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CU Updates #45 - Website Updates, Bugfixes, and Outside Help

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Hey, everyone!


Today, we've got a brief update to the website to go over, featuring some fresh new redesigns, as well as some long-awaited bug fixes. We'll also be going into details of something you might have heard rumblings of in Discord.


New Server Pages & Bugfixes

The most significant changes have been made to our "Servers" pages. For those unaware, we've had individual webpages for the various servers we host, and in some cases, additional pages providing various details about the features each server contains.


Additionally for those who hadn't noticed, the pages that were present up until this point were horribly out of date. Our Minecraft page was still using screenshots from MC 1.12, and of spawns that have been replaced several times since. Some gamemodes - such as Semi-Vanilla, Factions, and Vanilla were simply not listed at all, there was no mention of Survival's custom content or other newer developments, and the Valheim server didn't even have a page. Additionally, some pages such as the Money Toplist and Banlist were either non-functional, or were still showing data from the previous world.


Clearly, something had to be done - and as of today, all of these issues and more have been remedied.


All of the gamemodes have fresh new screenshots to represent the modern day look and feel of the server - finally showcasing the modern spawns. Gamemodes which were previously absent are now shown, the banlist works again, and the money toplist now represents current data. Additionally, we've added new information and quick links to most of the pages - with the goal of making it easier to report bugs, suggest changes, download old world archives, view livemaps, and more. Another detail you might notice is that at the bottom of the Money Toplist pages are links to past toplists, going back to 1.13. This is something we'll be continuing into the future - so even when the next Survival or Semi-Vanilla resets arrive, you can still gloat about being at the top of the list well into the future. You're welcome.


If you're interested in checking these pages out, just hover over the 'Servers' item in the navigation bar at the top of the page.


Outside Help

As many of you are no doubt aware, we've had more than a little trouble maintaining a steady population of any sort on the Minecraft server. Discord has been relatively active since its launch, but when it comes to MC - despite the fact that the new CU has been running for 8 years, we've still utterly failed at even coming close to surpassing the populations of other servers - or even the old Chaotic United.


For a long time, I've been of the belief that all we need is awareness and advertisement. More recently, I've concluded instead that we need more than simple advertisement - and that there are key issues that need to be addressed with the server itself. For the most part, these issues have centered around simply introducing new custom content to Survival - to create an experience that cannot be had elsewhere. To have something that's truly unique.


While I still believe this to be the case, I recently thought to explore out and find out if there's some other critical detail that I'm simply oblivious to. I'm no marketing expert or salesman - and I sort of have a negative disposition to the idea of "salesmen", which likely doesn't help - and despite being competent at a lot of things, I know absolutely nothing about building up a playerbase. I attribute what people we do have to sheer luck and little more.


So, I decided to ask around and see if I could get in touch with someone who does know what they're doing. Who knows what goes into advertisement and marketing. Someone who's helped build communities and MC servers and knows what does/doesn't work. I wanted to find someone who could come on my server, and hopefully tell me if there was some kind of critical issue with the server itself that I couldn't see or didn't notice. Something that could explain why, after 8 years and having several bits of time where we've hit 10ish players, it always falls back down and we're still sitting here at near-zero online for the majority of the day.




The good news is, I found someone. The bad news is, according to this person, there's a bit more wrong than I had initially thought. Without going into too much detail, the bulk of their criticism boiled down to "the server's design and presentation are outdated, like something you'd see in 2015". Things like how we still have physical portals to travel between gamemodes, to how our chat is formatted, to how our spawns aren't often very bright, vibrant, or inviting.


Through our conversation, I found things that I agreed with, and things that I felt would be a step too far. I had commented how I try to, on some level, interleave little winks and nods to Chaotic United's history throughout a number of our builds - and I was told that I should leave this behind. And while I can agree that perhaps the server may need to get with the times, I also don't believe that dispensing with Chaotic United's history is going to end up well either. I believe the sweet spot is somewhere in the middle - a compromise.


And so, while this person initially offered to, for a certain fee, come in and have a fresh set of spawns made, reconfigure everything, and fully modernize the server - I had a different idea. For 1/3 of that price, I asked for something very simple - a document. A document detailing everything that I should change - everything that they would have changed and done had I paid the full amount. The idea being that myself and the staff team can keep this document as a guide for future reference - to help us shape a future vision of the MC server. This way, we can ensure that any modernization efforts are done in a way that respects and honors what came before. To ensure that, a modernized Chaotic United still feels uniquely like Chaotic United. To ensure that any significant changes are done in a way that can satisfy both old and new players alike. To ensure that, if there are changes that I and/or the staff disagree with, we can either tweak them or skip them outright. To ensure that the future of Chaotic United is built by the people who've helped build it and who have carried the torch all this distance already.


Odds are, I'll have this document in a couple days, give or take. It'll still probably take some time before any significant changes take place. At present, I only have a vague idea of what to expect - and won't know the full details of what is to be suggested, or what will end up actually coming to CU until after I get this document and read it over, and ponder it for a while. Once I have it, I'll be sharing it with the staff team as well - and in the following days we'll likely be discussing some of the changes and developing a more concrete plan on how to move forward.


A Commitment

One thing that I will promise all of you, is that I won't be going so heavily in the direction of "modern" as to lose what makes CU special. I know that there's some of you who like the more "old-school" feel that certain aspects of the server have. And while I do want to modernize to an extent, I want to modernize in a way that doesn't cost us that magic. Any changes that we feel could be divisive will likely either be skipped outright, or may be put up to a poll. We'll be continuing to monitor any feedback as well.


The way I see it, those of you who have stuck with us this far are the real MVPs. You've stuck with us, in spite of the lack of players, lack of progress, ridiculous drama, and in many cases, my own lack of competence. Some of you have even been around since the days of the old Chaotic United or come from Nuclear District - in which case you've witness significant ownership and administrative changes over the years, too. If nothing else, you guys deserve more respect of anyone - and it'd be horribly unfair to mistreat you or sideline you in favor of a different audience. It's not fair to ignore your core following to chase after the shiny new crowd.


We're proud of Chaotic United's roots - and many of us have the utmost respect and honor for what came before. And while sure, some may say it's just a video game, or just a website - Chaotic United was - and is - so much more. It's a community, a tightly woven group of people that have been virtually inseparable. Lifelong friendships have been created, careers have been started, and relationships have been kindled. The legacy of Chaotic United is one that, through any sort of modernization or changes or progress, should always shine through underneath it all. And that's a commitment that I've made to all of you 8 years ago - and one that I plan to continue to honor in the coming years.




Whew - anyways, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns about this potential future direction, or the new server pages, or anything else - feel free to let us know!

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