Minecraft Culture: Build Far or Near?
I’ve played Minecraft for several years with several friends on several servers. In that time I noticed a trend that was common with every server I joined: Players come, they build, and then leave after they were finished. It occurred every single time without a hitch and attempting to get players to return was near impossible.
However when they were given the option of starting on a new server, they got excited by the new beginning and happily agreed. But why? Wouldn’t it be more enjoyable to simply stay on the same server and rebuild somewhere else? This question boggled my mind for sometime as I struggled with retention with my own players on my server until I conducted a social experiment that produced surprising results.
I first studied the behavior of my players on one server, they all spawned at the same time and in the same
area. In the beginning they worked together for the first few nights as a community out of necessity for food, shelter and survival. During these stressful times of having little to no supplies, weapons, or armor and having the worst of monsters thrown at them made them they focused on one another and chatted casually about their favorite minecraft moments until first light. Because every one of the players were veterans, they each went their separate ways to build their kingdoms.
The days continued and although they had separated by sometimes thousands of blocks, they still requested help for adventuring into dungeons or even the nether. Adventurers gathered together and helped one another with what supplies of arrows, few pieces of diamond armor they had and fought off Ghasts, Magma Cubes, Blazes, and other creatures. Again, they had fun playing with one another out of necessity and later retold the tales of their adventure to any who would listen.
Unfortunately, there came a time when all of them finished their kingdoms, filled with riches and supplies that cancelled out the need for assistance. When they were bored, they built railways to each other’s places which eased the travel but made the journey far more dull. Finally, after tiring of such visits, they all dropped off the server one by one.
So I started a new server, and this is where I changed the rules on them for the experiment, I demanded that their tax for playing on the server was to build a building/shop in town. At first they thought nothing of it and simply built a shoddy shack after surviving the first night. However after seeing their peers build, it challenged them to build something far more grand.
After a few days they discarded the idea of building super far and instead established a base nearby town so that the distance between them and town was minimized. After they finished their shops they admired one another’s work and then collaborated on future shops in town. because they worked together as a community, their enjoyment for the game increased dramatically and the rate at which they signed in grew as well.
They told their friends about how much fun they were having and what they built that even more players joined and the rule of building in town was enforced. Soon the town was alive and always filled with people running around adventuring and building together.
Soon things like this happened:
The one small rule of being forced to build in the same location where you can see your fellow players, appreciate their work, assist them with projects or even just build bigger to compete kept the community together. What this experience has taught me is that despite vast changes beings made to Minecraft on a yearly basis does add new features to the game, but that enjoyment always fades after a month. At the end of the day it’s the players themselves that generate the most fun. So be sure to consider this to your server if you plan on playing with your friends!
Here is a bonus adventure we had in the nether!
What was your favorite Minecraft moment? Comment below!