In the last two weeks, an offhand Reddit comment by a Mojangster has escalated into the biggest community kerfuffle Minecraft’s had in years. You can’t make money in Minecraft without Mojang’s express permission, is the gist of the rule that has server hosts up in arms.
Mojang wrote a long clarification before the weekend, in which they expanded the terms of the existing EULA to allow for server monetisation that wasn’t “forced” upon players. But for server hosts who’d been running payment systems in-game for years without restriction, it felt more like a clampdown.
So, more questions from them, and more answers from Mojang - who are determined to see all servers compliant with the rules by August 1.
Server hosts can charge players as regularly as they like, say Mojang. But the cost can only ever be an entry fee. Once players have joined a server, they have to enjoy all the same privileges - which means hosts can’t attach prices to specific minigames or worlds within their servers.
That still gives server hosts plenty of options: limited trial periods, timed access and priority seats for paying players. Even after they've connected to a server, players can be sold cosmetic items, coloured names, prefixes, harmless server commands and the like - so long as everybody’s still playing the same game with the same tools. That does mean that any purchased XP boosts must be applied uniformly across a whole server, however.
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The trickiest question many server hosts now face is how to bridge the gap between their existing haves and have-nots - should users lose the perks they’ve paid for, or have them devalued by offering the same to everyone free of charge? There’s no easy solution.
But Mojang are providing hosts with plenty of ways to stump up server costs. Even within their restrictions, it’s still possible to build free-to-play systems so aggressive as to make The Old Republic look laissez-faire. Are you happy with the rules as they now stand?