If you’ve paid any attention to the Minecraft community in the past few years, you’re probably aware of anarchy servers: the ancient, lawless online block worlds rife with hackers and toxic chats. But you might not know that, from the perspective of gameplay features, these servers have largely stagnated. Due to subsequent technical changes to the Minecraft code, the vast majority of anarchy servers by their very nature - thanks to their large playerbase on a single, permanent map - become unstable and difficult to play or manage past version 1.12.2. A lot has happened to the game since then, but many anarchy players have resigned themselves to being stuck in the past.
However, the light at the end of the tunnel is starting to appear. Thanks to recent optimizations within Minecraft and a bit of elbow grease, certain servers like Purity Vanilla have recently been able to maintain a long-term player count of nearly 100 with few issues. Smaller examples like Constantiam and endcrystal.me have also been able to update to the latest version, and 2b2t itself - the granddaddy of all Minecraft anarchy servers - has run a test server on version 1.19 that holds 300 players with ease. If 2b2t takes the plunge on the main map, it seems likely that most other anarchy servers will follow suit, and from there it’s the Wild West.
So, for the 1.12 players ready to update their “utility” clients when the moment comes and explore this brave new world: welcome back to the land of the living. Here’s what you can expect from block game anarchy going forward.
Terrain Changes Aplenty
Because of the permanent, sometimes decade-old maps, anarchy players are well acquainted with the idea of chunk borders: the spots where previously generated Minecraft chunks meet brand new terrain generation, often resulting in unnaturally straight cliffs and canyons. For servers that make the update there will be plenty of these changes, but not in ways you might expect.
The Caves and Cliffs update completely rewrote the Minecraft terrain generation, adding massive mountains and cave systems to the game. But introduced alongside these brand new features was a new “terrain blending” algorithm that smooths out the transition between old and new Overworld terrain, making classic chunk borders a thing of the past. To make matters even more interesting, the popular “NewChunks” module, present in many utility mods and used to find chunk trails to hunt down player bases and structures, breaks in versions past 1.12 and is no longer a reliable way to differentiate chunk generation.
That’s not to say basehunting is completely dead in the new world of anarchy - far from it. Eagle-eyed players who become familiar with the quirks of the terrain blending algorithms may still be able to follow paths generated in older versions - particularly over oceans, where new biomes were added before this technology was introduced. And if you’ve ever traveled vast distances through the Nether to build your base millions of blocks out, far from the eyes of any sane griefer, you may as well kiss that place goodbye. The brand new fungal forests and volcanic plateaus introduced in 1.16 will make your spaghetti-shaped chunk trail of bare netherrack terrain exceedingly obvious. So don’t say I didn’t warn you in advance.
Netherite Reigns Supreme
Much fuss has been made over netherite, the brand new tier of gear and a direct upgrade to the classic diamond fit. In vanilla settings, ancient debris is an extremely rare resource, but Baritone mining makes it extremely easy to gather in large quantities so you shouldn’t need to worry about the expense. The durability increase of netherite gear also makes it valuable in crystal PVP, as your armor will now be shredded to bits marginally slower. Thank you Mojang, very cool.
The problem begins to emerge in anarchy servers with massive stashes, which have enjoyed ten years of diamond tier supremacy with no reason to think that might ever change. Manually upgrading each piece of gear by hand would be a colossal chore, and an unavoidable one unless some redstone genius manages to get really high one day, convene with the Powers-That-Be, and develop a gigantic in-game industrial contraption with a semi-automated userscript to make it work or something. On a server like 2b2t, with stashes containing thousands of double chests of shulkers filled to the brim, even that would be a massive prospect. On large servers that update it will likely take some time for netherite to reach the level of ubiquity that diamond enjoys - everyone will race to get their netherite set on Day 1, but they’ll need a continual surplus to stay ahead of the game. It should be a very interesting arms race.
Betting the Farm
The introduction of netherite gear into anarchy server economies will be slowed even more by the relative lack of multiplayer duplication glitches in newer versions. Typically, dupes are a dime a dozen, but newer versions of Spigot and Paper are much better maintained, and large exploits like dupes only rarely slip through the cracks. You likely won’t be able to rely on the classic chunk dupe or the seemingly infinite variations of the donkey dupe any more. Mojang themselves have been also hard at work fixing these types of glitches in the vanilla game. Rather than simply waiting for a new dupe to drop, it would be wise to go back to the drawing board and start farming your items manually again.
Thankfully, the newer versions of Minecraft have introduced a wide number of new farms to make this process easier. The introduction of pillagers and raid farms mean that new players no longer need to stumble upon a lucky stash or plunder every woodland mansion on the map to gather enough totems of undying to be a menace at spawn. Similarly, ghast and enderman farms built within the new Nether biomes make end crystal farming a breeze. Kelp and bamboo to fuel your autosmelter arrays, honey for your redstone machines, renewable lava through dripstone - the list goes on. And let’s not forget to mention the renewed importance of gold to craft your netherite items and barter with piglins for special goods.
That said, many farms will rely on decent server performance and settings. You should be aware of any hard mob limits or changes to redstone that your server of choice may have made in order to “optimize” the experience.
To Infinity and Beyond
These changes are only a tiny fraction of what you can expect from updated anarchy servers going forward. Entire articles could be written about how the anarchy spawn region might evolve, how respawn anchor modules and crossbows add to the larger combat meta, how base builders have twice as many blocks to play with, or how bees can be used to literally break the entire game (but you didn’t hear that last one from me). Will 2b2t ever see any of these updates? At the end of the day, nobody will know until it happens. But the success of existing anarchy servers that made the jump proves that such places are viable, and that an audience exists for them. We can certainly remain hopeful that the world of Minecraft anarchy will continue to thrive - and as chaotic as always.