Hello Survivors, As we move further into 2023, we’d like to provide clarity on a number of questions as well as offering insight into the direction of the game this first quarter of the year. There have been concerns on the current state of the game and we want to begin by saying that these concerns have been seen and discussed. The end of 2022 and the beginning of 2023 has been a very busy time for most of us. This feeling is absolutely true for the inner workings of the team/game as well. Within our community board, MrJack opened up a bit about some of the team’s thoughts as it pertains to organization/structure. Return to Form: Throughout the years MineZ has seen leadership exchange hands several times and take many different forms. As we enter a new year, network leadership has supported a return to the gamemode lead position with halowars91 taking this role. This decision was made to ensure that the team has someone who can keep discussions moving along, set gamemode goals and make decisions for the future of the game. It is imperative to the wellbeing of the game that it receives updates that will bring players to the game. Further, if MineZ is to grow it is vitally important to lay plans for a broader presence in media. Investments in the Future: Recently there have been a couple opportunities to play with a large group of new players. Experiences like this one are rare to come by and are vital to understanding/confirming where the pain points are when playing MineZ. Some key takeaways from their experience were: Certain spawntowns are very confusing to new players. Without a guide, new players are unlikely to experience dungeons. New players are not certain what they should be doing. There is almost no PVE threat, even to new players. These points certainly aren’t new knowledge. Having them listed out again by new players validates plans for our first updates of the year to be focused around solidifying the beginning of a player’s life cycle. If MineZ is going to grow, these points need to be addressed as fast as possible. There are other issues players have pointed out which should be answered in due time; these first ones are critical to player retention. Our first content update of the year aims to mediate these issues and build a base for the next two planned content updates. At a minimum this update aims to introduce these changes: Implement a Tutorial via the Quest system previewed during last summer’s PTR. Address issues with spawn towns like Kaocho. Improve the PVE experience, while ensuring minimal interference with areas commonly used for PVP. While there are many large changes planned for this first update, these three listed are critical to making MineZ successful in 2023. Word of Mouth’s Gotta Go: Many community members have asked frequently about the media presence of MineZ. There is always the possibility of improving the game in certain areas before showcasing it to new audiences. This possibility can not hold us back from building an advertising campaign for MineZ, though. The game is advertisable in its current state. If you want new players, this is a good way to attract them. Our initial focus is going to be centered around generating as much new media as possible. Looking into view counts between full length videos and shorts on our youtube channel, it is abundantly clear that the majority of our recent views come from youtube shorts. This kind of content is easy to produce and MineZ has a lot that could be shown through this format. Shorts are a good initial focus, but we should also look to produce a wide variety of content. For this reason we’ve also begun work collating PVP footage for montages. If you would like to help speed this process up, we’ve opened a submission form for community members at this link. Our desire is to be able to post much more frequently, and this campaign will be the beginning of that. Reaching Forward: With large updates aimed at improving the player lifecycle and bringing MineZ closer to its roots, it’s also necessary to take steps to improve our infrastructure. Following Annihilation's successful move to 1.16, MineZ is making plans to move our base version from 1.12 to 1.16. We’ll continue to support backwards compatibility with 1.12 through Viaversion. Beyond gaining access to new blocks/biomes, we get an opportunity to overhaul a large amount of our dungeon redstone and will gain access to new tools for making dungeons, puzzles and basic redstone contraptions. Once this update to 1.16 is made, future updates to MineZ’s base version are possible. Further, with this update we are planning a complete overhaul of our instance system. When the instance system was introduced, it changed how dungeons were built and ran. However, over time this system has become bloated. Moving to 1.16 gives us the ability to interface with the same system other Shotbow games use to spin up new arenas and worlds. Players should notice an immediate improvement with this new system. Team Work: Announced in our community board before the new year, the MineZ admin team has been hard at work overturning several thousand bans made between 2016 and 2021. This process was especially arduous, as there is not an automated system to carry out mass unbanning. I’m happy to say that over 2400 accounts have been unbanned. I’d like to give a big shout out to our admin team for their work chipping away at this long list. Shifting from the administration team, applications are now open to join the event team. A link for this application can be found here. If you’d like to participate in event setup and hosting for MineZ, please consider applying. You can also help out by suggesting events in the Event Suggestion channel of our discord. MineZ Events have been a big request from the community, and we hope this change will allow us to host events more frequently. Building Together: Recently posted in the build submissions section of our forums, you’ll find a new system for communicating to our community builders which general areas/specific locations we would really like to see rebuilt. Click here for Build Projects As our team focuses on specific locations within an update’s area, locations that fall outside of this update will likely be neglected. This is a wonderful opportunity to contribute to the game, earn some extra ranks and know for certain that the locations you’re working on are needed. Closing Thoughts We hope these updates bring you a better sense of the work being done to revitalize and renew MineZ’s presence in 2023. It is likely there are issues we have not touched on here but for now this is our team’s focus. We’ve got a long road ahead of us but I’m confident that with the community's help and a fully supported plan, MineZ’s future is brighter than it has been in some time.