The Survival Server Dilemma: Now what?

Discussion in 'Server & Community Management' started by jflory7, Sep 20, 2015.

  1. jflory7

    jflory7 Retired Moderator
    Retired Benefactor


    This thread is probably targeted more towards those who either run or have run survival servers. In 2015, the traditional SMP server is slowly fading in popularity, and the only servers that have successful servers are usually servers that already have a large community or servers that specialize in other things, e.g. special minigames.

    I am an owner of a semi-vanilla survival server that has been running for over three years, and we recently expanded to host a creative and minigame server. However, our numbers have greatly declined since the school year started up again. I am trying to figure out if there's anything I'm doing wrong with my server, if there's anything I could do better with my survival server, or if I should look at expanding to new options.

    I'm curious to know what others' thoughts are on this.

    - jflory7​
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  2. MikeA

    MikeA Retired Moderator
    Retired Benefactor

    Doubt there's anything you're doing wrong, it's just how survival servers go. I've ran mine for over 4 1/2 years now and it's extremely hard to get new players (to stay, at least), but, I'm very inactive other than sitting AFK at my spawn 24/7/365. My numbers are typically 10-15.
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  3. Mikgreg


    I have found with my survival server that it doesn't seem to retain any long-term players. People spend a few weeks getting themselves set up and are then at a loss on what to actually do, and usually quit. Thankfully there are ways in which this can be remedied with plugins & other activities but I'm not really sure for a semi-vanilla server.

    Expanding your server will probably be a best bet. Even when my server hits >1,000 players online only <100 of them will opt to play vanilla survival on my server. Unless its Factions people just aren't interested in playing that anymore. :(
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  4. School/College recently started, every server is gonna be low a little, parents kick kiddies off or people are overloaded with work.

    I, for example have a lot of college work to complete and no time to play :(
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  5. jflory7

    jflory7 Retired Moderator
    Retired Benefactor

    This is what I've been hearing a lot of. It's always been like this over the past three years, but I feel like 2015 has been the hardest of all the years. The interest is waning so fast, it's hard to keep up.

    Interesting observations. Most of the members of my community are exclusively long-term players now, which is my problem. Lots of people come and go, but retention has hit an all-time low, and I'm struggling keeping any players at all. I guess I'll need to start investigating the possibility of changing my survival server type a bit without losing the community of players I do have who look intentionally for the semi-vanilla aspect. Guess it's time to go back to the drawing board.

    Yeah, I've noticed this as well, but usually it picks up a little bit by mid-September into October – I haven't noticed that boost yet.
  6. Mikgreg


    In some situations people stay for the community - they've made friends and they don't want to leave. However this doesn't work for everyone :(
  7. Noble Pro


    Personally, I would highly recommend trying to invest in custom content that you don't get on other and bigger survival servers. If you can't go for custom content, stuff like Mob Arena can come in extremely useful for you, especially if you configure the waves to be custom to your server. That will at least keep people entertained for a bit longer, but you will eventually have to add more content to keep them playing. Major things I recommend for you is to promote partying up with others, give them the tools to work together with other players and make friends, this is your best way to keep a community is to have them become friends with each other.

    Just remember though, the best thing about survival servers is that the vast majority of players that buy the game, will be playing survival, so us with our survival servers will always have new players coming in to play on our survival servers.

    One slight issue though with survival servers is that once a player is tied down on one survival server, they're likely to not go out and search for another, which is where the incentives need to thrive for you in order to have recurring players.
  8. dang im dumb for starting a survival server up again .-.
    Oh well, I want the classic minecraft with a few friends and none of that op prison bs. Might just be me though
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  9. Imo you should probably expand to something bigger and more unique, I ran a Survival server for 3 months and only averaged 5 - 10 players making $50 - $200 a month.

    I disagree, and kinda agree.

    Prison servers are not the best anymore but, even a small prison server with 10 - 20 players averages $1k a month.
  10. That's why i called it bs, you guys are just money whoring it. I honestly don't care if my server succeeds or not, I just want to make it as a hobby and have fun. I'm fine without making money on it tbh since I'm not spending more than a few bucks on it.
  11. jflory7

    jflory7 Retired Moderator
    Retired Benefactor

    It's what has worked for me for a while, but I think I'm going to need to forcibly adjust or "die", hahah. It's the circle of… Minecraft servers? o_O lol

    That's one thing I honestly haven't ever looked into; perhaps I should try to fire the creative gears with my staff and try to focus on a unique survival experience of some kind. I tried doing this with my Super Craft Bros. server, since it's more commonly found on the super-mega Minecraft networks, but my problem I've run into is that there's usually not enough people online to play a game.

    I might finally look into brainstorming and coming up with some kind of unique survival "add-on" to make my server more unique in some way, and then look into getting a YouTuber or something. I'll definitely be playing around with this idea in the meanwhile, it might be my only option now.

    Curious, what's your definition of bigger?

    This disposition isn't really on-topic for the thread; please don't take this thread off-topic with an irrelevant rant.
  12. If I were you, instead of losing your current players I would still revolve around a survival server/feel, and add some new features and actual objectives to aim for.
  13. I honestly agree,
    Not what I meant. Basically what I meant to say was a mistake I made was not expanding, I kept a player base of 5 - 10, and made a low amount which is why the server didn't last long, so I'd just expand, maybe some type of unique minigame.
  14. NotoriousNemo


    I have had my survival server for about 3 1/2 yrs and yeah my playerbase has died down alot this year and at the end of last year, but I still see myself having the server up for acouple of years my player base is 15-30 players doing just fine. Eventually Ill have to downgrade servers etc.
    Because of the popular youtubers kids expect minecraft to be like the videos they see online, oh wow a youtuber plays this popular server I want to play there. Survival is the last thought on their minds, I talked to my little cousin who when I showed her minecraft pc she was very excited but was only really interested in utuber servers. I run a semi-vanilla server which is the least popular gamemode for multiplayer but im content with knowing that thats what I like and will support until my server eventually can't sustain itself and dies out. I probably get about 100 new people joining every day, but only maybe 10 ever stay around to explore and build. I expanded to creative and skyblock which a few people also play on. If your server offers a good experience then people will stay. I think that bigger servers with their youtube videos have eventually changed the way new players perceive minecraft, everyone thinks minecraft is about hide and seek or insert generic minigame here. Survival is something I see dieing out within the next couple of years. So good luck as mentioned above is be unique and fun for new players I guess :/
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  15. I didnt read the whole thread, but this is probably already mentioned.
    MC Survival is dying. Have you seen how many servers are there. So many are utter crap that some people just stick with the big names.
    But we still want to make a server. You have one option then-
    Spend shitton on devs and advertising for something unique
    you go with the magical, uncluttered, high-paying way.
    Believe me, if you follow the big names in terms of modpack, you will reel in players extreamly fast.
    MC Vanilla for new servers is dead, modded is the future.
  16. saphiria


    As a semi-dedicated player on your server I feel that I may know why not many are online. I also may know a few solutions.

    The first problem is life. These past few months have been a major reality check for most of the world, whether it be school, collage, or a new/existing job. Many people are leaving or taking a break from Minecraft because of this. I personally have been inactive from Minecraft/Internet world for the past month or two due to education and extra curricular activities. Players normal tend to return like you said late September - early October. (Once everyone gets a good routine, parents allow "electronic time", and when you finally get days of from work).

    Another problem is the community.
    For the past few months in your server a lot of drama has been going on. @Resource retiring from moderator (again :( ), staff raids (proven false), and a lot of dedicated members leaving. You did start to do contests again, but I feel you were too late.

    I think lastly it's "motivation". Whenever I want to join your server and I check to see if anyone's online I see a big fat zero, and because of that I chose to check out MinePlex new game Evolution, or play TIMV at The HiveMC. Nobody wants to join an empty server. Literally this whole weekend not a single player was online once when I checked.

    My solutions:
    - During this time people are busy. I suggest you wait a bit to see if any people return by October 1st.
    - Try to give people a reason to stay. What makes you better than the next server?
    - Go back down to just Survival and possibly creative. (I feel it was more players when you were just survival). I remember when you had a 30 player average.
    - Encourage your staff to be more active and play even when the server is empty.
    - Look into other advertising options. (YouTube, adds, etc).

    I sincerely hope this helps you and your server.


    His server is in no way new. It's been around for ~4 years from what I can tell. It's had its highs and lows, but I feel Vanila Survival is what Minecraft is... It doesn't get "old".
    #16 saphiria, Sep 21, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 14, 2015
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  17. lmao no.
  18. Celebrimbor


    My survival server has 10+ players that have been playing for 8 months. Maybe 10 that have played for about 4-7.
    Then a handful that play for a month or so. The rotating noob crowd.

    But I put a large focus on long-term goal gameplay that players crave. The ones that want a few days of fun come and go when they think building and wood square and getting diamond gear is the end or survival.
    #18 Celebrimbor, Sep 21, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 14, 2015
  19. I have ran my server for about 9 months now. I don't think there's generally anything wrong with SMP servers. What I do notice on my survival server is that,

    Jan -> March = ~20-30 players (which is good for my very small server)

    April -> June = ~15-20 players (quite OK, but lost some players)

    July -> current time = 0-10 players (sometimes*, it peaked to 20).

    I think its just the time of the year where players are actually busy with real life (lol). I'm feeling **optimistic** that my playerbase will grow back next month :D lol
    • Like Like x 1
  20. Okay, let's be honest. A survival server shouldn't be focused on profits or growing into a big server. It's about the community, if its small it just makes the community closer to eachother, which ends up with the players being more active. If you don't want that, go ahead make some other server (Not saying theres anything wrong with other servers, they just have a different view than survival servers). I know damn straight I only played like minigame servers or stuff like 20-30 mins a day, but had like over 200 hours on this one survival server in just a summer with way less players, half of them I still know today (A few years ago i believe)
    • Agree Agree x 2