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Exploring the Overworld in Minecraft

Learn how to safely traverse the countryside!

The world of Minecraft is huge and in and many cases, intimidating. In fact, some would even go as far as to say it’s endless. With blocks covering the land as far as the eye can see, and even beyond, it would take you a literal lifetime to cover the terrain of a single world. This vast world promises endless surprises ranging from exciting or adorable to odd or even a little scary. What lies beyond the next biome? Let’s explore it together!

Beginning your journey


Discovering new places is always exciting, and a Minecraft world can contain over 60 different types of biomes – environments within Minecraft – each with its own unique theme and style. Biomes can have different environments, such as forests and deserts. Some have blocks that won’t show up in any other area. Others contain specific structures, items, mobs, or secrets. Some of these biomes, such as plains or forests, are generated at a higher frequency when you create a new world with standard settings. These biomes have the basic resources you need to survive and build shelter, but there's only so much you can craft with one type of stone, wood, and dirt block. However, you don't have to venture far to discover hundreds of new block types and resources to work with! 


As a new player, loitering in the perceived safety of a familiar place, i.e., your first spawn point, can be very tempting. But that area most likely lacks valuable ores or an interesting topography. Maybe you’re just tired of your annoying neighbor and want to build a new home someplace else. Who are we to judge? 

If you find yourself stuck in a rut biome, you may want to channel your inner hiker and head off to do some exploration – from a casual day trip to an epic adventure. Regardless of the distance of your journey, there’s something new to behold behind every nook and cranny. With dense jungles, windy mountain peaks, dark forests, and deep blue oceans, a trip through the Overworld – big or small – can quickly turn into an unforgettable saga 


With so many things to explore, knowing the terrain is often crucial when traversing the Overworld – especially if you plan to return to the place you originally set out from. After all, not all exploration is about finding new places to settle. 


Contrary to popular belief, a journey of a thousand blocks doesn’t begin with a single step. In reality, it begins with pre-trip jitters, and after that – an extensive packing list! Heading out into the big world without any sort of preparation or equipment is both bold and risky. Here’s a few items that could serve you well on any trip and increase your chance of survival. 


A trusty pickaxe is perhaps one of the most essential tools an explorer can bring with them on their journey. With it, you can mine most types of blocks that you may encounter on your journey, such as precious ores or obstacles blocking your path. Mining some blocks to keep a spare set in your inventory is always a good idea, as they might come handy when you have to construct a makeshift bridge, or cover a path between you and a hostile mob. 


The map is a visual top-down representation of the surrounding terrain and your explored areas. When you have a new map, it will start off as blank, but gradually fill out the terrain as you move around. It also displays your location on it in the form of a white dot. Having a map during exploration is highly beneficial as it helps you keep track of where you are. However, there’s a limit to how big you can make it. If you reach the border of your map so you’re no longer able to fill out new terrain, you might want to create another one in order to cover even more ground. 


A compass is a useful tool that helps you navigate through the world and prevent you from getting lost in the vastness of the Overworld. Its needle will always point toward the world spawn point – the very center of the world and where you as a player start the game. It might not be as descriptive as a map, but if your goal is to return after a long journey to where you started, you’ll find that bringing a compass along is very helpful. 


Food is vital for sustaining and replenishing a player's health and hunger levels in Minecraft’s Survival mode. There are many types of food, such as cooked meat, bread, or fruits. Bringing an ample supply of food during exploration is crucial as it will prevent starvation. Exploring the Overworld can drain a lot of energy, as constant walking, jumping, and running, depletes your hunger bar more quickly. A filling meal also helps you regenerate health after taking damage from falls, hostile mobs, and other dangerous scenarios! 

Weapons and armor

The Overworld can be a dangerous place – especially during the night. Hostile mobs like creepers and zombies won’t hesitate to attack you if you make your presence known. A weapon like a sword, axe, or bow will allow you to protect yourself and fend them off. You can also bring a set of armor or shield if you want to further increase your chances of survival – especially against skeletons who love shooting arrows at you from afar! 


In Minecraft, there’s something called “coordinates” – a system that determines a player’s exact position within the world, using three different values; X, Y, and Z. Simply explained, you could say that it’s Minecraft’s very own GPS. 


X represents longitude (west and east), Y altitude (height and depth), and Z latitude (north & south). Each of these values can depict a positive or negative number; east and south show up in positive numbers, while west and north depict them in the negative. 


X and Z’s values are relative to your world’s original spawn point (the center of the map at which you always start when creating a new world, where coordinates are written as 0x, 0z). Y, however, works a bit differently, as altitude does not take world spawn point into account. It also has a limit to how high (32) or low (-64) a player can go.


While you’ve seen many an item and technique for how to navigate through the Overworld, coordinates are by far the most efficient system. The reason is that they tell you your exact position. By writing down the XYZ coordinates for every point of interest you visit, such as your home or a cool place you found, you can never get lost. Coordinates can also be used to find a friend you’re playing with and have lost sight of, or to navigate out of a dungeon deep beneath the ground.

Furthermore, they can be a great tool to use when mining. For example, resources such as diamond ore blocks are more commonly found at specific Y-coordinate levels. The way to access coordinates varies depending on what platform you’re playing on. For Java Edition, you can check coordinates by pressing F3 to open the debug screen. They can then be found under the category “XYZ”. For Bedrock Edition, pause your game, open settings, under “Game” scroll down to the World Options section and toggle on “Show coordinates”.



The Overworld is full of wonder, and fortune favors the bold! If you dare leave your hidey-hole and head for the horizon, you will discover that there’s more to Minecraft than the dirt blocks in your backyard, unless you end up in a dirt block biome. Do those exist? Why don’t you go and explore to find out?

Per Landin
Written By
Per Landin

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