In Regards to the Server - Printable Version

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In Regards to the Server - Iyoforeayo - 07-24-2018

As we slowly approach the end of our Beta period and head towards full launch, we felt it was time to address some common issues and questions we’ve gotten along the way. While the specifics vary, nearly all of the discussions we’ve had with the community can be boiled down to 2 major underlying questions:

1. What kind of server are we trying to make?
2. What kind of community are we trying to cultivate?

Obviously these are multi-faceted questions that encompass a lot, so we’ll try and break down each as best we can. Let’s start with the most common question:

What kind of server are we trying to make?

When we set out to create Atlas, we did so with one very clear goal in mind: to make an immersive server that players of any playstyle could enjoy. We’d all played on a variety of servers that did singular elements extremely well (PVP, quests, economy, towns) - but at the cost of making all other elements of that server irrelevant. While the hyper-focus of one element can certainly make for a strong server, it also shoe-horns players into that one playstyle, and ultimately punishes those who don’t conform to it. With the amount of options and customizability that MC provides, it seemed a shame to not create something that allowed players to feel the kind of freedom and discovery that we enjoy as developers, without having to play on a separate server for each playstyle they enjoy.

So the question became: Why had no one ever made a server like this before? And the number 1 answer we heard was: Because it’s impossible. Obviously, this is a response that we flat-out rejected. There are countless examples of MMOs that blend game elements in an immersive way - and that’s exactly what we set out to do. We wanted Atlas to feel like a game world people could get lost in, rather than a giant lobby hub full of portals leading to disconnected sub-servers. And thanks to our unbelievably talented team of developers, we were able to make that a reality.

One question we often get is: What is the “main goal” of Atlas? On a PVP server, the goal is to be the most powerful and feared fighters. On an Adventure server, the goal is to finish all the quests. But when you combine all those elements together, the lines become blurred, and players understandably find themselves faced with the question: What am I working towards? And the simple answer to that is: making the best Nation.

So what constitutes the “best” Nation? That’s the part we leave up to you! Maybe your definition of this is being the Nation with the most researched custom crafting recipes. Maybe it’s having the most money in your coffers, or owning the most land. Maybe it’s having the strongest military and sieging capabilities. Maybe it’s being the premiere exporter of alcohol, or sugarcane, or spruce wood bows. Or maybe it’s simply cultivating a reputation as the best new-player Nation to join. The goals of your Nation are entirely yours to decide!

As we continue to develop content for the server, know that we are focused on improving the Nation experience and the pursuit of goals therein; things like Nation Leveling, where members will get perks for advancing in different areas. Most importantly, we’ll be introducing Leaderboards, so players have a place on the website to see scoreboards for things like Richest Nations, Most Alcohols Brewed, and Largest Populations (and so those Nations can have a place to display their rightful bragging rights.) Leaderboards will be a great way for Nations to strive toward their personal goals, and have a tangible place to point to and show “we’re the best at X.” There are also lots of improvements coming to the early-game Nation experience, in the form of helpful tutorial quests, and a Nation Embassy!

(That being said, we know that some players are interested in playing on Atlas without being in a Nation - and that’s perfectly alright too! Currently we are working on implementing a Custom Achievements system, where players (whether in a Nation or not) will be able to complete challenges and unlock achievements and special titles as they advance throughout the game!)

What kind of community are we trying to cultivate?

Going back to our initial goal, we want Atlas to be a place that players of all kinds can enjoy, regardless of how they want to play. Don’t like PvP? Go questing! Don’t like questing? Make money through fishing! Bored with fishing? Run a dungeon! Tired of dying? Research some new Smeltery recipes! Don’t want to do any of this and just want to build something really cool? Buy some land and build to your heart’s content!

With all these playstyles, comes a variety of different types of players: PVPers, roleplayers, peaceful builders, raiders... Many of these may seem like “conflicting” playstyles, which is why many servers make an effort to separate them from each other. But we truly believe these different types of players can coexist: sure, competition can breed tension, and some players will simply never understand the appeal of what other players enjoy spending time on - but at the end of the day, we should all be able to bond over our shared love of playing Minecraft. Isn’t that why we’re all here?

So how does this translate into the type of community we want to cultivate on Atlas? First and foremost, it means making sure no one is hindered from playing on the server. This can come in a lot of different forms: Spawn-camping a player means that person can’t travel anywhere to do what they want, and so it’s clearly against the rules. (That being said, killing another player in the wilds is not against the rules - PVP is a part of Atlas, and while it can be frustrating to get killed once or twice, that is not “hindering” your gameplay as much as it’s just a part of MC. However, repeatedly killing someone or making it personal crosses the line.) Messaging cruel or hurtful things to a player hinders a player’s experience, and for obvious reasons is against the rules. In short - we simply do not tolerate harassment of any kind on Atlas.

But what constitutes “harassment?” This is a discussion that often comes up, and one that we have a clear answer for: If a player asks you to stop doing something that is affecting them directly, and you refuse to do so, that is harassment. Even if you don’t think what you’re doing is harassing in any way, the point is that player has expressed that what you’re doing is having a negative effect on them. Continuing to message someone to explain why what you’re doing is not offensive is never going to improve that player’s experience - so just leave them alone!

There are, however, some important distinctions in this definition of harassment. As with most MC servers, Atlas has competitive elements to it, and we encourage friendly competition. The operative word here being “friendly,” of course - getting heated and trash-talking and fighting in-game are all well and good, if both sides can end it by shaking hands (figuratively) in the spirit of competition. You don’t have to like your opponents by any means - but that doesn’t mean you have the right to badmouth them in front of others against their wishes, or keep them from enjoying the server in their own right.

Something important for players to remember: If you feel harassed by another player, make sure to tell them that! Quite honestly, that person may not even realize their behavior is having a negative effect, and there’s a good chance they will stop when asked politely. Also remember:

- If someone insults you, and you ask them to stop, but they don’t - that’s harassment.
- If someone insults you, and you insult them back - that’s not harassment. That’s trash-talking, and it’s allowed.

We occasionally receive harassment complaints from players who either A) did not ask the person to stop, or B) acted the same way back to that person before ultimately reporting them. These are not valid harassment complaints. If someone is harassing you, simply tell them “please stop doing that” or “please stop messaging me” - if they continue, screenshot it, and send it to us - we are more than happy to enforce our no-harassment policy. But without this crucial step, we are just reading through screenshots of people insulting each other. You may feel like you’re 100% in the right and your responses “speak for themselves,” but the other person may think you’re just joking, or that your continued responses back are an invitation to continue the conversation. Be clear with them - ask them to stop - and then leave them alone. You may be surprised how effective this can be, without the need for escalation.

In short: “Don’t be a dick.” There’s a reason that is one of our rules; but there’s also a reason we’re not willing to bandy that about like a righteous banhammer. Simply not liking someone is not grounds for them to be punished. You can think negatively of another player, but if they aren’t keeping you from enjoying the server (or the Discord), then they’re not breaking this rule. Again, it’s imperative that you let a player know how what they’re doing makes you feel, because they may simply just not know, or may even think you’re just roleplaying. Be clear and concise before jumping to conclusions. The obvious exception to this is players being outwardly hateful and bigoted (racist, anti-LGBTQ, anti-Semitic, etc.) - this is clearly harassment, and there is absolutely no room for it on Atlas.

To sum up: our goal is to create a community that can be both friendly and competitive. “Coopertition” (Cooperation + Competition) is a tenet that we hope our community can strive towards, as it’s an attitude that stands to benefit all the different types of players that Atlas attracts. If a player or Nation is so good at fighting that they absolutely steamroll all competition, where’s the fun in that? Consider giving your opponents the tools to actually fight back, so that the fights are actually interesting and fair (and take actual strategy.) We want to create as many ways to succeed on our server as possible, to allow players to compete in a variety of mechanics that extend beyond “who can kill everyone else the best?” We want to create an environment where all players feel like they are empowered to be better, whatever their strengths may be. But if your enjoyment of this game hinges on ruining someone else’s enjoyment of it, then you are not the type of player we want on Atlas.

Hopefully this answers some frequently asked questions you may have. Of course we’re always open to answer more, and of course we’re always open to suggestions on how to make Atlas the best it can be. Admittedly, we are not perfect admins - far from it, actually - and we are learning a lot about this whole process as we continue on this path. We ask that you be patient with us as we fix issues and develop new content - it may not happen as quickly as you’d like, but we assure you that we never ignore feedback and suggestions - we just tend to discuss and debate things extensively before acting (the benefit of having lots of devs with lots of opinions.) We want to make the best server we possibly can, and our goal will always be to make Atlas as fun for you to play as it is for us to create.

Your choosing to play on our server truly means the world to us. We hope we can pay you all back by continuing to make Atlas a place you want to keep coming back to.