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  1. 1 point
    haloman30

    10 Years

    Man. What a wild thought - to think that it's been 10 years since Chaotic United first launched itself into the world, and to think that we've still kept it going all this time later. There's been a lot of people in the past who never thought CU would make it this long - some of which who may even prefer that it didn't, rather than carry on in our relatively quiet corner of the internet as we've since done. In previous anniversary posts, the tone has always been the same old tired ramblings along the lines of "we're gonna make this year the best one ever guys". I'll save those words this time around - as I've already said them enough before. What I'll do instead is give some insight on what our future plans are - even if those plans are still quite loose at the moment. I'll also give some proper credit to a few people towards the end of the post - people who, had they not showed up and stuck around, likely would've ensured that we didn't make it to our 10th year. History Lessons First and foremost, I want to share what will likely come off as "well, duh" for most of you - but is something that I've only come to fully understand over the past year or so. As many of you know, I have a borderline obsession with history. More specifically, the history of CU and any of its siblings, cousins, and other distant relatives. I've put in countless hours and a lot more money than is reasonable in an effort to preserve as much of that history as possible. The most expensive single purchase I've ever made for Chaotic United was the acquisition of the chaoticunited.com domain name. Now, you may be wondering - what's so important about the .com domain? After all, we're still on .net - so clearly it must not be that important, right? Well, you see, there's two major "eras" of Chaotic United. There's the "Old" Chaotic United, which refers to the original CU server and staff team from 2011 to early 2014. Then, there's the "New" Chaotic United, which refers to the re-established CU that we've been running here on chaoticunited.net from late 2014 through to the present day. The old CU operated out of chaoticunited.com, and we initially were hoping to launch under that domain as well - but at the time it was held by either Josh or Killerteddy, we never really found out for sure. So, instead, we started up on chaoticunited.net and never really left. After many years of it being consistently unavailable, the domain finally became available in June 2017. Sort of. Normally, domains are relatively cheap - usually 12-14 bucks a year per domain name. However, there are also such things as "premium domains". These are often older domain names that either once carried a lot of traffic, or names that are considered desirable. When one of those older, traffic-heavy names nears expiration, a premium domain reseller will often make a deal with the registrar (the site/company that the owner registered the domain with) and buy it off of them before it ever fully expires. From there, they'll make it available through them for a massive markup in price. In most cases, I'd never deal with them. In fact, several years prior, one of them got ahold of tidalwavegaming.com and tried to sell it for over a thousand dollars. After a few years, though, nobody bought it and it did eventually expire - at which point I snatched it back up for the standard 12 bucks for a year. However, chaoticunited.com was different. This was, to me, an opportunity that could not be missed. It may never become available again - some other random person or company could grab it, and any hope I'd have had for ever obtaining it would be crushed for good. On top of that, the domain was also the key to unlocking all of the preserved content on archive.org's Wayback Machine - which at this point is likely all that remains of the old CU's forums and website. I was not missing that domain. So, $800 later, I was the new owner of chaoticunited.com - and it's been that way ever since. Luckily, the high price tag was a one-time fee, and all later renewals have just been the standard rate. I imagine that for virtually everyone reading, that kind of money sounds absolutely batshit insane for what amounts to 3 changed letters in an address bar and URL. And for most people, yeah - it's not worth it. My point is that for me, these are reasonable and acceptable lengths to go to when it comes to preserving the history of this community. When Nuclear District shut down, the admins at ND agreed to send me a copy of their forum topics and posts, which I then was able to merge into CU's own forums - and you can see them all to this day. I've ported and re-ported old forum themes from the past and brought them into the modern day. The MC server, while certainly not identical to the old CU's server, still has all the hallmarks of the original server. You've got the same ranks, with the same perks, at the same prices. The hub is still a big biosphere, and the survival spawn even has those CU letters in the sky pulled straight from a classic CU spawn. However, all of this focus and emphasis on the past has, for many years, left me somewhat blind to something. Something that should have been obvious - and sometimes I even seemed to sort of get it, only for nothing to come of it. For new players, the history doesn't matter. As much as I may wish it to be different, the reality is that someone coming into CU for the first time in 2021 doesn't really have much reason to stay. The MC server certainly has a large number of features, including two dungeons and a custom ore. There's a wide variety of gamemodes, ranging from minigames to creative, from skyblock to a more purist form of survival. But for someone new, it's not enough. Why build in creative when there's seemingly nobody to show your creations to? Why set up shops in survival when there's no customers? Why strive to have the biggest, baddest island in skyblock when there's no obvious competition? Oh, and the minigames? Well, most of them require 2 or more players - and if you're online by yourself, that kinda limits your options. And most importantly, why stay here whenever virtually all of those gamemodes can be found elsewhere, in more populated servers? The uncomfortable realization I'm coming to is that, outside of some brief nostalgia for old CU veterans, or at best maybe joining the Discord which is comparatively quite lively, there isn't. For someone who is joining Chaotic United's MC server in 2021, there is virtually no reason for them to stay. We have a community, of course - CU isn't dead. But most of it lives exclusively on Discord. And if you're joining the MC server, you see a server with 0 players on, and likely decide to move on elsewhere. It's quite the sad realization, really - and certainly not the kind of thing you want to read (or write) on the 10 year anniversary post. The Future But, there's a silver lining in that realization. It is that realization that will allow us to move forward. Now, make no mistake - my fetish passion for CU's history isn't going anywhere. I don't believe that anything I've been doing in terms of preservation has been the problem. Rather, the problem is that there hasn't been much besides that. There's no reason why CU can't act as both a time capsule of its own past, and also act as an enjoyable experience in the present. After all, hasn't that been the point the entire time? So, the plan going forward. What is it? What does it entail? Well, we recently did a poll on Discord asking about the idea of introducing RPG elements into our survival mode - which the votes were heavily in favor of. The idea behind RPG as well as other ideas is this: to get people in the door, we need two things. One, we need something that is unique. We need a reason for people to be here and not on some other server. This concept isn't alien to us, as it's what led to the Teddy dungeon, the Magic plugin, and Durite. However, I feel that these features, while fun, aren't impactful enough to get new players hooked. Clearly they aren't - or else we'd have a bunch of people by now. The other thing we need is content that can be enjoyed alone. While it may seem counter-intuitive to join a server only to be playing a solo experience, at the end of the day - we have no real choice at the moment. If there's nobody on the server, we pretty much have to design around that. This is one of the ideas behind RPG elements, and potentially later down the line, a full-fledged RPG gamemode. These features are going to be built with both solo players and groups of friends in mind. The content should be fun alone, and it should be fun with friends. We've also got a few ideas for minigames that also follow this philosophy, though those are still in the early drafts at the moment. And... yeah. In terms of plans, that's all we've got at the moment. Nothing is super fleshed out yet, but this is the direction we plan to move towards going forward. Our history is, and will continue to be an important part of CU. However, we have to be more than just a large museum of our own past. We can have the museum, sure - but that museum needs to be a part of something more. Special Thanks Lastly, I feel that it's only appropriate that we list off a few key people that have helped ensure that CU made it to its 10th birthday. I won't be naming every key figure of CU, but you can find a (mostly) comprehensive list over on the Credits page. First up, a guy known as ntx2 - he was a former Manager/Admin of the old CU, and even hung around Nuclear District in its early days. He did a great deal of work for the old CU, many late nights staying up to fix issues and iron out bugs. Even made a couple of the old spawns, too. Without his presence, the old CU server likely would've had its playerbase drop off much faster than it did - potentially leading to an early demise. He was even the one to find me on HurricaneCraft and introduce me to Nuclear District - had he not done that, it's entirely possible that I would've never known about ND at all. Next up, Stoneharry - the primary developer of old CU's World of Warcraft server. While this isn't something that I ever really played on, it was still a key service of CU for many years, and one that from what I heard had quite a great deal of custom content. After him, Atomicbeast101 - another former Manager of old CU and the Founder of Nuclear District. He footed the bill of old CU's server in Teddy's absence, and later left to pave the road for ND to rise up and carry the torch forward - free from Teddy's attitudes and mismanagement. The last person I'll name here is none other than Michael, who has gone by many names over the years - LetsplaymasterDR, AwakenedRage, MysticaWare, and EpticRikez just to name a few. From 2014 to 2015, he hosted our MC server out of his own hardware - free of charge. Back then, my only other alternative would've been my Acer laptop or some weak PC - which needless to say wouldn't have made for a very fun server experience. Not only that, but he's continued to serve as a more technically-knowledge admin over the years, and for a few years up until early last year, once again paid for a dedicated server for CU - out of pocket. And if that wasn't enough, he's done something that may end up being even more significant than that just recently. After my continued struggles for employment, bouncing from retail job to retail job, he was able to offer me a job - creating content for a game that his studio is working on at the moment. It's a small team of only a few people, but even so he was willing to hire me on as an employee. I don't have to keep sifting job boards and hoping to find something that's tolerable at best. He's given me an opportunity to do something creative and exciting - and get paid doing it. A job that I can take pride in, and an opportunity that I feel as though I hardly deserve - an opportunity that I absolutely must not let go to waste. Along with those 4, I do encourage all of you to take a visit to the Credits page, the Veterans page, and the CU Timeline page - as they each have a walk-through of CU's history, naming important members of CU's past and present. Lastly, but most certainly not least - as cheesy as it sounds - is you. Yes, you. Each and every one of you who have stuck through, whether that be for a few weeks, months, or even years. You are the reason we have a community, the reason why despite everything that's happened, CU continues to keep on going year after year. Without you, there is no Chaotic United. Wrapping Up And with that, I suppose it's time to wrap this thing up. 10 years of Chaotic United - and hopefully at least another 10 yet to come. Whether or not we reach our goals of bringing CU back to it's former glory is something that will only be told with time. I can't (and won't) promise that this year will somehow be different than the last, but I can say that I think we're slowly but surely moving onto the right track. It may take a long while yet, but I'm not one to give up so easily. I think that, with all of us united together, anything is possible. Here's to the next 10 years.
  2. 1 point
    haloman30

    Possible Laptop Functioning

    Haha, nope. Killed itself again when I was halfway done typing my Hard Drive password. Guess it's time for a new laptop. Please note that a new laptop is months away. MONTHS. So, please don't hold your breath for it. If you want a server, ask Alycat to start up a temp. server until I can provide services again.