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Gameplay in most game modes of Ylands consists mainly of collecting resources, crafting items, and building structures in a randomly generated world.
With these items, players can manipulate the world around them, building and destroying structures. As gameplay in Ylands is so open and unguided, players often set their own goals and play the game as they see fit.
There are two main game modes in Ylands, these are Exploration and Creative (Sandbox). It is not possible to change game modes in an existing Exploration game, except for Legacy Exploration the player can use the Editor to spawn in a Creator Cube.
In this mode, players have to gather all their materials to build, craft items and tools. There is a hunger and health bar, an inventory and, when underwater, an oxygen bar. If you die your character will respawn on an island or in the last bed they had slept in.
The player has access to an infinite amount of almost all items available, and can destroy them instantly with the help of the Annihilator. Players are invulnerable and do not have health, armor, or hunger, except if the Creator Cube is removed. The player has access to items not available in Exploration mode, e.g. the Annihilator and Terraformer and other decorative items such as boat wrecks.