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The Nether in Minecraft

The Nether, sometimes referred to as Hell, is another dimension in minecraft which features some unique content. It can only be accessed by entering a Nether portal, which is created with obsidian and activated with fire. The Nether contains unique blocks and mobs which cannot be found in other dimensions, as well as some unique features which can be both benificial as disadvantageous.


The Nether can be seen as one massive cave, as vast caverns, huge outcroppings and many smaller chunks of netherrack litter the surroundings. Enormous lava lakes, various lava falls and large amounts of fires lit up most of the Nether, which is otherwise lit by a constant dim, red glow. Glowstone can also be found in abundance, hanging from ceilings as large stalactitie-like formations.

The Nether is mainly build up out off netherrack, a red block with the unique ability to stay on fire forever, or untill extinguished by the player. Netherrack can be mined with any pickaxe, it’s advised not to use a diamond pickaxe, as a stone pickaxe will be almost just as fast without costing you much time or diamond durability.

There are various patches of soul sand and gravel scattered throughout the Nether, usually in lower places. They’re often quite easy to spot as they’re the only non-red blocks in the Nether.

Red and brown mushrooms can be found throughout the Nether, sometimes even on glowstone blocks. They can survive and grow easily in the Nether. Besides growing huge mushrooms yourself, the Nether is a great place to farm mushrooms.

Nether fortresses can be found occasionally anywhere in the Nether. These fortresses are made up out of netherbrick, netherbrick stairs and netherbrick fences. Their red colour can make it a little tricky to find them, as they’re often partially or completely hidden in the dimly lit fog of the Nether. The Nether fortresses are the only places where blazes spawn and where a player could obtain Nether warts. Zombie pigmen can spawn inside theses fortresses, but it’s otherwise usually pretty safe.

The bottom and top most layers of the Nether are made off bedrock, similar to the bottom layer of the Overworld. However, these 2 dimensions are not linked together. Using mods to break through the bedrock will not reveal the Overworld or any other dimension.


There are currently 4 different mobs, which are all unique to the Nether. Nether mobs are all immune to lava and fire damage and they’ll often walk, swim or float straight through lava lakes and blocks of fire.

Nether mobs do not spawn anywhere else outside of the Nether and Overworld and End mobs cannot spawn in the Nether. However, it is possible to use spawn eggs and mods to spawn in mobs in the Nether, or Nether mobs outside of the Nether. Throwing chicking eggs in the Nether can still cause the egg to spawn a chick.

Blaze: Blazes are flying pillars of smoke, surrounded by 12 rods that rotate around their ‘body’. They usually attack by floating away from the player, while launching volleys of 3 fire charges at the player. These fire charges cannot be deflected back.

Ghast: Ghasts are large, white, jellyfish-like monsters which float gently through the air. They emit high pitched screams which have a minimum intensity, so their screams will often make them sound like they’re closer than they really are. Ghasts attack by shooting fireballs at the player. These fireballs can be deflected back by hitting them with anything, even shooting items at it will cause it to bounce back.
A single fireball will kill a ghast, which is often the easiest way to kill them.

Magma cube: Magma cubes are basically the slimes of the Nether, though they’re a little tougher. Like slimes, magma cubes will split into smaller versions when they’re killed, though there are only 3 versions: large, medium and small.

Zombie pigman: Zombie pigmen are neutral mobs which roam the Nether in large numbers. They will only attack the player if attacked by the player, however, once 1 zombie pigman is attacked, every other pigman in the area will attack the player as well, this often leads to a swift and surprising death of the player.

Environmental Effects

The Nether is very different from the Overworld, not only in its aesthetics but also in the way the world around you acts. Some of these can be benificial to the player, though most of these aspects usually pose a challenge.

The Nether has no day/night cycle, which not only means clocks don’t work in the Nether, it’s also impossible to sleep in a bed. Trying to sleep in a bed will cause the bed to explode, and you with it. An exploded bed will leave a small crater with many fires around it. If they player survived the explosions, usually one of the fires will kill the player if he/she walks around carelessly.

Because your original spawn point is outside of the Nether, a compass fails to work in the Nether, which makes them completely useless as a navigational tool. They will simply spin around randomly. Maps still work, but the arrow indicating your position will also spin randomly, which can make traveling a little tricky, though not impossible. Note that maps have to be created in the Nether, it’s impossible to use maps from the End or Overworld in the Nether, and vice versa.

The light in the Nether is a constant, dim light, though light emitted by blocks will still light up the area and fade over 16 blocks. Despite the low light levels, all plants can survive and grow in the Nether. Grass blocks can be placed by digging them up in the Overworld using a tool with the silk touch enchantment. However, due to the large amounts of lava in the Nether, trees and other flammable objects can often catch fire quite quickly.

It’s impossible to place water in the Nether. Any water that does get placed in the Nether will simply evaporate before even touching a single block. However, it is possible to fill couldrons and glass bottles in the Nether and water in buckets will not evaporate while they’re in your inventory. Water imported with the use of mods can be placed in the Nether.

Lava in the Nether will flow twice as far as lava in the Overworld. Like water in the Overworld, lava in the Nether will flow up to 8 blocks away from its source. This can be both a hassle when trying to avoid lava, as an advantage when trying to create an imposing landscape or Nether castle.

The distance travelled in the Nether equals 8 times that distance in the Overworld (only 3 times in the XBox version). This distance is only multiplied by 8 horizontally, not vertically. This means that if you build your portal to the Nether in your house, travel 250 blocks away from your portal in the Nether and create a new portal to get back to the Overworld, the new portal in the Overworld will be 2000 blocks away from your house. This can be very frustrating for players caught unaware of this, though many players use it as a quick traveling method. Large, interconnected systems of Nether portals could allow you to travel from any place in the Overworld to another within minutes.

Nether Survival

Surviving the Nether can be a bit tricky. The dim, red light in the Nether often hides dangers lurking around any corner. Holes in the floor can often be overlooked, which often leads to a deep fall into lava.

Ghasts have a very large firing range and can often be hidden in the fog, especially if a player has set the render distance to short or tiny. The fireballs shot by ghasts can break large chunks of netherrack, as well as deactivate a Nether portal. For this reason it’s advised to either bring a flint and steel with you, or surround your portal with explosion proof blocks, like cobblestone. It’s possible to activate a portal with a ghast’s fireball.

Zombie pigmen will remain neutral for as long as the player doesn’t attack any of them, though it’s easy to accidently hit one of them while mining netherrack or other blocks. It’s always adivsed to proceed with caution when you can hear the grunts of zombie pigmen close by.

It’s very easy to get lost in the vast amount of tunnel networks and overhanging cliffs in the Nether. Using a map can help you a lot to find your way back, though placing a trail of easily noticeable, non flammable blocks is often an easier method. Cobblestone works perfectly for this, as it’s both non flammable and it can resist the explosions caused by the ghast’s fireball.

Boots enchanted with feather falling will be a big advantage in the Nether, as steep cliffs and large overhanging rock formations often make it close to impossible to navigate down without jumping a few times.

Potion of fire resistance will be one of the biggest advanatages you can have in the Nether, as fire and lava are almost constantly present. Unfortunately getting a potion of fire resistance requires at least 1 trip to the Nether, as you need a blaze rod for the brewing stand and nether warts and magma cream as ingredients.


Like the Overworld, the Nether’s structure is determined by the world seed. This means you can share (and look for) seeds with your friends and get the perfect area for your builds.

Each world has it’s own seed, which is a number used to generate the world. Seeds can be used to create a specific world, as you can enter a seed before creating a new world save. A seed will always create the same world, which is often used by players to share amazing, naturally generated worlds or worlds that spawn you close to a stronghold, dungeon or other advantage. Seeds will be displayed in the information you see when you press F3, in the top left corner.