Collecting Tears…

Ghast tears, that is.  What did you think I meant?

Ghast tears drop, naturally enough, from Ghasts in Minecraft.

Ghast tear in inventory...

Ghast tear in inventory…

And Ghasts… well, you find them in the nether, where can loom out of the distance or spawn suddenly in your vicinity and as soon as you hear their special sound they are launching fireballs at you.

I went looking for some Ghast screen shots, just to illustrate what they look like, and I only found a few and most of them were mid-action panic screen shots.

Ghasts are a bit of a terror in the nether.  The float up out of reach, so you can only hit them with a bow and arrow, shoot those fireballs that eat up the netherrack and set things on fire, while their behavior is such that they tend to pull back to maximum range so they are harder to hit. (Though that doesn’t seem to hinder their ability to hit you.)

They aren’t a constant threat, and so long as you keep moving you likely won’t take a fireball hit.  I’ve been running through the nether between portals on a few occasions with the sound off, noticed nothing amiss, only to come back for the return trip to find that the terrain is torn up and on fire because a Ghast had been taking shots at me as I ran previously.

Another divot to be filled in

Another divot to be filled in

I always try to carry a stack of cobblestone with me to fill in the holes along regular routes.  The fireballs won’t destroy the cobble, so the path is that much more sturdy, though it can still be set on fire temporarily, so you don’t want to stand still all the same.

Anyway, they are a threat and they will encourage you to learn how to use a bow and arrow effectively.  Just don’t miss too often, lest you hit the zombie pigmen and start a new sort of terror.  That has killed me more often than Ghasts.

And, as noted a couple hundred words back, they drop Ghast tears.

Before Minecraft 1.9 the tears were of no particular value.  They could be used to create mundane potions, which weren’t really useful, or regeneration potions, which were actually useful.  But not being a huge user of potions so far, I wasn’t seeking them out. (Brewing chart for potions, if you are interested.)

After the update hit however, the tears became one of the ingredients in creating an End Crystal, four of which may be used to re-summon the End Dragon after it has been slain for the first time.  Aaron, who drove our initial effort to slay the End Dragon, was keen to be able to respawn it (and kill it) on demand.  So he wanted to collect more tears, but the randomness of the open nether… half the time I kill a Ghast it is over a pool of lava, so no tears and no exp… wasn’t working for him.

A couple weeks back I logged in and saw him on.  I happened to be passing through what is the central area of the nether for us and, just as he was telling me in chat that he had built something new, I saw that very new thing.  It didn’t look like much, just a tall wall of nether brick and an area of cobblestone with a door.

Spotting the new building...

Spotting the new building…

The cobblstone structure was a room with a door on the opposite side.  I went through that and found Aaron with his new plan… an indoor Ghast killing arena.

Into the arena

Into the arena

It was tall enough to allow ghasts to spawn in it, floored with cobblestone to keep the floor from getting chewed up by fireballs, and illuminated by a pattern of recessed lighting featuring the end rods that came in with the big update as well.  I had to admit I was impressed.

The space does tend to fill up with zombie pigmen which, as I noted previously, can be an issue if you do not take care where your arrows fall.  And I would still recommend arrows for fighting ghasts in an enclosed space.  While we were there a ghast spawned and I tried to go after it with my sword and found it tough going.  You have to close with a fireball spewing mob and then stay within arms reach, hacking away at it, while you are probably on fire and dying.

After a bit of that I opted to fall back and use the superior firepower of the box.

When a Ghast spawns it is tough to miss in that confined space.

There he is, shooting at me already!

There he is, shooting at me already!

But once you kill them, it is easy enough to pick up the drops… just avoid the temporarily burning cobblestone while you do so.

I think there is a tear in that lot

I think there is a tear in that lot

The spawn rate is a little uneven.  In trying it out on my own I have sat for a stretch with no spawns at all… and then had two Ghasts pop up at once.

Now they are both shooting at me

Now they are both shooting at me

Two Ghasts at once pretty much guarantees that you will be on fire for a while.  As soon as you take aim to shoot at one, the other will hit you.  So I hope you were at full health and fully fed when they both showed up.  I had a pair pop in when I was still recovering from having stood in the fire too long on the last one and had to flee the room.

However, if things get too crowded in the room… I had a LOT of zombie pigmen in there acting like they were trying to block my shots at one point, Aaron put together a handy little arena reset option.

The reset rail ride

The reset rail ride

Just get in the mine cart, press the button, and go on a round trip that takes you far enough away to unload the chunks the arena occupies, and then back again to a fresh new start.

Those pigmen will be back soon, you just wait

Those pigmen will be back soon, you just wait

Anyway, that is one of the new features in our world, a Ghast hunting arena in which we can collect their tears.  Actually, I think the recessed lighting might be the best part.  It does look pretty cool and the light coming off the end rods is just about perfect.

8 thoughts on “Collecting Tears…

  1. Rob Kaichin

    “Can’t beat your enemy? Force the game to delete them”

    Now this is a strategy I can get behind :P.


  2. Talarian

    I actually find hitting their fireballs back at them easier than bow and arrow personally. The “Return to Sender” achieve, basically. Though if you hit a fireball and it hits a pigman, you still get aggro because it’s now tagged with your player data.

    The ghost arena is a brilliant idea, I’ll have to try that out myself.


  3. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Talarian – I actually got the “Return to Sender” achievement on my first Ghast kill, totally by accident. I use the bow to hit the fireball back at them most of the time. A well timed shot bounces it right back into them. But they do move around, so the longer it has traveled, the less likely it is to return and hit. And, in that enclosed space full of pigmen, there is some caution to be considered.


  4. Talarian

    Pigmen ruin everything :P

    You can actually aim the fireball on the return. It’ll go in the direction your crosshair is pointing when you hit it with your sword/bow/steak. Can lead them that way. But I pretty much eschew bows so I’m probably just weird. Bow and arrow is probably actually easier.


  5. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Talarian – I will admit that with the 1.9 update and finally getting the infinity enchant on my bow, my solution to most hostile mob problems has been, “Arrows, lots of arrows.”

    But I did not know you could aim the fireball deflect with my sword. Cool!


  6. Leoric Firesword

    few fire resistance potions and your worries about being on fire go away, I also like to make a 2 or 3 block tall nerd pole (can’t remember) and slaughter the zombie pigmen for no other reason than I can


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