Minecraft Dungeons is here, available now on Xbox Game Pass or the Microsoft Store for an absurdly low $20. Dungeons takes an old-school approach to action RPG dungeoneering, with an emphasis on loot and discovery. The game has quite a few hidden levels, and piles of loot and playstyles to build up, all across three major difficulty tiers.
As a level 90 player with dozens of hours played, here are some general tips and tricks I'd offer to those jumping in for the first time.
The point of the game is loot
Minecraft Dungeons is not a story game, although it does have some fun plot details and lore for fans of the franchise. The game revolves around the Arch-Illager and his Orb of Dominion staff, granting him powers from beyond the Minecraft world. You'll complete the basic difficulty tier relatively quickly, in around 3 to 4 hours, depending on how much exploration you do. However, the real meat of the game is in its loot and gearing system.
As you head into Adventure and Apocalypse difficulty, new types of armor and weapons open up to you, alongside powerful "Unique" armor and weapons that offer unique synergies with the game's Artifact abilities.
Finding a specific weapon or armor set you want to build your class around is ultimately the name of the game, grinding out the levels with your friends and making different builds.
After completing the game on Apocalypse difficulty, there's not much left to do besides going hunting for loot. Still, Mojang is gearing up to add two more DLC packages in the future, and there's a mysterious broken Nether Portal hidden inside the Camp area, possibly hinting at Diablo-style procedurally-generated Greater Rifts for more end-game style content. Getting to the end on Apocalypse difficulty will ultimately take around 20-30 hours, depending on how you pace yourself. I'm personally holding off on defeating the Apocalypse difficulty final boss until I perfect my build.
You get more loot (and fun) with friends
Since the point of the game is loot, the most efficient way to get the pieces you want is from playing with friends. Similarly to other games like this, adding more friends adds even more difficulty to the game. Just adding three players into the mix creates huge swarms of mobs that can be truly tough to get through if you're not working as a team.
To offset this bump in difficulty, the game also throws in more loot and rewards.
Synergize your artifacts and armor with your weapon style
Similarly to Monster Hunter World and other gear-based progression titles, Minecraft Dungeons character development is in its gear above all else. There are no set classes, and instead, it's your loadout that determines your style of play.
I saw some reviews where the reviewers were complaining that melee classes are too weak and die too easily, for example. The reality is that they weren't using an optimal build for that particular playstyle. If you're planning on playing something like a squishy Berserker, for example, using a Double Axe or some other heavy melee weapon, you're going to want to use defensive artifacts that can help you mitigate tons of incoming melee damage. The Iron Hide Amulet and the Gong of Weakening give you protective boosts in defense, and the Light Feather lets you roll around the battlefield stunning enemies as you go, preventing them from attacking you.
If you find that your current set-up isn't working, try to identify your weaknesses and accommodate with a different build. You can purchase more level-appropriate items from the vendors too, and don't be afraid to backtrack to find better gear on a more manageable level if you think you need to!
General gear tips: Melee, archery, and souls
Minecraft Dungeons has dozens of potential playstyle combinations you can make by mixing and matching gear, Artifacts, and enchantments. The sky really is the limit, and discovering what works for yourself is part of the fun. Still, if you want to get started, here are some beginner's tips.
Tips for melee players
Melee players can be squishy, especially in higher difficulties. There are specific armor sets designed to mitigate damage, such as Plate Armor, Mercenary's Armor, and many others. You'll want to wear those to withstand hits, but even then, you can die very quickly in the middle of a large pack of mobs.
You can offset the incoming damage using Artifacts like the previously-mentioned Iron Hide Amulet and Gong of Weakening. There also items like the Shock Powder that stuns enemies in a large area of effect for quite a long time. Melee attackers can also prioritize getting Enchants like Lifesteal or Radiance that heals you in return for doing melee damage. Mitigation should be a key part of your build mentality when playing a melee character, whether it's through automatic healing, stuns, or defense boosts.
Tips archery-style players
Archery-style players will want to pick up armor that boosts ranged damage. The Hunter's Armor not only does that but also grants more arrows. Indeed, arrows are finite in Minecraft Dungeons, and the whole party shares their drops.
If you use the communication wheel to say "Need More Arrows!" to your teammates, it'll help you make sure you're topped off. Additionally, armor like the Phantom Armor lets you increase the number of Souls you can absorb from defeated enemies, which works nicely with the Torment Quiver, turning Souls into arrows. Using an item like the Ghost Cloak can help you pass through obstacles enemies set up, allowing you to reposition in a pinch.
Tips Souls-using players
The Souls mechanic is interesting since it lets you convert defeated enemy souls into a resource. Some abilities, like the Corrupted Beacon or the Harvester, are immensely, immensely powerful, and require tons of Souls to work. This is great if there are plenty of mobs to kill, but on boss fights where adds don't spawn, you may need to finish the boss off with melee or arrows, so just don't be caught out!
That said, there are weapons in the game like a Unique Soul Knife that grants you Souls on-hit rather than on-death, helping to keep your artifacts powered up.
Don't read in-depth guides (even ours), discover for yourself!
Honestly, the best thing about Minecraft Dungeons is the sense of discovery. Throughout the review program, naturally, I had no access to the internet for reading guides and that sort of thing, and working it all out for myself proved to be incredibly fun. Experiment, explore every corner of the map, use the dodge roll to jump over gaps that don't seem passable, you never know what you might find. And of course, have fun.
Bonus tip: Spiders will become your most-hated enemy towards the end game, for their ability to net you at the most inopportune moments. Kill all the spiders, ASAP!
Minecraft goes full RPG
Minecraft grows up and reaches out.
Minecraft Dungeons is the next saga in Minecraft's story, and it looks like Mojang and Microsoft are hitting another one out of the park. Minecraft Dungeons combines the familiar world we all grew up on with an injection of Diablo, a whole lot of fun. Available on every platform you're on, for a ridiculously attractive price, what's not to love?
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