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What makes a good server - Donator Perks

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ElectricHamstar's Avatar ElectricHamstar
Level 46 : Master Enderdragon
In the first of a series of many blogs I plan to do, I ask "what is a good donator benefit?". Too many times have I seen overpowered benefits for donating. Yes, I get that servers need donations to run, in fact I completely agree that they should ask for people to buy subscription or a one time payment for some extra in-game perks. However, there's a line where a perk turns into an overpowered advantage.

Good Perks

A colored name

It just looks good, and doesn't provide an unfair advantage over everyone else. In fact, I think it's a great thing to offer in return for donations as it makes it obvious who donated. A word of advice though: in my opinion, rainbow names are icky.

A reserved slot on the server

I think being able to login to a server when full (such as at peak times) is a fantastic bonus! While it acts as an incentive for players to donate, it doesn't mean free players lose out on everything, as they can still login during less busy times.

At the very least, I recommend that every server offers this to their staff, so that they can login if trouble occurs during peak times and sort out the situation.

Restricted item/block placement

For example, if the server prevents normal players from placing TNT and lava to prevent griefing, then I see no problem with allowing donators to place them (although I recommend you use a plugin to log placement of these two things) - in general, donators are less likely to do things that will get them banned, although there are always some that will.

What I don't think is a good perk is where the admin blocks placement of certain blocks that don't need to be blocked (such as brick, seeds, ore blocks etc) to "encourage" people to donate (when in reality, they're just being greedy and forcing people to donate for things that they shouldn't have to).

Additional land claiming - in moderation

If you allow free players to protect 25x25 blocks of land, then allowing donators to claim 40x40 blocks of land seems fine to me. There's always the same issue as the restricted item placement, where the server owner purposely only gives them a small amount of land to pretty much force them to donate - e.g.: free players only getting to claim 5x5x5 of land and donators getting to claim 100x100x100 of land - it's just plain unfair.

The same applies to plots if you have a plot based world. Sure, let donators claim a few extra plots, just don't give then the ability to claim ones that are already claimed by others, or an excessive amount.

Periodic bonuses

Daily currency bonuses or periodically available kits are great, but don't overpower the bonus! An iron ingot or two every day isn't overpowered, 500 diamonds is. Think "is it possible to get this bonus by mining/gathering in the same amount of time a donator can claim it?", If not, then the bonus is too high and overpowered in my opinion.

Bad Offerings and Overpowered Bribes

The ability to kick, ban, jail or mute players

Please, just no. It's a staff power to be able to punish players, not a donator's. I promise you, at some point it will be abused to the extent where you'll lose players. It's a completely unfair perk where if a donator disagrees with what a free players says, they can effectively "torture" the player.

Increased chances of becoming staff

It does tie in with my last point, but even indirectly offering staff powers puts you in my bad books. Staff should be chosen because they're good at their job (which is moderating in most circumstances), not because they have money to spare.

Please, just choose good candidates and ignore their donation status. Someone not donating doesn't mean they don't want to support the server, it could just mean they can't afford to do so!

Item spawning/creative mode/flight/god mode on a survival server

A survival server should be exactly that: survival. Giving paying players to ability to spawn items in is just overpowered. Any server that does allow that shouldn't call themselves survival, because quite frankly, they are not.

Flight's a huge advantage too, you can cover large distances in a relatively safe way that's much quicker than if you were walking. It also makes building much easier, and if the server is indeed survival, then it shouldn't be so easy.

The ability to be immune to bans or to be punished less harshly

Just no. All players should be punished equally, and all rules should apply to all players. If a server doesn't allow free players to x-ray (which is basic common sense), then no-one shouldn't be allowed to. Donators are not some kind of god (or at least shouldn't be), they're just people who have spare money, and should be treated as such.

Other games will happily ban you even if you are a paid subscriber and you break the rules. I don't think Minecraft servers should be any exception.

The ability to chat

Just give it to all your players, not just donators. It's multiplayer after all, so not being able to communicate with the rest of the community just makes it a bit... pointless. Sure, have a donator only chat channel, but make the main one free!

Ending off

Server Owners

Please, if you own a server then please have sense when choosing your donator benefits. Don't just think about the donators, but also think about the free players. Honestly, set up the server in a way that you'll think will work, login as a free player and try and play the game. If anything seems unbalanced then change it - perks should make people want to donate, but not force them to.

Also, please price things well. I know you want money and all, but charging $300 for the ability to place TNT or $75 to be able to have a colored name is a little bit excessive...

SMP Players

If you're ever looking for a new server, then I advise that you check the donator benefits before you even sign up, it'll pay off in the long run. Be sure that you're not going to regret choosing that server, and remember you can't take anything you've gained with you if you decide that the server's not right for you in the long run.


So, what do you all think is a good donator bonus? Have you ever donated to a server, and do you think was worth it or not? What do you think is overpowered? Let me know in the comments if you've got anything to say about any of these questions, or anything else! My only request is that you don't bash servers, or name them just to shame them.

More in this series

1 Update Logs

Update #1 : by ElectricHamstar 10/17/2012 9:53:59 amOct 17th, 2012

Added chat section

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04/13/2013 11:00 pm
Level 17 : Journeyman Network
Monsteriac's Avatar
I Think Creative Is Fine As Long As You Have The Right Limits.
For example i limit most blocks disable fly and allow pvp in creative (so players can still hit them)
they also cannot have certain items in there hot bar like diamond swords.
they also have seperate incentories for each game mode and tgey cant drop items pick up items and they dont drop items upon death.
12/27/2012 4:53 am
Level 33 : Artisan Crafter
skywiremodsandskins's Avatar
Thanks for the tip on the forum!!!
12/27/2012 6:09 am
Level 46 : Master Enderdragon
ElectricHamstar's Avatar
No problem! :)
11/05/2012 4:58 pm
Level 16 : Journeyman Nerd
ReaCraft's Avatar
True Fact: I will never need server donations.
10/17/2012 10:24 am
Level 22 : Expert Toast
legovader09's Avatar
Wow you got me thinking! Some of my ranks are over powered :(, but if i took them off then the donators will go mad at me do you have any suggestions on what to do now? there is a "Hero" rank on my server which allows you to spawn in items (not illegal/harmful items though) and if i would take that off then there would be 2 almost 3 people going mad at me so what should i do with that? also my "Knight" rank has /fly! and my server is a hardcore pvp server !!!! :O D: :'( Any suggestion would be appreciated, Thank you!
10/17/2012 10:34 am
Level 46 : Master Enderdragon
ElectricHamstar's Avatar
When you make a rank have a perk, I don't think it's a good idea to remove it again. My advice is to make the current donators have a "legacy" version of the rank (eg: Hero+ and Knight+), so that they keep the benefits, but no-one else can get them. Then, start selling Hero and Knight again with new features that aren't overpowered, but are still worth the money - but make sure that the people with Hero+/Knight+ also get the new perks.

I'd also consider time limiting item spawning, so that they can only spawn a certain amount of items in in a certain amount of time, and only allowing them to fly for a certain duration.

I don't think taking a perk that they've paid for would be fair, that's why I suggest this. :)
10/17/2012 12:54 pm
Level 22 : Expert Toast
legovader09's Avatar
Thanks alot mate, it is a really good idea but i can't think of anything to replace with the commands/features, also do you know the plugin name for the Reserved slot thingy? the one that the donators can still get on even if the server is full?

Thanks for help,

- Legovader09
10/17/2012 1:54 pm
Level 46 : Master Enderdragon
ElectricHamstar's Avatar
http://dev.bukkit.org/server-mods/maxplayers/ - Only been updated for 1.2.5 though, although it might still work. Looks like a good way of doing it to me. Just give the groups you want to be able to login the "maxplayers.ignore" permission.

http://dev.bukkit.org/server-mods/reservations/ - This one's been updated for 1.3.1 (so should work for 1.3.2), but kicks the people if someone joins that can login to a full server if it's full. I recommend using the "permissions" method at the bottom of the post.

See if you can get either of them working, let me know if you can't and I'll have a look for some more. :)
10/18/2012 9:40 am
Level 22 : Expert Toast
legovader09's Avatar
luv ya :3 it helped alot! as a Level 1 dude you did very well, you should skip straight to level 5+! Diamond + Sub 4 you!
10/18/2012 9:55 am
Level 46 : Master Enderdragon
ElectricHamstar's Avatar
Thanks very much! :-D
10/17/2012 10:04 am
Level 66 : High Grandmaster Modder
duke_Frans's Avatar
a lvl 1 with sense!!
New sub and diamond!
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