It took me a long time to get hereSource: Windows Central

Getting to the End in Minecraft is no simple feat. Unlike getting to the Nether, you can't build a portal wherever you want and hop to the End on the way back from the grocery store. There's a whole process involved, and a pinch of luck, if you want a chance to face the ender dragon. If you do it, you also get access to a whole new dimension filled with new stuff, and the exclusive opportunity to see what Minecraft's credits look like. Fun.

Preparing to get to the End

I think it's around here somewhereSource: Windows Central

There's a lot of preparation involved when trying to get to the End, and it usually has something to do with the endermen. Finding the End Portal as well as activating it both requires something you can only get from endermen: eyes of ender. These strange pearl-like items need to be crafted and have several uses when trying to navigate to the End.

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If you're thinking of making the trip, you need to prepare for a long trip. We suggest bringing:

  • A full set of armor. Iron or greater is preferred, but you may run into some trouble and will want to be well-defended.
  • Shield. Rounding out your plan of defense is a shield. These pieces of equipment are surprisingly useful for fending off assaults.
  • Sword/trident. You will want to have some kind of close-range melee weapon. I personally suggest an iron or diamond sword, but a trident will do as well.
  • Bow/crossbow. If you make it to the End, chances are you'll be going up against baddies that either don't need to be close to hurt you, or you simply won't want them to be close to you. Get some distance while still doing damage with a bow or crossbow.
  • General supplies. Arrows, food, wood, etcetera. Bring everything you normally would on a long trip to ensure you can handle anything that's thrown at you.
  • Eyes of ender. I suggest bringing about 20 or so along. You'll use a few during the trip and then might need to use a few to complete the trip. More on how to get eyes of ender and what they're for later.

As usual, I also recommend enchanting as much of your equipment as possible.. Legions of endermen and the fearsome ender dragon await you beyond the End Portal, and none of them are very friendly. You'll need to be at your best to stand a chance. It's not a bad idea to bring a bed, either, so you can set up camp when you find the stronghold containing your quarry.

The eye of ender led me hereSource: Windows Central

An eye of ender is an item that you get through crafting, looting, or trading. Crafting is by far the easiest way to get them, and even that is a good deal of work. You have to explore the fiery dimension known as the Nether to grab one of its ingredients. You also have to slay a ton of endermen in the wild for the second half of the necessary ingredients. Here's how to craft it:

  1. Travel to the Nether. If you haven't already done it, build a Nether Portal to get the job done.

    Tis some blazeSource: Windows Central

  2. Search for some blaze. These are hostile mobs that fly and rapidly spit fireballs at their opponents. They also usually come from spawners, meaning you can farm as much as you need to as long as you don't destroy the spawner prematurely.
  3. Start slaying the blaze. Blaze drop something called blaze rods, which is an incredibly handy resource regularly used in potion brewing, as well as crafting eyes of ender. You can never have too much of it.
  4. Take your bounty back home. The next step is hunting endermen. While endermen can appear in the Nether, they're more common in the Overworld. Besides, the Nether is dangerous enough while it is.

    He's tall, dark, and creepySource: Windows Central

  5. Search for some endermen. Endermen are tall, dark purple hostile mobs that teleport around and move blocks around. They're bothersome and dangerous opponents and are not to be trifled with lightly.
  6. Start slaying the endermen. Endermen have about a 25% chance of dropping an ender pearl upon their death. Unfortunately, there's no quick and easy way to find endermen, so this is more about diligence and paying attention to them when they're around. They leave a purple trail when they teleport and emit a telltale sound.
  7. Take your bounty back home. Once you have a decent amount of blaze rods and ender pearls, it's time to go home to the nearest available crafting table.

    Blaze powder recipeSource: Windows Central

  8. Turn your blaze rods into blaze powder. Blaze rods are more useful in their powdered form, so take your supply to a crafting table and do your worst.

    Eye of ender recipeSource: Windows Central

  9. Combine your blaze powder with your ender pearls. We're finally here! Eyes of ender are crafted by blending blaze powder with ender pearls.

Quick tip: Enchanting your sword with the Looting enchantment will rapidly increase the rate at which you collect your ingredients. For both the blaze and the endermen, you can get up to four blaze rods or four ender pearls with a sword enchanted with Looting III. That's significantly better than flopping around, hoping to get what you need.

Finding the End Portal

I got unlucky...no slots were filledSource: Windows Central

Once all of your preparations are completed, you're ready actually to find the End Portal. The End Portal is a unique structure that cannot be crafted by the player by regular means but is guaranteed to generate somewhere on the map. It appears hidden inside a complicated labyrinth of stone brick rooms, stairways, and passages known as a stronghold. The key to finding the End Portal is to find the stronghold, and then navigate your way through it to the gateway hidden within.

Eyes of ender are your solution to the first problem there. They have an integral connection to the End and are constantly drawn to the gateway leading to it. If you use an eye of ender while holding it, it'll fly off in the direction of the End Portal's stronghold. All you need is enough eyes of ender to lead you all the way there. Here's what you need to know:

  • Eyes of ender will always fly towards the End Portal stronghold. Whenever you use an eye of ender, it'll shoot out of your hands and fly off in a direction. Follow it!
  • They leave a purple trail behind. Even when the eye of ender disappears, there will be a faint purple trail left behind to show you the way.
  • They'll fly through any obstacles in the way. If any blocks block the eye of ender's path, it'll merely pass through them.
  • They fly for about 10 to 12 blocks. Eyes of ender don't travel a vast distance, which is why you'll potentially need quite a few eyes of ender to find the stronghold.
  • The farther away you are, the higher they'll fly. The vertical distance an eye of ender flies is related to the horizontal distance from the End Portal stronghold.
  • They'll dip to the ground when it reaches its target. Once the eye of ender is flying above the stronghold, it'll pause and dip to the ground to indicate its position.
  • Eyes of ender only work in the Overworld. Don't try to use the eyes of ender if you're in the Nether, because it won't do anything.
  • Eyes of ender don't have a single use. An eye of ender will shatter about 1 in 5 times that you throw it. This means you usually get a few throws out of one.
  • They don't lead you straight to the End Portal. One important thing to remember is that eyes of ender only lead you to the stronghold, not to the End Portal. You'll have to do some searching.

Once your eyes of ender lead you to the stronghold, you'll need to dig down until you find it. I recommend setting up camp directly above it so that you have a safe place to fall back to. Because eyes of ender don't lead you directly to the End Portal, you'll have to search through the stronghold to find the End Portal room.

Strongholds are confusingSource: Windows Central

Strongholds are randomly generated structures that typically spawn underground, and like to spawn underneath or near villages. They contain a variety of rooms, loot, and more, including the much sought-after End Portal room. These strongholds can generate all over, but the eyes of ender will lead you only to the one that has an End Portal room.

Without interference, these structures can be intimidatingly sprawling and chaotic, but they can also intersect with abandoned mineshafts, ravines, and caves. It's best to keep your cool while searching these strongholds and take it room by room. If you're meticulous, you can find an abundance of pretty sweet loot to reward you for your time. I also suggest placing your torches exclusively on one side of the walls, to make it easier to find your way back if need be.

Strongholds have storerooms, libraries, and a ton of chests with some pretty valuable loot if you put in the time to search for them. Be aware that mobs will definitely spawn down here, and that some of the stone brick blocks are infested with silverfish. On top of that, the End Portal room will have a silverfish spawner at the top of the stairs that you will need to destroy.

Finally found itSource: Windows Central

The End Portal room always spawns looking the same, so you'll know it when you find it. It'll be a rectangular room with the doorway facing a short set of stairs. At the top of the stairs will sit a silverfish spawner, and beyond the stairs, the End Portal will float above a pool of lava. The End Portal has 12 pieces to its frame, forming a 4x4 square with the corners missing.

Once you've found the End Portal, it's time to activate it.

Journeying to the End

Putting the last eye of ender in placeSource: Windows Central

Now that you're in the End Portal room, you may notice that some of its frames have eyes of ender already in them, and some do not. For an End Portal to become active, all 12 frames need to have an eye of ender set in them. The chance for one to have an eye of ender sits right around 10%, so usually, you'll only get one or two that are full. The others you'll need to set yourself (hence having as many eyes of ender as you can.)

To set an eye of ender in the frame, walk up to it and use the eye of ender on the frame. Once all 12 frames are set with eyes of ender, the center of the End Portal will become a dark, purple-ish substance that screams, "Do not enter." Of course, that'll be the gateway you'll need to take a swim in to get to the End.

Be warned: using this portal is a one-way trip at first. Unless you slay the mighty ender dragon or die trying, you're not coming back from the End. Take this to heart and make sure you're ready.

Departing from the End

The exit portal structureSource: Windows Central

As mentioned before, leaving the End isn't as simple as going back the way you came. The End Portal will drop you off near the outskirts of the main island, and you won't be able to return. The only way back is another gateway in the center of the End, built out of bedrock and surrounded by massive obsidian obelisks. Oh, and the ender dragon is there too.

The only problem? That gateway won't activate unless the ender dragon is fought and slain in glorious combat. That means you need to be fully prepared to defeat the big boss whenever you arrive, or risk being stranded in the End for all eternity, unless you die, of course.

If you die, you return back to the last place that you rested, like usual. So you do have a way out if you want to take it, but you will most likely lose anything you have on you. Not the best route if you didn't drop off all your loot before heading through the End Portal.

Once you've defeated the ender dragon, the gateway in the middle of the End will activate, and you can return home. Also, you'll get treated to the closest Minecraft has to credits, signifying that you've sort of beaten the game, or at least as close as you can in Minecraft.

The End...of this guide

I gotta get outSource: Windows Central

Getting to the End is a lot of work. Getting out of the End is even more work. At this point, I'm not even sure it's worth all the effort. Then again, vanquishing the ender dragon and nabbing all those bragging rights does seem worth the risk. Whatever you decide, the End represents the culmination of everything Minecraft stands for survival, becoming stronger, exploring, and uncovering the secrets of this varied and beautiful game world.

Have you journeyed to the End? How did you do it? Sound off in the comments below!