I try not to remember my elementary school years when I can. Vivid memories of being that awkward little girl on the playground just kinda trying to hold my own against the other children around me, each with their own desires to be popular and underdeveloped ways of achieving that goal. It very much felt like a little slice of the wild Serengeti; there was always a wounded zebra for the lions to take down and devour. And interestingly enough, there's a game out there that unintentionally recreates that same atmosphere: Minecraft. Single player Minecraft can be a very rewarding experience when you get into it. You can create massive structures, works of block art, or a giant penis made completely out of TNT. Unfortunately, only YOU would be able to enjoy your incredible mansion and your tower of testes. This is where the servers come in. Imagine what you and complete strangers could build together! Imagine the looks on their pixel faces when you show them the biggest, blockiest "pair" they've ever laid eyes on...
...and then imagine it being gone two seconds later. Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Griefcraft. This may be coming a bit late, but for those of you looking to get into the Multiplayer Minecraft world, let me introduce you to the hole you're digging yourself into.
While a lot of good servers are set up with safe zones and other rules to inhibit this kind of behavior, there are some players out there that get a twisted thrill out of staking out the world's spawn point. Usually in groups, usually decked out in complete diamond armor and weaponry, packs of players that can be more accurately described as wolves will descend upon players the minute they step out of the "Safe Zone" forcing the newcomer to either remain in spawn, continue to die, or just rage quit. More and more lately I've been seeing people really fighting against this kind of behavior, but it still does exist.
#2-"Pay" to Play
Keeping in mind that every server is probably being payed for out of one or two persons pockets, it is to be expected that with public, join-able servers, there will be a coin pot available for people to donate to in order to keep their world up and running. Usually, these donation perks are extra commands normally not available to players (teleporting, enchantment shops, flying) or sometimes you can use real money to buy precious materials like diamonds. But there are a lot of server's out there that require you to sign up on their site and sometimes even make a monthly donation to play on their server as an actual player with a name and not a Guest.
I have found myself in a situation before where I could not find a passive mob on the map that would provide sustenance if I was the last player on earth. I'm not sure I've ever felt the need to express that in chat. Granted, if people want to be charitable or ask for a bit of help every now and then, I see no problem in that. Hell, if we're all going to be living on the same World, it makes no sense to completely ignore our countryman's needs. But every world seems to have it's native hobo player - the one that can't build a house on his own, can't find food, can't mine material, and wanders the world in search of handouts. One time, sure, have a cooked fish. Twice....okay, but there's like a herd of cattle just over that hill there. Three times, you know what? here's a fishing rod - do you need me to teach you how to use it?
For whatever reason, on any given server there's going to be that one player that just cannot find the common decency within his or herself to just let the other players be. Said player will usually spend most of their time on the server getting into profane arguments with other players involving land and resources or sometimes just picking fights for the sake of fights. A lot of the time they will butt into conversations that don't even involve them just to see their name pop up on that chat window. Pretty much every server I've encountered has at least one of these players, the key is finding the server with the least obnoxious ones, or at least one with an Admin that will do something about it.
One of my most irritating experiences that I think I've had on a public server to date involved a very weird arrangement that I begrudgingly gave into with another player. I'd built a house fairly close to the spawn point, hoping to easily locate it again if I died. A new player came on, commented on how nice my home looked, and wanted to know if he could live there too. Knowing that I'd never hear the end of it if I declined, I rolled out the welcome mat. Upon returning the next day, a comrade of that other player spent probably the better half of ten to fifteen minutes trying to kill me and yell at me claiming that I was trespassing on the other player's home. There are going to be players that come along that don't want to put forth the initial effort of homesteading. If you build a structure close enough to spawn to be seen by the majority, just know that there will be at least a few eager-beavers looking to claim that castle, by diplomacy or force.....which leads me to my next and probably the most common issue with public servers....
Even with the introduction of the Faction play, general griefing is still a pretty common occurrence in any public server. There's an underlining fear that in the time spanning between you logging off and logging back in later, everything you have built and recovered from the world could be destroyed. Griefing takes many forms. Sometimes players will set fires to neighboring structures or foliage to allow your structures or even your crops to ignite. I've seen elaborate TNT trails topple enormous structures in a devastating domino effect. Griefers derive pleasure from destroying and pranking to create an illusion of omnipotence and just for the fun of it. "It took you two weeks to build that mansion and I just destroyed it in two seconds....you mad bro?". But their jests can also include force-suffocating characters by dropping sand/gravel blocks on unexpecting players, encasing them in near-to and unbreakable blocks such as obsidian or bedrock, or even something as obnoxious as filling a character's inventory with useless stock such as rotten meat or dirt by dropping it on them. Griefing is just....causing grief. Some servers say they will ban griefers, and some of the more active administrators actually do. But a lot of public servers just accept it as a thing that will happen and warn players that no punitive action will be taken just to close the flood gates of complaints. You will encounter it. Period. End of story.
If and when you do find the Cinderella Server to your glass shoe, it's wonderful. When you get a group of people that are in it for the love of the game and can effectively enjoy everything public play has to offer, it's awesome. You can make new friends, get ideas for builds, and just have fun. But....there will always be the possibility of any one of these players showing up at any time. After all....it is Griefcraft.