In Minecraft, a large aspect of the game is PVP (Player vs. Player Combat). A hardcore Minecraft fan will remember that back in Beta 1.8, combat was switched up, and it really changed the game around. Here are some tips on what a two-year Minecraft player has to say.
When you're not looking for a fight, don't be afraid to hide. Holding the SHIFT button on your keyboard below the CAPS LOCK will put you into crouch mode. When you're in crouch mode, you walk slower (which can be good for building), you can't fall off a block unless you take damage, and your name will be hidden from other players if you're crouching behind blocks. This is great for avoiding a fight.
When you manage to peel your face away from Minecraft and go outdoors, our human instinct is to immediately look at a person's face when we want to know who they are. On a Minecraft PVP server, the first think you look at is what armor an enemy is wearing, and what weapon they're holding.
As an experienced player knows, there's Leather, Gold, Iron and Diamond armor. They get stronger and stronger in this order, meaning more of the damage goes on the enemy's armor instead of on them. This provides more protection.
Once you've sized up an enemy and their strength, your instinct is to fight or flee. If you're the only person wearing full diamond armor amongst a crowd of lesser-equipped foes, the enemy's instinct is to flee because they know there's no chance of victory. Even if you're completely weaponless with nothing but strong armor, your appearance is still what players judge your strength on. Use this to your advantage. Instead of holding your sword in your hand all the time, hold something like a log or a steak. Players will assume you don't have a weapon. This is your opportunity to take advantage.
When you need to flee, many people panic and go about it completely the wrong way. I'll try to give you some pointers about crucial mistakes most players make.
First, NEVER turn around. Turning around requires that you stop sprinting, which loses you precious time. This time can't be made up, and it takes time to regain your momentum. So now you're asking, "But how do I see behind me?" The solution is actually very simple. A newer Minecraft feature allows you to press F5 on your keyboard twice in a row to see behind you without stopping, and press F5 one more time to return the camera to normal view. When running away, find a flat stretch of land where you won't run into anything, and use F5 to sneak a quick peek behind you. Saving these few seconds can mean the difference between athlete and roadkill.
Second, NEVER sprint and jump at the same time unless your enemy is. If somebody is chasing after you, eventually your food bar will drain down. Sprinting, jumping, swimming and punching (with a non-tool item such as stone, fish or sticks) all drain your food bar.
Sprinting and jumping at the same time IS faster, but it's barely faster. If you're sprinting away fast, it takes the enemy about a minute to catch up with you if they're jumping and you're not. Therefore, you shouldn't sprint and jump at the same time unless the enemy is.
Third, NEVER stop running and drop your weapons to try and surrender to the enemy. This never works, and if they're bent on killing you, it doesn't matter how fast you're going.
Fourth, NEVER go in water when being chased. It's the ultimate troll move, and it's the desperate last attempt for escape. Additionally, don't go under the water to try and hide from arrows. You don't become less visible, and you're moving slower for an easier target.
Fifth, never jump off a cliff and into water. You move much slower, and the enemy will be able to jump right on top of you and land a critical hit, plus more once you're moving slowly through the water.
Finally, NEVER climb up tall structures trying to escape unless you know what you're doing. The road down is much less safe, because you'll constantly be taking fall damage. Sprinting down mountains is difficult as well. It's generally not a good idea unless you know the terrain VERY well.
When trapped in a corner, the obvious first answer is to use ender pearls. However, if you don't have any pearls, your second best bet is to build a tower upwards with blocks.
If you can get up in the air before the enemy gets to you, you're safe for the moment. You can use this time to teleport home if you're on a bukkit server. If not, you'll have to wait it out and defeat your attacker.
Eventually, they'll have to come up and get you. The higher you are, the more fall damage you take when falling. I would recommend building a wall behind you so you can't be knocked off when your attacker climbs up, and then punching them off once they get close. No matter what weapon you have (even a fist), the sprint punch always knocks players back a good distance. If you're high up enough, the enemy could fall and die.
However, pay attention to their boots. If the boots are iron or diamond and they're glowing, it means they're enchanted, and probably have an enchantment that removes most fall damage.
If you're unable to get away from your attacker, either trick or face your attacker. Typically, this means jumping around some form of dangerous item, liquid or hole, and tricking the enemy into falling right in.
In a tunnel, placing blocks behind you and blocking off the tunnel can be a valuable time saver. You can also create a temporary one-way door with pistons and some pressure plates. A basic redstoner knows how to do this, and it will slow down but not stop the enemy. This is the kind of thing you'd want to prepare in advance, because it takes a minute to set up otherwise.
If nothing will work, you can always disconnect.
Just make sure that the server you're on doesn't have a PVPLogger plugin (that auto kills you when you disconnect in combat) and that the enemy doesn't know where you disconnected. Jumping off a cliff and disconnecting in mid-air can work too. If the enemy doesn't know the last place you were, they don't know where you'll be when you reconnect. Coming back the next day can guarantee that you'll be safe from an attacker, unless they built a trap for you where you were disconnected.
That's all for this article, and thanks for reading! Comments appreciated! If you have anything to say, send me an email at my private address (firstname.lastname@example.org). I will answer any questions, comments or concerns you have. However, please place the words "WONDER-HOW-TO" in the subject line so I can get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks!