The Nether is a hellish other dimension and a location in the 2009 onward Swedish video game entitled Minecraft. This sinister realm is mainly comprised of Netherrack, a delicate, red stone that burns indefinitely, and vast amounts of lava, that form large oceans and often drips down from the walls and ceiling. In addition to its valuable materials, it is frequently visited for its fast travel, as moving one meter in the Nether equates to moving eight meters in the Overworld.
While lacking the wide variety of the Overworld, the Nether is home to many useful items that are commonly sought after. The first, and most common resource is Netherrack, which is sometimes used in fireplaces given its ability to stay lit forever. As of Snapshot 13w01a, Netherrack can be smelted in to Nether Brick, usually only found in Nether Fortresses. Nether Wart, the only plant in the Nether, can also be found in the aforementioned Nether Fortresses, and is the base ingredient of all potions, making it extremely valuable.
The second most common resource in the Nether is Lava, which occurs more frequently in the Nether than water does in the Overworld. It can be used for decorative lighting or for farming large amounts of Obsidian. Another light source that can be found in the Nether is Glowstone, a glass like block that usually hangs from the ceiling of the Nether. A block of Glowstone is slightly brighter than a torch, and is the preferred method of lighting for some players, but due to the heights at which it sometimes generates, or due to it hanging over lava, it is often dangerous or outright unobtainable.
One block that is hazardous to the player is Soul Sand, which slows the player's movements, leaving them vulnerable to attacks from hostile mobs. It does however have its use, most notably in its role in summoning The Wither. The most recent material to be added to the Nether is Nether Quartz, added on January 3, 2013. It is used in the making of Redstone Comparators and Daylight Sensors, and can also be crafted in to decorative blocks. It is currently the only ore available in the Nether.
Despite being a hellish dimension, the Nether is not without life, and is home to several hostile species. The most common mobs in the Nether are Zombie Pigmen, which are, in essence, neutral creatures. They will only attack the player if they are attacked first. They are still extremely dangerous however, as attacking only one Pigman will spark the aggression of other Pigmen in the area, and the player will subsequently have to fend off a potentially large number of Pigmen even if they initially only attacked one.
Another frequenly seen mob are Ghasts. These are white, floating mobs that shoot fireballs at the player on site, which explode upon impact. The explosion sets the surrounding area on fire, making a single shot from a Ghast highly dangerous. While dangerous, they have a chance of dropping a Ghast Tear when killed, which can be used in a Potion of Regeneration. However, the Ghast Tear is frequently lost to fire or lava.
A lesser seen mob, the Magma Cube, is similar to Slimes found in the Overworld. They split apart when killed, and also drop Magma Cream, which can be used to make Fire Charges or a Potion of Fire Resistance.
The two final mobs are restricted to Nether Fortresses, but are just as potent as the other monsters in the Nether. The first is the Blaze, which can shoot multiple fireballs at the player. They are essential in reaching the End to fight the Enderdragon, as the Blaze Powder needed to craft the Eye of Ender comes from the Blaze Rods they drop. Blaze Powder can also be used to make Magma Cream, Fire Charges or a Potion of Strength, making Blazes one of the most valuable mobs in the game. The most recent mob to be added to the Nether is the Wither Skeleton, a tall, black Skeletal being that poisons the player when they attack. They are valued for their heads, which they rarely drop when killed, which are needed to summon the Wither, the second boss added to Minecraft.
The most common use of the Nether is to travel vast distances in the Overworld in a fraction of the time it would normally take, as traveling one block in the Nether is the same as traveling 8 blocks in the Overworld. This is achieved by placing Nether Portals down in two locations in the Overworld and then connecting the corresponding portals in the Nether via a passage way constructed by the player. When the distance is considerably large, even in the Nether, rails may be placed in the passage way to allow the player to travel back and fourth between Portals quickly by riding a Minecart.