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An alternative to the nerd pole, the zombie hide is a good defense at night. Build a tower at least 3 blocks high, with 4 legs and a platform that is 3x4 blocks across. Make a ladder access on the inside of one edge block so you can climb up into the hide. When night comes, place a block over the hole for the ladder entrance, and stand near the opposite edge; all the zombies will pile up underneath you, staring upwards in confusion as to why you are unreachable. This will not protect you from spider zombies or hornets, but everything else will leave you alone. It is important that you do not stand on one of the corner legs, as that will give the zombies something to destroy to get to you.
When this works, it may feel like you're cheating, but it is an easy way to stay safe during the night if you're low on resources.
Note: As of Alpha 17, the above strategy is no longer invincible against normal zombies. The AI has been improved to attack nearby structures when the player is unreachable. This strategy can still be viable though because the player will be able to reinforce the pillars with spikes and fire at the zombies from above while they attack the structure from below. It is also worth mentioning that zombies can easily climb ladders and attack a frame blocking their path. Instead, try using a nerd pole to act as a replacement for the ladder (3-4 blocks is generally safe). If higher height is desired, remove the bottom 3 rungs of the ladder and nerd pole up to the height required to access it, and then remove the frames used. Zombies can now jump 1 block high and climb ladders when single rungs are removed, so that old strategy no longer works. Build an emergency exit using a 3x3 square of hay bales (removes player fall damage) to jump onto in case your ladders or frames are destroyed.
Zombies' pathfinding skills can be abused by building a Trench that can not be climbed out of. Then, using frames as stairs the player can get across, and after crossing pick up the frames. When the frames are removed, the zombies will be trapped for while the trench remains intact.
Zombies can track you via...
-auto detection (sometimes they just know where you are)
V this doesn't apply for advanced player built bases use their attraction to your advantage with traps ECT above ground is still way to go trust me underground is good in fact build an above ground next to mountain then u gain the mountain as support but yes use steel lol don't use anything weaker