Change Log V2.1 - The Basics

Hey all, I wanted to give you all an inside look to our server and settings, along with what I see and want out of the server.

For now we have been experimenting with multiple plugins. A lot of you have probably noticed me restarting the server from time to time. These are mostly just minor tweaks to the server settings or just me trying to figure out how to set up a new plugin and how it affects the performance.
I believe we have a good baseline as far as anti griefing and general admin tools to catch bad players and prevent mass-damage, also to give us options to implement future changes

Discord to Minecraft chat, now you can stay in communication with players even if you are not able to join the game at the moment.

X-Ray; we have a plugin that prevents players from joining and immediately start looting all the diamonds. I am not strongly against x-ray as long as it is used in moderation, and this also take a large toll on the servers performance but I believe it has become necessary.

Permissions; We have a rank ladder now which you might have noticed, new players start with a gray name in chat and that is mostly just to let players know that we have not vetted that player so just be cautious until you know we can trust them. this plugin has many other features that we can use over time to change name colors or provide perks to higher ranked players.

Upcoming plugins:
Better chat system so we can have different chat channels, for example a channel to chat with discord or only in-game.

Mob cap: One of the biggest change we have made over past few days is the maximum hostile mob count. The animal and ambient counts are relatively vanilla though the numbers do get a bit worse the more players there are online. The hostile count received a large bump, when we would get 10-15 players on hardly any one of use would see a mob, not to mention grinders were basically useless.
After working with Wither and Milo I decided to bump the mob cap to 400(default is 70) We will see how the bump affects performance but so far it has been working out fine. For now mob grinders and chicken cookers seem to perform as expected.

View distance: Currently the server is set to a view distance of 8, we originally moved hosts to be able to raise it up to 15 but we experienced some lagging issues and dropped it down. I will begin to once again raise it gradually over time as we make future changes no that i have a better understanding of how the other options affect game-play and how our server can perform

Performance: This is my first priority. Every time I make a change I watch how the server handles it and see if players are able to stay connected. We were having some issues in the past from players continually timing out and getting errors. I reset the Spigot and server files and it seemed the problem had gone away. Then again we experienced some more issues once we began using the anti X-ray plugin to hide ores and valuables. This plugin uses a lot of the servers resources to calculate each block and hide it from the player so we set up a ranking system, once we see players are trusted and do not steal we rank them up, this means we no longer stalk them and watch their every move, once we feel the player has earned their stake in our world we rank them up again and this removes the x-ray plugin from them, this helps relieve the server and the player will notice a much higher FPS. Players are not told which rank they are in just because we don't want to be bugged by players to be ranked, bugging will probably result in a lower rank ;P we will also demote players if we see they start hording excessive amounts of ores and rare goods

New player kit: The pressure plate that gives you a server guide and stone tool kit has been upgraded. The pressure plate can only be activated once, so no more spamming to get books to sell for emeralds. This change made it possible to give players better items; iron tools, iron sword and bow along with some cooked chickens. This will get players off on the right foot and get them out on a journey to find a location to build as soon as possible.

Requests: With the help of Rich we have collected a number of form submissions to see what players think of future plugins and also some requests.
The biggest requests were for secure player to player shops, I will begin to look for this and hope to add it soon. If you know of any good ones please comment or reach out to me on the forum or discord

The next was a non-vanilla portal system, I am not sure how much I like this idea as I believe it helps run player businesses if some items are harder to get by making the biomes more of a journey to get to but I will bounce this idea around and see what we can come up with

The third plugin idea was to set up a mail system, I believe since we have a discord set up this becomes more irrelevant but there are some players that do not wish to join discord so I will also look into this as a possibility in the future

Goal: The goal of my realm and now server was t have a place for me to reliably build a home as I did when I played on single player, I enjoy the Vanilla game play and just enjoy the simple relaxing game. I wanted to build something great and also be able to show other players things I build or see what they build. Now that the world has grown so much I want to keep a similar goal of playing Vanilla and keeping the world fair. This is why we have no OPs to ensure that everyone is on the same level, The exception is our two Sheriffs which i have given permissions to TP, Inspect, and Ban anyone who griefs as I cannot be online all the time or watch every single player. I believe people can be mature enough to not be watched all the time and we can learn to trust people and let them do what they want as long as they are in their area and does not interfere with the community.
This has become more than just my server so I think we should all have a say and which is why I came up with this change log so we all know what is going on and be able to see how changes affect your game play.