The Life and Death of Minecraft Servers

Friday February 23, 2024

I think I have more hours in Minecraft than any other game. I enjoyed single player, but as soon as I figured out how to run my own server, almost all of my time with the game was spent on multiplayer. I can think of many “eras” that are only interesting to me and my group of friends, but what I think might actually be interesting is the life cycle of these worlds and how I’m not the only one with this problem.

An abandoned base. Who knows who it belonged to.

Minecraft peaked for us in middle school, just like everything else I have ever loved. The only thing that mattered in life was playing Minecraft and making sure that whatever girl I liked never, ever found out that I liked her. My grades suffered heavily. In the summer, almost every evening was capped off with hours and hours of Minecraft, usually playing until my dad was about to wake up for work.

Fort Vagina

That shit made me retarded. Although I am nostalgic for the time, I do regret the sickening amount of hours spent in a computer chair at age 12. I learned a lot about computers, but I also saw videos of people dying and was exposed to way too much porn. I’m getting off track.

An unfinished base I assume

It seems like every multiplayer world I have ever hosted goes through the same process:

1. The Big Bang

Someone suggests starting a new server in a group chat. Those who long for the days of being 13 join a new group chat made just for the new server. Most of the crew gets online to pick a spot to settle down at, and nobody gets off until they have a starter house. Usually the classic Minecraft dopamine hits will keep people going long after they’ve “finished” a starter house. In middle school I used to randomly generate worlds until the default spawn area was suitable and make “plots” of land interconnected by stone roads. I was a bit of a control freak back then. I just didn’t want one person fucking off a million miles away to essentially play single player.

2. Degenerates Only

After the initial rush, the ones who aren’t as into it come and go, while a handful of guys grind their asses off. There have been quite a few worlds where I was one of the degenerates. Back in the day, there were more degenerates playing more often.

3. Boredom

This usually happens at the “end game” where everyone is just so filthy rich that there’s not really a reason to go looking for another generated structure that’s been seen 10,000 times. The “end game” is technically after you kill the Ender Dragon, but you can be overpowered (and bored) without ever fighting him. It’s not even a fun fight. I used to delete the End dimension so my friends could fight the dragon again for XP. Ever since the addition of the Elytra, the end game has become even worse. Why build roads, tunnels, docks, towers, etc. when you can just fly over everything forever? Outside at night and far away from home? Just fly away from danger in an instant. At this point, it’s the beginning of the end.

4. Death

Just before death there is a huge team project planned, usually a rail system connecting different locations. I don’t think we have ever finished a rail system. People start to play less often and some just stop logging on. One or two guys trying to keep the server alive isn’t enough, and the server dies.

This isn’t just because we are adults now. The same exact shit would happen when we were kids, shitty rail system and all. It just wouldn’t happen as quickly. To prolong the death of a world we would sometimes go far away to create another town, kind of like a manual progression reset. Suddenly we had things to do again. What has greatly improved my adult Minecraft experience is modpacks, since it brings that feeling of discovery and experimentation back. I already have the most important parts of vanilla Minecraft memorized, and I feel like a lot of the things they’ve added in later updates don’t bring anything interesting to the game and are usually just quick distractions. It makes me wonder if this is just the way Minecraft is. Although there is technically an infinite number of things to do, there’s a limited amount of things to do that appeal to a certain player. I don’t want to optimize a sugarcane farm when I’m already swimming in sugarcane. I don’t feel like FARMING DUMB ASS WITHER SKELETONS IN THE NETHER FOR 800 YEARS JUST TO FIGHT A SECOND SHITTY BOSS. THE WITHER HAS BEEN IN THE GAME FOR 12 YEARS AND WE AS A TEAM HAVE NEVER SUCCESSFULLY COLLECTED THREE WITHER SKELETON SKULLS BECAUSE THAT SHIT SUCKS.

People play Minecraft for different reasons. I know some people that go into creative mode to make glazed terracotta and wool block vomit only to blow it up as soon as they’re done. Others make highly efficient resource farms and exploit the game’s quirks to the fullest extent. I play Minecraft more like The Sims, which I think is why worlds hit a limit.

HermitCraft is very popular on YouTube, and when I see them it makes me wonder how they push (almost) vanilla Minecraft so far. Even with all the creativity and technical knowledge they collectively have, they still start fresh with a new “season” after a certain amount of time. Maybe I should just embrace that Minecraft servers are temporary. They end up as neat little time capsules that are fun to look back on later. All this talk about Minecraft seriously makes me want to get another world going.


Update: This shit went nowhere.

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