The Minecraft Speedrun – A complete guide on speedruns

Posted on June 10, 2021

If you have been keeping an eye on the top streamers on Twitch recently, it seems like everyone, and their mum have been trying their hands at a Minecraft speedrun. It seems confusing. How can Minecraft, a game about exploration, building, survival, and creativity, have a speedrun?

Well, Minecraft does technically have an end. You need to collect enough ender pearls to use the portal in a nether fortress to visit the nether and beat the nether dragon. Players are competing for the fastest time to kill the ender dragon. It is exciting to watch and easy to try, almost anyone can play Minecraft, it’s even one of the best of mobile games.

Speedrunning explained

At its most basic, speedrunning is an attempt to beat a game from beginning to end as quickly as possible. It’s a lot more than just playing the game, it’s about finding every possible way to shave a minute, a second, or even a millisecond off your time.

It’s a style of gaming that is suited to the obsessive. The average speedrunner will spend hours every day practicing and honing their skills in order to beat whatever game they are playing in the fastest time possible. It requires an almost perfect understanding of the game’s core mechanics. You need to be incredibly good at what you are playing to avoid anything that would slow you down.

There have been a lot of people asking “can speedrunning become an esport?” Well, that is a difficult question. It definitely takes a lot of skill to become a speedrunner but there are still some games that require random luck to beat the world record. Especially in Minecraft, you need a good seed to find the materials you need. That’s why some of the fastest Minecraft speedruns are predicated on a lucky start as well as skill.

fastest minecraft speedrun

Minecraft speedrun timeline

Minecraft speedrunning was always a very niche subculture. It mostly bubbled under the surface of the more popular Twitch games and Youtube Let’s Plays. If you only got to know the scene in the last year or so, chances are that it was because of Destiny.

Destiny is a hugely popular Youtuber who shot into the spotlight with his entertaining attempts to achieve the Minecraft speedrunning world record in 2020. For a while it seemed that he was the golden boy of the Minecraft speedrun scene. He was great at the game and seemed to dominate any run he tried.

People started to notice that he was getting a little too lucky with his runs and suspicions began to grow. It was only a matter of time until it was revealed that he was cheating, and his celebrity began to decrease.

Now, the Minecraft speedrun mantle has been taken up by two of the highest paid twitch streamers, Sebastian “Forsen” Fors and Felix “xQc” Lengyel. They have a friendly rivalry that has been very popular among their fans. Of course, their times are nowhere close to the actual speedrunning pros. The fastest time between the two streamers is currently 22 minutes and 56 seconds. That is almost a full 10 minutes behind the actual world record.

Types of Minecraft speedruns

minecraft speedrun

Set Seed (level generation) seed

This mode sees the player enter a world that they have previously explored to find the location of loot, the nether fortress, a stronghold, or other useful locations. This is a lot easier than other runs as it essentially becomes someone running a set course as quick as possible. Some players will spend time running the same seed again and again in an attempt to reduce their time.

Random seed

This is the more interesting option. Players are dropped into a new and random seed with no prior knowledge about the layout. It is up to them to use all of their abilities to beat it in the fastest time. If the seed is particularly bad, they can back out and choose another world.

Glitched/Glitchless

This is a very common differentiator in the world of speedrunning. Glitchless runs are played the way the developers intended while glitched runs use exploits in the game to reduce the time it takes to beat it. There are not too many remaining glitchless in Minecraft that can be exploited to speed up runs, so the glitched category is not particularly popular.

Difficulty

Another major difference between speedruns is the choice of difficulty. For example, peaceful worlds do not spawn enderman. That means that players will have to purchase ender pearls from villagers in the randomly spawned village locations in their seed. Because of the major gameplay differences, these speedruns are given their own category.

Version

Minecraft speedruns are also divided into three other categories according to the version used for the speedrun:

  • Pre 1.9: usually played on 1.7.
  • 1.9 – 1.15: usually played on 1.14.4.
  • 1.16+: usually played on 1.16.1.

Conclusion

Speedrunning Minecraft is a great way to spend time. Whether you are trying it out for yourself or just watching your favourite streamer go for the top spot. Right now Minecraft is in the top spot but there will always be new games out there that will inspire plenty of other challenges, just don’t expect Minecraft to go down without a fight.

The simple look of the game and the ease at which you can play it, makes it one of the more accessible speedrunning options out there. Just remember to pick the speedrun category that is right for you. You don’t want to end up cheating on a speedrun, we don’t want another Dream on our hands.

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Andrew Boggs

Andrew is a Northern Ireland based journalist with a passion for video games. His latest hobby is watching people speedrun Super Mario 64 and realising how bad he is at platformers.

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