Minecraft - Blaze

I’ve been playing Minecraft ever since the Java Edition was bumped out of Alpha and into Beta way back in December of 2010. This means I’m an old-timer who remembers the halcyon days before potions were added to the game. Ah, those were simpler times…

Ever since the addition of potions, my Minecraft gameplay loop has acquired a huge roadblock: trying to find a Nether Fortress so I can acquire my first blaze rod. You will need a blaze rod to craft your first brewing stand, which you’ll need in order to get your potion-brewing operation off the ground.

Now, you can actually skip the blaze rod in this step of your journey if you’re lucky enough to find a village in early-game that contains a brewing stand. In this case, you can just yoink the brewing stand from the village and not have to worry about crafting your own.

However, once you start doing the actual brewing, you’re going to need blaze powder, which only comes from blaze rods, which are only dropped by blazes, which can only be found in Nether Fortresses. As you can see, if you can’t find a Nether Fortress, your brewing progress grinds to a halt.

Minecraft - Nether Portal

Some players find their first Nether Fortress almost immediately after entering the Nether for the first time. I’ve started dozens of Minecraft worlds at this point, and I have yet to have such luck. No, for me, Nether Fortresses always seem to exist way off in some far corner of the Nether that’s incredibly dangerous to reach, typically across a lava ocean. So I spend real-world days searching the Nether without ever spotting one.

For me, this is always a roadblock. I don’t have this issue when it comes to enchanting — in that case, I feel like I’m always making progress toward getting my enchantment setup rolling so long as I’m actively working toward that goal. The hardest part of that is just finding the diamonds, which I can typically do within the first hour or so of playing a new world at this point. Diamonds are no trouble at all for a seasoned veteran like me (despite what this classic song might lead you to believe).

So it feels jarring to jump off a completed enchantment table project into a brewing project (which is the order I typically do these things in), because suddenly you can’t progress any further until you’ve located a Nether Fortress. Sigh…

Minecraft - Nether Fortress

In fact, finding a reliable source for the Mending enchantment — one of the rarest and most sought-after enchantments in the game — is often easier than finding your first blaze rod. In the case of Mending, at least there are multiple possible options for finding them (and one kind-of-cheap method).

But there are a few methods folks have developed to make it somewhat easier to locate a Nether Fortress. For one, people have learned that Nether Fortresses are more likely to generate on the positive side of the X-axis, so people start there, then walk in a straight line either north or south. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever found one using this method.

The only thing that’s ever worked for me is firing up the Chunk Base Nether Fortress app. You simply type in the seed of your world, and Chunk Base will give you the coordinates for all of the Nether Fortresses in your world. It seems to be pretty accurate, too (though Chunk Base’s Dungeon Finder app seems to be a bit outdated).

Some folks might call this cheating, since you’re using a third-party app. For me, once I’ve spent a week fruitlessly scouring the Nether, I have few scruples about using an app to finally end the most painful step in the Minecraft grind.

The one trick here, though, is that you need to make sure you have your coordinates turned on. While you can’t actually use the coordinates menu option without enabling cheats (thereby negating your Trophies/Achievements/Advancements), there is an alternate way to turn them on.

If you’re playing Bedrock Edition, you can simply type this command into your chat window:

/gamerule showcoordinates true

Then, when you want to toggle them off, simply type

/gamerule showcoordinates false

This shows your coordinates onscreen without enabling cheats, which means you won’t block yourself out of earning those sweet, sweet Advancements.

If you’re playing Java Edition, you can simply bring up the debug menu to see your coordinates at any time. I believe you do this by pressing F3, but I honestly haven’t played much on Java since console versions updated to Bedrock. Yeah, I’m a console gamer at heart…

But even with this method, navigating out to your nearest Nether Fortress can be a painstaking process. Mobs are a lot more powerful in the Nether, and there’s lava everywhere. And that’s to say nothing of the fact that blazes themselves can be pretty deadly. Unseasoned adventurers can find this step of the journey to be a particularly unforgiving one.

Minecraft - Blaze

I really don’t know why this part of the Minecraft grind is so brutal. For a long time, I actually thought Mojang would address this at some point, perhaps adding a Nether-free way of acquiring that blaze powder. I’m writing this in 2022, and potions have been in the game for a decade at this point, so I’m not holding my breath.

In the meantime, this step in my Minecraft journey will always feel like walking through quicksand after running unimpeded on a concrete path. My momentum comes to a crashing halt, and I oftentimes spend days searching the Nether before finally retreating to Chunk Base.

It just seems like it doesn’t need to be this way.

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1 year ago

?? /locate fortress ?

1 year ago
Reply to  Josh Wirtanen

I’m not sure tbh. I suspect it would, being a command entry. But you sounded desperate, man!😁

Pro MB Gaming
1 year ago

Is it only recently that you have had issues finding Nether Fortresses?

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