Future Direction of Lolnet

cptwin

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cptwin
Hi lolnetians

If you’ve been keeping an eye on Minecraft updates over the last few months (probably years) you’ll know about the changes Mojang made to their EULA, specifically surrounding Minecraft servers and donations.
Mojang has begun enforcing this EULA by blacklisting servers that aren’t following the specific rules within the EULA. The EULA (which you can read here https://account.mojang.com/terms#commercial) is extremely restrictive and has been changed and enforced years after both lolnet and Minecraft were created.
It puts us and our community in a difficult position. All donations to lolnet go directly towards upkeep and maintenance of our server. No one has ever been paid for the time they’ve put into the lolnet server. We certainly feel we don’t operate a pay to win server and have spent a large amount of time balancing the rewards for donations, however this still breaks the terms of Mojang’s EULA.
This new enforcement means we’ll be required to remove the means by which our server is funded, as we can no longer offer perks in exchange for donations. Not to worry, if you’ve donated we won’t be removing ranks or perks previously obtained. This removal therefore means that I (CptWin) and Dez would have to cover the running cost of lolnet out of our pockets. This is something we’ve done in the past but can no longer personally afford.
This is difficult for both of us, but we feel so strongly about this community, our community, your community that we felt you needed to be included in the decisions and directions of lolnet moving forward.
We’ve therefore come up with 3 options that we hope will allow lolnet and its community to remain (unless someone comes up with some other plan). All options will require compliance with the EULA, all ranks purchased before we change the system will be retained until they expire.
  • We maintain the server as best we can. We’ll still ask for donations to keep the server running however, we can no longer offer any benefits for these donations. We also run the risk of not being able to pay our server bill and lolnet being shut down fairly quickly/without much warning.
  • Using a crowdfunding website to run a donation drive to provide a year’s worth of funding for lolnet - This would allow us to guarantee lolnet’s existence as a server for another year if our fundraising targets were met.
  • Myself and Dez take offers for lolnet, with the stipulation that we’d only hand it over to someone who would continue to run this awesome community.
    • A number of things here, could be one person, could be a group. Both myself and Dez would provide some level of training. CptWin wouldn’t mind still doing development work.
If you’re serious about potentially becoming the new owner/owners of lolnet please send an email to [email protected] or [email protected] to discuss/make an offer.
Otherwise we open this discussion up to you, our community. Please share your thoughts and ideas, as we really do not want to see lolnet go down because of a lack of funding.
 

JellyTipGamer

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Let's hope a solution will be found. I understand that the circumstances would be pretty difficult at the moment, but I think that all will be well :)
 

VINDICTATOR1972

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Option #2 is the Best Option, Yearly Crowd Funding Drive would be fun to Shenanigans.

Damn who ever Made the EULA and Who-Ever is Enforcing it, Just Because Realms Sucks doesn't mean we all have to suffer.
 

_SlartiBartFast

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_SlartiBartFast
Aside from the obvious "this sucks" ...

My understanding of the EULA is that effectively donators cant have an advantage over non-donators, which clearly removes any incentive on an individual level to donate, except for the clear "if you don't donate we don't exist". So ...

Have a free server or 2, Vanilla and one mod pack probably. Make the rest pay to play. minimum cost, yearly subscription, 1 rate. or even monthly sub in advance option. You should know your market - is it teenagers living with parents who are playing most but not paying? they cant afford $50 per year, but probably can afford $5 per month.

Include community rewards for donation targets. For eg $1000 in a month everyone gets 1,000 claim blocks (or claim chunk equivalent) for use in the server of their choice. There is no advantage here gained by the select few who donate so does this abide by the EULA?

How much are we talking as a yearly budget? clearly if the amount required is in the high 1,000s then a different strategy would be required than if its in the high 100s.

Change the system for the bigger donators. Clearly the current rank system is on the out, so perhaps offering shares in ownership of lolnet instead? The $250 rank for life becomes a 1 share owner. Surely even Mojang cant argue that owners have abilities that mere players dont, and why shouldn't they? Clearly though, minor shareholders could not equal admins or mods, so something would need to be worked out in that regard. This would have the added benefit of the minor shareholders having a say in future directions too. A monthly online shareholders meeting perhaps? A private forum area where polls and votes can be taken?

I understand that there are big overseas servers where there is a clear distinction in abilities between paying players and non-paying, particularly in factions and pvp servers. There are also clear instances where server owners are charging large amounts for large advantages in order to make themselves some profit. These ones would be the primary target that Mojang / Microsoft are after and little old Lolnet in little old NZ are just getting caught up in the net.
 

123zane321

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Well first off, let me say that I agree with the above poster - truly does suck that LolNet is in such a sticky position.

Anyways, just a few questions I have (just out of curiosity):

CptWin said:
all ranks purchased before we change the system will be retained until they expire.
How will this affect people such as myself that purchased the Ascendant (lifetime) donator rank? Will we still retain our perks indefinitely?

CptWin said:
Using a crowdfunding website to run a donation drive to provide a year’s worth of funding for lolnet
Roughly how much do you think you would be looking at for a year's worth of funding? All good if that's sensitive information etc. etc.

CptWin said:
Myself and Dez take offers for lolnet, with the stipulation that we’d only hand it over to someone who would continue to run this awesome community.
I'm assuming that when you refer to "offers" for the server, you're talking about money - roughly how much would your asking price be? Again, if it's sensitive information yada yada yada.

CptWin said:
Both myself and Dez would provide some level of training
What sort of minimum level of expertise would you be looking for in a potential new owner for the server?

Anyways, I'll be watching on with interest, as I've been on this server for a couple years now, through thick and thin, and I would hate to see it disappear.
 

cherry2003

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It would be really sad to see Lolnet going down without a warning or an announcement to the community.

I personally agree with the second option however we might take a risk of not being able to raise enough fund to keep Lolnet up. Lolnet has been around for quite a few years, and it was always one of the best servers around. There are quite a few crowd funding websites on the internet, there was one that was introduced to me last year though I could not remember.

Hopefully we can get more players who are willing to donate to the server! ; - ;

Just a quick question (maybe for others too), how much does the server need to maintain its status for a year?
 

ladybugman

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That is a sticky situation :L

How about offering some perks outside of the minecraft server itself? Here's some examples of things Lolnet could provide;

  • Forum/website perks: fancy names, better UI, more web options, badges, custom MOTD, etc
  • Special Events: preferential signups for minecraft events, tickets to events, etc

That's all that I could come up with for now, other than that, I'm a fan for the crowdfunding idea. Would be sad to see Lolnet disappear :(

If website stuff is needed or in the plan, I could start working on some features in like 4 - 6 weeks time.
 

PhoReaper

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I think a donation drive is a good idea, and if it doesn't get enough by itself it could be run in parallel with a membership fee.
 

Igneel32

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Igneel32
Would it be a feasible idea for livestream events to be held, with donation milestones which can be reached? As in, when a certain amount gets donated, a "twist" occurs within the event, or a new event begins. I dunno, just bouncing ideas...
 

Meatnog

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Wait, I am lost. Why not just accept donations and get rid of the rewards? I've read the EULA and the FAQ and that appears to be the ONLY area that you're not in compliance.

I don't understand why there's this panic when, to me, it appears that all you have to do is get rid of the perks from Donating. Is the fear that without perks, people won't donate?

Added in 1 minute 46 seconds:
Also you could make the donator perks be cosmetic items (they just can't have a game impact). This could include titles, special chats, etc...

This is not that big of a deal. For instance, none of the Donator perks even work on some of our hard servers (Like Revolution).
 

KeiranHalcyon89

New Member
I agree with my friend Meatnog. Copied from the EULA specifically regarding server funding:

"With hosting servers we want to enable the community to make money by creating, hosting and maintaining servers for Minecraft, [...] overall your access charges should be targeted to cover your operational costs of running the server."
They want to specifically enable servers to be able to be sustainable by their community. They list several ways that are allowed to do this including:

  • ask for donations (as opposed to direct charges) IF you do not offer the individual donor something in exchange that only he or she can use. You may offer server wide rewards if donation goals are achieved though.
  • sell cosmetic items, except for "Capes", IF the item sold does not give a user an unfair gameplay advantage over anyone else on the server - i.e there can be no "pay to win".
  • sell positive effects or enhancements (other than "Capes") IF everyone on the server is positively affected in exactly the same way.

This means that cosmetic items are still allowed, just not individual perks. This also says nothing about forum/website perks.

My suggestion which would follow these guidelines would be to follow the first bullet, that is determine a cost per year to run the server as a community donation goal. If the community reaches that goal, then everyone (even those that did not donate) gets perks. You can even layer it in tiers leading up to the yearly cost megagoal which unlocks perks at each level.

~Thrawn
PS. The EULA also recommends reading these links:

 

123zane321

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I agree with keiran, that's actually a pretty good idea. I'd certainly be willing to donate something if they did this.
 

Meatnog

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Server wide milestone "perks" could be as simple as:

* At 25% of annual total, everyone gets a builder's wand (on servers's where applicable).
* At 50% of annual total, everyone gets wings to fly around the lobby and some bonus claims for your mytown.
* At 75% of annual total, everyone gets better starter gear.
* At 100% of annual total, everyone gets a free chunk loader when you join (where applicable)

Then the next year, when you start new servers, you start the process over again, keeping the rewards in place for the older servers but then starting fresh with the newer ones.

(Just an idea, by no means are my above suggestions fully thought out)

Added in 56 seconds:
Given that many games subsist solely on people buying cosmetic items, you might want to consider that too. Hats, capes, clothing, custom skins, whatever.
 

Feebee

New Member
Greetings all, well this is a crap situation if I may say so myself and I'd hate to see lolnet go down without us trying to help in some way, I've been playing on this server on and off for over 5 years roughly, I've watched this server grow and people come and go throughout the years, most of all, I've gotten to know alot of people and made some really good lifetime friends, therefore; closing down the server would be tragic. I am not a millionaire but I can spare a little and I am more than happy to do my bit to help keep lolnet running. I feel option 2 (Using a crowdfunding website to run a donation drive to provide a year’s worth of funding for lolnet - This would allow us to guarantee lolnet’s existence as a server for another year if our fundraising targets were met). sounds like the better option short term, moving forward, would you continue to do this on a yearly base or will you try to work out other options for the future running of this server. I like the idea of perhaps incorporating a membership fee, 1 month, 3 month, 6 month, 1 year, what do you think?... I dunno, just a thought. I am willing to pay a membership fee if it helps keep the server going, it's something to consider, if we all put in a little bit, we can make it work, I really think it sucks that it may come to this but it is what it is and I wish you guys well whatever happens, peace. :)
 

mikhaila666

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No one should really panic that lolnet is going away soon. This is a long term funding problem, not a tomorrow problem. The EULA has been around a while. Everyone has known this was coming. The difference is that they are now Enforcing the Eula and shutting down servers not in compliance.

So we have to change a bit. Luckily, we were never like a lot of the servers surviving on micro transactions and advertising every two minutes for donations. We can still take donations, and still urge players to support us. And we'll still be working to give you good servers to play on. It's just a bit harder for us, and we'll be working harder to earn your goodwill and support.

So we can all brainstorm ideas, come up with stuff that helps keep the lights on.
 

Meatnog

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Have you considered an on demand Merch? Like lolnet Tshirts or something?
 

123zane321

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Meatnog said:
Have you considered an on demand Merch? Like lolnet Tshirts or something?
Please

PLEASE

IF YOU DO THIS

YOU MUST HAVE CHICKEN NUGGET AND BANANA PLUSHIES AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE
 
123zane321 said:
Meatnog said:
Have you considered an on demand Merch? Like lolnet Tshirts or something?
Please

PLEASE

IF YOU DO THIS

YOU MUST HAVE CHICKEN NUGGET AND BANANA PLUSHIES AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE
Matrix and Dez would fund the server alone if this was the case.... :lol:
 
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