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2b2t

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2b2t
The 2b2t logo with "2B" on one line and "2T" below it in large silver letters
Initial releaseDecember 2010; 10 years ago (December 2010)[1][2]
PlatformMinecraft: Java Edition (version 1.12.2)[3]
TypeMinecraft server
Website

2builders2tools (2b2t) is a Minecraft server founded in December 2010.[1][2][4] 2b2t is the oldest anarchy server[a] in Minecraft,[2] as well as one of the oldest running Minecraft servers of any variety.[4][8] Additionally, 2b2t's world is one of the longest-running server maps in the game, which has never been reset since its creation.[7][9][10] As the server has virtually no rules or authority, griefing[b] and hacking are common amongst players,[5][9][11] with no risk of getting banned.[7] The server is permanently set to the "hard" difficulty, and player versus player combat is enabled throughout.[6] The server has seen over 689,000 players explore its procedurally generated map, increasing its file size to over 11.8 terabytes.[10] 2b2t has been described in news media as the worst Minecraft server due to its playerbase and culture.[4][9]

History[edit]

An aerial render of the spawn region in July 2019, displaying the extreme amount of destruction and modification carried out to the terrain, including the construction of massive structures, such as the prominent Square and Compasses).
An aerial render of the spawn region in July 2019, centered on the middle of the map with a diameter of just over 4,000 blocks. The render displays the extreme amount of destruction and modification carried out to the terrain, including the construction of massive structures, such as the prominent Square and Compasses (upper right).

In a Rock, Paper, Shotgun article by Brendan Caldwell, 2b2t player James Rustles stated about the server's origin:[5]

It used to be a Garry's Mod server, ... The basic story is that this guy who ran the Garry's Mod server started a Minecraft server with the same premise – that you can do anything you want – and this was then given to one of his friends, who we know as Hausemaster.

The 2b2t Minecraft server was founded in December 2010.[1] The founders are anonymous,[9] choosing to remain unknown or known only via usernames; the most prominent founder is commonly referred to as "Hausemaster" or "Hausmaster", who was described as "a quasi-mythical figure both praised and trolled" by Roisin Kiberd from Newsweek.[2][4] After being asked by Vice journalist Andrew Paul via email in 2015, the server operator stated:[9]

There was no main reason or big idea, it started out as any generic Minecraft test server in late 2010 where me and some friends played on to play the game ... [A]fter a while we decided to open it up to see how much destruction could be made and started advertising it on various places on the Internet.

The server was advertised shortly after its creation on online forums such as 4chan, Facepunch Studios, and Reddit, whose users populated the server by the hundreds due to the total freedom it offered.[9] Members from different forums raided each other and their bases on the server.[2] The founders eventually stopped playing Minecraft, though the server remained online due to the large player base that had been formed.[9] Except in fixing game-breaking exploits, the server operator is relatively hands-off in administrating the server.[4] A subreddit was created by a player on March 25, 2012.[12] In June 2013, the file size of 2b2t's world map, which is procedurally generated, was reported to be over 500 gigabytes.[11] In October 2015, storage usage had increased to almost 800 gigabytes, with the server costing US$90 a month to maintain.[9]

A graph showing 2b2t's growth in player count from under 30,000 in 2013 to over 600,000 in 2021
Unique 2b2t players over time according to the server administrator

On June 1, 2016, YouTuber 'TheCampingRusher' uploaded a YouTube video of himself playing on 2b2t. This caused a massive influx of new players from the channel's audience, who were at first mostly tourists, as the video gained over two million views in less than four months from its upload.[2][4] The sudden influx overwhelmed the server and strained the hardware used to host and run it. A loose group of older players came together against these new players. Although the new players, who called themselves "Rushers", largely outnumbered the older players at the time, the older players had years of experience and resources.[4] Some older players deterred new players by destroying the spawn-in area to make it uninhabitable and extremely challenging to proceed from.[2][4] Some players built in-game contraptions designed solely to overload the server, with the intent of making it difficult for TheCampingRusher and his fans to play on it. Some placed obscene content around the spawn area and along player-built roads in an attempt to get TheCampingRusher's YouTube videos taken down due to violations of YouTube's terms of service. The new players, despite having been discouraged to do so by TheCampingRusher, had destroyed bases and monuments on the server that had stood for years, which is partially what had caused such a response from the player base.[4] When Kiberd from Newsweek asked Hausemaster if he disapproved of the massive influx of new players, he responded by saying that "2b2t is definitely not ruined—in my opinion it's how it should be: absolutely chaotic."[2]

In response to the inundated server and hardware, a queue to enter the server was added. The queue gave earlier 2b2t players priority over newer players,[4] although this feature was removed after a year.[13] The regular queue moves slowly and can contain over a thousand players.[2] Waiting in the queue has been described as an onerous task. Players can pay $20 to access a separate "priority" queue for one month.[4]

As of September 2021, according to 2b2t's official subreddit (containing over 175,000 members), the file size of the server's map is more than 11.8 terabytes from over 689,000 unique players that have joined the server.[10]

Nocom exploit[edit]

Heatmap centered on the spawn region of player locations on the server from March 2020 to July 2021, created using data collected from the Nocom exploit

In 2018, a group of players called Nerds Inc. discovered a bug in 2b2t's server software that allowed players to query far-away terrain, which players cannot normally view. The loading of huge areas of terrain puts a heavy workload on the server, which Nerds Inc. used to repeatedly crash the server. This was done with the intent to incite a vulnerable bug fix into 2b2t's upstream server software (PaperMC), which now only responded to the querying of far-away terrain if it was already loaded, i.e. proximate to a player. The developers inadvertently gave anyone aware of the vulnerability the ability to test if any given area in the game world contained a player, and to read that area if so. Nerds Inc. could now locate all online players and remotely observe the terrain around players in real time, including valuable storage of in-game items and player-built constructions.[14][15]

Correlating the coinciding timing of player join/disconnect notices and the loading/unloading of locations let Nerds Inc. tell where specific players stood, not just that a player was there.[15] The exploit became more effective with an adaptive tracking system programmed by a member of Nerds Inc.,[14] predicting the paths individual players would take using Monte Carlo localization.[16][17] The data gathered amassed about 2 terabytes during the 3 years of tracking terrain, paths, and base locations.[15]

One group that shared members with Nerds Inc. was supplied with the locations of numerous bases which they raided, looting 200 million in-game items. They kept the exploit secret, creating fake stories behind the destruction of bases and gaslighting. They named the exploit "Nocom", short for "no comment". In 2021, another group independently discovered the same exploit, and, with their less concealed use of the exploit, it was patched on July 15, 2021.[15]

Culture[edit]

Two "lavacasts" produced to create artificial hills and uneven terrain. Among other uses, lavacasts can be built to block the way for new players from spawn (upper left) to the rest of the map (lower right). Also visible at lower right is an incomplete lava cast (currently covered in lava).

The culture of 2b2t, as well as Minecraft anarchy servers in general, is inhospitable and nihilistic.[2] Players usually need to hide supplies and be armed in order to survive, and can expect to be killed several times.[2] This is exacerbated by the server being set to "hard" difficulty and player versus player combat being enabled, making survival considerably harder.[6] Longtime players are often hostile to new players on the server,[4] whom they often call "newfags".[4][9] The server-wide chat often contains spam, trolling, and trash talking,[4] as well as racial slurs, death threats, and Nazi propaganda.[2][5] Links to obscene content and screamer videos are also common.[4] Players lie to others with the intent of sending them to in-game locations with traps.[4] A common rule among players is to not trust others.[6]

Traps are deliberately placed surrounding the area where players first join the server: pits of lava, areas lit on fire, and portals that lead to lava or enclosed areas of obsidian that force players to disconnect and reconnect, waiting through the queue again.[2][5] Some players create large obstacles called "lavacasts", in which water and lava are repeatedly poured down staircases of stone, creating mountains of jagged stone.[5] These structures surround the spawn area and many are as tall as the map's height limit.[11] There have occasionally been events in which dozens of players come together to take control of spawn for a time, in order to build a large base, kill many new players, or destroy other bases, which are most often referred to as "spawn incursions".[5] Inexperienced players may need many attempts and multiple hours to escape the spawn area,[4][5][9] where resources have been consumed for thousands of blocks in any direction.[8] The most common cause of death is starvation from being unable to escape the spawn area.[6] A player may last around 1,500 blocks of travel without food before dying of starvation.[5] Roisin Kiberd of Newsweek speculated that enduring the challenge may be part of the appeal of 2b2t: since "nobody survives for long, there is a pride in having died there."[2]

Experienced players reside far away from the spawn area in relative safety to play the game and build.[2] The map is less destroyed further away from spawn,[6][9] allowing for trees and animals.[5] Player-built roads are used to travel out from spawn.[5][6] The server has no etiquette regarding ownership; anything that is built can be destroyed at any time if found by other players.[4] This destruction, known as griefing, is so commonplace on the server that Brendan Caldwell of Rock, Paper, Shotgun described it as being "just a form of weather".[5] Despite this culture of hostility and destruction, there is an event every April Fools' Day in which the server changes to a different map for a few days and players can come together and cooperate.[5]

Players often use a "hacked client", which is an altered version of Minecraft featuring abilities that are not in the default game client, such as X-ray vision, improved bow aim, and radar.[2][5] These clients help immensely in allowing the player to navigate the environment and survive.[2][4][5] Players without these clients are at a disadvantage.[5]

Reception[edit]

2b2t is known as the worst Minecraft server.[4] Both Robert Guthrie of Kotaku and Andrew Paul of Vice have named the server the worst in Minecraft.[4][9] Paul described the server as a "fantastical world of possibility and horror."[9] Brendan Caldwell of Rock, Paper, Shotgun described 2b2t as the game's "most obscene server."[5] In June 2012, Craig Pearson of PCGamesN called it Minecraft's most offensive server, noting 2b2t's callousness and obscenity in the form of language, swastikas, and its hostile player base.[6] In 2013, a PCGamesN article by Jeremy Peel announced Minecraft's built-in server hosting service, Minecraft Realms, and mentioned that it would keep children away from 2b2t, an implication of the server's unsafe environment.[18] In 2014, Tim Edwards wrote in a PCGamesN article addressing Microsoft about their purchase of Minecraft that they shouldn't get "prissy" about player-made creations, stating that "2b2t is still an amazing achievement, with or without the swastikas."[19]

In 2016, on both Newsweek and The Independent, Roisin Kiberd described 2b2t as a malevolent form of Minecraft, a place of beauty and terror. Kiberd called the server "hell", stating that it is "not safe for life", as the server gives "free rein to [players'] darkest impulses." Kiberd concluded that the main appeal of playing on the server comes from learning the possibilities of a server with few limits, as well as enduring its hostile environment.[2][20] Kiberd also noted that there is a so-called "meta-narrative" above 2b2t, involving players using YouTube and Reddit to share analysis and commentary about in-server events.[2] A 2013 IGN article and video listed 2b2t's spawn area as one of the six best things in Minecraft, describing the server as the "end boss" of Minecraft servers, a celebration of destruction and indifference. The article noted 2b2t's propensity towards griefing, the use of hacked clients, and player-built obscenities; and stated that players with thick skin should visit 2b2t at least once.[11]

Later, as I pass a floating swastika while shrugging off the latest barrage of anonymous insults ... I realize maybe 2b2t doesn't represent the pinnacle of human ingenuity. But it still might serve a different purpose: the mapping of a collective mindscape, our virtual id, visualized and digitized for all time. The highs, the lows, the nagging voices of criticism, the thoughts we'd rather not share—who hasn't felt all of these at some point? In some ways, 2b2t is a more accurate depiction of humanity than I initially thought. Whether or not intended by its creators, the game gives imagery to an unrestrained stream of populist consciousness, the total summation of a certain segment of our species. 2b2t is like any other human mind: An infinitely expanding plane, filled with ideas both beautiful and terrifying, with an occasional voice on the wind making you feel like a fucking idiot.[9]

— The Worst Place in Minecraft, Vice (2015)
The Victoria and Albert Museum in London, where 2b2t exhibited from 2018 to 2019

From September 8, 2018, to February 24, 2019, 2b2t was featured in the Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt exhibition of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.[21] The exhibition aimed to explore video games and their designing process, as well as how they captivate players and the social and ethical issues around them. Minecraft was heavily featured in the third section of the exhibition, which focused on games in which players "become creators and designers themselves, often as part of large online communities".[22] 2b2t represented this aspect of Minecraft, which exhibited alongside 15 other video games. The server was described as being "littered with archaeological remnants of its history... a palimpsest of a landscape, written over and re-written over by feuds between players, hacks injecting vast structures into the world, and by different waves of Internet communities arriving and rampaging or attempting to settle within it."[21]

2b2t also featured in an episode of the Swedish podcast P3 Spel (P3 Games) of Sveriges Radio, which described 2b2t as Minecraft's "most talked-about" server, and how, throughout its history, it has become the "witch's cauldron of chaos" it is today.[12]

Books[edit]

In Introduction to Game Design, Prototyping, and Development, published by Pearson Education in August 2017, 2b2t was described as being a "barren hellscape", with its nature being the "ultimate expression of the core mechanic of the game," referring to Minecraft's open-ended sandbox nature.[8] The Ultimate Minecraft Creator, published by Triumph Books in July 2014, stated that despite 2b2t's offensive language and behavior, griefing, and cheating, the server can be fun for some players:

This server is really like no other, and in fact, it's like no other thing in gaming. Because people cheat wildly, grief relentlessly, and absolutely wreck the area for thousands of blocks around the spawn, 2b2t's landscape turns into a nightmare wasteland which you will probably not survive. Be warned: 2b2t is not for the faint of heart or the sensitive. You will die, people will attack you and wreck/steal whatever you have, and you will very likely run into some offensive language and behavior here. That being said, it's an experience like no other and completely fun, if you're ready for what awaits you.[23]

— The Ultimate Minecraft Creator: The Unofficial Building Guide to Minecraft and Other Games (July 1, 2014)

Master Builder 3.0 Advanced and Ultimate Guide to Mastering Minigames and Servers, published by Triumph Books in April 2015 and April 2016 respectively, both stated that 2b2t "sits among online royalty when it comes to public [Minecraft] servers."[24][25]

Renders[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ In the context of Minecraft, an "anarchy server" is understood as a multiplayer server with scarce or no rules,[5][6] with no possibility of getting banned from it.[7]
  2. ^ In this context, griefing refers to the act of destroying or vandalizing other players' creations without permission.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "2b2t.org". Archived from the original on March 18, 2013. Retrieved January 6, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Kiberd, Roisin (September 15, 2016). "The Minecraft Server That Will Kill You 1,000 Times". Newsweek. Archived from the original on October 14, 2019. Retrieved September 9, 2019.
  3. ^ "2b2t.org 1.12.2 Minecraft Server". Minecraft Server List. Retrieved March 3, 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Guthrie, Robert (September 23, 2016). "The Denizens of Minecraft's 'Worst' Server Are At War With YouTube". Kotaku. Archived from the original on March 29, 2019. Retrieved September 9, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Caldwell, Brendan (February 29, 2016). "Ridealong: The Ruin Of Minecraft's Most Obscene Server". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Archived from the original on October 14, 2019. Retrieved September 11, 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Pearson, Craig (June 3, 2012). "2b2t photodiary: Inside Minecraft's most offensive server". PCGamesN. Archived from the original on June 9, 2012. Retrieved December 26, 2019.
  7. ^ a b c Peng, Mei (October 19, 2019). "4 Oldest Minecraft Servers And Why They Matter". Culture. Celebs Pulse. Retrieved March 3, 2020.
  8. ^ a b c Gibson, Jeremy Gibson (August 17, 2017). Introduction to Game Design, Prototyping, and Development: From Concept to Playable Game with Unity and C#. Pearson Education. ISBN 9780134659886. Archived from the original on December 6, 2019. Retrieved November 12, 2019.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Paul, Andrew (October 5, 2015). "The Worst Place in Minecraft". Tech. Vice. Archived from the original on October 14, 2019. Retrieved September 9, 2019.
  10. ^ a b c "Official website sidebar". Reddit. Archived from the original on September 1, 2021. Retrieved September 1, 2021.
  11. ^ a b c d Craig (June 20, 2013). "The 6 Most Amazing Things I've Seen in Minecraft". IGN. Archived from the original on May 28, 2019. Retrieved September 9, 2019.
  12. ^ a b Norström, Tobias (February 19, 2020). "DOKUMENTÄR: Anarki, hat och Minecraft" [DOCUMENTARY: Anarchy, Hatred and Minecraft]. Sveriges Radio (Podcast). Archived from the original on February 25, 2021. Retrieved April 14, 2021.
  13. ^ 2b2t (October 12, 2017). "Upcoming changes, website, queue to be reworked and 'pre 1st-june' list to be deleted, and some other information". Reddit. Archived from the original on April 19, 2019. Retrieved February 17, 2020.
  14. ^ a b Lowry, Brendan (July 25, 2021). "How the 2B2T Minecraft server was almost toppled by an exploit". Windows Central. Retrieved August 12, 2021.
  15. ^ a b c d Walker, John (July 30, 2021). "Minecraft's 'Worst' Server Was Exploited So Hard, Griefers Could See The Future". Kotaku. Retrieved August 3, 2021.
  16. ^ "No Comment Explanation and Information". July 24, 2021. Archived from the original on August 12, 2021. Retrieved August 12, 2021.
  17. ^ "10 minutes and 25 seconds into "The Fast Cast - NOCOM Exploit"" (Podcast). July 26, 2021.
  18. ^ Peel, Jeremy (March 14, 2013). "Minecraft Realms is a subscription service for families that will "bring in more money than the game itself"". PCGamesN. Archived from the original on July 19, 2016. Retrieved December 2, 2019.
  19. ^ Edwards, Tim (October 22, 2014). "Dear Microsoft: about that Minecraft deal". PCGamesN. Archived from the original on July 12, 2017. Retrieved May 15, 2020.
  20. ^ Kiberd, Roisin (September 23, 2016). "There's an alternative Minecraft server without any rules". Indy/Life. The Independent. Archived from the original on October 14, 2019. Retrieved September 20, 2019.
  21. ^ a b Leith, Sam (August 31, 2018). "Video games at the V&A: is this the most creative artform of the modern age?". Culture. The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on September 5, 2018. Retrieved March 21, 2021.
  22. ^ Polianskaya, Alina (August 22, 2018). "From Minecraft to arcades and apps: V&A delves into today's video games". Issues. Design Week. Archived from the original on October 30, 2020. Retrieved March 21, 2021.
  23. ^ The Ultimate Minecraft Creator: The Unofficial Building Guide to Minecraft and Other Games. Triumph Books. July 1, 2014. ISBN 9781633190368. Archived from the original on December 6, 2019. Retrieved December 5, 2019.
  24. ^ Master Builder 3.0 Advanced: Minecraft Secrets and Strategies from the Game's Greatest Players. Triumph Books. April 1, 2015. pp. 43, 49. ISBN 9781633191884. Archived from the original on December 11, 2019. Retrieved December 11, 2019.
  25. ^ Ultimate Guide to Mastering Minigames and Servers: Minecraft Secrets to the World's Best Servers and Minigames. Triumph Books. April 5, 2016. ISBN 9781629372334. Archived from the original on December 6, 2019. Retrieved December 5, 2019.

External links[edit]