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Claim-Staking in Minecraft

Posted by michaeliantorno

Thursday June 14th marked the launch of TAG’s second Minecraft server, the Ludodrome! Following in the footsteps of the 2013-2016 iteration – which featured a custom modpack created and maintained by Joachim Despland – this version of the The Ludodrome utilizes the publically available FTB Revelation mod pack to provide an absolute deluge of building options for its players.

But before our crafty TAGsters strap on their jetpacks or attempt to discover the art of metallurgy they must first address a pressing concern: Where will they live? The Ludodrome features a sprawling procedurally-generated world, filled to the brim with strange creatures, dark magics, and valuable minerals. Navigating the wilderness isn’t easy, but luckily, many of the server’s inhabitants were happy to share their settlement strategies.

Strategy #1: The Isolationists

Facebook text: Trying to find a spot that is the perfect combination of close-to-neighbours and also isolating.

Claim-staking on a shared Minecraft server poses an interesting challenge as – while one’s location is certainly important – resources and space are essentially infinite. Build too close to someone else and you risk needless competition over nearby resources. Build too far away and you make it difficult to trade and hang out with your friends. Build really far away and you may as well be playing a single player game.

Walking the fine line between a comfortable personal bubble and becoming a full-on mountain hermit can be tricky. Some players work hard to navigate these in-between spaces, embracing the vastness of the wilderness while also staying within striking distance of their friends. After all, it’s nice to have neighbours when you need a cup of sugar (or shelter from a horde of rampaging zombies).

Strategy #2: The Surveyors

Facebook text: I wanted to find a cherry blossom biome away from spawn so I made a boat and traveled south west only to find deep ocean for a good 10 000 blocks with only small islands on the way. After I hit 15 000, I decided to make a small base and came back to spawn from the south east. I did eventually find a small cherry blossom island on the way back and I think I'll travel north east from spawn next. Facebook text: I wondered around a lot with a special wand to find the spot with the most starlight (optimal for doing Astral Sorcery). After finding 3 spots, I picked the one with the best view. I have ice mountains, rivers, cherry blossom trees.

For some players, finding the perfect starting location is of utmost importance. Sure, resources are infinite, but are the ones you need closeby? Do you have easy access to your favorite biomes? Are your fields awash with freshly fallen cherry blossoms? Checking all of these boxes can be a quest in and of itself!

Players adopting this strategy may live nomadic lifestyles for the initial phases of the game – sailing deep into the ocean or scaling the highest mountain peaks – before finally finding the perfect location and settling down. They often serve as inadvertent cartographers, discerning the lay of the land while keeping track of other players’ settlements along the way. In such an immense world, it is always nice to have people who know their way around.

Strategy #3: The Landmark Settlers

Facebook text: I chose to build into a meteorite, partly for aesthetics (there's a waterfall into the crater), and partly because I set up an underground space and was already therefore a (little) dug out. Facebook text: I decided to set up under a floating island, to give myself a short-term building goal (elevator into the sky). I also liked how the area was full of animal friends.

Although lacking the location scouting “killer instinct” mentioned above, these Minecraft homesteaders have an eye for the aesthetic. Intrigued by novelties found in the game’s world (a floating island, an active volcano, a fallen meteorite), they center their encampments around unique geographical features. This can lead to interesting uses of resources and space – such as the aforementioned sky elevator – as well as the cultivation of resources that would have only seen limited use in a standard game.

This approach, however, can sometimes lead to buyer’s remorse. Sure, your floating island may seem special… until you discover that they are automatically generated every quarter mile or so. In a world dictated by complex but repeating algorithms, can you ever find a landmark that is truly unique?

Strategy #4: The Conquerors

Facebook text: THE BANANA KINGDOM WAS SET ON THE EDGE OF THE NORTH AND SOUTHERN KINGDOMS, IN PREPARATION FOR EVENTUAL WORLD DOMINATION.

Um, this one may be breaking the rules a bit. Just for the record: TAG does not endorse megalomaniacal aspirations on its game servers.

Although the Banana Kingdom’s threats are almost certainly in jest, the question of ethics is one that always must be confronted on a Minecraft server. A loose code of conduct and rules of engagement are usually decided on the onset: no stealing, no player-vs-player violence, no encroaching on other people’s space, etc… Luckily, TAGsters are a good natured bunch and there have yet to be any incidents (or bids for world domination) on the server.

The Known World

With such a sprawling world, it can sometimes be difficult to unite a player base that has scattered to all corners of the globe. The server chat does create a certain sense of community, but it can be daunting to traverse hundreds of blocks of wilderness to visit your neighbours in person. This is even considering the the multitude of transportation aids (jetpacks, hang gliders, and slimeslings) that are provided through mods. As the game moves forward, perhaps we’ll see players work to shrink this distance in various ways.

In the meantime, the TAGsters will keep on mining, building, and exploring. And as the server develops, we’ll keep you posted on its progress. The server has only been online for a week, after all. It’ll be months before things get really interesting.