Blast from the Past - Noxcrew Survival Server
Hi Noxcrew Community!
Hope you’re all getting in the spooky spirit, it’s Halloween next week, the best holiday of the year! (I accept no arguments to the contrary)
Things are certainly ghoulish at Noxcrew HQ as we’re still stuck in testing week, which is slowly becoming testing month! No matter what we do and what changes we make, things always seem to be an extra tweak or another layer of polish away from perfection.
Despite all this, we are making progress and the end is in sight, just a few more hurdles to jump over and we’ll be in the clear. Promise.
In this week’s Showcase September (in October) I’m feeling a little nostalgic for the old days of the Noxcrew community. The days of the old Noxcrew forum (where I made my start in Noxcrew), the community build server and, the subject of this week’s retrospective, the very first Noxcrew survival server.
So join us as I look back and remember why the very first survival server is a cornerstone of the Noxcrew community
See you next week!
A well-loved staple of the Noxcrew community and the genesis of many Noxcrew in-jokes, the Noxcrew Survival Server has a long and complex history, stretching all the way back to 2014.
There have been multiple iterations of the Survival Server throughout its time. From the rough and ready lands of the 4 corners to the brave new world of the modded season, to the hellish horrors of the Nether City. However, in this trip to the past, I’m going back to where it all started, the very first Noxcrew Survival Server, to shine a light on the origins of this fantastic community project. I’m also going to recount some of the shenanigans we got up to and the references it spawned to show off just how inspirational this server would become.
Back at the end of 2014, Noxcrew was taking its next big step forward. Following the success of The Noxcrew Gameshow Pilot Season and live events at the Insomnia gaming festival, we were starting to become more ambitious. We began to plan a grand new project, Noxcrew Gameshow Season 1, an 8 team tournament pitting the very best of the Minecraft community against each other.
But this wasn’t going to be the same old Gameshow we had used in the pilot season. We planned to develop brand new games and update the long-standing factory set with new areas and activities. We also knuckled down on revamping the on-screen graphics, tweaking some of the textures and generally making Gameshow better than it had ever been! Such an ambitious undertaking for one of the biggest projects in Noxcrew history (at the time), needed support to get completed. As such, despite our long-standing resistance to it, we created a patreon for our lovely fans and friends to help us out.
In our attempt to make donations worth every penny, we decided that one of the high tier rewards would be access to a survival server. Hosted by the Noxcrew team, you could play alongside friends and members of Noxcrew in the exciting world of Minecraft! Despite being framed as a generic server with no real links to any Noxcrew projects, demand for access proved to be surprisingly popular! In fact, it was so popular, we had to add the reward to lower tiers to keep up with demand!
Finally, after all the ruckus and excitement, the server was opened in a big community event, and we ran off into the wilderness, excited to see what this new world would bring.
Unlike later instalments of the Noxcrew survival server, the very first server wasn’t particularly rigid when it came to roleplay rules. There were no rules meetings or overarching narratives to explain why everyone had arrived in the world or what the goals were. It was just a standard Minecraft world where everyone could play together. We presumed that there would be some mild roleplay in terms of bargaining, but assumed that the server would just be as a place to chat or hang out.
However, despite the lax nature we initially had towards roleplay, the server itself organically developed its own mini-society. Shops were set up with a complex micro-economy and roles were built up, with Avondale going from a homeowner to a general store manager to a lawyer across the server’s lifetime! There were even mini storylines that began to unfold before our eyes.
There was the story of Noxite’s tower, whose initial design was extremely ugly and phallic, earning it some vulgar nicknames. Sick of putting up with it looming over the skyline, a hideous blot on the otherwise beautiful coastline, the nearby town gathered together to rip it down. Rather than just destroying the wretched structure and leaving Noxite homeless, they then built him a delightful new home, complete with a casino for him to use to earn a living, playing into the money-grubbing persona he was roleplaying at the time (Noxite is surprisingly good at playing scheming scumbags in games)
This would eventually lead to the Survival Servers’ very first court case, where Noxite sued a member of the town. What for? I don’t think he even knew why. (I certainly didn’t, and I was defending him!) Whatever the spat was about, it led to the building of the very first courthouse, a structure that would become a staple of all following survival servers. It also led to a spate of people suing each other that kept lawyer Avondale both busy and rich.
There was the ongoing drama of the death of the GG family, a scenario where community member GG was dying an extraordinary amount of times throughout play sessions. It quickly became a source of pride to cause a specific GG death, like the 100th or some other ridiculously high number. This led to a race to get to 1000 deaths as well as several arguments on who would be allowed to claim the coveted prize of GG’s 1000th death.
Eventually, it was decided that, instead of a single person gaining the honour of killing GG for the 1000th time, a spectacle would be made of the event. Framed as a celebration of the lives of the GG family who had perished to make this glorious moment possible, an arena was built, food was served, and a service was held, with nearly everyone on the server at the time in attendance. The highlight of the event was when GG finally committed himself to his famous death via an elaborate anvil death trap and became the 1001st GG of the server. From this dramatic event, the tradition of players being reborn as their own descendants was born. This would be adopted by other members of the server as well as incorporated into the lore of future survival server (though the body counts never got as high.)
These wildly imaginative ideas didn’t just take place in the realm of the survival server and stay there forever. Some strange and peculiar happens on this first server would go on to inspire designs and events in other projects, from other community events to future Noxcrew projects!
At the time, many players were using the survival server as a pseudo-build server, using it to develop structures that could be used in future ideas and projects. In particular, following the introduction of slime blocks to Minecraft and their addition to the server, a team of...enthusiastic players decided to line one of the world’s many quarries with slime blocks. To keep themselves safe from fall damage or because they were bored, it’s hard to tell. Nicknamed ‘The Slimy Crack’ for reasons, it was a marvel of tenacity and pretty fun to bounce on.
This extraordinary effort was recognised in another Noxcrew community project, Noxcrew UHC or Ultra Hardcore game nights. This was where players battled, either in teams or solo for PvP superiority in a variety of different rule sets and arenas (before the 1.9 combat update ruined all the fun.) In recognition of the insane effort that went into the build, BurningT_ created an arena in its honour, filling a world with slime blocks for players to fight it out in.
At the same time, Noxcrew maestro, Epic_Landlord, was developing an assault course called Epic Funland (naturally). A mini-game haven, it included an archery range, sheep arena and other exciting games for the server to enjoy and master. The development of these mini-games and seeing how the community played and reacted to them in a more casual environment would inspire the inclusion of these sorts of mini-games into numerous Noxcrew projects. While, physically, the biggest project to be directly descended from Epic Funland was the mega assault course in The Nether City, it would give us the experience to eventually develop projects like the Mini-Game Festival series.
This overlapping of ideas also led to the development of repeating themes for groups of players within the server, often defining how those players acted within the world.
There were the sky pirates of Alotobush, whose bizarre, almost OCD actions, dictated the way players associated with that group would act and behave. This included every individual person needed to open and close the door behind them and other strange actions. This group would eventually morph into a worm-worshipping cult in later servers, taking their obsession to new heights.
There was also the NBO, known at the time as the New Button Order, who would become the New Brick Order in the 2018 season of the server. A secretive, almost fascist collective with an obsession with buttons and bricks, their bureaucratic nature and fierce protection of their land made them feared throughout the server, with very little known about their true nature until Noxite’s monster hunt in 2018. This group became so powerful that plans were drawn up to split up the group and reduce their influence in the world, but it was scrapped as we didn’t want to stifle player creativity.
These repeating themes and groups within the server, popping up throughout Noxcrew history secured the place of certain tropes and jokes within the Noxcrew community that are still with us today. But that’s not the only thing that stuck around! Many players who were part of the first server are still with us today, as Noxcrew ambassadors or even as part of the team!
As such, the first survival server turned out to be a cornerstone of the initial Noxcrew community (before we’d even developed the Noxsquad as a concept.) It was a place where Noxcrew and fans could get together and create a world beyond the restrictions of an adventure map or Minecraft project. An ever-evolving ecosystem where players could act out scenarios, experiment with ideas and inspire each other to create stories and structures that went on to create a legacy.
While the survival server has moved on, there will always be a special place in our collective hearts for the old days of Z-mart, Slimy Crack and GG’s ongoing fight with death.
I hope you enjoyed this little look back at the very first Noxcrew Survival Server. Let us know what project you’d like us to dive in to next!