Most players will always use The Nether as a place to visit either to gather special materials or for a change of scenery. But a few of us are interested in surviving only in The Nether. Now this hasn't been truly possible before but with the new changes it should finally be possible. This also means that a person trapped in The Nether has a better ability to thrive and possibly find their way back home. My post offers several suggestions structured around fleshing out the upcoming Nether Update with more of a system for ensuring that Nether-only survival is entirely doable, ideally fun, and most importantly a lot more difficult than normal survival. Here are some guidelines that my suggestions are intended to follow and uphold:
A.) Nothing should infringe upon normal Nether gameplay.
B.) There should be zero need for anything that cannot be found in The Nether.
C.) Hardship should primarily pressure the player to work harder, rather than accept limitations.
Trading with Piglins should be one of several ways the player may acquire useful materials. I believe that the trades should frequently grant significant amounts of items the player may want large quantities of. Any high quality materials should be given out very sparingly. The current Piglins trade by accepting a gold ingot from the player (or picking one up off the ground) and then tossing a random payment onto the ground. They have four payment tables with chance weights of 1, 2, 5, and 10. This means, for example, that each payment has 5 chances out of 18 that it'll select a random item from the table which has a weight of 5. I've got some ideas to change their trade inventory a bit:
Pig Iron: This would be a material which enables the player to craft many of the machinery that uses large amounts of iron, without providing the player a source of iron armor or tools. Most recipes such as pistons, minecarts and minecart rails, iron doors/trapdoors/pressure plates, etc. would be able to use Pig Iron interchangeably with iron. Tools and armor would be primarily the only recipes it does not work for (alternatively, Pig Iron tools/armor which are considerably weaker than iron tools/armor). Perhaps Pig Iron also cannot make: flint & steel, shears, bucket, anvil, shield--I'm undecided on those.
Pig Iron should be on the weight 5 table, making it somewhat common and enabling players to build certain things which may take large amounts of iron, such as minecart systems or redstone machinery. Other materials needed in these systems may be more difficult to obtain.
Redstone Dust, Lapis Lazuli: These two minerals are useful to the player even in small amounts, but are not naturally found in The Nether. I would make them rare trades from Piglins, with Redstone Dust being on the weight 2 table and Lapis Lazuli being on the weight 1 table. Players may need somewhat significant quantities of redstone dust for their machines, but Lapis can be used much more sparingly for enchanting.
Nether Quartz: Various types of quartz and quartz blocks should be available on the weight 10 table, making quartz among the most common things you can get in trades with Piglins. There's already no real shortage of the stuff in The Nether, however this will make it renewable as well as even more abundant than it already is. No matter how much Quartz a player collects, they can continue to want more for large quartz structures. These can look amazing when combined with other blocks, and gives the player a reason to keep farming large amounts of Piglin trades. I also like the idea I heard a while back of black quartz, which would be a shiny and stark black block, a block type that's currently lacking in Minecraft. It would also just be neat to see mixed black and white structures. Perhaps Piglins sometimes trade black quartz, and maybe occasionally a nether quartz vein will contain black quartz.
Gold from Piglins: Normally you give your gold ingots to Piglins, but in case you don't have another optimal source of gold, you can trade Nether Quartz to Piglins in order to get gold. One Nether Quartz will be traded for one Gold Nugget. This will not yield enough gold to trade back and forth indefinitely, but you can keep trading back and forth until you run out of quartz and gold, effectively making a full conversion to other types of things.
Poor Person Trades: There are some inefficient trades you can make which at times may be prudent. Piglins will accept a piece of gold armor or a good tool in place of a gold ingot, and drop a random payment. They will also accept any quartz block in place of a single nether quartz, and drop a single gold nugget. While it would be extremely inefficient to convert all of your nether quartz to blocks or gold ingots to armor before trading, there are plenty of times you'll receive gold tools/armor or quartz blocks that cannot be readily converted back to their base items and which you may want to trade for more things. This also effectively enables a player to decide whether they want to gradually rack up tons of quartz blocks for building, or instead convert them all into gold nuggets for trading.
Thriving in The Nether
Surviving in The Nether simply means staying alive, but thriving means being able to continually upgrade yourself, keep yourself busy, and be able to obtain the things you need.
Wood in The Nether: The first step to thriving in the nether is being able to get wood. We've already seen that there will be two new types of wood available to players. I imagine it could be crafted into wood tools and this is something I support for my Nether Survival suggestion. Being able to always have wood tools is essential to ensuring the player always has tools available to work with.
Stone in The Nether: In order for the player to upgrade to stone tools, they'll need to find some kind of stone. In the Overworld, once a player has a stone pickaxe they never need to make wood tools again. However in Nether-only survival, stone will be fairly scarce and the player may not be able to get by exclusively with stone or higher tool tiers. I propose adding a new block called Soul Stone, similar to Soul Sand and Soul Soil in that if ignited you get a blue flame, however unlike its counterparts the flame will not remain lit indefinitely. Soul Stone will spawn once per chunk, I'm initially thinking about as much as a coal vein, but the amount should be balanced such that there's never an abundance if you rely purely on stone tools, but there can be plenty if you are thrifty with your stone usage. So it's not very common but not super rare. In the Soul Biome(s), Soul Stone has a much greater chance to spawn. You can make stone tools with this material, use it interchangeably with stone in recipes such as stone pressure plates, pistons, redstone comparators, etc. or you can use it as a decorative block.
Gold Tools and Armor: This is mostly self-explanatory at this point. You can get gold in any of the following ways:
* Killing Zombly Piglins for gold swords or occasionally nuggets/ingots.
* Trading quartz to Piglins for gold nuggets.
* Killing Piglins to rarely get their armor drops (more with looting).
* Smelting down all those gold swords and armor into nuggets.
* Mining Nether Gold ore, which yields one gold nugget (slightly more with fortune). This ore would be fairly rare but would be a lot more common in the Warped biome(s).
Gold armor and tools have a similar power to iron tier, but it is considerably less durable (especially the tools). You can save these tools for the occasional need for speed (such as mining in a nether fortress), and primarily use stone or wood tools when time is a less critical factor. Enchanting gold tools is more likely to yield fortune, silk touch, or other potentially useful enchantments. Gold armor actually has fairly decent durability if you try not to use it very often--I know this from my own experience playing Nether survival.
Iron Tools and Armor: You will pretty much only encounter iron in Nether Fortresses. There you might find varying iron armor, tools, ingots within the chests as well as the occasional diamond tools/armor or just diamonds. I'd want to substantially reduce the rate that diamond loot is found within Nether Fortress chests because at current it's not so much less than iron. This can work against normal players but I don't think it's a particularly big deal. Players don't really go to a Nether Fortress to find diamonds, it's just a happy coincidence when it happens. For Nether-only survival, it is important that these become less common. The vast majority of tools, armor, and ingots in Nether Fortress chests should be iron.
I'd also like to see Wither Skeletons carry iron swords. Them having a small chance to drop the iron sword can either provide the player with a supply of iron swords, or they can smelt those down to nuggets for a very scarce yet technically renewable iron supply.
Pig Iron for most things other than tools and armor: In addition to acquiring Pig Iron from Piglin trading, you will be able to dig up nethermetal ore which smelts in a furnace into Pig Iron nuggets. It's a rather abundant ore (though it doesn't appear at the surface) which spawns in fairly large veins, but it takes a lot of work mining and smelting it all to get all of your Pig Iron. Nethermetal ore is especially common in the Crimson Forest biome(s).
Diamond Tools and Armor as well as Netherite: The Nether Fortress chest diamonds are going to be the exclusive source of diamonds for Nether-only survival, thus they are limited and you will eventually run out if you aren't careful. You can always explore further to find more fortresses, but it may become convenient to instead try and get a mending enchantment to make your diamond/netherite stuff last longer. Currently you can't get Mending in Nether-only survival but a way should be introduced. Perhaps there should be some source of enchanted books in The Nether (aside from the Enchanting Table) which could potentially (rarely, of course) yield Mending books, or perhaps also be a source of paper for the player's own book making. As for obtaining Netherite, I'm not proposing making any changes here so you may as well just look it up elsewhere on the internet.
Obsidian can be obtained quite rarely through Piglin trading (renewable), or also rarely in Nether Fortress chests. This means that with enough work, players can make Nether Portals without using anything that came from the Overworld. Anyone making a Nether-only survival must take this into account and either disable the portals, alter the Overworld in some fundamental way, or have the making of a portal mark the victory state.
Players can make food easily at first by crafting bowls and making mushroom stew. I think mushrooms should be less common in The Nether in order to introduce some food scarcity. Perhaps the Crimson and Warped mushrooms would be a lot more common than Brown and Red mushrooms, but are also poisonous. I imagine the Crimson mushroom having a very minor poison effect (like maybe slowing for a minute), but the Warped mushroom has a stronger poison that comes with a beneficial effect (say, it withers you but gives you 30 seconds of fire resistance). Any mushroom stew made with these will carry the negative and positive effects over. Red and brown mushrooms will be in demand as a source of more comfortable eating.
Once a player is well-established, they likely will be farming Crimson Mushrooms to feed to their Hoglins which they will slaughter for food and leather. I appreciate how the current development snapshot already makes Hoglin farming considerably more difficult and less fruitful than farming pigs in the Overworld.
Aesthetically, there should be an alternative to water. I absolutely do not suggest adding water to The Nether, as it would drastically impact the gameplay. But having something that looks like water without providing its useful effects would be great for long-term terraforming projects. Even a 3/4ths high blue solid block with a water-like texture would be acceptable. Bonus points if it's kind of rare and thus takes a lot of effort to farm tons of them.
Trivia: Pig iron is a real-world metal. It is a low-grade iron typically made early in the smelting process, but recycled iron of mixed quality levels has also been called pig iron at times. Without further refinement, it's generally not a very useful metal. However its cheapness can lend it to being used as a structural material.
Piglin Lore idea: I imagine that Piglins and Hoglins are bichromatic (they see two colors): red and cyan. In their natural habitat, their vision is poor but they see primarily just red and that makes them feel safe. They don't burn in normal fire and can swim in lava, so most of the Nether is pretty safe to them. Their eyes are much more sensitive to cyan, thus soul fire and the entire warped biome are highly visible to them, and this color triggers fear in them. This fear is a useful trait because the warped biome is unsafe for Piglins and Hoglins. The warped mushrooms are poisonous to Hoglins, while Piglins have a bad habit of staring endermen in the eyes and may get attacked by them. Soul Fire is also able to burn Piglins and Hoglins as it can directly attack a creature's soul, burning any living thing which is normally fire immune, or healing undead. White is highly visible to Piglins but it is distinct from cyan. White is an enigmatic color to Piglins, and things which look yellow to us also look white to Piglins. They view white things such as gold and quartz as treasure, while they believe that Ghasts (harmless to Piglins) are magical guardian spirits or provide good luck. As their red vision is weak, they cannot see black objects too well and those tend to blend in with the shadows. Endermen are black, thus Piglins are not quick to notice them. However once they realize an Enderman is there they will become hostile to it and kill it in self defense. They behave the same way around Wither Skeletons, even though they'd have been better off leaving the skeletons alone. This is because they cannot see the Wither Skeleton very well and it looks like an Enderman to them. Player characters are mostly a variety of colors that either confuse or offend Piglins, thus they will attack players on sight unless they are wearing gold armor. It would be a cute extra addition if Piglins could not tell iron apart from gold and would offer payment for iron ingots or equipment, or would tolerate players who wear iron armor.
My basis for making nether gold abundant in the warped forest, and nethermetal (pig iron ore) abundant in the crimson forest, is that the Piglins (as per my above proposal) clearly have access to lots of Pig Iron and consider Gold to have much greater value due to its relative scarcity. The biome which has the most gold is the one Piglins spend the least time mining it from.
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I want ocean content(thanks Möjang!), nether biomes(again thanks!!), and savanna passive mobs (meerkats incoming!?).