In Minecraft, many people enjoy "Faction" aka "Raiding" multiplayer servers for their unique gameplay and survival aspect. Plus, it's always fun when you find a chest full of somebody else's free stuff.
In this guide, written from years of experience with PVP and base creation, I'll cover some crucial combat tips, suggestions for starting out on a new server, the best ways to create and hide your base, and more tips you'll definitely find useful.
When you begin playing on a new server, you'll immediately see rules, guidelines, and an assortment of other important information regarding your server. A surprising number of people skip these rules, figuring that they're typical guidelines. Always make sure to take a minute and read, as it's usually more important then you'd guess.
The typical player would create a base about a thousand blocks away from the spawning point that all players spend time at. They'd dig in, and then not move out later. This is a crucial mistake many players make when starting out. You'll be raided before the weekend.
You want to be at least 5,000 blocks away from the spawn, and even that's the minimum. If you have the ability to teleport to a set of coordinates using a command (most servers won't allow new players to), make sure that the coordinates are a great ways away from the spawn point. A recommended distance is at least 15,000 blocks. It's a long walk, but if you travel by boat, it's much faster. If somebody is looking to rob your chests, they'll only go so far away from the spawn, or from their base.
Once you have ensured that you are a safe distance away from the spawn point, make sure you're nowhere near anybody else's base.
Now, the physical location of your base is important. The best place to put your base would be in a very large ocean, but make sure there's land somewhat nearby so you can collect any necessary materials that can't be found in the ocean. Once you've picked a good location for your base, you have to decide if your base will be above or below ground.
Ready for the next step!
If you want to create a base above ground, putting it on the land is very risky. Your best bet is to place your base way above ground. As of Minecraft beta 1.8, the map height was changed from 128 blocks above bedrock, to 256 above bedrock. This new change makes sky bases very effective, because they're difficult to see, and even more difficult to get to. From the middle of the ocean, a sky base looks like a cloud.
When creating a sky base, you need to focus on height, not width. A wide base casts a large shadow, which can be detected by anybody easily. The recommended placement for the very bottom layer of your base is about 220 - 230 blocks high (on your Y coordinate in the F3 function), which converts to about 160 - 170 blocks above sea level. Take note that a floor larger then about 10x10 - 15x15 will cast a noticeable shadow on the ground, even in the ocean.
Once you have a floor for your base this high above ground, do your best to build up and not out. A wide base casts a wide shadow, but a tall base doesn't cast a tall shadow.
Once you have the floor of your base built, go to the ground and look up at your base from below. From the ground, it should look like nothing more then a cloud. If you need to have a wider base, don't widen the entire base. Instead, create a floor or two BELOW your original bottom floor, that are wider then the floors above it. Make sure these extra wide floors are made completely out of glass. This will stop the extra wide rooms from casting a larger shadow. A shadow as small as 15 by 15 blocks can't be easily missed, even from the ground.
An underground base is typically what most players choose. It's easier to make, and instead of having to collect blocks to build a base, you remove blocks to carve a base for yourself. This method is relatively straightforward. Take caution to not leave any trace of your base above ground, such as a piece of random cobblestone, or a wide hole on the ocean floor. Seal everything up and leave it looking as it was.
The biggest fear players have on a pvp/raiding/factions server is players finding and getting into their base. There are many ways to break into another player's base, and I'll cover the basics of what you need to do.
First, create a completely obsidian shield around your base. However, ONLY do this if you have plenty of lava handy. Even a 100 block-thick layer of obsidian won't stop somebody from getting in. It will slow them down, but that is irrelevant when protecting your base. It doesn't matter how long it takes them if they're going to break in. A week is as bad as a minute. The only time you should use an obsidian wall is when there is lava inside of the wall. That means that the lava should have obsidian on all sides of it. Many players use a boat glitch that allows you to place a boat inside a wall, and slowly move through the wall until they get inside your base. Scary, right? Well a simple layer of lava will burn their boat instantly, and either suffocate them in the wall or cook them in the lava wall.
Another method of getting into somebody's base is called phasing. If PLAYER 1 disconnects from the game underneath your base, and then PLAYER 2 places blocks where the now disconnected PLAYER 1 was, when PLAYER 1 connects back again, they will automatically teleport to the next highest up space of air available, because the space they were in is now blocked. This could be a cave, the surface if there are no caves above them, or it could be your base. A player only needs two blocks of space to phase upwards, so make sure to place plenty of lava and obsidian below your base BEFORE building.
The final method I'm going to cover is when a player downright tricks you. Don't fall for it. Under no circumstances should you EVER tell anybody your base location, let them see your base, or live in your base with you unless they're a family member or close friend that you have known for a long time and can trust. As soon as you leave, the player will come back and steal everything you have. The best protection against attackers is invisibility. They can't find you if they can't see you.
That's all there is to know for basic base protection. Thank you for reading. If you have any questions, concerns, complaints or other statements, feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org (my personal address). Please type "WONDER-HOW-TO" in the subject line of your email so I can get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks again!