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Master critique of Eclipse Roleplay & similar servers.

What is this about?

Well, let’s just get this out of the way and say that, either everybody has been delightfully unaware of what’s been going on with servers being a clone (or knock-off, copy, rip-off whatever you want to call it, but I’ll refer to it as a clone), or chose not to mind it. I’d like to very quickly get you up to speed. But also, this is just a personal view as a whole of how I understand these servers, and what makes me so itchy and frustrated about all of them.

Firstly, I believe it is sort of improper to think that, anybody who might be reading this post, has never played on the server School Roleplay before. Indeed, this post is made to discuss to those people only. If you lack the concept of that server, I invite you to waddle along & read, but many things may not make sense.

Please, if, as explained above, you haven’t done the aforementioned, your opinion of this should be reserved until you play both servers & understand where I am coming from.

Secondly, I also find it unreasonable to assume that most, if not all of the readers of this post, are aware that the server I am going to be discussing, under the name of Eclipse Roleplay (though… ‘ERP’ might not be the best acronym), has been getting… Let’s say very inspired from the School Roleplay (hereafter ‘SRP’… though you probably knew this) server.

Now, there’s only one last thing to state before I begin my diatribe: not only is this only an extremely personal view of the situation, it is also meant to represent feedback for improvement. It would be downright stupid for players (including you dear reader!) to use this argument against the staff team and servers I’ll discuss about, but equally stupid for the staff team to use this against players or against me. If anybody does indeed read my post, they will pass by this block and I will assume they have read it, and I will also assume that any players who read this understand this is only food for thought and meant to point things out more. A strong argument staff may have is that, I did not contact them personally first before making this post public. First of all, I want to salute you, future Samra connoisseur. Secondly, I want to say that I believe and always believed information should be free for everyone, and if, after such a long wait, nothing has been done to remediate the issues I am going to discuss about, then I will consider that it won’t happen any time soon without it being pointed out in a bombastic manner. Not to mention, I myself contributed to the development of Eclipse Roleplay, and as it stands, I have no reason, both financially and socially, to make enemies. And, finally, just because I didn’t contact staff to discuss with them before, it doesn’t mean it should stop me from splaying my opinion of the server in a critical manner. A server as big as that should expect, and even embrace, both criticism and the fact that they are a big target for anybody.

As promised, let’s get up to speed. . .

The roleplay community on Minecraft is weird. In fact, I am often conflicted on trying to understand whether Minecraft, GTA V, Roblox, or something else has one of the worst communities out there. But, to reassure that this isn’t to be taken personally (and if you did take it personally, think about why you did…), my point is that, in general, the community feels comprised of mainly young impressionable children, toxic teens with little social interaction, or adults who I don’t understand why would play this game this way.

Roleplay is intriguing, I do have to admit. I, being part of communities for much too long, and being one of the original people that got the practice of creating servers more popular – can see the appeal you guys might see as well. It lets you be in a much less strict world, where the things you were never able to do are truly possible. In a way, I respect that you want to do something that doesn’t revolve TikTok challenges like other people do (though I’m sure some roleplay on Minecraft and also do those – no need to take it offensively in that case!).

But, in this hopeful world of being able to be yourself, lives one of the most downright toxic, elitist, and unappealing communities in the entire Minecraft ecosystem. It loves to put restrictions on the way you roleplay by making some ideas more popular than others, on trying to manipulate others to get their way because in real life that was probably harder, to find a way to argue about every small thing such as combat, to loophole the rules, to create a popularity system where the most notorious and downright stupid people get on top (well, usually… don’t take this personally and if you did, think about why you did), a system that enforces certain looks and ways of being, which creates addiction through a bizarre mishmash of friend interactions, which, ultimately, is a way to get donations from you to pay the owner while the rest of the staff volunteer (but, frankly – they love to volunteer because of how many advantages they easily get).

The server style that has all the aforementioned properties is largely known as SRP (though its clones share the traits too). Now, SRP is interesting in the sense that it survived for so long. And, before you correct me by saying it’s fun, I want to emphasize something: no roleplay server, be it SRP, or ERP, or other ones will be fun when you lack friends. That is, unless they choose to make it based on other game-play mechanics, such as, let’s say, by turning it into an MMORPG or something. That would create some gameplay. Roleplay, intrinsically, only works when people are there.

If we go step by step, we can see why I made all the points I made before. They are as true as they were 1-2 years ago, when I was still playing SRP. But, before we jump into doing this, a word of advice: the server, as a whole, has nothing inherently wrong. If you look at it realistically, it is an okay server. What ruins it is the community. Hence why, in this post, at many times I might refer to the community and the server interchangeably. For example, if I were to say the following about Hypixel: “The server has bad staff and many cheaters” – it’s not about the server, but about the people in it, AKA, the community. Alright, with this in mind, let’s start off at the top of our long list.

First of all, servers like SRP have a lovely way of promoting a system in which being yourself, although fundamentally at the core of roleplay, is still restricted within certain norms. Think about it – the fun in RP is that you can be anyone, anything, with any personality. SRP and its derivatives put a lock on this by forcing you to act a certain way. You may have had this happen to you (if not, you’re lucky) – as a player, people will ostracize you for being a beginner, or for not wearing the same skins as everyone else, or whatever. This is the effect of the community, and whether you were affected by it, or directly caused it upon someone else by saying their skin is bad or whatever (uh oh, amirite), this mechanism is one of the driving forces of controversy.

Secondly, you may have noticed how people try to manipulate others into doing their weird ordeals. I mean, do you honestly believe there are 3 groomers every month on SRP? I certainly don’t. I remember when I was moderator on SRP. Indeed, there were not as many cases back then, but all the ones I analyzed were always misunderstandings where some guy who was a year older than some girl started to date her, and they were happy and nobody complained, and suddenly once they break up she goes and says he sexually harassed her. Now look, I am not denying groomers exist – they aren’t some busted-up myth. But, I do want to believe that, although shocking to believe, most people wouldn’t sexually harass a person over the internet. In fact, I find that even hard to understand – after all, it’s the internet – you should be careful what you do on it – and staff shouldn’t have to babysit you to not do stupid things. Although this, you seriously have no idea how many times people got banned over this. It’s shocking, really. And, well, although I can’t relate to groomers – after all, I am not one, I can’t relate to those “abused” girls either. Regardless, this groomer example is one of the many ways people manipulate others. It’s the most obvious one. A simple alternative example you yourself may have done, and even I did as a joke once (r.i.p. Slatt) is to suck the staff off so that they like you and you get far because you have their protection, fame etc. All of this results in a horrible community as a whole.

Additionally, think of all the times somebody called you out because you “fail-RP’ed”, or “didn’t gang-RP properly”, or whatever. Meta gaming is so common throughout these communities too, that it’s shocking it’s still possible. In fact, this happens so much, that even experienced roleplayers with a long history still fail accidentally and meta game. But roleplay has always had this aspect- in the original RP especially, that is, D&D. In there, meta gaming wasn’t even that big of a deal and it was really hard to screw up. On the other hand, on these other servers, the rules are so twisted and horrible (and I’ve designed rules before and I’ve always tried to avoid this but found it difficult to), that it leads to horrible play for everyone. Eventually, when staff comes, the person that does the manipulation thing discussed above and is closer to the staff almost always gets unscathed. This leads to so much toxicity, it’s unbearable. In fact, SRP has actively tried to remove more and more of combat-related roleplay just because of the shear toxicity it causes (in contrast, ERP is embracing it… Hmm…)

Then, it is notable how it’s always the stupid people that get on top. If you don’t understand this, then maybe you understand the joke related to Discord Moderators – always clumsy, stupid, and biased. Obviously, this is not always true, but it’s so shockingly common that it’s become a stereotype. Likewise, some of the readers of this document might say that the staff on ERP is different to staff on SRP. But, the same people would agree that SRP sucks and ERP doesn’t. And the same people would argue the communities of these two servers are either not linked, or even completely separate ones. I’ll get back to this eventually.

Lastly, think of why some people are so obsessed with SRP, and cannot quit it. In my life, I’ve had countless people try to leave, only to be unable to. This is because, a toxic community breeds toxic practices. And, much like how some of us resort to alcohol and cigarettes, although we know how bad they are, some people resort to SRP, where they can feel like king in contrast to being the social outcasts in real life. This is what stops people from leaving – real life issues. And, if you cannot quit SRP, or ERP, or any of the distributions out there when you decide it’s time, then you should be very contemplative of your current life situation, because you, dear viewer, might not be as happy as you think you are.

We’re up to speed now, but wasn’t that just a School Roleplay rant?

Indeed, you are correct. But I did this very intentionally. There’s a very specific reason I wanted to convince you SRP has flaws. Some of you will fully agree with me, some of you will completely disagree. It all depends on your experience with the server. But, regardless, I want to explain something more meaningful about this as a whole, and to show that, because SRP is bad, ERP is similar.

So, right now, you might say, “SRP is different to ERP, and the problems SRP has aren’t necessarily true to ERP”. Alright, I will agree with you here, but only in the context that ERP truly is different from SRP. Is this so? I don’t think so.

Firstly, compare the two servers, objectively. The mechanics, e.g. chat commands, the format of it, the commands like /carry, /wave, /animationmode etc, the stylistic choices such as the building style, the look of skins, the models etc, the structure of ranks (Mod < Admin < Sr. Admin and the teams), the way the Discord server looks and the colors & fonts they picked for the roles, and you can compare these till the end of timeMost of these feel, well, identical. Yes, there’s some new features. I know this because I worked on it. But mainly, it’s the same stuff all over again. Purely objectively, without accounting for the community yet, if you played SRP, you would know instantly how to play ERP, and vice-versa.

Secondly, compare the two servers, subjectively. How do you feel about the community? Does it feel different to SRP? Personally, I don’t feel like it. Most, if not all (at the time of writing), are people that at some point played SRP, or at least are aware of it from the friend that invited them. The staff members, too, are all SRP players. In fact, funnily enough, most players of ERP players go into voice channels to stream how they play SRP. In my mind, this is hilarious – what is the point??

Now, put both of these assessments into play. You will get to a certain conclusion. Some of you might swear the servers are the same, and others will completely go against this, promising it isn’t. Regardless of what you’ve come up with, and excluding the different plugin features, map etc. (since, as elaborated before: it’s usually the community we care about – and sometimes they can get used interchangeably, and since, obviously, some things will differ regardless), you may notice the two are extremely similar in nature.

To put it more boldly (literally), if you’ve played SRP, you’ve played ERP too without even knowing it (and vice-versa).

This, mainly, is my issue with this server. I am not randomly saying it’s “bad”, I am not randomly saying “it is like so”, but comparatively, from experience, by looking at how I feel about SRP, I immediately dislike ERP as well.

And, something else – some of you guys may have even moved from SRP to try to find a new community: ERP. If you disliked SRP, and if you didn’t like how it played out… Then, at least comparatively-speaking, these should offer a similar experience, defeating the purpose. Although, sure, you may have learned from past mistakes and ensure it won’t repeat here, much like how SRP kept giving you challenges and problems all the time, you are almost certainly bound to face issues like these again eventually. It’s just statistics.

Now, this part is purely subjective to me, since it can’t bother any of you, but if you didn’t know this (I am unsure if /plugins is a command that works), ERP is powered by several of my plugins, my most ambitious one called OpenRP. It enables you, an average server owner, to create a beautiful RP server within minutes & with just some basic other plugins. You can find it for completely free on SpigotMC. Throw in OpenRP alongside Essentials, LuckPerms, AdvancedBan, Vault, WorldEdit and WorldGuard, and you’re basically ready to roleplay in a matter of minutes (but… without a map, obviously).

When I created OpenRP, I wished for it to be used for unique, creative ideas in new, small communities that wanted to prove they are capable of making a great server. And, to an extent, I did, and I am super proud of it. But, what I’ve also enabled is servers like ERP, and many, many others, which clone SRP, or other servers.

And while I won’t deny I never have made my own attempts at it (which failed, to say the least), it’s long gone in the past, and it shouldn’t affect anything in this post. After all, think of it like this: you needn’t be a composer to criticize music, a writer to criticize books, a director to criticize a film, or a server owner to criticize a server. You just need to feel a certain way.

Additionally, my failed attempts are what inspired me to create OpenRP and enable you, and ERP, to have such a great base to build upon server-wise.

Now, we wrap up. . .

Personally, I hope this post has some impact on the way people from this community think. I am looking forward to seeing how it grows. After all, I’ve worked on it, and no matter how much I hate that it’s a clone, I cannot hate my own work. Nor am I completely blameless, having done similar projects. I won’t back away from admitting this.

But, what I do wish to happen is that future servers, or the future of this one, should try to distance themselves from the toxic rabbithole that is SRP. The only way to do this is to eliminate all the similarities, to try out new things, and only we can do this, nobody else.

I hope you guys have a wonderful morning/afternoon/evening. For anything to note on this topic, feel free to create a comment on this post. WordPress has that feature for a reason. I urge you, and so should the staff, not to create drama out of this. And, one more thing – try not to reply if you’re staff in the same channel I post this in. Let people read this for themselves. I put the information at the top to blatantly point out that nobody should do anything against the staff with this information because it would be downright stupid. And, if anyone does, a simple warn, kick, or ban, the plain old staff way, would suffice. Making a long response that is not backed up in the aforementioned channel would make you look childish.