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  1. Hey, everyone - we've officially updated our MC server to 1.18! If you want to explore and experience the update firsthand, you can hop on right now and join. If, however, you'd like to get a full breakdown of what's changed with this update (and also in the time leading up to it), keep reading. World Resets & Spawns As planned, Survival and Semi-Vanilla have both reset for 1.18. This includes economy, ender chests, inventories, and of course the worlds themselves. Benefactor world and any items in player vaults have been preserved - so you can rest easy that those items are safe. And of course, soon we'll be getting the worlds put up for download, including the 1.16 versions of both worlds in addition to the final 1.17 versions. Survival has been given a brand new spawn - as it was desperately needed. The previous Survival spawn got some flak from a few users, and rightly so. It was a bland, boring, simplistic spawn that was rushed together to get the update out the door. This time around, we planned ahead and started work earlier - so that once all the technical stuff was in place, the spawns could be dropped in and configured. The other new spawn area is for the Hub - featuring an appropriately themed cave spawn. A lot of the aesthetic for this spawn was actually inspired from an old CU spawn from back in the day, though with the designs being updated to take advantage of newer building techniques and to look/feel like a modern build. Semi-Vanilla, while it did undergo a reset, retains the same spawn as before - as we feel that it didn't quite get enough time in the spotlight. That, and we simply ran out of time to get a new one finished. Whoops Factions That's right - the day has finally arrived. Factions has returned (once again) to Chaotic United! The original Factions plugin hasn't been updated past 1.12, so we had to find an alternative plugin - as such, it may take some getting used to. If there are any major bugs or issues, let me know so I can investigate it further. Otherwise - have fun! Survival (and Semi-Vanilla) Changes Random Teleports The range for /rtp has been reduced from 3000 (5000 in Semi-Vanilla) to 1750. The reasoning behind this was simple - some folks tend to build extremely far from spawn - perhaps not even bothering to see what spawn even contains. This can sometimes result in Survival and Semi-Vanilla feeling more like singleplayer with chat rather than a proper multiplayer experience. I briefly considered dropping /rtp outright, but after polling the staff, the votes were overwhelmingly in favor of keeping it - so I've instead opted to reduce it's range a little bit. Vaults Near the end of the 1.17 Survival world, we introduced a feature called Vaults. The idea was to have a means for players to save a few items between resets. While this may be unfortunate news to many of you - we've made the decision to leave Vaults behind. This means that your items in the Vault will not be accessible in 1.18. After further consideration, having a way to start people off with potentially valuable gear goes against the entire point of increasing difficulty and encouraging playing - after all, why work towards better items if you start out with the best stuff already? Durite Durite will be briefly unavailable in the world early on (outside of the vote crate) - we plan to bring it back soon better than ever, by having it generate automatically in the world (both above and underground), as well as having it be the first custom blocks introduced into the server using our new plugin that allows us to create custom blocks. Changes to Rank Perks Following results from a community survey, as well as some internal discussion with the team, we've decided to make some adjustments to several of the perks available in our donation ranks. Let's get one thing out of the way - nearly all of the perks remain available as before. A few of the major ones have had limitations imposed in an effort to balance them somewhat, without removing them outright. We're gonna try this out for a while and see how things go, and adjust things as needed. Something else that I want to clarify - while we don't currently plan to remove the perks outright - if we do ever decide to do so, we will be offering refunds for a limited time after the perks are removed to those who wish. Death Chests and /back Only two perks have been removed outright - one of them being a relatively recent addition, and the other not having been a paid perk for over a year. The new Death Chests feature has been disabled for all ranks. Along with that, using /back on death has also been disabled across the board. It can still be used after teleporting, but it cannot be used to return to your death location. In addition to some buggy behavior with Death Chests, their existence and the ability to use /back after death almost entirely ruin the challenge of death ingame. These features may or may not return at a later date, but for right now - they're gone. This applies both to Survival and Semi-Vanilla. Additionally, there are now additional limitations to several other major perks. Item Spawn There are now two limitations added to the use of /item - a cooldown timer, and a maximum item spawn limit per day. Using /item will require a 10 second cooldown between each use. Along with this, /item can only be used 50 times per day. Along with those use restrictions, the following items have been added to the item spawn blacklist, and as such, can no longer be obtained with /item (excluding Chaotic rank, which has access to /gamemode regardless): All Diamond Armor All Diamond Tools All Netherite Armor All Netherite Tools All Iron Armor All Iron Tools All Gold Armor All Gold Tools Iron Ingot Raw Iron Iron Nugget Iron Ore Deepslate Iron Ore Raw Iron Block Gold Ingot Raw Gold Gold Nugget Gold Ore Deepslate Gold Ore Raw Gold Block Golden Apple Enchanted Golden Apple (Notch Apple) Golden Carrot God Mode (/god and /mobgod) God mode and Mob god can both only be used for 1 hour per day (once again excluding Chaotic since they have Creative mode). After this time has elapsed, they will be disabled and cannot be re-enabled for the rest of the day. While playing with either of these enabled, you will receive periodic reminders informing you of how much time you have left. Old Forum Topics For those unaware, a little while back I started manually porting forum topics from the old Chaotic United forums into the current forums. Most topics were lost for good, unfortunately - however, a handful were captured in part or in full on Wayback Machine, and they all contain enough data to where I can reconstruct them in the current forums. The only caveat, however, is that all of this has to be done by hand. Each post in each topic must be manually copied and pasted, with care taken to ensure formatting is preserved, and then each topic and post must have the author name manually set and the post time manually set as well. Even with the tiny amount of posts and topics, it's a monumental task and is about as tedious as it sounds. I made some good progress, but lately I've been slacking. Copy/pasting dates and times got old after a while, so I'm taking a break to focus on more pertinent server features and improvements. Be rest assured - I will be returning to this project to finish the job soon enough. RPG As some of you may have heard, we've begun planning out the long discussed RPG features that will be gradually making their way into Survival. We've planned out the rough plotline of a main questline, along with some of the core mechanics. Over the coming months, you'll start seeing some of these mechanics be introduced piece by piece. We'll be listening for feedback as we do - tweaking things as needed - and eventually, once all the pieces are in place, we plan to create a main questline that aims to be unmatched by other MC servers - both in story, and in presentation. We hope to be able to create a truly engaging storyline that people can come to love on its own - rather than a story that exists purely to service gameplay mechanics. We intend to create something that's truly fun to experience and play - and doesn't feel like a chore to get through. We'll be taking cues and nods to Chaotic United's past - as the storyline is (loosely) based on Chaotic United's real world history. Who knows - we might even pay homage to some older CU hallmarks, both inside and outside of Minecraft - if you get what I mean. Wrapping Up 2022 is looking to be an exciting year for Chaotic United - we've got some stuff coming down the pipeline that will hopefully turn this thing around and begin to take us to those heights we've been aiming at for so long now. As per usual with major updates - odds are, something is bound to be bugged out or broken. If you find any new issues, let me know or report it on the bug tracker. For now, folks, that's all we've got. See you folks on the server, and stay tuned - we've got a lot of good stuff coming down the pipeline.
  2. Hey, everyone - I've been writing and preparing the 1.18 update announcement draft, and there's a lot of detail about a specific change that's coming that could end up having larger ramifications for Survival and Semi-Vanilla going forward. The change is that, starting with 1.18 - Creeper explosions, TNT, fire spreading, and other natural griefing will be enabled in unclaimed areas. This will not affect claimed areas by default, so if you have a claim on a base - you have nothing to fear in this regard. However, this topic is largely unrelated to this specific change, but rather a broader topic of the challenge (or lack thereof) of Survival, and how potentially the premium perks offered by the various server ranks may actually be harming the overall experience rather than helping it. The Catalyst The catalyst for all of this was an experience I had on another server. While it's exceedingly rare for myself (and other staff) to play on other servers, there's no rule against it as long as they aren't staffing on that other server (in stark contrast to the old days where playing at all on any other server was an automatic demote, or worse). You see, I've spent a bit of time playing on the oldest anarchy server in Minecraft, 2b2t. It's generally known to be a bit of a hellhole, a place where hacked clients are commonplace, the chat is toxic, and virtually anything goes. While most of this isn't particularly appealing for most players, I realized after a few days that it gave something that I hadn't experienced in quite literally years of playing Minecraft - investment. What do I mean? Well, when I was killed or otherwise died with valuable gear, or died in pursuit of some specific item, I was frustrated - sometimes very much so, especially because death usually meant another hour or two walking down the nether highway in my case. However, I was also invested. Death actually meant something, and there was a genuine challenge. After playing with perks, even the minor ones like /back and /fly - it was both frustrating, but at the same time, refreshing. I actually cared if I died or not while exploring. I was cautious about what I brought with me. I took great care and caution when exploring, rather than just running around willy-nilly carefree - as one death could cause me to lose some valuable items. It's that investment and risk of losing what I worked for that made it matter. When I can fly around and spawn my stuff back in, or turn on godmode and be unkillable, nothing really matters as much. If my goal is to build something, then this works great. But once my creative energy runs out, then suddenly I find myself not playing for months and months - and now I think I finally understand why. It caused me to reflect on the current state of survival, and something that I can't help but realize after all this time is that the challenge and difficulty of virtually all of our survival offerings have been all but stripped away. So, let's get into it. The (Lack of) Challenge By registering, you get to do /back immediately upon death - which means that, unless you died in lava or by multiple explosions, you maybe lost some XP, but that's it. By playing long enough or by donating, you get to fly around and away from danger, spawn in nearly any item or tool, enchant any item, and put yourself in godmode. You can open your ender chest or a crafting table just from a single command. Virtually all of these perks have been constant staples of the survival experience, only being stripped away in Semi-Vanilla, and even then - a select few remain, like the crafting table and /back. Hell, we just introduced Death Chests into Survival - which again, sound great on paper - but are yet another way that the consequence of death is nullified. Increasing in rank effectively turns the Survival experience into something completely different - it turns it into effectively Creative mode with extra steps. Something that might have made a lot of sense back in the old days, where a creative gamemode wasn't available on CU - but seems to make less sense today, and something that I am starting to realize may actually be causing some significant damage to the overall experience. Now, some of you might be thinking "well just don't use the perks then, easy". Unfortunately, it often isn't that simple. While yes, players can choose not to utilize the perks they paid for or earned - if you had a full kit of enchanted diamond gear and died with it all, are you going to tell me that you wouldn't be the least bit tempted to /back to get it all back in an instant? Or if you were working on a large-scale base, you wouldn't just spawn the blocks in rather than spend hours or days gathering it all? Or that you wouldn't just use WorldEdit to cut away the land rather than dig it all out? Some people can resist the temptation. Many cannot. Many more wouldn't even consider resisting, as after all - that's what they earned or paid for, so why wouldn't they use it? The fact that the perks and benefits of a rank have to be actively ignored in order to make the experience more satisfying should've been a red flag from the start, and in retrospect it seems kind of crazy that it took me playing on 2b2t to see the harm it causes. And everything I just listed is entirely separate from potential EULA concerns, or reputation concerns about the server being "pay to win" - but that's a whole other can of worms. It's never been my intention to violate EULA outright, or to create a truly pay-to-win experience. I actively despise P2W mechanics in other games and think they have no place. Thus far my justification has been that since Survival isn't really competitive - with pvp and other things being disabled by default - that it isn't really pay-to-win, as there's no real "winning" state. I still mostly believe this, however on the same token, there's undeniably an advantage in creating large-scale bases or massive creations when you can fly, spawn in the materials, and WorldEdit things in. And while this technically doesn't matter from a competition standpoint, if someone busts their ass as a Member to gather up the materials and work hard on a base for weeks, they can be rapidly outshone by someone who played a while or paid some money - which could absolutely be discouraging to them. However, at the same time, I recognize that there's somewhat of an audience who enjoys the perks that are on offer. There are a handful of you out there who enjoy being able to fly around and build whatever, whenever. And while we introduced Semi-Vanilla as a way to escape the ranking system changes, most of the player activity continues to remain in Survival. Which makes sense - why play on a separate world, that fundamentally has the same features except you can't use the cool perks and benefits? And for non-donating players, why play on a world where not as many people will see your builds and creations? It's going to be a tough balance to strike, and one that won't be hit overnight. What it Means I'll be continuing to explore options to help reduce the effects of these perks - primarily their negative impact on gameplay. My hope is that I can find a way to maintain the current perks in a way that allows for them to continue to exist, but where they don't ruin the experience for players. I don't yet know whether or not this will be possible. Maybe I can find a magic bullet or two and everybody wins, or it may come down to having to start making tough decisions about what perks are offered going forward. I don't know what the future holds for the current ranking system. It's the first time since the start that I wasn't sure where things were going to go. You can breathe easy for the time being as there are no imminent changes, but I'll likely be having some talks with both staff and community members over the coming months to help me inform where we go next. What I can promise is that, in the event that the powerful perks start being stripped from the ranks, there will absolutely be some form of reimbursement given for those who donated for them. I cannot say specifically what that would entail (as I'm not even sure if the perks will even change to begin with), but I do know that I wouldn't feel right taking away what people paid for and not offering any sort of compensation after the fact. Once again, though - it's likely to be quite a while before any changes actually come - and you'll have plenty of notice before they do, if they do at all. If you have any feedback on any of this, please do share it - as this feedback will help me decide how to go forward. Keep your eyes peeled, folks, as there will likely be more to say on this topic soon.