Just when you thought Minecraft wouldn't be able to add anything more threatening than a door-busting zombie, or relentless wall-climbing spider, the game introduces an enemy with a long range attack. Skeletons are very dangerous due to the bow and arrows they are equipped with, which they are quite skilled at using.
There's a few ways you will realize a skeleton is in the neighborhood. You'll possibly hear its distinctive bone-rattling sound effect, or hear an arrow zip by your head, or worse, you'll get hit by one of its arrows. When a skeleton has you in its sights, it will stalk closer to you until it's within firing range. At this point it unleashes arrows upon you at a pretty impressive rate.
|This is what will happen to you if you're not careful.|
The closer you get to a skeleton, the faster it will fire arrows at you. If you're planning on cutting one of these monsters down with a sword you'll need to make sure you are fully armored, because you will take tons of damage. Also, getting hit by an arrow will knock you back a little bit, making it a challenge just to get within melee range. If this sounds like too much of a risk, equipping a bow and attacking them from a distance is the safest way to take them down.
Just like with zombies, keeping a fence around the perimeter of your safe area will keep skeletons out. However this is only partially effective because they will walk right up to the fence and attempt to turn you into a pincushion by firing arrows right over the fence. Your best bet is to put up a nice tall wall to prevent this form of attack.
|Also, beware of dark caves.|
That's about all there is to say about the skeletons in Minecraft. They can be a huge threat, especially when a large group decides to gang up on you. What's your favorite way of combating these enemies? I admit I'm not much of a bow and arrow kind of guy, and prefer to attack them with a sword.