Remember playing in the sandbox as a kid? A little water and a bucket was all you needed to turn a barren landscape into a thriving metropolis. That’s all we’re doing. Playing in the sand.

WoW can be stressful, if you hadn’t noticed. I get to that place every now and then where I don’t feel like killing a mass of val’kyr or elementals. I feel like doing something that feels productive, but doing the laundry requires me to get up. So I wander, looking through other games to keep my mind active. Recently I found several games that piqued my interest for a while but just couldn’t keep me for long, including Spore, Back to the Future and several browser games from, and the like.

Then came Minecraft. Oh boy was this something. No plot, no end, no true diffuculty but somehow awesome. Rawry put it best in his description, “Legos, but for adults”. This had exactly what I needed: a time sink that was both fun and non-stressful as well as giving a feeling of accomplishment. It can even be played from a web browser so EASILY done from any computer ANYWHERE! If you don’t mind starting a new game for each computer, that is. Honestly, though, I did mind.

Wait! What’s this? A multiplayer button? So, I can play remotely and connect to it from anywhere? I’m in! I don’t like playing by other people’s rules, though. I mean… it’s a sandbox!

Let the research commence! I looked on online for tutorials on how to make my own  server. This wasn’t a new experience for me as I used to do this for a number of games, including WoW. Still, I expected a challenge, which could be fun in and of itself.

I found many videos on YouTube explaining how to make a server on your computer. Oh how convoluted these methods were! I did it, though. Installed this and that, opened these ports, failed, succeeded and FINALLY got a server up and running. Within seconds of getting it up… someone logged in? That wasn’t me? I go to open the game and 3 different people were in before I could ever get there!

Irritated, I shut down the server and my modem (lol) and sit it out thinking for a little while. I finally decide to actually read the website for tips. Apparently the creator of Mincraft MEANT for us to use the multiplayer button and not be techno-nerds. There’s a server to download on the same page you download the client

with INSTRUCTIONS! I got rid of that other crap and simply installed the server. Boom! One minute later a working server!

I started thinking about it, though, realizing that if I could connect from anywhere so could anyone else. Maybe those I am talking to about this project on the Deaths Desires forum would be interested in joining me. It didn’t take long for the likes of Bagera and Mappy to join in the fun, followed later by a lot of other people.

That was all the fun part. It’s not all fun.

Keeping a server running with an attempt at 100% uptime is harder than you might think. I have a decent computer, well  beyond that needed by a game like Minecraft, but still I seem to get issue after issue. Eventually my hard drive crapped out on me. I had been keeping fairly regular backups of the world files in case something crazy happened and I had to roll it back, but it was on the hard drive. I was determined to not lose the files, and subsequently a ton of work by each of the players. While I succeeded in recovering the files, the bugs finally ate at least one

portion of the world itself (see Bagera’s screenshots of the event on the Minecraft thread on the Deaths Desires forum) and I had to admit defeat, opening up a brand new world. It was a sad day.

It shortly turned to a happy, fresh day, though. A clean start. Those who would be intimidated by the amount of content already towering over them could get in on
the ground floor and say ‘I helped build that!’. Being able to say that is probably a lot more satisfying than it should be.
I suppose to summarize: Minecraft might not be a WoW killer, but I don’t want it to be. It’s a filler. WoW needs fillers so it can continue to give us the challenging content we pay for without making us tear our hair out when things go wrong.