What are the plans for 1.17 now?

Originally, I only wanted to make a small discord post about how the update will go and update that as we proceed. However, with Mojang’s recent announcement things got a little more complicated and fuzzy.

Today we announced that the much-anticipated Minecraft Caves & Cliffs Update will now release in two parts instead of a singular update. The first update is coming this summer, and the second update will release around the holiday season.  

from the Mojang FAQ

Some general information regarding updates on Server26 first. Currently, my plan was (and still is) to update the server to every major version eventually. It could very well happen that a version is skipped however, as this almost was the case with 1.13.
It took such a long time to get the Update Aquatic in a workable state with all necessary plugins that 1.14 was almost around the corner. Releasing 1 month after Server26 was updated to 1.13.2. When I updated to 1.13 in 2019 it was already clear the 1.14 version was not improving Minecraft performance. It was actually even more demanding than before. So, the 1.14 version would have been out of the question as an easy replacement for 1.13 shortly after its release. But if that would have not been the case, and 1.14 would have actually improved Minecraft’s performance, I would have waited a few more week/months and would have directly updated to 1.14.

So, what does this mean in the lights of Mojang splitting cave and cliffs into two parts. Well, it means that we probably wont update to the part 1 of the update when it comes out in a few weeks and will wait for the winter release of part 2.
The important thing to consider is that the changes in worldgen (copper, tuff, amethyst) would mean players would start flocking out into new chunks and start caving for the new blocks, loading a lot of chunk patches all over the map (for a lot ore than 5 minutes). This would mean we would have a lot of “garbage” terrain laying around for every version after 1.17. This would mean players would have now to go even further out to explore new chunks. Deleting (mostly) unused chunks is only one thing to consider when never resetting a map. Trying to be conservative with chunk generation and updating strategically is another.

The first part of the Caves & Cliffs Update will focus on some cute and fun mobs, cool items, and new blocks such as: Goat, Axolotl, Crystals + Spyglass + Geodes + Tinted Glass, Copper + Lightning Rod, Glow Squid + Glow Ink, Powder Snow, Lush Cave Blocks, Dripstone Cave Blocks, Deepslate + Ore Variants, Glow Lichen, and Multiplayer Sleeping Rule (Java only).

from the Mojang FAQ

As much as I would like to update as soon as 1.17 is playable I believe it is wisest for the long term to wait until 1.18.
I know this is detrimental to the player base and engagement with the server. It is “waiting-for-1.13-to-become-better-but-its just-not-gonna-happen” all over again. I wont judge anyone for jumping ship. Some servers can just add a new world or reset for a new season and I won’t blame anyone that prefers to play on such a server, that would be stupid.

I hope you can understand the struggle. In the mean time (when I actually will have time in a few weeks/months) I look forwards to have some fun events once in a while. Or start a modpack together if anyone is interested.

How do you make decisions about the server?

I would be lying if I said that my way of running this server is not first and foremost down to my personal taste and preference. Many decisions in a personal project are often just that, and there is nothing wrong in doing it different than someone else.

Well, the easiest answer to the question in the title would be to say; I let the community decide. But as with many things in life. Its not that simple. Don’t get the wrong idea though, community feedback is important, its just not all there is to it. I can not just simply roll with any change simply because the majority is on board with that. I have set some guidelines for myself, or more specifically for the server. I want to keep them as simple as possible and yet wanted them to be a useful guide on how to judge ideas and tackle issues.

The 7 Golden Guidelines for Server26.

  1. Keep the server running for as long as possible.
  2. The world shall never be reset.
  3. Keep the integrity of vanilla save files.
  4. No power should be obtainable trough reallife currency.
  5. Nothing should be obtained via commands or adminshops.
  6. The meta of the survival vanilla game should be altered as little as possible.
  7. Any change that would cause a potential alteration from the vanilla survival meta needs be weighted against its benefits in security, safety, performance, overhead, equality and economy

Now the first few are actually pretty solid and straightforward. Number 6 and 7 are the ones that are useful to us to decide whether to add/change a feature of the game or not. But before I go any further, I feel I need to explain what I mean by vanilla and meta in this context.
“What is vanilla?”, “Can I switch to peaceful and call it vanilla?”, “Is disabling mobGriefing, the daylight Cycle, and increasing random ticks to 100 vanilla?”, “Are datapacks vanilla?”, “Is Spigot, Paper and Fabric vanilla?”.

Well, yesn’t.

As I said, its not that simple. One can make the case that all of these are vanilla. Or one can say that only the default settings to those things are.
When one makes a server that calls itself vanilla, they are unwillingly taking a side in this. I will have to decide (for myself) what I constitute to be vanilla, and what not. I have to draw the line, maybe even multiple lines. A new line for every question. The lines I draw between vanilla and nonvanilla does not have to align with everyone else’s, and it does not have to be perfectly straight (well, it should show some consistency).

Some might say for example that Paper is not vanilla. It would be considered semi-vanilla. Others say as long as you don’t need mods its still vanilla. Another approach would be to say that only anarchy servers are true vanilla. All rules should be imposed by the game and not by the people. But then again, most anarchy server run Paper or something of that nature.

What I want to say with this is – in my personal opinion – Server26 is a vanilla server. In this article I do not plan to unravel and clear once and for all what vanilla is and what not, because this is a subjective question. If you think that adding land claiming to the game makes it no longer vanilla, that is fine. Its is an absolutely valid opinion. It is just one I do not personally agree with. I too often encounter servers that claim to be vanilla, which in my opinion are not.

Vanilla in the context of the guidelines is meant less objectively (that is how the game actually runs/works) and more subjectively. That is how authentic is the experience as a player, and how much different the playing experience aka the gameplay is.
Which brings me to the next term “meta”. What I mean by survival/vanilla meta is simply how players play the game. Not in regards to a particular playstyle (Technical, PVPer, Farmer, Casual, Roleplaying) but to tackling problems and challenges in the game as a whole. That means, in which way does the gameplay changes not only actively but also reactively. I want to go into more details with specific examples in the future, but for now think about how teleport commands (warps, tps, home) affect the way people navigate the world and how they travel around. What they build, where they build, and what they consider before taking on a journey (be it big or small). How will this new player behavior effect the server (the map and new players) in the present but also in the future.

Any decision that is made be ever so small, has at to be viewed in these regards at least once.

The feedback and the ideas brought to the server by its community are invaluable, but the community really wanting a feature is just the first step of this process. Any idea needs to be thoroughly analyzed and tested.
You may think, that is way too much effort to put into, you are overthinking things. Maybe, but I’d say its just what this server needs to feel genuine and true to itself over time.
When you join, it should feel like you are playing the vanilla game you know and love. Even though there are some quite big changes from actual true vanilla you should feel how they harmonize and not get in the way of the game.

That being said. This server does not have a whitelist. (No, way I am not having land claims on a public server).
But not having a whitelist is down to personal preference. The server could be more vanilla without one, I am aware of that. But that’s not how I want to run it.

The 2020 Server Report is here

“The Servers in Numbers” I thought mid 2020. So I started working on what is now the
>>> Server26 transparency Report 2020.
I wanted to share insights about the server with the community as part of my efforts to run the server relatively transparent.
Why don’t you give it a looks. It has a lot of information about the server cost, its history, file size, and community growth.