There are many dangers in the Minecraft world, and dying is never a good thing at all even if you can respawn since you’ll drop all the items that you’ve worked so hard for.
Take note that there aren’t really a lot of weapons in Minecraft since this game isn’t really about killing things, but more on building things. Self-defense is merely a necessity in the game, as opposed to other games where it’s the premise of the gameplay.
There are two basic weapon types — sword and bow. Any other distinctions are based on the materials used to make the weapons. There are also arrows for the bow, which constitutes for ranged attack. All weapons are made with the crafting table since you need a 3×3 grid in order to fit the materials in the right configurations.
Like player characters, mobs have health measured in hearts. Chickens have 2 hearts worth of health, while cows, pigs, and sheep have 5 hearts of health. Skeletons, zombies, spiders, creepers, and zombie pigmen have 10 hearts, while ghasts have 5 hearts. Slimes are unique due to their health depending on size and they react to damage differently.
This is the only melee weapon in the game. While you can try to kill a zombie with a pickaxe, you’ll take a whole lot of sweet time before you take it out, in which case you’ll die first. Meanwhile, swords aren’t good for gathering resources as it’s not really something you can chop down trees with due to limited durability, being counted as two uses instead of one when used this way. You’d rather keep a sword handy for mobs that come about to ruin your day.
You can make one by putting one stick at the bottom, then the two materials vertically on top to form something that looks like a sword. You can use wood, cobblestone, iron, gold, or diamond to make swords. With each sword made of a specific material, there is corresponding attack damage and a limited number of uses. A wooden sword deals 2.5 hearts of damage and will break easily, while a diamond sword deals 5.5 hearts of damage and can much last longer.
This is the only ranged weapon in the game. You mostly use it against creepers since they explode when they get close to you, in which case engaging them in melee combat is out of the question. You can also snipe mobs from high places in relative safety.
You can make a bow by putting three strings vertically on one side of the grid, then a wooden stick in both the top and bottom squares of the middle column, and last stick in the middle of the other side of the grid to form a bow configuration.
The bow needs arrows in order to be an effective weapon, obviously. You can make arrows by putting all three items in order along a column in the grid. The flint goes on top, then a wooden stick in the middle, then a feather at the bottom.