It’s 2018. And yes, while everybody else is engrossed in Fortnite, PUBG, and Overwatch (is that how you spell it?), I’m buried deep in Minecraft.

Yes, I am a nerd, and a loser to boot. I decided to be a wisecrack and set the world’s difficulty to Hardcore. I figured that my expertise in Minecraft (about four years, in fact) would probably save my ass. How wrong I was. After growing attached to the world, I was stupidly shot in the face by a Skeleton, and the red screen shot up before my eyes. “You’re screwed. Delete the game or spectate your world forever.” I sat there, flying through the world, looking at the blocks I had created and destroyed.

(I had grown attached to a world I had played for two in-game nights.)

But hey, time spent in the game is also time, and I was extremely angry. It was daytime. That thing should’ve burned down before it could’ve killed me, but no… it had to be in the water! I couldn’t take that. I never meant to set the world’s difficulty to Hardcore. I was determined to get my world back.

However, following outdated tutorials on the Internet, I quickly realized that Minecraft had been patched beyond extent that none of the workarounds actually worked anymore. But fear not! With some more research, I finally managed to figure out how to get my precious world back.

(get a life)

NOTE/DISCLAIMER: This was tested on version 1.13 on August 2nd, 2018. Any later versions may not work.

1. NBTEditor

To edit Minecraft’s special .dat files (they won’t open in Notepad++), you need a NBT (Named Binary Tag) filetype editor. Fortunately, there’s a 100% open-source editor available here.

Go into the “Releases” tab and grab the latest version. Install for your platform.

2. Backup

Click on “Edit Profile”, select “Open Game Dir”, go into “saves” and make a backup of your world (copy and paste the folder). You will work on the copy. You will not touch the original save, in case you screw something up.

3. The actual edit

Open NBTEditor. Inside, there should be your worlds.


Select your copy, and inside, select level.dat.


Inside level.dat, select Data, and a list of attributes should show up.


Find the attribute hardcore. Double click on it, and type 0 to disable Hardcore mode.


If you did NOT press “Spectator Mode”, you can stop here. Save (diskette icon on the toolbar), load the world, and play.

Otherwise, you need to go through one more step. Inside Player, find the attribute playerGameType, and change the value from 3 to 0 (Spectator to Survival) or 1 (Creative).


Finally, save, and go back into your world. You should spawn again (by your bed or your initial spawn point.)

Feels great to be a cheater.

I never meant to use Hardcore in the first place