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Taking a look at Atlian community projects

In this inaugural Sunday column, I’ll be taking a look at the many collective projects initiated by players within the Atlian community. In many cases, initiatives like these have brought players from a variety of nations close together, and I strongly believe that they play a large part in keeping the server’s playerbase tightly-knit and cohesive.

As I’ve said before, I’m “not a big magic guy”, however, I’ve been a part of the International Mages’ Guild (IMG) for quite some time. The organisation, founded by the Wardens of Wraithwood leader Raiyoku, has been a bastion of developing powerful, high-tech magic spells. The introduction of diplomacy brought a brief spell of chaos in mid-June when Raiyoku chose to leave the IMG due to concerns over political differences.


This raises a critical question regarding the IMG, a multifaceted collaboration between nations with varying political ties: can nations set aside their political affiliations to create magic? In my view, absolutely, and it is Raiyoku himself who tells us why (as per his forum signature): “Power isn't in the strength we hold, the spells we know. It is in our everyday actions, and how they impact the people around us, in small ways. “


The IMG has been criticised for being rather secretive about powerful spells, especially with its rigid rules for its members. While I reiterate that I’m not heavily engaged in the skill of magic, I think that the intentions of the body are worthwhile nonetheless - avid magicians are encouraged to join and work towards developing the best spells. If magic wasn’t a competitive skill that abets showboating, where’s the fun in it? And while the IMG is certainly not in its most active phase, it will surely see an uptick in research once magic is expanded.


Another community project, perhaps on an even larger-scale than the IMG, is the Atlian International Rail Project (AIRP). Headed by yodabird19, the initiative sparked a sprawling collaboration that saw mass-mining and rail-laying across Athera. The enthusiasm around the project was awe-inspiring as massive tunnels were created between nations and NPC towns (and stone eviscerated) in a matter of weeks.


Of course, the AIRP was ravaged by the heavily criticised introduction of world regeneration a few months ago. Without delving into this too much, it is a huge relief that the server management loosened the regeneration timeframes, thereby accommodating the soon-to-come rebirth of the AIRP.


Detractors may say that rails are unnecessary because of obelisk shard warps. I have a personal retort: the AIRP, which initiated the connection between the Cortesian capital and Port Qi’Shen, allowed me to bring home mooshrooms and cows. Transportation of items are made much easier by the rail project, particularly if chest-carts are used more often. The fruits of the AIRP exemplify a community that trusts the work-ethic within it; it is perhaps the best embodiment of what can happen if Atlians work together.


Yodabird19 didn’t stop with the AIRP though. Cementing his status as a pioneer of Atlian collaboration, he has also created the Atlas History Project (AHP) and Atlas Documentation Effort (ADE). The nature of Atlas as a server dictates that it will have an interesting history, and this is evidenced by the myriad of talented players who have a knack for political discourse alongside their skills in Minecraft itself. It is out of this intimation that these two projects were born.


David Eagleman says, ““There are three deaths. The first is when the body ceases to function. The second is when the body is consigned to the grave. The third is that moment, sometime in the future, when your name is spoken for the last time.” Nations like Blothera or Horsia may “fade away” but they don’t die that third time. Their names and actions and the ruins of their buildings will forever be embedded in the annals of AHP and ADE.


After the successful formation of AHP and ADE, yodabird19 teamed up with Vedd - a collaboration that has shown no signs of letting up - to form the Atlas Political and Economic Symposium for Hosting International Telecommunication (APESHIT). The intention was to form a neutral venue for the discussion of politics and economics (it’s in the name) away from the moderation of the main Atlas Discord server. The inception of the overhauled diplomacy system in June catalysed the formation of this project, which in its nature brings the community together.


I haven’t been an active participant on the APESHIT Discord server (although neither do I speak much on the main Atlas one). I think that while politics was assumed to be the focus of APESHIT, the project has shifted to serve as a hub for economic and trade activity. It is also a centre for the distribution of national Discord servers. But who are we kidding? APESHIT is a factory of memes and jokes too.


In a more physical venture, Chickennoob76 created the Atheran International Mail Service (AIMS), an initiative aimed at delivering goods to designated post offices. This has the potential to be a very handy project as more and more volunteers register to help out fellow players by transporting their mail, in whatever form, to its intended destination. As a relatively new project though, the efficacy of AIMS is yet to be seen.


The last batch of projects this column will deal with is the two news-orientated initiatives that have recently surfaced and resurfaced respectively. These are ATLAST and the Atheran Times. ATLAST was formed by Hexda, FancyPants_69, ArtemisQQ, and chiliwing and the Atheran Times by Vedd (with large contributions from Tsun123 in its first iteration). If you are reading this, you are already showcasing the reach of the Atheran Times, and as a server rife with political disputes and interesting occurrences, there is rarely a shortage of stories to report on. Both publications have their own target audiences and there is undoubtedly space for both. In fact, I am glad to see the emergence of news sources from the Atlas playerbase because sourcing news from only one place is inevitably unhealthy. I am an employee of the Atheran Times and it is my preferred publication, but I admire the carefully arranged presentation of the ATLAST magazine.


The community of Atlas is only strengthened when players step up to create collaborative efforts. As perhaps one of the friendliest playerbases I’ve encountered in Minecraft, there is strength in unity. If leaders in the community find the opportunity to create an initiative to better the server, the track record of existing projects shows that it will only bolster the community’s resolve. If you have a bold idea that engages players across different nations in a constructive effort, I say go for it.


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