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Millions are watching a Minecraft player survive 2,000 days on hardcore

It’s one heck of a journey

Cass Marshall is a news writer focusing on gaming and culture coverage, taking a particular interest in the human stories of the wild world of online games.

Staying alive on a Minecraft server can tough, what with the creepers, geists, zombies, spiders, and lava. But surviving (and even thriving) during a Minecraft hardcore run is particularly impressive. YouTuber Luke TheNotable has been documenting his run of 2,000 in-game days on a hardcore Minecraft server, and the most recent entry has already earned more than 7 million views since it was released on Dec. 19.

Minecraft’s hardcore mode ratchets up the difficulty of the game, but more seriously, players cannot respawn upon being killed. If you die, even once, you’re done.

The first entries in Luke TheNotable’s series, 100 Days and 1,000 Days, are humble in comparison. In those videos, Luke laid the foundation for a bonkers Minecraft set up. Most Minecraft players’ worlds are pretty simple, and almost medieval. When your average player shows off their server, there tends to be a lot of castles, cities, bridges, and other recognizable structures. But as we see in Luke’s most recent video, his world has become industrialized and optimized to the point of appearing absurd. There’s very little in the way of traditional architecture.

Spirals of emerald jut into the sky. Villagers are crowded into tiny wooden shelters, where they breed and spawn iron golems, and are occasionally cleared out with lava when their numbers begin to break the game. The entire server is a monument to Luke’s in-game journey, and he has spent the last 2,000 days turning the entire world into an ecosystem that makes him an immortal, unstoppable god among villagers, pillagers, and polar bears.

The series documents just how Luke was able to completely master a Minecraft server. The first 100 days were far more dangerous, for instance, due to the fact that he didn’t have so many potions, armor sets, and emeralds on hand. Each video, like the follow-up 200 Days and 300 Days, shows how even a hardcore server can be slowly conquered and converted into a factory dedicated to keeping one man alive.

“I’ve never thought about giving up, in fact I believe I will take this series as far as it’ll go, at least as long as I can stay alive,” Luke said in an email to Polygon, but he notes that at this point in the game, it’s actually difficult for him to die. The Nether is a dangerous place, for instance, full of lava and monsters, but Luke is able to mass produce fire-resistance potions at such a rate that he can quaff them faster than the Nether can possibly surprise him. “[It’s] about the journey, not the destination,” he said.

That journey requires some very clever — or, depending on how you feel about the treatment of NPCs, unethical — workarounds. Some villagers are quarantined off into even smaller spaces, where they can be infected with a zombie virus and then cured. A newer player might not understand what the point of using a blessed item to cure a villager is when you’re the one who infected them; the answer is that they’re so grateful they offer really good trading deals. Luke trades melons in for an emerald apiece, growing even richer.

When he needs to travel, he just takes to the sky and flies around. Even endgame bosses like the Wither are nothing to sweat about; with some clever building, Luke is able to pin it into a corner and kill it without fear of retribution. In fact, he’s organized his entire world, carving out any chunks that displease him with TNT.

It’s wild to see the vanilla Minecraft experience pushed this far. It’s a difficult game state to obtain on your own, but watching it is ridiculously fun, especially since each day is presented in a matter of seconds. It’s a little aspirational, like watching a Homes & Garden TV show about renovating a giant mansion. Even though the server no longer looks like an actual, livable world, it’s a fascinating experience that shows just how far players have gone with pushing Minecraft’s sandbox to its absolute limits.

The next level of puzzles.

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