EscapeRestart's numbers have been slowly dwindling over the past years, and that's no secret to anyone. Once player counts fell, a “death spiral” was initiated, and staff lost motivation, further decreasing the quality of our servers and leading to further loss of active players. Staff moved on, a lot of us became adults with too many responsibilities, and on top of that updates for servers have slowed down significantly.
Staff activity is at an all-time low, there have been no promotions, and honestly even I have become overloaded with real life responsibilities that I lost focus on the community. Going forward, I want to be up front and clear about what the admin team have planned for the future of EscapeRestart, what problems led the community to its current state, and more.
Problems of ER
• The Rebrand
It's no secret the rebranding was a complete and utter failure. We attempted to meet the growing interests of our existing community, but expansion only really happened to one game and that was one official server, two if you really want to count my DarkRP stint. We never mastered the art of running other gameservers, but honestly we really never did anything about it besides sticking to our guns and continuing with the whole shtick. This leads to the next problem.
• Lost Purpose / Direction
I wasn't around for the specific time the rebrand happened, but it's been painfully obvious especially these past few years that the community has lost its purpose and direction. What would be your answer if I asked you what EscapeRestart really is? Sure you could just say it's a gaming community, but is that really true? This opens up a lot of other questions that many have likely asked themselves, especially old staff members - why am I even doing this? What's the true goal of the community?
These are all important questions, and should have been addressed and fixed much earlier. Instead, I, and previous CA's allowed it to go until it grew into a giant infection that killed off any motivation for most staff, and lead to an even faster downfall as this meant others had to pick up the slack, and either got burnt out, or also lost hope.
• Assessing & Organizing
First, we are going to assess the situation we have in front of us, which means verifying staff activity, diagnosing what went wrong and why, and gathering community input. This is the current stage we are in, and it is a very rough planning phase.
Right now, as of this post I have 14 active staff / contributors accounted for, which is not a lot but more than enough to have healthy beginning / planning discussions. This phase is going to entail planning on redirection, looking at what we need to do with our current MC servers to modernize them, and much more. Development on all servers will be halted at this time, and all efforts will be directed toward discussions of this community and the future of it.
We are digging our heels back into the roots of this community, Minecraft. It's clear the rebrand didn't work, and it should have been given up long ago. While it was nice to think we could expand into other games and become a general gaming community, we are and always will be a Minecraft Community. Considering during the entire rebrand era, we have had one semi-successful gameserver outside of MC, it's pretty obvious we should set our sights on Minecraft instead.
This is going to entail things like a new logo more in line with Minecraft, more MC consistent branding for advertising, and the closure of all gameservers outside of Minecraft. This will essentially be the end of the rebrand era, and while we will be keeping the name - we will no longer be advertised as a "gaming community". While we will continue to be a place to meet and play games together, including games beyond Minecraft, our core offerings will not venture beyond Minecraft.
There are a lot of things that are outdated about EscapeRestart, maybe not when speaking about things "working" - but we can admit that there are many things that have stuck around in this community for the sake of it being there, or because of nostalgia. We need to streamline a lot of aspects about our community to help modernize our servers, it feels like ultimately we're still stuck in 2017-2018. We are going to be looking at our servers, what needs to be changed about all of them, possibly about which ones may even be dropped. This is where development of servers will pick back up, and staff will start to be reassigned server positions.
We will also be looking at actual community aspects that need to be streamlined. Our homepage should link to a server directory instead. We updated our forums recently, but we will re-evaluate the role our forums play. Staffing ranks are going to be streamlined, considering ranks like Controller are essentially useless, and we may even look at things like Community Moderators or the likes.
• Encouraging Community Growth & Trust
We stopped a lot of things that encouraged community growth - community events halted, game nights stopped being a thing, meetings / news died down because no one had news to give. We are going to focus on trying to regrow this relationship. Once we have everything generally in place, things like community events will start back up again.
• Advertising & Sustainability
We’ve always been a bit behind in advertising, and another huge problem was that our servers just simply were not in a state to be advertised about. There was nothing that really pulled players in, and there were definitely too many broken things. In the future, I’m going to dedicate my time to advertising on a small scale, mainly starting on TikTok. It is a great opportunity to grow our community, and I think the short-form content will allow me to push out more content than we were ever able to do before. I do want to look into expanding to other social media, but I think the best idea is to focus on TikTok for now.
For the future of this community, we are going to be making a lot of significant changes. All of these changes will be documented thoroughly in update threads, and there will also be a new channel in the discord server to discuss the ongoing changes in our community (link here).
I’ve gathered a lot of great minds to get a headstart on this, people who many of you may know, like Malcovent, Superstein, Friendy, and more. We’ve all been having very healthy and active discussions for a bit now, and I have a very optimistic outlook for how things will turn out for the community.
This is a huge effort made by the small staff team here, so please be patient with us as we work on the kinks, problems, and more. Thank you all for being patient with me, and the community - hope to see more of your faces around, and new faces soon! If you are at all interested in helping with actual staffing, please contact Hex or Comp either on the Forums or Discord, while we intend to keep a lot of conversations to the public community we will need staff too!
tl;dr: We are going back to being a Minecraft community, and with it are coming major changes. Please stand by while these happen!