard of the spawn rate decreasing as distance increases? I was also under the impression that the reinforcement mechanic only works on hard difficulty not easy or medium.
    – Frosty
    Commented Oct 12, 2023 at 12:08

It is just that the zombie target distance for specifically villagers is 35 - 52.5 depending on local difficulty (which is at 5.25 surrounding my farm). Because the AFK position is 40 blocks above the damage source, many of the zombies will not agro towards the villagers as I assume the distance within the range of 35-52.2 is randomized explaining why only some were spawning (above 35 target range zombies). This was enough to prevent the 1.5x exponential zombie growth over time (slowed down by leader zombies with higher reinforcement spawn chances).

Also, I found out that the drowned do still have villagers as targets even in the daytime and if they are not in water they will not attempt to attack. The drowned (like the zombies) will stop targeting villagers when I am outside of their agro distance (over 35 blocks away as I tested in the area with the lowest local difficulty). Having villagers as a target but not attacking them might be a bug, but I'm not sure.

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