The Minecraft crafting system is impressive because all of the game’s various resources, materials and recipes are crafted using a simple, intuitive interface. From a diamond pickaxe to leather boots, there over 150 different crafting recipes to choose from. The strength and usefulness of the tools and items you can craft is based on the resources you currently have available. As you can see the crafting system is quite detailed, and is essential to advance in the game. Understanding a few basic aspects of the crafting system, as well as a more intrinsic understanding of the mathematics behind the crafting system enables a player to get a heads up on the competition present on any server.
An interesting feature is that tools, weapons and armor all have a durability rating, meaning they can only be used a certain number of times before they break. It is important to use the appropriate tool when mining particular types of blocks and to use a sword when attacking enemies. Players have a choice to either swing a tool or weapon at a block to mine it, or to swing a tool or weapon at an enemy to damage it. Any swing or attack made with a piece of equipment that is not meant to be used for that purpose, will result in 2 pieces of durability being removed every time a block is mined (or enemy struck). For example, an iron pickaxe with 129 uses left on it would only have 127 if it were used to damage an enemy.
The mathematical formula for item durability is a simple equation with a variable based on the crafting component present. The equation 2^(N+5) +1 is used within the Minecraft system to base the amount of durability any particular tool, weapon, or piece of armor has. Substituting the n variable for the number that corresponds to any particular crafting material used will allow one to calculate how many uses, swings, or hearts of damage a piece of equipment can withstand or dole out. For example, a pickaxe made out of wood, where n=0, would have (2^(0+5) + 1) swings on a block, or 33 swings. If it was made of iron, n=2, it would have (2^(2+5) + 1) swings, or 129 swings. Armor complicates this equation by allowing each piece to have its own base durability that increases with harder materials, such as diamond.
Once a piece of armor takes some amount of damage, its damage resistance (the amount of damage it protects you from) is reduced by a percentile amount of the total durability lost. A pair of diamond boots with 313 total durability that prevents 55 hearts worth of damage, and suffers 55 durability loss, would have (313-55) / 313 effective damage resistance remaining, or 83%.
Putting the math aside, Minecraft crafting is relatively simple and straightforward. Crafting is done on either a 2X2 or 3X3 grid, the 2×2 grid is used for easier recipes that do not require a crafting table, and a crafting table’s 3X3 grid is used to complete all of the other recipes in Minecraft. Within these easy to remember recipes is the ability to substitute materials of your choice, while remaining true to the recipe scheme. Take the pickaxe, which is represented on the 3X3 crafting table as a T shape. The arms of the T can be filled with anything from wood to diamond, and the base of the T must be made of some type of wood. This allows a player to easily remember how to create a pickaxe, but still allows them to create incredibly useful and durable tools.