Minecraft tips for exploring: how to get around without getting lost

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Minecraft tips for exploring: how to get around without getting lost

The only thing easier in Minecraft than hitting a tree is getting lost. You found the coolest river, the richest cave… but you don’t remember where your home is. At first you just have to be careful, but as the game progresses your options to make sure you know where you are in your Minecraft world multiply. Here’s what you need to know about navigation and how to find your way around in Minecraft.

The Basics: Paths, Directions, and Signs

Fairytale kids did it, and so can you. However, instead of leaving a trail of breadcrumbs behind, you can do better. Put those torches in your inventory to work by using them to mark your path as you explore. However, sometimes it can be hard to see where a group of torches is pointing. To help that take out your shovel and use its alternate function on the ground. With nothing more than a shovel, you can make an attractive and highly functional path.

Minecraft doesn’t have cardinal directions as North and South canonically in the game, but the the sun and the moon always rise in one direction and set in the other, so you can figure out where North, South, East and West are. Keep them in mind as you build and explore.

And if all else fails, signs are easy to make in large numbers. Post informational signs that make use of the various “arrow” characters (^, V, < y >) may be enough to take you anywhere.

make a compass

But you shouldn’t have to be doing a lot of work or paying close attention to find your way home. There are easier options once you start collecting more materials.

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The compass is perhaps the simplest to build and use. By default, this compass will point to the world spawn location, the location where it first appears when you log in. This ensures that no matter where you go, you can at least find your way back to that point. However, the further you move your base of operations from the world spawn, the less convenient it becomes. However, even that problem can be solved with a Lodestone–more on that below. Regardless, this simple tool gives you a foolproof way to get back to the world spawn point no matter how far you’ve come.

make a map

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A compass will always take you back to your point of origin, but it won’t take you back to that cave you found when you were exploring. A map, on the other hand, will. To make a map, you will need nine sheets of paper, which you can get sugar cane harvest and take it to a workbench. Mapping can be paper-intensive, so you’ll probably want a few stacks, but nine is the way to start. By creating a map and activating it, you’ll get a basic map of the area you’re currently in, which you can then discover on the map by walking through the space covered by that map. But that’s just the beginning: Maps are incredibly useful items when you know what to do with them.

Make a locator map

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The next level after creating a basic map is to create a locator map. This takes 8 pieces of paper and a compass. What you end up with is a map like the one above, but now you and any other players on your server will appear on the map, including the direction each player is facing in real time. If they’re off the edge of the map, they’ll appear along the edge of the map, giving you a way to help your friends navigate back home even if they’re lost.

How to enlarge maps

The final form of a map is to create a remote map. There are five map zoom levels:

  • Level 0/4: 256 blocks
  • Level 1/4: 512 blocks
  • Level 2/4: 768 blocks
  • Level 3/4: 1024 blocks
  • Level 4/4: 1280 blocks

you’ll need a cartography table To get started, it requires four planks of wood and two sheets of paper. You can then take your map with zoom 0, locator or not, and place it in the top slot of the Chart Table. Put a sheet of paper in the bottom slot and then pull out the resulting product for a Level 1 Zoom map. Do it again four more times to get a Level 4 Zoom map.

Other than that, these maps make great art when mounted in a frame and can be a great way to remember all the things you’ve created in your Minecraft world.

make a lodestone

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Another useful item you can make is one we hinted at earlier, the Lodestone. This is the most advanced of them, since it requires a abyssal ingot, which you get by mining Ancient Remains from the Nether. You will also need a stonemason to make a set of 8 chiseled stone blocks.

Place a Lodestone anywhere and then use a compass on it, and that compass will point to the Lodestone instead of the world spawn. This is especially useful in the Nether and The End, where compasses don’t work by default. If you place a Lodestone in one of those dimensions and sync a compass to it, that compass will stop going haywire and instead point to the Lodestone. Drop that Lodestone at your entry point and you can always return home, even in those dangerous dimensions.

However, magnets are even useful in the overworld. You can find a place for your base of operations away from the world spawn. By dropping a Lodestone there and timing it, you can ensure that you can always get back home.

The products discussed here were independently chosen by our editors. GameSpot may get a portion of the proceeds if you purchase something featured on our site.

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