Hello everyone. I understand everyone has been wondering where the major updates have gone, when the servers are going to reset, and what we've been up to lately. Well, keep reading, I've got a lot of great news to cover in this post! ► Infrastructure Rework Over the last few months, we've been working hard on a complete overhaul of our back-end, to make working on new updates more efficient than they've ever been before. Here I'll cover all the nitty-gritty details, feel free to skip to the next section if you're not interested in all the technical jargon Security/Overall Update: Prior to the re-work, our back-end was secured by an IP whitelist that made it so I was essentially the only person who could access the machines and files. Developers would simply deliver finished projects to me through GIT or other means and I'd handle the final debugging process as well as applying the updates. All while simultaneously trying to do my own development, interacting with the community through updates and chat, creating microtransactions and doing external marketing, etc. On top of that, all off my duties were doubled over on Minecade. The result is that I was spread way too thin and eventually it caught up to me; one person alone simply cannot keep this system sustainable. So I hit the pause button on the constant stress of revenue and player-counts to focus on solving our issue of long-term instability. That's where I've been. Now, we've updated all of our machines with a new security system that allows developers to access the machines via a dedicated IP provided by us. Most people have a static IP address that frequently changes, making adding them to an IP whitelist pointless as they will only have access to the machines for a few days or so at a time. By accessing the machines through an un-changing dedicated IP address, developers, including myself, will no longer have to worry about being locked out of the machines if an IP changes. Efficiency Update: The problem with the old setup was that even a simple typo in one of our configurations could take as much as 30 minutes to fix up across all of our servers and machines, going through and making and uploading changes 1 by 1, by myself. This process becomes even more complicated when factoring in making tags every month, the event crate, voting rewards, etc. Even more complicated were making major updates to the gamemodes. Coding these updates could be done in a matter of days, but debugging and getting them onto the live servers could take weeks, or worse, months. With the security updates, we can bring on more people to help. But there's more! We are now using a single development instance to host development versions of all of our gamemodes where changes can be safely made from one location, and then the updates can be "pushed" to all of the other machines at the same time. This way, even if I was doing all the work myself, I'd only have to make changes once, in one location, to update everything. This is a huge improvement on it's own, but we can also now bring other developers, and even volunteer staff members, in to help. Monthly Updates: As everyone knows, it costs a lot to run a Minecraft server. Especially when that Minecraft server hosts upwards of 1,000 concurrent players and potentially tens of thousands of players logging in every day. It also takes a lot of dev work and creative thinking to maintain that kind of player base. Between the focus on maintaining donations to afford to run as a non-p2w network and maintaining player counts, we don't get nearly enough time to focus on other stuff that matters, like updates to our games that help you guys keep having fun as well as bring in new faces and grow our player base. There's a bunch of regularly scheduled monthly updates we do, such as the holiday event crate, holiday tag pack, any special voting events or sales, announcements for those events/sales, advertising strategies, etc. I've taken the time to develop a system that lets us go ahead and do all of these updates up to a year in advance! Now, when the month changes, my program will detect that and automatically make the updates for everything we do monthly! If we want to add something new later, we can always go in and change that too. This will save us up to 2 weeks of work every month, which basically doubles the amount of work we're going to be able to do. Uptime Update: Another problem we encountered, that servers like Hypixel fixed long ago, are weekly network restarts. Anytime our Bungeecord instances have been up for too long with too much traffic, they begin to lag out. They also need to be updated from time to time. Prior to this rework, anytime we needed to refresh a laggy instance or apply an update, we had to do a full network reboot. I've now developed an intelligent system to automatically rotate Bungeecords out of the overall DNS rotation, so players stop connecting to them when they become laggy or need an update. The end result of this system is the ability to do network updates and Bungeecord restarts seamlessly, with no loss of connection or difference for players. In the short term we'll still be doing full network reboots from time to time, but as the old system phases out over the next few weeks, we will achieve a true 100% uptime guarantee (except on the rare occasion there is connection loss at the hosting-level, of course)! All of these back end/infrastructure updates combine to seriously advance our servers quality and performance. As of right now, these updates are complete, and will be fully rolled out before the end of July! Now it's time to move on to the fun stuff - what we're doing with our gamemodes. ► SkyBlock Rework Our SkyBlock Seasons mode was born almost a year ago. Since then, the landscape of SkyBlock servers across Minecraft has shifted dramatically. A lot of networks have incorporated some kind of seasonal play/monetary rewards structure for being the top Island, and we're looking to constantly evolve and always be a more enjoyable and high quality experience. For that reason, combined with the fact many of you have grown tired of restarting on new seasons every 3 months, we're making some big changes: We'll be adding a lot of new features to help deal with hyper-inflation in SkyBlock. There will always be some element of run-away economy in any OP gamemode, but we think we can make it a little more manageable than deciding the winners of a Season 1 month in. The Money Hole: Here's a simple way to help reduce economy problems in SkyBlock - let's just give players a reason to throw away money for almost no reason! Introducing the REVOLUTIONARY new money hole, a place where you can toss your in-game money in the trash!!! We'll keep a leaderboard of who's thrown away the most money, just so you can show off how Alpha you are. You'll also be able to throw away any item you don't want for a flat $1000 added to your score. The Converter: Got a billion SBGGs and no idea what to spend it on? Try converting it to a few island levels! $1 Billion SBGGs = +100 island levels. That's right, starting in our next SkyBlock, you'll be able to just outright buy island levels. This is recommended for late game players who've maxed out on almost every other way to gain island levels. Progressive Level Requirements: Starting in our next SkyBlock, the amount of points you need to gain an island level will increase by 180 at various JB milestones. Right now, it takes 100 points to gain one island level, and an emerald block is worth something like 250 (depending on which SkyBlock you are playing on). If you've completed the first milestone marker of the JB, acquiring an island level will take 280 points instead of 100. Once you've reached 5 JB milestones, island levels will require 1000 points. And don't worry, we'll make sure completing JB milestones is always worth the trade off. Using the converter in this system might not seem too bad. Next, we'll be making some major changes to season duration. Instead of 3 months, each SkyBlock season is going to be a ONE YEAR long event with major checkpoints & updates every 3 months for balancing adjustments, so that everyone playing still has a chance to win even when another island becomes dominate. We will also attempt to do more minor updates every 2 weeks. JourneyBook changes: The JourneyBook will look more like the Prison upgrades menu, with various milestones that you can reach in exchange for rewards. You'll also be able to buy the JourneyPass whenever you want during the season without having to worry about missing out on any rewards. Island upgrades will not be immediately purchase-able. Instead, you'll have to reach certain JourneyBook milestones to unlock them first. This should help a little in providing a balanced experience to all players. Each quarterly update (every 3 months) will introduce more milestones. Seasonal Rewards: With SkyBlock turning into a year long event, and with major balance updates coming every 3 months, you might be wondering how the reward payout is going to look. Everything after first place is TBA (to be announced). But the first place winner of the year long SkyBlocks will receive a real money payout. We're bringing real esports to Minecraft! So how much can you win? The top prize for our SkyBlock rework will be equal to roughly 1% of our net revenue during the year long period, up to $10,000. As a kid, I always wished I could make money from just playing the video games I loved, and it makes me happy that with Minecraft I can help make that a reality today. So to sum everything up: Each SkyBlock season will now last 1 year, with updates around every 2 weeks, and major updates every 3 months to ensure no one island can ever become too dominate. 1% of all of our purchases/donations will go towards the top prize for an individual SkyBlock season. The JourneyBook is receiving a major overhaul. There will be new tools added to help slow the runaway economy. We don't have any promises on a launch date for this new SkyBlock season just yet, but you can expect it to come sometime early next month! ► Prison Rework Alright, so we've covered all the massive news about SkyBlock, but what about Prison? Well, Prison is getting possibly an even more major overhaul! The Prison MMO: We've learned over the past year that seasonal Prison servers aren't as fun as having an on-going, balanced game. For that reason, we're doing away with Prison seasons and moving on to a version of Prison that will never reset: Insane Prison MMO edition! Here's a quick list of what this entails: New bosses Tons of new gems New currencies (like aether) New enchanter abilities New enchants New prestige system New mine system Tutorials Questing Minelings (progress enhancing minions/pets) An open world experience, featuring cities you can travel to with new and better mines. AI bots for delivering quests/challenges, offering trades, selling things, lore, and more. If you'd like to learn more of the specifics coming in this update, I emplore you to check out the #red-tracker on our Discord. I'll be posting updates there whenever I can! This update will be huge, and we'll roll out the new game mode in early-access format as soon as there are enough features complete to serve it. This will hopefully happen in July, but again, no promises just yet! ► Other Reworks Our new system enables us to complete work faster than ever. Over the next few weeks/months, in addition to the above, I plan to: Release a new version of Creative that will always stay on the latest version of Minecraft. WorldEdit access will be possible through voting. Release a new version of Survival that will always stay on the latest version of Minecraft. Our goal is to make it as close to a vanilla experience as possible while still enabling an economy to make the most out of the multiplayer side of things. Release a new version of Factions based on the HCGames network, which we acquired over a year ago. Finish our recode of Minecade and re-open the network as the Hypixel of Good Gaming! Again, these updates have been a long time coming! With our infrastructure changes the next few months should start to look really great for GGMC, and I can't express how much I appreciate everyone who's been on this journey with us through thick and thin. Thank you, and I hope you find these updates as exciting as I do!