Closed Map Experiment

  • #1


    If you were to catch a glimpse of this world you would figure that someone got out of control with TNT and made a giant scar of the whole world. The results look very similar. It’s something even scarier though. Something worse. What you’re looking at is the result of human interaction with limited resources. In a very coordinated experiment 30 players spent 2-5 hours playing in a 350x350 world trapped in bedrock. To keep everything fair the server was only running when everyone was available to play. These screenshots come from 2 months after the experiment started. I would personally like to thank everyone that participated (who wished to stay anonymous). To make things more organized world chat use was discouraged unless you had a global message. Communication was to be minimal and done through third party programs. The limited/restricted communication made groups/clans/guilds possible.


    The players were unaware of what I was testing; they went into the server with the following rule: “Never leave the bedrock walls”. Some players realized the challenge at hand immediately, but most were unaware of how devastating the consequences of their actions would be. First resource to go was clay, clay became completely depleted in three days. Brick houses did not last long and in most cases were impossible to complete. The loss of a resource such as clay was a small warning most players missed. In the first week trees became rare. Trees never left the map completely but wood being an essential part of game progression in Minecraft made saplings worth more. This is the point in the game where players banded together into smaller groups with the goal of working together to build stuff. Four large clans emerged. “The Brotherhood”, “The Axe”, “The Dwarves” and the most successful “Merchant’s Guild”. During this time they co-existed peacefully with minor fights over trees and saplings, most did well with their own tree farms. Strip mining began. Resources like iron were abundant and most got wasted into weapons and armor. During this time iron was running out and the only practical use of it was buckets/pickaxes for diamond and doors were plausible due to the need for protection. It should be obvious that Diamonds only use was obsidian which would be a great for protection. Diamonds being extremely rare made them already valuable, but the players being aware that the supply was limited made it a rush to find them as fast as possible. Within 2 weeks production was flying. There was a local Nether Portal which was useful because it supplied an endless resource to build with that had no repercussions upon the map. The portal didn’t make it a week, soon the obsidian was stolen by The Brotherhood and used in there castle. The Merchant’s Guild made a quick profit off of this by having the only optional Nether Portal while resources like diamonds became rarer. The Merchants Guild was efficient and used trade to strive in this harsh world. They would trade netherack/cobblestone/rare ores for usable materials such as saplings/wood/dirt/string/wool/sand/etc.


    3 weeks into the expirment flowers were gone forever, sand was deplete making glass rare and hard to replace, and obsidian was un-minable for most players due to a lack of diamond. The players resorted to war to find diamonds. The four clans raided each other bases and griefed each other. This war went on for a few days and The Axe had lost their castle completely. The Brotherhood had to rebuild a very broken town. The Dwarves took minimal damage due to their underground sub-systems and the difficult nature to destroy caves. The Merchant’s Guild took no damage because they won over their fights with complex trade agreements and treaties. At this point The Axe had disbanded. Their members took to their own trying to make it on their own. This left a lot of griefing for trees and trade with the Merchant’s Guild abundant. Only two people were clearly ahead at this point, (aside from the merchant’s guild doing well too). They earned the name (pardon the language), the ****-ass griefers. These two players had immediately realized what would happen to the map on day one and began to construct an easily defendable a base that was self-sufficient and renewable. They built there base on a giant dirt platform in the sky. They made it come off of a mountain so the grass would grow onto it. When the grass had grown onto their base (A few days in), they had already acquired the needed materials for sticky pistons and buckets. They created a water elevator that could be toggled with the pistons and began destroying the mountain. They dug all the earth out from around them and made their base impossible to reach without the use of the water elevator or towering up. From the first week in they began systematically depleting resources in a way that would set the other players behind. Glass windows were broken, trees and saplings were stolen, massive amounts of dirt were farmed (the importance of this will be revealed later) and they used their power to persuade the other players. The Merchant’s Guild paid an anti-griefing tax by supplying the ****-ass griefers with materials that were rare or hard to find. It started with trees/iron/diamond and by the end of the experiment it was things like arrows/flint/string. Four weeks in strip mines had torn open a lot of the land, water was running all over the place (most people lacked buckets) and the most game-breaking element occurred; dirt was being lost. Well not dirt itself in entirety, but the good surface dirt. The dirt with GRASS on it. At this point players forgot about trees and mining but wars over surfaces with grass broke out. The Dwarves even showed interest and tried to create establishments on the surface but had trouble handling holding ground. The Merchant’s Guild had not thought ahead but began gathering as many drops from animals spawned on grass to be traded as rarities in the future. The brotherhood held a small section of grass off from griefers the most successfully. The ****-ass griefers had no trouble with this because there base was situated upon a giant floating chuck of grass, so they made it their mission to destroy all grass on the map and reserve the power of food to themselves only. The Brotherhood held their small piece of grass but were defending constantly and as a result their base became very broken and they rebuilt in a way to defend the dirt only.


    Five weeks into the experiment a lot of players had lost the will to play. Most players resorted to staying underground and endless 2x1 tunnels were formed, giant chasms were found by players overmining and ultimately a large majority of cobblestone was lost through lava and the players fighting each other. Due to massive mining to and strip mines the corner of the map supporting the ****-ass griefers base sunk farther and farther down to the bedrock, leaving a noticeable drop in elevation between the two corners of the map. Buildings made out of dirt started showing up on the torn earth because most players lacked the resources to make pickaxes and couldn’t meet the prices of the Merchant’s Guild. These buildings were built with the only purpose of protection from monsters at night since the map became un-survivable during the night. At this point the large loss of land in the bottom half the map did one purpose. Eliminate the dwarves who were housed there. (I still can’t believe the amount of stone removed and lost in that area, It’s a devastating amount and continued until the 2 months were up). At this point a cycle was emerged, the players were fighting for the last bit of grass on the map (disregarding the griefers base that was inaccessible). But most of them were either trying to mine cobblestone for more trade with the Merchant’s Guild for sticks for more pickaxes or trying to survive the night in dirt houses. It was a vicious cycle that was barely profitable. But a pattern did emerge. The players were effectively working together to survive the night. While there was still rampant war and grief the players that had little had banded together to try to survive the harsh environment.


    The experiment was up before more testing could be done, but I ask you. If the walls were torn down one day and the players were free to the unlimited resources of Minecraft how would they react? Do you think they would work together and try to keep all the resources balanced or would they play the same way without regard for their environment or each other? Though in Minecrafts infinite world it would be impossible to destroy everything, do you think the disaster would slowly re-occur? I think this experiment has been a successful statement on the human condition and human interaction with the environment.



    The picture above is the Merchant's Guild with it's iron doors open.




    The above view with the only glass on the map.




    The only bit of grass open to the whole map at the remains of The Brotherhood





    The remains of "The Axe"




    ****-ass Griefers base





    The broken nether portal




    One of the few strip mines that didn't disappear in the loss of the world.





    A picture depicting the large scale of difference in elevation.



    This experiment had unbelievable results.

    [represent]
    Last edited by citricsquid: 8/19/2012 12:11:34 PM
  • #2
    for ****s sake BREAK UP THAT HUGE WALL OF TEXT into paragraphs :/



    edit1: read it all.....and yeah that was odd to see people banding in groups trading then war breaking out.....should be a freaking book lol

    i was also thinking what happens when the walls fell and the players where noticing they had the world again how would they react....




    personaly i think simlair to stealing rare items and iron yet not fighting over bits of more common blocks and items....they might even form into a bigger guild......not as many as before as i doubt thye be able to survive long
    Last edited by Conker: 5/7/2012 2:35:41 AM
  • #3
    Quote from Conker

    for ****s sake BREAK UP THAT HUGE WALL OF TEXT into paragraphs :/


    Done. Sorry wrote it out in a bit of a hurry.
  • #4

    Done. Sorry wrote it out in a bit of a hurry.


    yeah was just a bit hard to read with a mass wall of text
  • #5
    wow that is insane. After looking at that i really don't think SMP would be all that successful if it weren't for infinite maps.
    No, it isn't butter, it is gold
    Now that we have that sorted out, can you please leave, thanks?
  • #6
    wow that is insane. After looking at that i really don't think SMP would be all that successful if it weren't for infinite maps.


    I think it could provide an experience that is more fun than regular SMP though. It forces conflict in a game that has none.
    Last edited by WordworksExperiment: 5/7/2012 3:00:18 AM
  • #7
    Holy crap. ****-ass griefers rock.
    Last edited by Redyoshi101: 8/21/2012 11:48:07 PM
  • #8
    Restricting the playing area like this is quite interesting. I would like to see servers like this in the future.
    Hence already means "which is why". "Hence why" is redundant.
    The truth about Minecraft. (The site is satire, by the way)
  • #9
    This was the msot awesme thign ive ever read on minecraft thanks man, that was awesome i wish i would have been part of it xD PM me if ur doign another one=)
  • #10
    Damn cool story, bro. I find this very interesting.... Many SMP maps look like that, at least near spawn.
    And, if they had unlimited map, they would have just escaped each other to live in peace.
  • #11
    It would be interesting to see how it works with twice the players and twice the map size. Would it turn out the same?

    http://twitter.com/#!/Gompasta Mainly DF and Minecraft talk.
  • #12
    What version of Minecraft was used for the experiment? Between the utter lack of references to magic (potions, enchantments) and the emphasis on protecting bits of grass, it sounds like this took place before the adventure update.
  • #13
    Reminds me of the server I once played where there were no trees within a bajillion chunks of spawn.... oh wait, that's every long running seerver I've ever been on! This is insane, I will now begin hoarding/making renewable resources for when SSP and SMP become one. Oh boy....
    Christianity in a nutshell: We have all sinned, so we deserve eternity in hell. But God (God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit) loved us so much he sent His Son to die for us, to take the punishment meant for us. All we need to do is accept it, and we have heaven headed our way.
  • #14
    Quote from gompasta

    It would be interesting to see how it works with twice the players and twice the map size. Would it turn out the same?


    I think it would repeat at a slower pace.
  • #15
    I loved that you tracked this experiment so closely. Thanks for the write-up.

    Wow...
  • #16
    damn i wish i had been a part of that good job that was interesting
  • #17
    If your curious it would be about a 50x50 area for each player to build in. While the competition element drives the destruction I think it could be worth trying to restraint yourself to a 50x50 area and see how it works.
  • #18
    That is amazing. It really shows how people will react when everything isn't infinite anymore. Great experiment.
  • #19
    I've always wanted to have or participate in an experiment like this. Yes, I read the whole story. This seems amazing!

    Some day I may attempt this same situation. Thank you for inspiring me even further. :)
  • #20

    I've always wanted to have or participate in an experiment like this. Yes, I read the whole story. This seems amazing!

    Some day I may attempt this same situation. Thank you for inspiring me even further. :)


    No problem. Really glad to see people so interested about this.
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