Community The Future of EscapeRestart, Current Problems, & More

Hex

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Current State

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.


The Solutions

• 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.

• Redirection

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.

• Streamlining

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.

Moving Forward

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!
 
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Hex

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If you have any questions, feel free to leave them below or hop in our discord to join the discussion there! I'll try to answer them as best as I can :)

Also huge shoutout to people like Malcovent, superstein, Friendy, and more for coming out of the woodworks per my request to help with efforts! I appreciate you guys tremendously.
 
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Notme

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Yeah, scrapping unnecessary fluff would be good idea.
AoD and entire GMOD could be scrapped for now, maybe AoD could be event server, or some custom kit duel PVP server, so we can mix and match our gear.
For example it would be nice to test full netherite Protection IV armor + netherite sword with Sharpness V
 
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Duffie

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I will mention, whatwith most of us oldies are now adults, we may or may not have the weekends as our days off from work-- So having multiple events on differing days of the week may be a great option to look into for data, but I'm thinking it is likely to assume that Friday, Saturday and Sunday are still the best likely candidates for new members.

To add to that last note however, if we are rebranding, community-wise we will definitely need to consider both new members AND oldies, as it's never wise to focus on one or the other-- I personally pictured that (along with my own personal life issues) as the result of the down spiral.

To clarify, I don't mean special accommodations for one or the other, but a simple acknowledgement and inclusion of both in the ideas and changes moving forward. There are things that only oldies would understand, such as Solitude, and plenty of new changes to appeal to new members that may not align with most oldies-- Which could be resolved with major tweaks and community polls (when the community is larger) with consideration for all likely candidates.

I have little experience running a community, but I can say I have tried in multiple aspects; from running a guild in AFK Arena, to being the initial leader of Gaia in Primordia-- I can safely say I am not qualified to run, but my heart grows quickly before the stress of life overtakes all of my responsibilities.

So, to add on that, definitely suggest trying to have multiple trustworthy people of differing timezones equivalent to the community's standard usage, as availability and readiness to assist is also a big must-- But I digress, that isn't so much necessary to consider for a rebranding. ?

These are just some incomplete thoughts, but wanted to at least share them!

All in all: constitute age groups, include new and old in rebranding, availability and readiness.

Best of luck moving forward, I hope things shape for the better!
 

Hex

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I will mention, whatwith most of us oldies are now adults, we may or may not have the weekends as our days off from work-- So having multiple events on differing days of the week may be a great option to look into for data, but I'm thinking it is likely to assume that Friday, Saturday and Sunday are still the best likely candidates for new members.
Absolutely important. I'm currently gathering a team of people to manage events, so that way things can be varied and it's not just dependable on one person. This will all be taken into consideration moving forward.

To clarify, I don't mean special accommodations for one or the other, but a simple acknowledgement and inclusion of both in the ideas and changes moving forward. There are things that only oldies would understand, such as Solitude, and plenty of new changes to appeal to new members that may not align with most oldies-- Which could be resolved with major tweaks and community polls (when the community is larger) with consideration for all likely candidates.
I know exactly what you are saying. We don't plan on ostracizing anyone from either side of the board. While some changes may happen, at the core of things we want to keep things unique and fresh - and we can't deny that some of the servers we have, have special qualities. It's definitely a bit harder at this point in the communities stage to do polling, but we will 100% be doing that more often as well.

So, to add on that, definitely suggest trying to have multiple trustworthy people of differing timezones equivalent to the community's standard usage, as availability and readiness to assist is also a big must-- But I digress, that isn't so much necessary to consider for a rebranding. ?
It is a must, and a priority of mine! The big struggle right now is working with what little staff we have, and that includes timezones. Unfortunately during the lull, lots of people lost motivation, moved on to other things, etc - we are nowhere near as big as we were so getting staff / trusted members can be a bit challenging, especially when the people I know to outreach to are adults now with little time on their hands like myself. I hope that these efforts bring some people out of the woodworks, and also of course would love to see new faces on the team.

Best of luck moving forward, I hope things shape for the better!
Thank you!
 

Hex

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So now we want criticism?
I understand that many people here who played in the past are hurt or untrusting, and that is understandable - I don't think anyone believes this community was ever ran perfectly, and I don't necessarily think anyone was trying to deflect criticism in the past either. I apologize to any that was burnt, and I know that may not be enough for some, and it may have not even been me that they feel burnt by.

This thread is part of huge attempt by people that genuinely care for the community, and I hope that seeing the progress and details laid out will help some people gain that trust back. There will be ongoing updates as we transition to different stages of the solutions, among other things.

Regardless, lets keep this on topic - I'd advise to just leave the negativity behind us, it isn't going to do anything for the community.
 

Mr.Bobcat12

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Haven't been a part of the community since the rebrand from TheOne into Blocktopia. Just so happened to see an email pop up in my inbox so here I am.

It's very nice to see that there is people that still very much care about this community albeit a small number but still. I'm excited to see what changes are brought to the community and hopefully a revival of sorts.

This place is definitely very different from what I knew many many years ago but I'd love to come back and have some fun on some new servers!

-Bob :)
 

Killllerr

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Not gonna lie saw an email from here and had 0 idea what this was. I thought that blocktopia had died (doesn't help this site has many dead links) and had no idea that you guys rebranded. I don't seem to see any emails indicating that you guys did rebrand either, and the original blocktopia twitter account is dead. The forums are still the "same" considering i'm using my original account, so i feel like you guys could have notified users of the rebrand relatively easily.
 

Hex

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Not gonna lie saw an email from here and had 0 idea what this was. I thought that blocktopia had died (doesn't help this site has many dead links) and had no idea that you guys rebranded. I don't seem to see any emails indicating that you guys did rebrand either, and the original blocktopia twitter account is dead. The forums are still the "same" considering i'm using my original account, so i feel like you guys could have notified users of the rebrand relatively easily.
I wasn't part of the rebrand at all, I completely agree with what you are saying - I also don't know if I even have access to the accounts that are linked to the old brand. That site isn't really used anymore, although I am replacing it with something much more modernized soon.

I'm not sure if previous admins sent out emails when they rebranded or not, or much of anything really - I only inherited things after they moved to EscapeRestart, although I played while it was still called Blocktopia.

Edit: The good news is, I managed to get ahold of GmK and get the Blocktopia twitter to at least point to our new servers: Link to tweet

I'll find out if I can get a redirect going for that one URL so it still shows up when googling "Blocktopia Minecraft", but our new sites pop up.
 
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Hex

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Not gonna lie saw an email from here and had 0 idea what this was. I thought that blocktopia had died (doesn't help this site has many dead links) and had no idea that you guys rebranded. I don't seem to see any emails indicating that you guys did rebrand either, and the original blocktopia twitter account is dead. The forums are still the "same" considering i'm using my original account, so i feel like you guys could have notified users of the rebrand relatively easily.
Both of these things are fixed now! Blocktopia Twitter was accessed and the top / final tweet is redirecting to our new name, and the one site you linked will now redirect to our new landing page!
 

Killllerr

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Both of these things are fixed now! Blocktopia Twitter was accessed and the top / final tweet is redirecting to our new name, and the one site you linked will now redirect to our new landing page!
Thats great to hear honestly, a while back i had a passing thought about blocktopia and decided to look it up and only came up with the aforementioned resources. So I thought it was dead. With that stuff updated hopefully other people doing the same will rediscover the community and start playing again. Also great to see the email that you sent out as well. I'll have to hop on sometime.
 

PotatOS

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Wow, I totally forgot about BT. Glad that we're going back to MineCraft though. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for changes and if there's anything community wise that we can help out with I'd love to help.
 
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Txboy1234

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Saw the interesting email and checked this out. Criticism is necessary and is going to happen. After Mojang closed down classic, this community pretty much closed down with it.

For a short time we had a zombie server (Non Classic), probably around 2013-2014 if I am not mistaken. (My god that was a long time ago) And it failed due to not a lot of commitment from old community mods/admins and the lack of support from these people really left me frustrated, in which after a while I just left and went elsewhere. (If Hockeyfan1852 see this, I really appreciated his work to try and get the server going)

Here we are about 10 years since the classic shutdown and now y'all want to bring this back into a Minecraft community? Well, my time with the classic zombie server community has always been my best time playing Minecraft. So if y'all really want to put a concerted effort into it, I am willing to put a little money into it. My years from 2011-201?, the least I can do is give some money as a thanks for the fun times.
 

HarmakAnna

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Can't say I anticipated this in my email lol

I basically haven't been interested in anything minecraft since 2013 shut down and in the meantime I've graduated middle school, high school, and college and am now working. I have been particularly curious in recent patches since the game seems completely different to what I remember back in the days of classic, beta, and 1.0. If there's enough interest from older people that used to be in Blocktopia and there's like, a central SMP then I would definitely be interested. One of the main reasons I've never really picked up the game again is because it feels pretty boring when nobody's online to chill with. This is also why when I've come back every so often to ER out of curiosity and logged into the Simply SMP server, I was quickly turned off of it cuz it felt like I was just alone and didn't want to run a distance to find a plot of land to start working on that somebody else probably already explored, mined out, and abandoned long before I arrived.

I will mention, whatwith most of us oldies are now adults, we may or may not have the weekends as our days off from work-- So having multiple events on differing days of the week may be a great option to look into for data, but I'm thinking it is likely to assume that Friday, Saturday and Sunday are still the best likely candidates for new members.
Definitely second what Duffie's saying - these days I'm working 9-5 so at least for me evening and weekend events would entice me a bit more. Solitude and Primordia especially were probably my favorite experiences with public MC SMP servers? I liked Primordia because other than factions it never felt like it was particularly complicated, though that might've just been because I ran off and did my own thing in Corpios with school friends the whole time.

I never attached much to AoD after Zombie closed down because the newer PvP elements like potions, swords, bows, etc never really appealed to me in the way that Zombie was just a simple game of tag with a bunch of fun maps but also generally enough downtime to talk, even mid-match. Course-building, simpler parkour without running, and being creative with how you avoided people, whether through hiding spots or really good jukes were the main draw for me then.

I think that's all my feedback? Willing to expand further if anyone is interested but idk if I had much of a point through all this lol. I'm interested in staying updated with this in case a new SMP happens, though for me either having it really simple (like, almost vanilla) or some really complicated mod like Tekkit or Feed the Beast from back in the day that would make things ultra fresh would be most interesting to me.
 

Duffie

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I never attached much to AoD after Zombie closed down because the newer PvP elements like potions, swords, bows, etc never really appealed to me in the way that Zombie was just a simple game of tag with a bunch of fun maps but also generally enough downtime to talk, even mid-match. Course-building, simpler parkour without running, and being creative with how you avoided people, whether through hiding spots or really good jukes were the main draw for me then.
I'd like to add that having a more up-to-date version of Classic Zombie Survival, probably with the exact same concept of tag but with prominent changes like punching, sprinting and more building options, would honestly make for a true revival of Classic Zombie Survival to a sort of Premium Zombie Survival. If conceived correctly, this might bring back a lot of people, as I know I joined TheOne's and Blocktopia for its very fun and simplistic game of tag!

Furthermore, keeping it simple would be the major key, as well as introducing what every Minecraft player would already know regarding the up-to-date version of Minecraft: ie; punching, sprinting, more building blocks, etc. Having limited maps would still be ideal for smaller populated time-frames, but we could use some data from Classic Zombie to determine things like map sizes, what makes tag fun, and how we could implement old ideas into new ones.

All in all, just a nice thought after seeing this comment! I know we had worked on an idea like this before, but I think the problem we had was that we focused too much on new ideas, or too much on bringing back the old Zombie Survival. As much as I would adore Classic Zombie being back, it wouldn't be active due to it being outdated and not implementing what most Minecraft users are used to in a normal game of Survival.
 

HarmakAnna

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I'd like to add that having a more up-to-date version of Classic Zombie Survival, probably with the exact same concept of tag but with prominent changes like punching, sprinting and more building options, would honestly make for a true revival of Classic Zombie Survival to a sort of Premium Zombie Survival. If conceived correctly, this might bring back a lot of people, as I know I joined TheOne's and Blocktopia for its very fun and simplistic game of tag!

Furthermore, keeping it simple would be the major key, as well as introducing what every Minecraft player would already know regarding the up-to-date version of Minecraft: ie; punching, sprinting, more building blocks, etc. Having limited maps would still be ideal for smaller populated time-frames, but we could use some data from Classic Zombie to determine things like map sizes, what makes tag fun, and how we could implement old ideas into new ones.

All in all, just a nice thought after seeing this comment! I know we had worked on an idea like this before, but I think the problem we had was that we focused too much on new ideas, or too much on bringing back the old Zombie Survival. As much as I would adore Classic Zombie being back, it wouldn't be active due to it being outdated and not implementing what most Minecraft users are used to in a normal game of Survival.
Omg, if there was a marriage between the old tag-style gameplay of Zombie plus new stuff (like stairs making it so you don't have to jump all the time lmao) I would SO be on that instantly. I've talked about my experiences with Blocktopia to a couple really close friends I've made since my time on the server and I'd def wanna show them something like that.

I know there was a zombie survival style with Classicube that was up for a time (not sure if it still is) but it felt dated, not active enough, and I was so rusty anyways that it wasn't as fun so I figured I'd just let my time with the game mode stay as a fond memory. Maybe dynamic map sizes and styles based on player counts would also be good? I think there can be ways to make even games of 3 or 4 players fun if it was done well, like ridiculously small map sizes or more expansive ones. Zombie was always rough when you really wanted to play on a parkour map like bootcamp or greatwall but then had to sit for a full match on blockfactory or pandoras_box or something, especially in the later days when there were 5-10 people on at any given time. Secrets were kinda lame too IMO - it was just a free win if nobody knew where it was.

I also just filled out that survey in the email too, and think that something like a premium Zombie, a battle-royale/UHC style mode with a couple scheduled events a week (maybe advertised through a Zombie/SMP lobby if there's interest) and an MMO-style SMP server built by ER would be like, the thing that'd hook me for a good while. I've always thought Minecraft had a ton of potential to replicate MMO-style dungeons, settlements, etc via mods and pre-built stuff but also could be a much more alive world thanks to it being a much more flexible sandbox. It's how I felt about Primordia for the short time that was around and I don't think I ever had a server experience particularly that good since, regardless of how riddled with problems it was.

Plus if enough old zombie ppl were interested it'd be really cool to see some old faces, though I'm not entirely confident about that happening. It'd be a nice bonus at least
 

Hex

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Wow, I totally forgot about BT. Glad that we're going back to MineCraft though. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for changes and if there's anything community wise that we can help out with I'd love to help.
Welcome back! Make sure to join our Discord as well, I make updates there much more frequently. If you are ever wanting to help, there is also an #apply-for-help channel! There's a ton of ways people can help with the making of the servers / revamp, so feel free to apply.

Here we are about 10 years since the classic shutdown and now y'all want to bring this back into a Minecraft community? Well, my time with the classic zombie server community has always been my best time playing Minecraft. So if y'all really want to put a concerted effort into it, I am willing to put a little money into it. My years from 2011-201?, the least I can do is give some money as a thanks for the fun times.
Honestly, I didn't have much to do with Classic - or even the rebrand haha. I essentially inherited it all after the fact. I played a bit in 2013, but didn't really have any high staffing positions. Don't feel obligated to donate, but it does help! I'm very set on turning this ship around, and I'm happy to see so many older players coming out to support.

I basically haven't been interested in anything minecraft since 2013 shut down and in the meantime I've graduated middle school, high school, and college and am now working. I have been particularly curious in recent patches since the game seems completely different to what I remember back in the days of classic, beta, and 1.0. If there's enough interest from older people that used to be in Blocktopia and there's like, a central SMP then I would definitely be interested. One of the main reasons I've never really picked up the game again is because it feels pretty boring when nobody's online to chill with. This is also why when I've come back every so often to ER out of curiosity and logged into the Simply SMP server, I was quickly turned off of it cuz it felt like I was just alone and didn't want to run a distance to find a plot of land to start working on that somebody else probably already explored, mined out, and abandoned long before I arrived.
Yeah, this is very typical. SimpleSMP was quite fun, but definitely had it's faults and I had to stop updates once I learned I was becoming a father. I definitely think SMP's are our strong suit, it's just a lot of the time they fall short because we don't have as much resources as we want to believe we do. I'm really going to have to help direct and make sure the SMP team doesn't get their hands too full, that's for sure.

I never attached much to AoD after Zombie closed down because the newer PvP elements like potions, swords, bows, etc never really appealed to me in the way that Zombie was just a simple game of tag with a bunch of fun maps but also generally enough downtime to talk, even mid-match. Course-building, simpler parkour without running, and being creative with how you avoided people, whether through hiding spots or really good jukes were the main draw for me then.
My only concern with Zombie / Tag is how "Basic" it is compared to all the other servers out there. It would need some serious modernization, and at that I'm not sure if it could live on in its own game mode. I've never personally played zombies so I can't say much - but if it was ever a "slower" type game that would have to eb adjusted too, unfortunately outside of SMP "slow" gamemodes aren't really the move, it's more fast-paced gameplay that people can hop in anytime.

Another thing is, I've never played Zombies, and I'm not sure who on the current staff team has either. I'm not sure we could execute the idea very well honestly.

All in all, just a nice thought after seeing this comment! I know we had worked on an idea like this before, but I think the problem we had was that we focused too much on new ideas, or too much on bringing back the old Zombie Survival. As much as I would adore Classic Zombie being back, it wouldn't be active due to it being outdated and not implementing what most Minecraft users are used to in a normal game of Survival.
Read above, but I'd definitely like more discussions on what other servers we should be looking at. I'm going to highly highly recommend joining the Discord, as that is where most of the discussions are going on, and dropping a few messages in #community-discussion. I really do want another server other than SMP and what is on our old lineup, but I also know it needs to be fresh, modern, and fast paced. It needs to compete with what's out there now.

Plus if enough old zombie ppl were interested it'd be really cool to see some old faces, though I'm not entirely confident about that happening. It'd be a nice bonus at least
You'd be surprised at how many people pop their heads in or even have stuck around, especially in the Discord!
 
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