A map trim operation has been scheduled for Laurasia, our biggest world. Unused locations will be removed to lower the size of the world and make it more managable. Additionally, many new players assume that all explored areas on the map are no good for building for various reasons, even though most of the territory is actually untouched.
Various areas have been marked in red on the map. These will be deleted unless you tell me that you have something in a given location that you want to keep. Alternatively, a targetted area can also be moved somewhere else if it's feasible, like a single building or an island. Please reply to this news post or send me a forum PM with coordinates to plan this out.
The trim will happen on the weekend of March 12-13, nearly three weeks for now. You have up until then to tell me if anything within the marked red areas needs to be kept and/or moved. You can also point out locations that you used before and don't plan to return to, so I can wipe them out at the same time.
As an extra note, you might have noticed on the world some sharp edges between older and newer chunks. This can happen when the world generator changes, creating sudden drops or rises on the land level. If there are any such edges that you'd like to see smoothed out, contact me with the coordinates and I'll take care of it directly in-game.
This is it! At long last, the longest wait between major Minecraft versions will be over. If all goes according to plan, Minecraft 1.9 will be released next week, on the 25th. As usual, we won't be updating on the same day, so make sure that you stay with us on 1.8 until we're ready to make the jump. From the launcher, hit the "Edit Profile" button at the bottom left, then set the "Use version" value to release 1.8.9. You'll be able to change it to 1.9 (or whatever the latest version is) after the upgrade!
I don't know yet when the servers will be updated, as that relies on having a reliable Spigot build plus our usual set of plugins. However, the Spigot team already has a working version for 1.9, which they're planning to release shortly after Mojang itself, so I'm expecting things to move rather quickly.
About the End
A question that has come up often is how the End will be managed now that there will be more to explore on that front. Right now, the End is reset every 24 hours so that everyone gets a chance at fighting the Enderdragon. At the same time, it's very possible that people will want to make permanent structures on the new lands that will be available. Even if the dragon can be respawned, I still want people to get a chance to experience the battle without any interferences.
As such, the End on Laurasia will keep its current status; that is, being automatically reset 24 hours after the dragon has been killed. To allow further exploration and permanent builds, Rodinia's End will be the one to remain as-is. That way, both options will be available!
Possible Rodinia split-off on hold
While this was (and still is) an option, the promise of a quick Spigot release means that Rodinia is not being considered to be split off and use the vanilla server for the time being. The door isn't fully closed on that front, though, so please keep an eye on this spot for more information.
The various server maps have been migrated tonight to new addresses. If you have bookmarks, please update them!
All maps are now powered by the main web server instead of being attached to each Minecraft server instance, hopefully removing that load from the game. This has the effect of giving us URLs that are much easier to remember! Additionally, the new adresses mean that the maps will be available from about everywhere, even behind corporate or school firewalls. As a last detail, I've lengthened the time before a given map times out.
February is here, and it's now time for our next seasonal event! We're going to be doing something completely new this time around, too. You're being tasked with designing a parkour course, in creative mode! After the rmonth is over, the best levels will be added to the Games section in a new parkour setting, available to be played at all times by everyone!
For those not familiar with the parkour concept, it involves an area where your goal is to get from point A to point B. Various obstacles like thin platforms, challenging jumps, ladders to grab, lava pits and more make this more difficult. You thus need to move properly, either through running jumps (carrying you further out) or slow movements as to not fall off the track.
As indicated above, we'll be doing this in creative mode, so you don't need to bring any supplies - you have unlimited amounts of everything to work with! Keep in mind that your challenge must be playable in adventure mode, which is like survival within protected areas (that is, no block placing/breaking).
The available building areas are large, likely too large for most people. The goal isn't to create the largest course, it's to make the best designed and fun ones. Tight, compact designs are equally as valid as linear stretches. Don't hesitate to wall off the majority of the given area if you need to.
Each section is surrounded by bedrock, which must remain as-is. You can place other blocks to cover it up, of course. Additionally, players mustn't be able to get so high as to see over the walls. Add a roof if you want or need to.
A sample starting location has been provided in each spot. It can be moved or rebuild as-is anywhere; the current location is only a reference. Be creative with your placement! The materials and shape must remain the same, though. This is to create an effect of consistency on the eventually released maps, letting people know where they should go. Teleporters to bring the players in and out will be added. Until then, be sure to mark where players should begin, and where they will end.
To claim a lot, find an available one, break the sea lantern marking the spot, then place your name on a sign at the top. You have the option of creating multiple courses if you want, by securing several lots. However, you can't link two lots together to expand your building space. If you make multiple entries, each will be evaluated separately. Each player can only win once, the highest scoring entry taking priority. Extra building spaces will be added as needed.
In order to help you test your setup, button toggles between adventure and creative mode can be added on your starting point on request. Contact me (DrCossack) and I'll get on that right away! Should you fall off or get stuck during testing, you can use /kill to return to the spawn point.
The contest begins NOW and will end of February 29th, 2016 at 23:59 Eastern time. This being a leap year, you get an extra day to playtest your entry. Hurray!
A new, nearly blank world is available for this event under the Seasonal label. You can access it from Laurasia's TransHub, in Central. The entire world is set to creative mode with flight abilities.
The first, second and third place entries will earn their builders 50, 30 and 15 Merit Points respectively. As a bonus, a single Merit Point will be going to each person who has claimed a lot and did some work (finished or not).
A preview of prizes that can be earned through Merit Points was made last December for those who need a refresher.
On top of this, all of the best playable entries (not necessarily the top 3) will be available to play within the Games section at a later time. Many players will get to experience what could be a key feature of the Creeper's Lab!
As a closing note, I'll need two judges to help me evaluate the look and design of the various areas along with the playability of each one. Please contact me through the forums if interested!
Update on 2016-02-06: Clarified the rule about the start/end platforms. You need to have the quartz surrounded by nether brick, although it can be moved anywere!