I'm trying to decide whether or not I should ban obsidian generators on my server.
On one hand, they obviously make obtaining large quantities of obsidian much easier than would naturally be possible, decreasing the price of obsidian and causing a reduction in the demand for goods such as tnt. This could be either a positive or a negative change, depending on what a particular admin thinks that the distribution of prices should be.
Additionally, barring mods, obsidian generators are the closest things to industrial factories that Minecraft has to offer. Since most goods in Minecraft are produced either by agriculture, mineral extraction, or hunting, this is an important trait of obsidian generators, as it allows for productive activity that is labor-intensive rather than land/resource-intensive. It is also stationary and thus encourages urbanized settlement rather than nomadic roaming, similarly to agriculture, but unlike agriculture it relies on capital rather than land, which is helpful to players when land is relatively limited for various reasons (ie, either population growth or server limits on how much land can be protected).
On the other hand, given the rather low cost of obsidian generation (modern obsidian generators use string), this may lead to a glut in the obsidian market as supply can vastly outpace demand if either too many people see obsidian as an easy-moneymaking opportunity or too few consumers wish to purchase it. Alternatively, if the server supports some sort of price floor or guaranteed source of demand (ie, a global shop plugin that has an unlimited supply of money with which to buy an unlimited amount of items), as some servers do as a way of ensuring a steady growth of the money supply, the result could be rampant inflation as players seek to sell overpriced obsidian to server, both expanding the money supply beyond desirable levels and diverting labor from more productive activity. There is also the possibility that tnt demand will fall below acceptable levels should obsidian bunkers become incredibly commonplace, although this can be mitigated with plugins (such as ObsidianDestroyer).
What has your experience been with generators on your server? If you decided to ban them, did you have to enforce the ban manually, or were you able to find a way to prevent the generators from working?
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Obsidian generators are the least of worries on Minecraft. I feel they are ok to have. Especially since they still take a while to destroy. I say, just allow it and lower the sell price on it in shops so players can't sell alot of them for a big amount of money.
Mob spawners on the other hand.....I would block them. I feel they are an extreme cheat.