Minecraft Guide to the End: World, cities, monsters, ender dragon, loot, and more

A massive end city
A massive end city (Image credit: Windows Central)

The ruthless ender dragon

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

If the Nether is Minecraft's rendition of Hell, then the End represents the void that separates the different dimensions. It's a place filled with shadows and strange creatures, and for many, it's the last stop they'll ever make. For you, it's the next facet of Minecraft that has to be explored. We've got the scoop on everything to keep an eye out for in the End.

How do you get to the End?

The End Portal

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Getting to the End isn't a matter of meandering aimlessly until you find yourself in that dark dimension, nor does it entail building a portal yourself out of obsidian and hopes. Instead, you need to have access to some high-end materials and the drive to potentially travel a long ways to get to your destination.

Travel to the Nether, slay hordes of blaze, crush them into powder, hunt down dozens of endermen, collect the strange pearls they leave behind, craft the rare eye of ender, search out the End stronghold, traverse the cryptic maze, activate the End Portal, and...it goes on. It's alright, we have a guide that covers all of this and breaks it down for your convenience.

What is the End?

The infinite void

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

The End is the home of Minecraft's final boss, the ender dragon, and is the third and last dimension a player can explore during their adventures in the game. Most of the End's initial appearance is dominated by a main center island, housing a circle of tall obsidian pillars, and a fountain-like structure constructed of bedrock in the exact center. This fountain is the exit portal, and is how players can leave the End when they're done. The first time a player enters the End, the ender dragon will be flying around this center island.

Beyond this sparse set of structures, the End's main island is relatively boring and empty. Surrounding the main island is a huge expanse of nothing, known as the void. While it may not look like it at first glance, there are other islands that revolve around the main island in the middle, but the gap between them is normally far too large to see, and too large to traverse easily through normal means.

In total, the End actually has four separate biomes (five if you count the main island) that generate semi-randomly around the center End island, and each have their own characteristics, appear in different places, and can generate different structures. The common trait shared between all of them is they are all constructed entirely out of a porous block called end stone, and all are occupied by the tall, dark, and not-so-handsome endermen.

An End gateway

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

The outer islands can only be realistically accessed by using the miniature end portals called gateways that appear in random locations around the End. These gateways have bedrock caps at each end, with a single block of portal visible in the middle. They only appear after the ender dragon has been defeated, and will instantly teleport you to another gateway somewhere else in the End. Unfortunately, there's really no way to predict where exactly the gateway will bring you. To get back to the center island (and thus leave the End) requires finding another gateway that teleports you to the beginning area near the center.

There are a handful of ways to go through these gateways. The easiest by far is to toss an ender pearl into the portal. Ender pearls will teleport you to the other side of the gateway quickly and without much hassle. You could also place water in the gap between the gateway and the bedrock caps on either end, then swim through. Or you could use elytra and attempt to fly through. Both require far more effort, and are really only good if you have no other option.

If you don't want to use the gateways at all, you could also build a vast 1,000 block long bridge spanning the void between the center and outer islands. Or you could use elytra with a ton of fireworks to try and boost you over. Again, these require far more effort than just finding a gateway and tossing and ender pearl through them.

Here are just a few of the things to keep in mind about the End:

  • Just getting to the End doesn't give you full access. If you want to get to any of the good stuff on the End's outer islands, or leave for that matter, you'll need to beat the ender dragon first.
  • There's no day/night cycle. Much like in the Nether, there's no sun or moon to notate the time of day, and you won't get any use out of maps or clocks either.
  • Beds just explode. Not that you'd want to sleep here anyway, but beds are unusable in the End. They explode with more force than TNT whenever someone tries to sleep in them.
  • You can't activate Nether Portals here. Again, not sure why anyone would actually attempt this, but Nether Portals just don't work in the End.
  • It's very dim in the End. There's very little natural light in the End, and the lack of sun or even the lava that the Nether relies on means it can be hard to see here.
  • Water is purple. If you place down any water in the End, the color will be purple instead. Feature? Not really, but it's kind of cool.
  • End stone is blast resistant. End stone can be mined with any pickaxe, and is one of the most blast-resistant blocks in the game. It's actually 1.5 times more resistant to explosives than stone.

What can you find in the End?

The city through the trees

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

The End seems to be pretty empty on the surface, but it actually has a decent amount of content waiting for those who explore it. While it might not be worth frequent trips like the Nether can be, curious players can still find a ton of awesome stuff outside the drab center island that seemingly dominates a player's entrance into the End. There are unique mobs, structures, and strongholds available to discover, kill, and run away from.

Here's what you can find in the End:

  • Obsidian platform. Every End will generate exactly one obsidian platform, usually recessed in an empty room made of end stone. This platform usually spawns a decent distance away from the center of the main island, while still being within jumping distance of land. This obsidian platform has exactly one purpose: be the landing platform for any incoming players. Whenever you teleport into the End from the Overworld, you'll appear on this platform. Don't try building anything or making any adjustments here, because every trip to the End resets this platform to its original state.
  • Obsidian pillars. Another mainstay of the End will be towering obsidian pillars that surround a fountain-like structure on the main island. These pillars raise end crystals into the sky, and are another obstacle the player must overcome to defeat the ender dragon. Once the ender dragon is defeated, the obsidian pillars have no other purpose or secrets, unless you resurrect the ender dragon.
  • Exit portal. There are only two ways to get out of the End. The first way involves a gruesome death and probably isn't the preferred method. The second way is to activate the fountain-like structure made of bedrock in the center of the main island. This is also known as the exit portal, and is the one-way exit out of the End. If a player returns, they'll start back on the obsidian platform a little ways away.
  • Gateways. Once you've defeated the ender dragon, you'll probably want to explore the rest of the End. To do so, you'll need to find these gateways that float around the place. The easiest way to travel through them will be with an ender pearl.
  • Chorus trees. The End has exactly one kind of vegetation, and that's the chorus trees. These twisted and mangled trees grow on the outer islands, and are the only way to get chorus flowers and chorus fruit. To cut one down, just mine the bottommost piece, just like sugar cane. These trees are made of chorus plants, although those can't be acquired by normal means.
  • Chorus flowers. If you're interested in growing chorus trees of your own, you'll need to harvest chorus flowers and plant them in end stone. They can be harvested by mining them with any tool, or by shooting them down with a bow or crossbow. They usually grow at the top of a chorus tree, and aren't dropped when the entire tree is destroyed.
  • Chorus fruit. Chorus fruit is an edible item often dropped by chorus trees when they're destroyed. When consumed, they restore some hunger, but most notably, they can randomly teleport the player that ate them somewhere nearby. In this way, they behave similarly to ender pearls. Chorus fruits can also be cooked to create popped chorus fruit, a useful item for crafting.
  • End ships. These floating structures are pretty accurate to their name. They look like purple pirate ships suspended in mid-air. They can often have useful loot, including being the only place in the game a player can acquire elytra and dragon heads. They generate next to end cities, typically.
  • End cities. End cities are less city and more imposing and cryptic skyscraper. These strongholds are the highlight of the entire End, and hold some extremely valuable loot. They're also the home of the shulkers, a hostile mob that can be a hassle if you're not careful.

What are end cities and ships?

An end city and ship

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

If you had any doubts about where you should head in the End, those end now. End cities and end ships are two of the more interesting locales in the End, and it's the best place to pick up some awesome loot and do some fun exploring. End cities and ships only show up on the outer islands, so you'll, of course, need to defeat the ender dragon before you start knocking them out. They're not hard to find, though, since end cities are colossal structures that tower into the sky, and end ships only generate near end cities, hovering ominously in the dark void above them. Let's tackle one at a time and dive into what makes these structures the best parts of the End, and all the cool loot you can find inside them.

End cities

End cities are found in two of the four End biomes, including the midlands, and are most common in the highlands. These structures hold some of the best loot in not only the End, but also the best loot in all of Minecraft. End cities are relatively uncommon, so you may not find one right away. If you're lucky, you can find multiple end cities clustered together in a group, much like nether fortresses can reach near impossible sizes in some cases.

End cities are instantly recognizable by their strange, sometimes chaotic appearance and the materials they're constructed with. While they're called cities, these strongholds are closer to skyscrapers. They can generate in a variety of different sizes, and they don't share identical layouts. End cities are also constructed of something called purpur blocks, which is crafted using popped chorus fruit. These blocks can be mined and collected with a pickaxe, if you fancy their look.

An ender chest in a treasure room

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

End cities are also the only place players can naturally find the elusive ender chest. Ender chests are a rare form of chest that, on the surface, acts like any other chest. However, each player has a "profile" of sorts that is synced between all ender chests in the world, meaning you can store whatever you want and access it instantly from other ender chests elsewhere. It's definitely worth taking these chests with you. They can be crafted with eight blocks of obsidian and one eye of ender.

In no particular order, here are the different rooms and structures that end cities can generate:

  • Skyscrapers. Large, towering structures that spawn lots of shulker in side. These skyscrapers also have staircases to ascend to higher levels.
  • Small towers. Smaller, more understated versions of the skyscrapers.
  • Base floors. These are large, tall rooms that usually have nothing in them. They typically generate at the bottom of end cities.
  • Small rooms. Small empty rooms are similar to what you'd find in the end stronghold back in the Overworld.
  • Large rooms. These rooms really exist just to connect different parts of the stronghold. They often have strange and precarious staircases players can use to ascend to higher levels, if they're careful.
  • Banner rooms. These rooms are similar to other rooms in the end cities, but have banners hanging outside. They also spawn shulkers inside of them.
  • Loot rooms. The only reason one goes into an end city is the possibility of finding a loot room. These rooms usually spawn two chests, and can sometimes even spawn an ender chest.

End ships

An end ship

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

End ships can occasionally generate next to end cities, and despite their small size can actually be more valuable than the end city it's next to. They're even rarer than end cities, though, since few end cities generate a ship next to them, and no city can have more than one ship attached to it. If an end city has a ship next to it, it'll generate a bridge that can bring players within the distance of an ender pearl throw to get on board the ship.

End ships look exactly as their name suggests. They're medium-sized boat-like structures constructed of purpur blocks. End ships are also much smaller than end cities, and much more predictable in their structure. In design and build, they're very similar to your typical pirate ship, with a main deck, a mast, and lower levels that hide all the good stuff. End ships are always guarded by three shulkers, so be warned that stepping aboard means a fight.

Here's how an end ship is laid out:

  • Main deck. The main deck of the end ship is the only portion accessible from the outside, and is guarded by one shulker. Here you'll find the mast with the crow's nest at the top, an upper deck that is also empty, and an opening to descend down to the lower levels. If you go to the bow, or front of the ship you'll also find the dragon's head. This is a decorative item that is identical in use and property to other mob heads, but it is also exceptionally rare. There should be a second shulker behind the ship.
  • Lower deck. The lower deck of the end ship is on the smaller side, with an opening to descend into the bottommost layer of the end ship. Here you'll always find a brewing stand with two Instant Health II potions, but not much else.
  • Treasure room. This is definitely the exciting portion of the end ship, since you'll find two chests full of loot and some elytra suspended in an item frame for you to nab. This room is lined by obsidian, and is easily identifiable. There will be a shulker here, so prepare to defend yourself.


An end ship treasure room

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Diligent players can quickly accumulate a ton of super valuable gear and loot in the End, if they have their wits about them a little bit of luck. While the End doesn't hold a huge variety of content, some of the best loot in the game can be found in its chests. With two chests guaranteed for every end ship, and two chests guaranteed for every treasure room inside of an end city, your journey to the End can rapidly end in a very happy inventory.

The loot you can find in the End includes:

  • Beetroot seeds. This is definitely the most boring thing you can find in the End, but it can be useful nonetheless if you haven't found any beetroot seeds in a village or elsewhere. Beetroots are a useful food for making stew.
  • Saddle. Saddles can't be crafted in the game, so the only way to get them is through chests. Used for riding horses or pigs, you can't go wrong when taking these with you.
  • Horse armor. If you just got a new trusty steed with your saddle, you might want some armor to give it more protection. Horses can be hurt and die just like any other animal, so it's recommended. In the End, you can find iron, gold, and diamond horse armor.
  • Enchanted iron tools. Need a new pickaxe, shovel, or sword? Strange timing, but you can find just that in the End. Not only that, but all the tools and armor you find in the End will have some kind of enchantment on them.
  • Enchanted iron armor. You can also find enchanted iron armor to help protect you better, although you should probably have diamond armor if you're wandering around the End.
  • Enchanted diamond tools. Iron tools not good enough for you? While rarer, you can also find premium diamond gear in the End, complete with enchantments.
  • Enchanted diamond armor. Don't have diamond armor already? It's impressive that you've survived this long, but the End will answer your call.
  • Iron ingots. The raw ingredient for crafting your own iron gear, amongst other things like buckets and shears.
  • Gold ingots. The raw ingredient for crafting your own gold gear, amongst other things like redstone contraptions.
  • Diamond ingots. The raw ingredient for crafting your own diamond gear, amongst other things like enchantment tables.
  • Emerald ingots. Minecraft's official currency, used for trading with villagers. Or just making really expensive tables.

What lives in the End?

A chorus tree forest

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Unlike the Overworld and Nether, which both have intimidating lists of hostile mobs seeking to destroy you, the End is home to only three. It makes it easy to keep track of and to prepare for the eventual confrontation you'll have with them. Even better, the three mobs that spawn in the End all have their own place, so you won't be caught by surprise.

The three mobs that live in the End are:

The ender dragon

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  • The ender dragon. This shouldn't come as much of a surprise, since the ender dragon has been mentioned several times in this guide already. This is the final boss in Minecraft, and it blocks both your entrance and your exit to and from the End. It's big, it's mean, and there's only one of them. The ender dragon also only spawns on the center island, so once you've defeated it, you won't have to worry about it again. Unless you choose to respawn it, that is.

An enderman

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  • Endermen. Endermen are tall, powerful mobs that can be tricky to deal with for amateur players. Normally endermen are passive and will leave the player alone, spending their time mischievously moving blocks around. However, if a player looks directly at an enderman, the enderman will immediately attack, dealing decent amounts of damage in the process. Even worse, endermen can teleport at will, making them difficult to pin down.

These mobs are the most common in the End, and show up absolutely everywhere. They're most prevalent on the center island where the ender dragon makes its home. As long as you avoid looking directly at them, they shouldn't be much of a threat. Endermen are also solo mobs, so they won't swarm you if you do get dragged into a fight with one. The best way to deal with endermen is with a sword, since they typically teleport away from arrows and other ranged weapons.

A shulker

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  • Shulker. The most interesting and potentially annoying of the End's mobs is undoubtedly the shulker. These peculiar creatures appear to be nothing more than purple blocks, the same that the End's cities are built of. However, inside these boxes is a small yellow head, and they seek to defend the cities from any player's advances. They fire white projectiles that follow the player and damage the player a little bit. These particles also cause the player to levitate off the ground, an effect that can be stacked if assaulted by multiple shulkers.

On that note, shulkers are also similar to wolves and pigmen, in that if one shulker in the area is attacked, all shulkers in the area will target the player responsible. This, combined with their camouflage, can quickly spin things out of control when battling them. Shulkers can also hide in their boxes and take on a ton of armor, as well as deflect arrows and other projectiles. Trying to upset their perches, drowning them, or simply attacking them can also cause them to teleport away, making them even more annoying.

To battle shulkers, a shield is recommended. Shields block their strange projectiles, rendering their attacks useless. You can also attack the projectiles and destroy them mid-flight. It's also important to stay vigilant and wait for opportunities to attack. While wailing on a closed shulker can eventually kill it, it'll take forever and leave you open to attack. Wait for the shulker to peek out and move fast. When exploring cities, pay attention to the walls for any blocks that look out of place. It might be a shulker.

What is the ender dragon?

An ender dragon head

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

The ender dragon is massive, a little terrifying, and capable of devastating destruction and catastrophic damage to any unlucky players who cross its path. True to its name, the ender dragon is a dark, scaled and winged creature that spits purple fire as it flies around, circling the mysterious fountain that occupies the center of the main End island. It is the final boss and represents a pretty big challenge to anyone who isn't prepared to face it.

That doesn't mean players can avoid the ender dragon like the plague and continue on their merry way. Slaying the ender dragon is the key to leaving the End, so you probably shouldn't travel to the End unless you're ready to fight. What are the massive obsidian pillars the draw the ender dragon close? What is the fountain in the middle? How does the ender dragon attack, and how can you survive its onslaught?

These are all questions we've answered in our guide to the ender dragon, knowledge that's a must-have for anyone interested in seeing the End.

How do you leave the End?

The exit portal

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

You can't leave the End the same way you got in. Much like access to the outer islands, in the End, is restricted, players can't leave the End until the ender dragon has been killed. If you've already killed the ender dragon and done all of your exploring, don't fear! Just find your way back to the center island the ender dragon resided and look for the fountain-like structure in the center of the End. It'll be made of bedrock, and be lit by torches. If the ender dragon has been killed, the fountain will be filled with the same starry substance that makes up the core of the End Portal or end gateways. Just jumping into this will bring you back to your spawn point in the Overworld. If you've never left the End before, you'll also get to see the elusive Minecraft credits before you return.

This is the End

A overview of an end city

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

The End will hardly be your vacation spot of choice, or even worthy of daily trips to further explore it. It's a closed system, and doesn't offer a huge amount of resources that might be regularly needed like the Nether does. That being said, it's one hundred percent worth the effort to discover and travel to, even if only for a handful of journeys, just to fight the ender dragon and explore the end cities. And once you're done, you can say you actually beat Minecraft. Sort of.

Have you gotten to the End in Minecraft? What do you think about it? Sound off in the comments below!

Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.