Hey everyone, I wanted to write this message to reflect on the past few months on MineFlare, give everyone an update on what’s been happening, and our plans for the start of the new year. I didn’t really intend for it to be this long so apologies for that, but I think it’s an important read as many of you have been left in the dark recently.
I want to start by talking about when Enyoyo and I started working on MineFlare in late 2015. We wanted to have a server that offered custom minigame experiences that no other server was providing. We weren’t the best coders and there was a lot to learn and figure out. After months of development we finally launched MineFlare in April of 2016...but we had absolutely no community. We had to do something big to kick start our community, so we took a big risk with getting a big Youtuber. We managed to somehow get HeyImBee to come onto the server to record a promotional video for us, and it paid off. It really generated huge buzz about our server and started an awesome chain reaction. Soon we would regular medium sized streamers come play on MineFlare, and slowly we started to build our community.
We started to notice fairly early on that it was very hard for us to retain players. Minigames can be extremely fun, but their appeal can wear off quickly. What amplified this even further was that we were struggling to maintain a decent player count for our games. Having lots of players in our games is extremely important for the MineFlare experience, a game with 20 players is so much more enjoyable than one with the bare minimum. It’s even worse when you can’t even get enough players to start the games. Adding to our stress were the high server costs, which would take a huge chunk out of our sales.
We tried getting Youtubers to come on the server, and managed to get a few. Taurtis, PokeDigger, Tofuu, LanceyPooh, however we were never able to achieve the hype we got from HeyImBee. YouTubers are extremely expensive and risky to work with. They can pay off but it’s hard to get right.
Enyoyo and I were working on MineFlare full-time. For me personally I would eventually have to start looking for a job if MineFlare was not able to stay afloat. Motivation dwindled for us, and we decided to close down the server.
About five months ago we had members of the community who really pushed for myself and Enyoyo to bring back MineFlare. I wasn’t sure at first, as it was very difficult for us to keep the server going towards the end of 2017. Our server costs were extremely high and player count was low.
At this point I had been working full-time in a web-development/programming role for about two years. I had learnt so much more about server hosting, programming and generally had a much better understanding of what was needed to run MineFlare. I found a server provider that was 75% cheaper than what we were paying in the past, so this would take a huge weight off our shoulders. It really motivated me into thinking a MineFlare relaunch was very possible.
We decided to relaunch, but change a number of things to try motivate players to stay on the server. We completely changed how our hub was designed, implemented a levelling system, allowed players to earn currency to purchase ANY cosmetic (before it was only platinum, which you had to pay for), introduced single player games and more. Majority of this work took us two months before we finally were able to relaunch the server.
Looking back at the first couple months of MineFlare’s return, it was really positive. However we started to fall back into the same situation which caused us to shutdown back in 2018. Player count was starting to decline again and we needed to find ways for MineFlare to get new players coming in.
We tried server voting, posting about MineFlare in a bunch of places, messaging streamers, but nothing seemed to really be making a difference. I really pushed to try get another Youtuber to promote the server, to try to generate some of that hype and legitimacy the HeyImBee promotion gave us.
Organising a promotional deal with a Youtuber, let alone getting a response from one is extremely difficult. After many emails we finally got a response from the manager of the Youtuber AlexAce. As crazy as it sounds, it took two months of discussions before we finally had AlexAce come onto MineFlare and record a video to be uploaded to his channel. Hopes were high and we felt we did all we could to make this video a success. I can’t go into too much detail as I want to avoid any legal issues, however there were a number of concerns we had that have not been properly addressed. The video could still happen, but I’m not too optimistic now.
For me personally I’ve been a bit discouraged working on MineFlare lately. I just think of the countless hours Enyoyo and I have spent creating content for the server to try motivate players to come on and stay on, but it seems our efforts are in vain.
So now what?
Personally I want to work on something completely outside of the minigame sphere we’ve confined ourselves to. I really like the progression you get from games like WoW and RuneScape, where you can play on your own or with friends and work on your character, explore new areas, fight harder mobs and take on challenging dungeons.
So I wanted to revisit the Exploria idea we had a while ago. Now that would have been a huge undertaking to get going, RPG content can take a long time to get going.
I've found three plugins by this development group that have already done all the hard work, they have:
- an easy way to make custom mobs/bosses with their own skills/appearance
- custom items with unique skills
- level progression
- skill level progression (woodcutting, mining, alchemy, fishing)
- RPG classes (Rogue/Warrior/Mage, etc) with the ability to make more custom ones
- friends and party system
Alongside these three plugins, I will also be customising Factions and rebranding this as a new Clans plugin. This will allow players to claim land by themselves or a group of friends. There will be no base raiding or power. There may be PVP zones, but PVP is a tricky thing to get right. Hackers ruin the experience, players get really butthurt when they lose, it’s extremely hard to balance classes/skills etc.
So I want to eliminate and minimise aspects of the game that would really deter people from making progress. This includes making it so when you die you won't lose those rare items/weapons you got from dungeons/elite world mob bosses, only less important supplies like wood/potions/other blocks. If you earn a really good item from a boss, it should be yours to keep forever. The player should always feel like they are constantly progressing and not having huge setbacks like losing an ultra rare weapon they spent ages trying to get.
The concern with using these plugins is the feeling across them won't be consistent, but I don't think that will be an issue. It's only a problem if you don't know how to dive into their code and customise them to how you want. Most noob servers just spam a bunch of plugins together which means they aren't blended well.
So any gameplay changes we want will be possible and aren't confined to how these plugins are made. These plugins will give us a good base though and will eliminate hours and hours of coding if it all had to be done from scratch.
It’s really important you guys get involved and shape this game to how you want it to be. We need you guys to speak up and let us know what’s working and what isn’t. We need you to build, we need you to get involved. We will have more announcements in the coming days showing off some of the work we’ve done.
There will probably be lots of questions about stuff I haven’t covered, so I will be making a FAQ response to this post answering your questions. Feel free to voice any questions and provide your thoughts. I’m excited to be working on something fresh and new, and I hope you guys can help shape the game into something that excites you to play.
On a final note, I want to give a big thanks to everyone that’s stuck around over the years. Without you guys MineFlare wouldn’t be here. Thanks so much.