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Introducing: Autorank 2.0 - CUBungee Edition

haloman30 -

Hey, everyone!
We've been hard at work for a while now, working on the replacement for Autorank - the plugin used for time-based ranking. As of today, that development is, essentially, complete.
Some of you may be wondering, why did we feel the need to replace Autorank? Well, there were a few key issues that we needed to remedy:
First and foremost, it hasn't lived up to its name ever since we migrated to BungeeCord. Even after updating to newer versions, it simply failed to issue rewards properly.
Second, it has no real easy system to allow for combining playtime and rank purchases. Since ranks can be both bought and earned, you'll have cases where players may, for example, work to earn Donator rank - and then decide to get VIP. Rather than requiring that you pay the full 10$, we allow users to use those 5 days of playtime as a sort of credit, and so you'd be able to upgrade to VIP for 5$. The issue is that this is an entirely manual process - you have to donate the specific amount, and then a Moderator has to manually promote you from there. Additionally, automatic rankups no longer work afterwards - and once again, a staff member must manually promote you once one of you notice that you've reached the playtime required.
Lastly, it's had a number of weird quirks and issues that we just wanted to iron out or leave behind - and that's what we set out to do.
Whats New
So, let's get into the changes, then! What's new about this Autorank replacement?
Enhanced Playtime Tracking - The plugin now stores two types of total playtime values - referred to as "Earned Playtime" and "Valued Playtime". Earned playtime refers to how much time you've actually played. It can't be modified by commands, and this is what gets displayed in the total time leaderboards. Valued playtime, however, can be modified with commands - and as such, can be modified by things such as rank purchases and such. This is the value that gets checked against for playtime rewards, but is not displayed in various toplists - since it isn't representative of a user's playtime. In-Game Reward Progress Tracking - Rather than just having to guess or do math to figure out when you can earn your next rank, you can check your progress of all rewards using /ar rewards. It will display the total times required for all rewards, and will also display how much time you have before you unlock it (or, if you've already unlocked it, it'll say that instead). Improved Leaderboards - Previously, /ar top would only show the top 5 users - and if any of those top 5 were hidden, the list would just be shorter by one item. Now, the toplist has been increased to show the top 8 players, and rather than having missing entries, excluded users are simply skipped - and the next person after them takes their spot. Support for Repeatable Rewards - This is something that isn't in just yet, but will be in the near future. We want to soon be able to have more things you can earn from playtime besides just the ranks. Primarily, this will be used for Tokens - the new name of CUPoints/NDPoints. These will serve as a new global currency and will be obtainable via a few methods - and will have a variety of uses. You can find a little bit of additional information on this topic. Bugfixes - In addition to the new features, most of the bugs that the original Autorank plugin had before have been resolved. Ranks should now properly be rewarded when you've reached the right amount of playtime - finally living up to the name "Autorank" once again.  
For the full list of changes, you can read the full changelog here: 
Next on the Horizon
Next up, our focus will be on additional bugfixes, as well as some of the new features described in CU Updates #46. While we can't commit to any timelines, you can reasonably expect these improvements to be sooner rather than later.
For now, however, that's all we've got. If you happen to notice any issues (with the new Autorank or otherwise), be sure to let us know by submitting a bug report! Otherwise, just keep your eyes peeled for what's next on the horizon.

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1.19.4 Update Released

- haloman30

Hey, everyone - we've officially updated our MC server to 1.19.4!
In addition to getting things on the latest MC version, we've also made a number of bugfixes and improvements as well, some of which have been hanging around a bit too long. For now, we'll just go over the highlights:
/back Improvements
With the introduction of cross-server warp and teleportation, there were some cases where /back would behave strangely and would never seem to take you where you expected. This was because, by default, Essentials only keeps track of its own teleportation events. However, since warps and teleports were no longer handled through Essentials, using those commands wouldn't update the previous location properly. This issue has actually technically existed pretty much forever - it's just that back in the day, only admins would run into it, typically when using Multiverse's world teleportation commands. At first, this seemed like an unfixable issue - but turns out, Essentials has a handy option called register-back-in-listener which, wouldn't you know it, tells Essentials to monitor all teleportation events - completely fixing the problem. Why this isn't on by default is beyond me, but hey - it's on now, and as such using /back should once again work as expected.
Removal of ChatControl
For quite a long time, our chat filtering plugin hasn't exactly worked as expected - it doesn't work well cross-server, notifications don't work properly for staff (so in the event of a filter, we couldn't see what triggered it). As such, we've opted to remove the plugin for the time being. In the future, we'll be introducing a replacement which runs at the BungeeCord level and works cross-server properly. To be clear, however, no changes have been made to our chat rules, and racial slurs and other such content is still prohibited in chat.
Sit/Chairs Improvements
Originally, we used the Chairs plugin to allow for sitting on certain blocks - typically stairs and slabs. We later introduced SimpleSit alongside it to allow use of a /sit command that worked anywhere. As time went on, however, these plugins began to break and have various issues. Chairs broke outright, and while I did attempt to fix it, it'd have an issue where you would gradually sink further into the ground as the plugin "refreshed" its sit data, meanwhile SimpleSit no longer worked at all. Most recently, however, we started using GSit - which offered the features of both Chairs and SimpleSit, and had a few extra features, too - such as /lay. As of now, Chairs and SimpleSit are no longer used and have been replaced with GSit across all gamemodes. In addition, we've restored some previous functionality where Cauldrons could be sat in - both empty and with fluids. Overall, you shouldn't notice anything much different, besides sitting working better now.
Discord Join/Leave Messages
First and foremost, we've (for real this time, hopefully) fixed the issue where Owners and Managers wouldn't have any join or leave messages displayed in the #mc-chatlogs Discord channel. This was originally done on purpose, as for some time we didn't have a vanish plugin that worked properly across the entire BungeeCord network - so in order to prevent staff from being revealed in Discord, join/leave notifications were blocked for them entirely. Lately, though, we've been using a new plugin that does work cross-server. However, staff still had the permission nodes which were used to block out their join/leave messages. This was mostly still the case with Managers and Owners, since both ranks have all server permissions - and the permissions were not directly negated from their ranks. This has now been fixed, and join/leave messages will show as expected for all users.
Server Renaming
Previously, our BungeeCord server naming had a strange quirk - the "hub" and "cu" servers. This is for a couple reasons: first of which, was that the BungeeCord configuration can have its roots traced back to the one we used back when we were merged with NuclearDistrict - where we had three servers: "nd", "cu", and "hub". The ND server was NuclearDistrict's survival server, the CU server was our MC server, and the Hub server was used as a bridge between the two (fun fact - the spawn used in our "hub" server is a modified version of that one, and you can view the original one we used in ND by heading to /warp mergehub). The second reason comes down to how we migrated to BungeeCord more recently. For those who weren't around, we originally had our entire MC server - all gamemodes, all worlds, everything - under a single Bukkit (or rather, Spigot/Paper) server.
While this had its benefits, such as not having to do any extra work to make things like chat, teleports, etc. work cross-server, along with making updates a lot faster, it also had some serious drawbacks. Diagnosing bugs took longer, as every plugin for every feature across the entire server was sharing one Bukkit instance - thus resulting in a larger list of possible plugins to go through to diagnose and fix. It also resulted in much poorer performance, which eventually became a severe issue around 1.13/1.14 - having that many worlds and plugins all sharing one Bukkit instance was pushing the limits of what the server software was capable of handling.
As such, we decided to, for real, migrate everything over to BungeeCord. We'd actually explored this a few times prior - but each time, the amount of legwork, headache, and compromises made weren't justifiable. However, with how bad the performance issues became, it was time. However, it wasn't a one-and-done process - this was a longer process that went on over the span of a few months or so, where gamemodes were gradually migrated out of the main server and into their own separate servers. The original "Main" server was named "cu" in the BungeeCord config during this process, and when everything else was moved out, the Hub and Builder worlds were left behind, and the original MC server would instead act as the hub going forward. This resulted in the confusing situation of having a "cu" server and a "hub" server - where the "cu" server is what is generally thought of as the hub, and the "hub" server is typically considered a fallback or "waiting room" that exists in the case of the "cu" server going offline.
At this point, there's certain data which relies on the servers' existing names - such as the MySQL database used to store warp data. As such, changing the "cu" server name wasn't feasible - what we have done, however, is renamed the "hub" server to "fallback" in the BungeeCord configuration - and renamed it to "Fallback Hub" in the #mc-chatlogs channel. At a future date, the "Main" server will be renamed in the Discord messages as well, however we've left them as-is for the time being.
Unfortunately, with the update, a couple plugins ended up breaking (or rather, just refuse to even attempt to work outright):
LibsDisguises - This is the plugin we use for disguises in-game, and with its absence, you won't be able to disguise. This will be restored as soon as a 1.19.4 build is released, and you won't lose access to any previous disguises. CustomOreGenerator - This is the plugin we use in Survival to generate Durite Ore within The End. Unfortunately, with its absence, Durite Ore will NOT generate, at all. We strongly advise that you avoid any exploration within The End for the time being until this has been resolved - as any new terrain you discover will have no Durite present at all. As with LibsDisguises, we'll be posting an update on Discord as well as a reply to this topic once everything is sorted out and these plugins are restored.  
The above plugins have both been reintroduced as of 3/31/2023.
For now, though, that's all we've got! We've been a bit quiet and lacking when it comes to posting announcements on the forums lately - and that's something that we'll be working to ensure changes going forward. After all - why would anyone else use the forums if announcements don't even get posted there? Additionally, you can view the full changelog of today's changes here - there's some other minor stuff that wasn't touched on above.
As per usual, if you find any bugs while playing, be sure to let us know on the bug tracker! Once we get some immediate features finished up, we plan on doing a sweeping bugfix pass in the not-too-distant future as one of the final steps before we start exploring advertisement options.

CU Updates #46 - MC Updates, Outside Help Results, and The Big Website Move

- haloman30

Hey, everyone! Looks like it's time for our first forum announcement of 2023!
As you may or may not have noticed, our website and forums were offline for a few hours there - you might have even seen a 500 Internal Server Error or some other wild HTTP error. You might even have noticed that things seem a bit... different. Or maybe not. Either way, let's get into it and figure out just what exactly was going on today - as well as some other goodies.
Minecraft - New Hub and Factions Removal
First and foremost - for those of you who aren't part of our Discord, we've made a couple updates to the MC server. First, we've updated our hub once again to something a bit less festive. Yes, I know - it's a bit late, but hey - better late than never, right?
The new hub isn't just our previous non-festive hub, however. It's actually the Christmas hub thawed out. Now you might be thinking, isn't that what the previous one was? Well, not quite. The original version of the hub was much more enclosed in the immediate spawn area. At first, we thought this was fine. However, if you recall our previous post talking about inviting some outside help, this is one thing that became a bit more clear to me after getting the feedback from them (more details on that later).
The key issue was simple: having the entire hub be enclosed and claustrophobic wasn't exactly inviting to new players. At first, I planned to resolve this by having a brand new hub created - professionally. And while I did pay for a new hub to be professionally built, we almost certainly won't be using it (again, more details later on). However, when first creating the Christmas hub, I had the idea to open up the top - partially to have a way for snow to get in, but also a way to just help things feel more breathable. Upon doing so, things immediately felt a fair bit better - and so I decided to take this updated version of the hub and use that as the base for the new hub.
For the most part, it's about the same as the Christmas hub, just without any snow or ice or Christmas lights. A few other minor improvements have been made, however, including:
Detailed Building Interiors - The majority of the buildings (though not all just yet) have proper, detailed interiors - they aren't just empty buildings! Redesigned Holograms - We've basically been using the same copy/pasted holograms for the past 7-8 years - and another point of feedback from my outside source was that things overall felt outdated - and not in a good way. Looking at the holograms again, I did find myself thinking that they could use some touch-ups. The initial welcome hologram has been rewritten, and some minor stylistic changes have been made to all other holograms. These changes do NOT apply to previous hubs, of course - so feel free to compare directly if you like. Some previously unfinished areas have been finished A few small new areas have been added throughout the explorable areas. See what you can find!  
Yes, the title is true unfortunately. With the update to 1.19.3, the Factions plugin we found had stopped working properly - and there was no update. In other words, to replace it would result in all existing faction data being lost. This, combined with the complete lack of players on Factions, caused us to end up shutting factions down outright - as there just wasn't a point in bothering at that point.
Upon reflection, it seems as though part of this stems from the fact that most in the community just aren't the type to get joy from griefing or destroying other people's stuff. Maybe that's wrong, but even when our Vanilla server was setup to allow griefing, nobody did - people instead just did what they do now, play survival, largely leaving other people alone except when directly working together.
Will Factions ever return? If there's popular demand, sure. But the other thing Factions needs is a solid playerbase from the start. In other words, it likely won't be something that gets introduced for some time, not until we start getting solid playercounts on the other gamemodes.
Outside Help - The Results
As mentioned earlier, I had gotten in contact with someone in order to get some outside aid - which turned from "let's start advertising" to "let's get this ancient server up with the times". Since that previous post, I have indeed gotten the document. Or more specifically, documents - one for each gamemode. Each one was fairly more thorough than I expected, including visual aids and stuff like that.
For the most part, a lot of the suggested changes are reasonable. In some cases, the ideas include stuff I've thought of myself - or even stuff we used to have before. While I currently won't go into a ton of detail, nor will I promise that anything listed below will definitely 100% happen, the key suggestions that we're currently considering going along with and introducing include:
Additional NPC Usage - Essentially, having more NPCs used for a variety of purposes - such as links, shops, etc. Tab Menu Updates - Nothing too significant would be done here, just having some minor additions to the tab menu besides just regular statistics. Survival Shop - This is one of those that we used to have back in the day, an official server shop in Survival. We ditched it primarily because it de-incentivized the creation of player shops. While this is still a concern for us, we hope to be able to balance it a bit better should we decide to introduce it again. Jobs - Another feature we used to have, and (somewhat) recently at that. It was removed both due to it having some pretty serious issues (at least with how we had it configured) where it'd issue far too much reward. When we tried to fix it, it actually started awarding negative amounts of money - in other words, you would actually lose money by progressing through a given job. Ouch. These issues would have to be remedied before we introduced it to Survival again. Additional Playtime Rewards - Many years ago, we introduced "Time-Based Ranking", or as it's currently known as by the plugin we use for it, Autorank. This was a way to allow ranks to be obtained not just via real-world cash (or "donations"), but by simply playing for a while. This is cool and all, but currently it's the only thing you get for straight playtime. One thing we'd like to do is introduce additional types of rewards for a certain repeating amount of playtime, such as a secondary global currency. What we're thinking of doing here is finally introducing "CUPoints", a planned universal currency that would be earned via certain minigames - though in its original implementation, it was very easy to burn through parkour maps and rack up massive amounts of points. Additionally, there was never any form of store to actually use those points. Things will be a bit different this time around - and they'll probably be called something else, too. The original name was just derived from NDPoints, a similar type of secondary currency found on NuclearDistrict's MC server - the name we're currently thinking of is just "Tokens". A bit generic perhaps, but sounds a bit better in our opinion than CUPoints. Additional Crates - We've had the single "VoteCrate" for a long time, however the crate does have its limits. Primarily, the fact that there's just one crate. What we're thinking of doing is expanding the crate selection, and making use of the Tokens system described above - issuing 1 per vote - and allowing the user to choose what type of crate key they want. Better keys would be more expensive, but this way you'd have a great deal more control than just a single crate and hoping for the best. We'll probably keep the current crate as it is currently and have it be worth 1 key, but have some other additional goodies and some "guaranteed good item" crates for a larger amount of tokens.  
Some things have actually already started to make their way in - we recently introduced a default scoreboard in most gamemodes that shows various statistics and information, depending on the gamemode, along with the redesigned holograms found in the hub. As a side note: if you aren't a fan of the default scoreboards, you can in fact turn them off per-gamemode using /sb toggle. This was a hard requirement for me to introduce the feature to begin with - as I figured there'd be a number of people for whom the scoreboard is just annoying and distracting, or even intrusive depending on the player's GUI scale and/or resolution.
Note that the above changes described aren't all that was suggested. There were other things proposed as well, however we aren't currently certain if or how we want to pursue those other changes. Some of them sound interesting, but could potentially do more harm than good. Others (though to be clear, very few others) are ones that we internally disagree with - such as having customizable rank prefixes (as in, your rank prefix could be literally anything for a certain in-game price), and replacing portals to switch gamemodes with NPCs.
The NPC thing is an interesting idea, and one that I won't entirely rule out as a secondary alternative. However, one thing that I can guarantee is that our use of portals isn't going anywhere. To me, and to others, it conceptually makes a lot more sense to enter a portal and be transported somewhere, rather than effectively walking up to some dude and magically being warped somewhere.
The Paid Hub
Oh, right - I almost forgot! I paid for a professionally built hub! And it was pretty much a waste of money.
I'm not going to name the builder or the group they belong to, for obvious reason - as I don't entirely put fault on them. Rather, I think it's just that what I expect out of a hub, and what the "typical" modern day MC hub contain and look like aren't necessarily aligned. At first glance, I thought it was decent - however, upon having nearly every person who saw it tell me all the ways they didn't like it, and looking deeper at it myself, the general list of complaints include:
Too much strange block palette use - The build has a lot of areas that use a variety of weird and unconventional blocks. The general aesthetic was a tropical island type thing, and the giant palm trees had bark made of a bunch of weird blocks. Most of the beaches were not just made of sand, but also included birch planks. The terrain underwater had the majority of it made up of different wood types - seeming to try to add some additional layering/depth. Lack of explorability - Unlike many of our hubs thus far, there was virtually nothing in terms of secrets to find, and not many ways to really explore. The only secrets were two things I explicitly requested - the inclusion of the classic space shuttle from old CU, and a Nuclear District tribute room. That's it. One thing that was cool, however, was being able to climb to the top of each and every cliff. What's less cool is that that was made possible by me adding vines in, and that out-of-the-box, this was not possible at all. Too much "smoke and mirrors" - Similar to the above point, there's certain parts of the build that are clearly not intended to be seen up-close. The biggest example of this was the variety of buildings. There's a whole town on this little remote island, except every single building, minus the information building and the ND tribute building, are fake. They have no interior, and they don't even have normal doors - opting instead for large black voids that are quite a bit larger than a normal Minecraft door. Most buildings are sized and shaped in such a way that you couldn't even easily add an interior, without completely reshaping and resizing the entire building. Strange areas that come across as incomplete and undetailed - Most of the build is reasonably well detailed, but the primary example of where that isn't the case is underwater - it's just a super smooth hill thing that doesn't have much detail to it, and there's nothing even under the water in terms of plants, rocks, or anything like that - just basic hilly-looking terrain (once again, made of wood - see the first point in case you skipped past that part).
If you're curious as to why these issues are even issues, check the spoiler below - I wrapped it in the spoiler tag because it ended up being a fairly wordy explanation, and it's something that, while important, may be something a lot of you folk already know about to some extent.
And so, to come back to the paid hub - with the issues it had, we opted to just ditch it, and eat the cost, and simply not use it. However, that doesn't mean that we're just nuking it, or that we'll never use parts of it here or there. One thing we've done is added it to the hub archives - if you'd like to explore this hub in-person, just do /warp hub_2023.
Website Changes
Alright - at long last, let's discuss those website changes.
For a long time (about 11 years, in fact), there's been this separation between the "main website" and the "forums". During the old CU days, they had a period of time where their homepage was actually a proper portal, integrated with the forums - it was virtually seamless. However, later on in the old CU's run, they changed back to a separate homepage - and that trend continued throughout the rest of CU's life, through all of ND's life, and through all of the new CU's life.
Until today.
Something that we've been gradually doing is replacing the old "main website" pages with redesigned pages that both look better, and are built using the forums' technology. This has been an ongoing project for quite some time - it started with the helpcenter, then the about section, then the different pages for each server's information, and most recently a couple leftover pages from the old helpcenter - and finally, now, the homepage.
The redesigned homepage contains a number of improvements. Besides a nice facelift, it shows several recent news posts and has a better display for the different servers - including their IPs within each server's block rather than on the old info sidebar block. Additionally, much of the text - including the about text on the homepage which for a long time has just been copy/pasted and slightly altered/expanded text that dates back to the Nuclear District about pages from 2015/2016. A lot of stuff in there was poorly written, and was inaccurate in some cases - for instance, stating that we are continuously exploring options for new gameservers. For better or for worse, we've been primarily Minecraft focused for many years now - and that isn't changing anytime soon.
The layout is otherwise mostly the same, with the other obvious improvement being the updated "proceed" section at the bottom. Most immediately, it's split in half showing options for both Forums and Discord - since a lot of activity nowadays is on Discord, it seems kind of silly to not showcase that on the homepage. Along with that, both sections have nice background images - like it was originally supposed to on the previous homepage. The basic idea was actually inspired from the very first ND homepage, fun fact.
The one major technical change this required was moving the forums installation out of the /forums subfolder and into the root of the website directory. This means that, among other things, stuff like the downloads section, about pages, and everything else that it isn't the literal forums won't have the /forums prefix anymore. We've taken care to ensure that the majority of old links still redirect properly, since a lot of stuff is configured in a way that depends on those old links working - and of course any old bookmarks or links on pages or anything else like that needs to keep working too.
However, this isn't the end of the old main website - at least, not entirely. It's the end of it being used as CU's main website, but it's not just going into the void to never be seen again. It has instead simply been relocated to a new home.
The (very early work-in-progress) Chaotic United Archives
Currently, the old website as it was just before the migration can be seen at Something I've been wanting to do for a long time is have something similar to what we have setup for Nuclear District - except bigger and better. First and foremost, it's gonna be the permanent home of the old main website as it existed until today. Down the road, however, we'll be restoring all the old versions of the main website - allowing you to go through and revisit the site through each major update and redesign.
But that's not all. We also plan to reintroduce older versions of the forums - mainly, the final copy of the forums prior to updating to IPB4 and prior to the Nuclear District merge. Even though the merge was only about a year long, it was during that merge that we started to begin to develop a bit more understanding of keeping things professional-looking. As such, I'll be restoring one of those old backups and putting it up for viewing.
Eventually, I want to also extend that back to old CU stuff as well - which will likely involve rebuilding a lot of stuff based on old snapshots. The eventual end goal is gonna be to have as much historical CU web content up and viewable as possible. I'd like to even extend that further to some other past projects, such as United AlyCraft and other... more obscure projects. However, all of that is stuff that's gonna take time - but today marks the first step in that process.
Most old URLs that reference stuff from the old main website have been redirected to the archived site, with most remaining links to be configured in the coming days. For the most part, things should be pretty seamless.
Whew - that ended up being a lot longer than I was expecting, but hey - it's been a while, anyways. Regardless - if you find any issues with the website - like any missing images, any broken links, etc - please be sure to report it on the bug tracker! Otherwise, be sure to keep your eyes peeled - like always, there's stuff coming down the pipeline that we can't wait to share.

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

- haloman30

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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Servers & Services


Our Minecraft server is our flagship service. Featuring a wide selection of gamemodes, custom content, and more, there's something for everyone to enjoy!

Age of Rebirth (Modded MC)

Our Modded Minecraft server features a custom modpack, designed specifically for our community. It features a combination of technical, creative, and immersive mods to create an experience that just can't quite be had anywhere else.


Our Valheim server is a simple, vanilla Valheim server - set up for members of our community to play together easily. No fancy bells and whistles here - just pure, unadultered Valheim.

Minecraft Beta 1.7.3

Our Minecraft Beta 1.7.3 server offers that old-school, retro Minecraft server experience. Featuring economy, a livemap, and a large world, this server is sure to scratch that nostalgic itch.


Our forums act as the go-to place for long-form discussion within our community, as well as the primary place to hear about new announcements, report bugs, and much more.


Our Discord server serves as the hub for our community. Announcements are posted there alongside our forums, and many members of the community are frequently active on Discord - even if they aren't online elsewhere.

What is Chaotic United?

Chaotic United (or CU or short) is an online gaming community that can have its roots traced all the way back to 2011. What first began as a World of Warcraft and Runescape private server later became a Minecraft-focused community, which it's become known for ever since.

Throughout its earlier years, it underwent several changes of ownership - and very nearly closed for good. In early 2014, many of CU's team branched off into Nuclear District - in order to create a healthier, better community, free from the clutches of their previous rogue owner. Then, later that same year, the "new" Chaotic United was born - under new ownership. While first treated with skepticism, it later joined forces with Nuclear District - until the original leadership and team decided that their time was done, and complete ownership was transferred to Chaotic United's new administration - who continue to carve the path forward to this day.

While we deeply treasure our past - and go to immense lengths to preserve as much of it for the future as possible - we are equally focused on our future. We continue to focus on our Minecraft server, introducing new gamemodes, features, and content - all with two goals in mind: Build the best Chaotic United we can, and build something that those who came before would be truly proud to witness.

The true core of Chaotic United, however, is its community. The people who've stuck around since the early days, the people who've only been around a little while, or the people who joined yesterday - whether you're on Discord, Minecraft, the Forums, or any combination, you'll find our loyal, tightly-knit community. They are the backbone of Chaotic United, and each member - new, old, or even the ones who have yet to find their home - plays a key role in Chaotic United's long and storied history - a history that will continue being written for years to come.

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