When Autcraft started, we created 3 main ranks to help keep the server safe and make sure everyone had the help they needed: JrHelper, SrHelper and Admin.
The main differences between JrHelper and SrHelper were the person's age... under 18 were JrHelper while 18 and up were SrHelper.
This presented a problem.
What we found were that some JrHelpers, once turning 18, either weren't ready to be SrHelpers or had no interest in becoming a SrHelper. This meant that those players would lose their rank. And why? Because it's their birthday?
So we (all the staff) got together and talked about possible solutions to this and found that the simplest and possibly best way to deal with it is to remove the age restriction on JrHelpers. We renamed JrHelper to Helper and made it so that any player of any age can become or stay a Helper even if they're over 18.
If a Helper is ready and willing to become a SrHelper after they turn 18, that option is open to them as well.
This will take some time to adjust to for some players, I'm sure, as we've had JrHelpers for over 4.5 years now but we feel that this is for the best going forward. We don't want a player's 18th birthday to be a cause for stress. It's supposed to be a happy time.
For those wondering why some JrHelpers might not want to become SrHelpers, the biggest differences are that SrHelpers can "jail" a player if they're causing problems, which can be stressful, and that players deal with big life problems often turn to SrHelpers to talk. Often SrHelpers hear about problems at home, or school or players dealing with depression... this can be a bit much for some people and they might not feel ready to have those conversations just because they turned 18.
So anyway, going forward... JrHelper is now Helper and players will no longer lose this rank once they turn 18. Also, adults can now earn Helper as well. All of the permissions and responsibilities of the rank will remain the same as it ever was.
For New Years Eve, we did fireworks on the server, every hour, for 20 hours straight. That means that autistic children (and adults) all around the world got to enjoy fireworks at midnight even if they couldn't make it out to see the real deal.
But we did more too!
1. Protection Markers
Most players won't notice this but we added new "Protection Marker" blocks to the welcome kit for new players. They're just red and white wool but they're also specially named and referenced in the Protection book you get at the start of your time on the server. We're hoping this will make things much more clear on setting up that very first build protection.
Up until now, when you used your points to get the Iron, Gold or Diamond ranks, you'd also be given a special kit of weapons/armor. However, if any of that was ever lost or broken, players would have to ask an admin to replace it.
As of today, players can now use the '/kit' command to replace their own equipment once per month. So Iron rank players can do /kit iron, Gold rank has /kit gold and of course, Diamond rank has /kit diamond.
One time every 30 days, players can get a whole new kit on their own without having to go to an admin.
3. Patreon Kit
For the first time, Patreon rank now has it's own special kit as well! And just like the ranks mentioned before, Patreon rank players can get their kit once per month using the command /kit patreon.
It's been a little while now that we've had "mob heads" available for collecting. These have a chance of dropping when you kill their associated mobs, for example, a chicken might drop a chicken head.
Brand new for 2018, we now have decoration heads which, at the moment, are only available in our server store. These heads come in a variety of brand new textures such as a globe, a camera, a computer monitor, a bowl of ice cream and more.
We feel that these will really add a lot to players' builds since they can be placed virtually anywhere and can also be placed on an angle.
We hope to add many more but to start with, we have 36 available right now.
As we reflect on the last year when we had 3 Autcons, news stories all around the world, researchers visiting, a TEDx Talk, the addition of a Creative server and so much more, we realize that there is no one single person that we can choose for our final Player of the Week in 2017.
Today's POTW is YOU.
We thank everyone for being a part of this community and for making it what it is. A community is no one person. If there was no one else, it would just be me in an empty server and no journalist is going to do a story about that.
Today we celebrate the importance and value that every single player brings to making Autcraft the community that it is. Researchers don't come to talk to me, they talk to everyone else. Journalists talk to me but they ask me about everyone else.
Today every player that signed onto the server got a special Christmas sword. Then, we also gave every player a special present from under the Christmas tree in Christmas village. And finally, for the Player of the Week, we gave every single player that was on for the announcement 400 points to use in our server store.
Thank YOU for helping to make Autcraft the great place that it is. You are our Player of the Week. Thank you for making 2017 incredible and we wish you all the best in 2018.