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Monday, 23 March 2015

An Exhaustive Guide to Minecraft Factions

There are many guides on the forums, planet minecraft and even on server websites titled "How to make the best faction ever" or "Ultimate Guide to Factions" or something like that, but 90% of them just explain the plugin or how to make an "Unraidable Base" and never fully explain everything. This guide is here to change that, it will try to explain everything, right from the starting to the very end. At the end of each section, I will be addressing very common issues that other guides overlook, in the pursuit of "Making The Best Faction Ever". Please feel free to comment if you liked it or not!!
I aim for this guide to be completely exhaustive and easy to read, so I have taken on a “points” format i.e. I will be summarising everything in a few bullets or points, making it easy to read.

  1. Starting Out
  2. Making Your Base
    1. First Week on the server
  3. Recruiting Members
  4. Faction Rules and Structure
    1. Rise to Power
  5. Raiding
  6. Notes
  7. FAQs

I. Starting Out:

This step is more or less the same, look for a clear place near spawn (One with the least spawn-campers) and start running. But there are many points to keep in mind:
1. Dump all your starter items in your ender chest (If present at spawn) or private vault. If your server has daily or weekly kits, first travel ~500 blocks and then type "/kit daily" or its alternative command on your server to get those things again (Yes, you can actually get them twice). Alternatively you can type "/sethome home" and then go to spawn, get your items, teleport back to home and then type "\delhome home". This method is foolproof and will protect your items from those god armor spawn-campers waiting to kill you.
2. Always travel greater than 5000 blocks. Distance is your best defence. Please don't settle on coordinates that are a multiple of 100 or 500. I can almost certainly tell that there would be a base at 5000,y,5000 on all faction servers.
3. World Border is set at around 10,000 blocks by most servers to encourage raiding, so don't travel too far i.e. Bases near world border are prone to raids.
4. Never travel in 1 cardinal direction. The new f3 screen now show the angle from the nearest cardinal direction, use it, say you travel at a tangent of 30o from north and then change your direction midway. Most raiders try to find bases by going in 1 particular direction and find many good bases.
5. Before Finalising a location use "/f map" to check that no other claims are nearby.
6. Try to cross an ocean if you find one. Make a boat and start out. The most important thing is that it does not consume hunger. If you are far enough then you can easily break your boat midway and make an underwater base. Literally No-one can find it.
7. Try to go in the nether, its a safe haven for bases. In some cases even ground bases survive.
8. What about a base in the end? Almost no person on the server can access it and if you ate very far away from the mainland (~2000 blocks), you are unraidable!
Q- I get bored doing this. Is there any other way?
A- Sorry, but this is the only way. Otherwise you need to join a faction and thus reading further will become pointless.
II. Making your Base

The most searched question on minecraft faction forums would be "How to make an unraidable base?", let me tell you that they don't exist, and even if they do you will not have enough resources or power to build one. If you don't believe me, open a new tab and check all the unraidable bases out. Each and every base has some flaws and can be raided, otherwise each and everyone on all servers will make the fabled unraidable base and the very concept of faction servers will come to an end. Here are the points to keep in mind, to make your base tough to raid:

1. Ground Bases are for noobs. They are easy to spot, easy to attack, easy to grief and easy to raid. Its like  free items for skilled raiders. Please don't make them. If you are still bent on making one, please at least claim your land, and surround it with self generating cobble walls. They can act as wonderful deception points for skybases and underground bases.

2. With the build limit increased, sky bases are incredibly good. People have to explicitly look up for about 2-3 seconds for them to start rendering, in short, they are impossible to see if they are small and not expanded and easy to defend while difficult to attack. If you have claimed enough area around your base it is virtually unraidable as it is impossible to ender-pearl with such great accuracy. Only great redstoners can get them with their missiles (Possible since 1.8). But still entering the base would be a far cry. Best protection against these tomahawk missiles is to make self repairing cobblestone walls around 10 blocks away from your base, as these missiles require time to build, your wall would have already healed and be as good as new.

3. Underground bases are easy to create and manage, can't actually be found easily and needs a planned strategy to raid. Here the group opinion divides into two parts, I will write about them both and you can choose the one you want:
a. Claim the territory: Claiming removes the risk of any wandering miner accidentally entering your base, or from any enemies just entering without any chance at defence. What this group forgets that is the fact that claimed land means that there must be a base somewhere near and if one cannot see it on the ground or in the sky, it must be underground. I have found many bases using this, as claimed territories show up on "/f map".
b. Don't Claim the territory: The base is literally griefed and your members slaughtered in case of raid, but raids can only be conducted if your base is found. As the base is not on /f map and not near any cave system, its almost impossible to discover, and if it is in the middle of the ocean, then you will never get raided except when a traitor gets you by surprise.

4. Underwater bases: Riding a boat is fun and extremely satisfying, so much so that most people fail to look around, and observe their surroundings. Blocks like obsidian take 1 min or more for mining underwater (Efficiency 5 Diamond Pickaxe), and thus a base covered with obsidian is absolutely brilliant. They will take around 5 minutes to make an entry for themselves, which you can easily seal up. Also, they will need a lot of water breathing potions and may drown themselves many times, giving you many free items. Building an underwater cannon is a humongous task, as Redstone and water are ancient enemies and water always prevails! If you have the time and skill, grab some sponges and start making these.

5. Multiple Bases: 99% guides say that you should keep a secondary base handy in case of a raid, I say why not have 5-10 bases. The bases can be allocated to a smaller group in your faction. For eg.- My faction has a redstone group and an army, both have one separate base except from the main base and I have appointed group leaders to manage them. Thus even in a case where a traitor loots one of your base, you have not even suffered a minor setback. Only I and 1 more person know about the location of all the bases. A storage base, about which only 2 people know has also been made like this, but contains only chests and such a big claim (As other bases are unclaimed) that it is impossible to reach the central chests. Here 50% of all faction material goes weekly.
Q- Should I cover my base with Obsidian?
A- Most servers feature a plugin called ObbyBreaker. It is a plugin that allows for obsidian to be broken via TNT blasts, but it generally takes more than 1 blast to do that. On some servers this is set to 5, so that obsidian is pretty pointless, it is as if you have made 5 cobblestone walls. And a person launching 1 TNT can launch 5 with no difficulty.
Note: If your server does not have ObbyBreaker, obsidian is indestructible, and you do not need to cover it with water, not even 100 blasts with regular TNT can destroy it (Contrary to some popular beliefs). Further if your server is running on any version before 1.8, you can use a bug to generate infinite obsidian from Redstone.

Q- Will water not help in mitigating the blasts?
A- With new designs for Hybrid Cannons coming in everyday you will realise that the smallest one is even smaller than a normal TNT cannon. These Hybrid cannons render water useless against blasts.

Q- Are there any alternatives to self generating cobble walls?
A- Yes, a wash of sand will do equally good. It will also remove the time last that the cobble wall needs to regenerate. The only downsides are that you will manually need to reload it, and it will also need tons of sand. Also it will show the enemy, right where your base is. Also if the TNT cannon is left operational, the wall will give away.

Q- Any other strategies to build bases? You have hardly described them.
A- The internet is teeming with guides to enhance your  base's defence. You can refer to those. I will also be writing on on this topic exclusively. Till then you can see the completely revamped guide at Minecraft wiki, it's really good.

Note: I recommend placing a waterfall behind your self gen cobble wall and then have a second layer of ANY wall (These walls not need to be self repairing or obsidian), it will tender almost all cannons useless, as normal cannons will not be able to go through it even at a high rate of firing and hybrid cannons are a little slower, giving your cobble wall time to heal.

II.5 First Week on the server

Made a neat base? Don't bus what to do next? Here are some tips:
1. Make some farms: Start by making a simple sugarcane farm. With the advent of some blocks, BUDs have become smaller than you have realised. Hook up your farm to one such BUD and voilĂ  you have perfectly automated it. Loads of sugarcane means lot of money and books.
2. Start breeding animals: You need food!! First start breeding them manually, once you have the resources, automate these as well. You are now self sufficient! This point is of top priority, as I have seen an internal war in a faction just over food. They did not have it and there was such a battle, that the faction ultimately had to dissolve.
3.PvP: Get some good armour by PvPing. It's an easy way to earn materials.
Try to recruit unknown members only after this point. This gives them reason to believe in you.

III. Recruiting Members

Your faction by now has a central base and many other bases stemmed around it for particular teams. You need not make all the bases yourself, each and every player in factions wants his/her own base, you can just tell them to go find a good place and make a base (They will be more than happy to do so, some of them will thank you as well!). Now 80% of people on the servers who are asking for joining a faction want to raid you, so how do you distinguish between the good and the bad? I have come up with method that gives you a strong community and establishes you high on the command chain, naturally gaining you respect. My central base i.e. sat as /f home is humungous, but contains only 10% of my factions resources, as this is the base that is the most prone to get raided. It just contains offices for higher post members (Just their personal chests) and for allies (Yes you read it right), a PvP arena and a rank pedestal, all complete with a mission room. You will probably be thinking that I am mad right now, but I am in my complete senses and what I will suggest to you further will be completely outrageous to half of you, but believe me these are tried and tested tricks.
1. Create a recruitment page for your faction- makes your faction look serious and wins you great support and recognition. Also this filters down traitors as very little of them want to take the risk.
This is a fairly new idea (For me), and I joined the forums to try this out only and it has been a great success. Here is the page I created-
Make an in-game book to publicize this (Believe me saves a lot of typing time). Write that your faction believes in strong community as it is the community that stays on after numerous server resets and raids and that you believe in peace rather than in violence. This will sway people towards you and help your faction's cause. Be careful though, some traitors are still left. As soon as you meet them in game give them 24 diamonds (Enough to make an armor), so if they have any second thoughts, they will banish them and will stick with you. Leave a chest full of items like potions, diamonds and ores in front of them and wait for it to disappear, tell them that its all you have. If it stays intact, you probably have earned a loyal member and its time for you to induct him into a team and send them to a base.

2. Many people will say that they cannot fill on the forums and will still ask you to take them in. While starting out, I vehemently refused to them, and was very sad to lose a member, but then I found a way out. I opened my faction!! Yes, this means that an invitation was no longer required to be inducted into the faction. They all were directed to the central base, where they only had access to about 10% of faction's resources. We never provided any support to them and made them do missions for scavenging particular items, that we wanted deliberately. Out of game contact and a secondary storage base helped the faction stay afloat and these new members without filling the forums helped in becoming spies and a big army as well. This is completely optional, but let me tell you that now those 10% resources are as good as gone and you will find nothing of them at the end of the week, but you will gain other materials. In short it is a barter system.
You can also offer allies to take refuge here or make thrones for highest donors etc. as soon this will be a hub for many things, if my instructions are followed correctly.

IV. Faction Rules and Structure

A faction needs to be governed by a fixed set of rules and principles.
Rules for a faction admin-
1. Do not hate people with negative power. Take people with power upto -5 to build trust and brotherhood, and warn them to clarify that you are taking a risk in doing so.
2. Just warn the people twice if they have a -ve power. Never kick them, they may get angry and sell the coords to your base. Charge high fines from them till they reach the safe zone.
3. Do not be bossy. Makes people leave your faction.
4. Always give in to the majority view. Even if you are against something, but the majority says something else, just agree to it, you are not at loss.
5. Help your fellow members.
Rules for all members
1. Don't abuse.
2. Vote daily! Voting gives great rewards.
3. Please play for the faction, don't be selfish. Share the resources you have gathered.
4. Please don't take all items from the community chest. They belong to the faction and take them only when you really need it.
5. Donate as much as you can. Donation win you recognition and respect in the faction.
6. Do not unnecessarily make enemies. Be friendly and take them down. Always be willing to help people.
7. Do not scam. Puts a dent on your image, as well as the faction's.
8. Do the tasks given to you sincerely.
9. You will be fined for breaking rules!
10. Enjoy your Game!

IV.5 Rise to power

Make your faction structured and organized. This will attract good players and help you build a good community. Keep the environment of the faction positive and engaging. Be a source of motivation if you get raided and never give up.

1. Divide your faction in teams, according to member strengths. For a start, you can have an army, a base management, a Redstone, a mining and a spy team. All the scavenging and raid locating can be done by the army.
2. Charge a small fee weekly from your members. This keeps the members loyal and fills in your coffers to use the money in time of need. Give some rewards weekly to highest donors.
3. Make tons of allies. Your final goal is to have them merge with you. Be friendly and help them out, sometime or the other, they will simply join you, as they will see you as a better leader. Tell them you can help them with materials on a small fee, or they can hire your base admin team or redstone team.
4. Have good out of game network. You can always use IM apps such as WhatsApp, Line, or Skype (I personally hate Skype no offence).
5. You can ask top members for ideas. New ideas are always welcome! This will give you respect and good ideas (Maybe better than yours) as well.
6. Assign each team a weekly target and award the player who exceeds it and Todd the faction leaderboard. Eg- I have given a point system to ores and to potions. The member with the most points wins.
7. Promote active members to mods. And have done competitions for making normal people with better talents the group leaders.
8. Do not spam or betray allies. Earns you a bad reputation and is simply not worth. You lose quite a lot more than you think.
9. Check your power on a daily basis, and make sure that you do not overclaim. Make your base's boundary wall at least 3 blocks away from your claimed chunk.
10. Have a reward ceremony weekly and give appropriate rewards to the most performing members.

V. Raiding

A. Locating a base:
"/f map on" is your best friend, use it and you will find tons of bases.
1. Just keep running until you find some claimed land. As soon as you see some, look around and up for a ground or a skybase respectively. If you can't see any, dig down from the nearest unclaimed chunk.
2. Listen for the sounds for doors opening and closing or check if you can see name tags. You have found the base!
Aliter: Of you have tons of TNT, and lot of manpower, make a TNT cannon at ground level and start blasting. You will eventually find a base.
As I have mentioned above, unclaimed underground based are almost impossible to find randomly. But still I will write about some obvious methods, most of which will simply not work:
1. Look for name tags down below: Players make their bases near bedrock, it will be impossible to see any name tags from Y~64.
2. Listen for noises: Same as above.
3. Fool them into making them tpa you to their base: Come on you are not playing with 2 year olds. A trick can be befriending them into believing you and then sending them a /tpahere request quickly followed by a /tpa request. They will think that they are coming to you, but you will actually going be going to them! Quickly disconnect on reaching there. You have a raid ready, but you have to be really quick.
4. You can find them while mining: Lady luck just smiled upon you and you have made easy money. Make full use of or and get rich!! To be really honest chances for this are about 1 in a million, you are literally looking for a needle in a haystack.
5. Just buy one: Rich guy in the server? Make the whole process hassle free and fast by just buying done coords from other players. Ask in chat if anyone is seeking a raid, you will definitely find one. Be aware of scammers though. The best you can do is pay 50% before seeing the base and 50% after seeing it intact or raiding it. Please pay up to the person after raiding (even if there are less resources available in the base than you expected) as he had done half of your work and deserves the money.

A1. Pre-preparation and item checklist
You should always be prepared for any eventuality and improvise everything according to the conditions. Each and every base is different, all members are different, so there is no concrete winning formula. But there is a small checklist of items you should have for about 90% winning chances. Indeed, preparation goes a long way.

1. Invisibility, strength and speed potions - These help when in the toughest battles, giving you buffs and making battles easier. To conserve resources, make a splash potion and gather in a large group and through, 1 potion will grant your entire faction a power up.
2. Potions of instant harming, slowness and poisoning:  They completely bypass armour and can even kill people with good armour easily. Good for crowd control as well.
3. Gapples: make you and your faction members practically invincible. A precious commodity for raids.
4. Ceggs: For easy entrance to bases on claimed chunks.
5. TNT, Redstone : For cannons.
6. Armour, weapons and bows with good enchantments: The winner will be those with the best equipment, you cannot hope to ambush a faction with people wearing diamond armors abs yourself in an iron one. It is obviously a losing battle.

B. Looting/Attacking
1. First start by doing some reconnaissance on the base, learn more about it's members, like when they are online and stuff. "/f show [Faction name]" can really help you out.
2. Search for possible weaknesses and points of infiltration. Try to get a spy in their faction.
Note: You should be well equipped with information like the faction's current power, no. of members, amount of chunks claimed by the faction etc. This will mentally prepare you and tell you what you are up against.
3. How you proceed is now up to you. You can follow any of the methods below that suit you:
i. Brute-Force/ Direct Attack- Make a TNT cannon, blast open the base, have your clan members pouring in from all sides and grab the loot. Simple, isn't it?
  • Easy to handle and execute.
  • Does not rely on any outside factors, except from you and your friends' PvP skill.
  • Easy to get items: If you kill enough members, you can claim the land and then easily access all the materials without using many creeper eggs. This makes these raids completely hassle free.
  • Resource hungry: Your teammates may lose much valuable gear and consume a lot of gapples.
  • Power hungry: You may lose a substantial amount of power. And may risk getting raided yourself.
  • Revenge assured: The faction you attacked will most probably know your faction name, and will take you back.
ii. Stealth based attack- Try to enter when no one/ almost no one from the faction is online. Get their resources, leave in peace.
  • Almost no resource consumption.
  • No casualties/Less casualties. This also means less power loss.
  • If raided properly, chances are that the faction members will not even realize that they are being raided and will continue in that base. You get a constant source of income!
  • You are totally anonymous to the other faction. They will never know what struck them. You can also ally them afterwards and help them rebuild/relocate, this will help their members to merge with yours.
  • Gets really hard and time consuming sometimes.
  • May need several hours of reconnaissance.
  • Gets boring many a times.

C. Precautions and aftermath
This step is the easiest of all, just remove all your traces, do not leave any footprints. In short leave nothing that connects back to you. Never leave a taunt with your in game name.
Keep the base as intact as possible. You are not a griefer and your faction has a standard, a class, a sense of formality about it. This will make your opponent respect you.

VI. Notes

  1. Have a good name for your faction. Think of something original and capturing.
  2. Make use of /f title judiciously. Thus can make your members very happy. Just giving them a title like gold-member will make them with even harder for the benefit of the faction.
  3. Again, please refrain from abusing. It is actually looked down upon.
  4. Start your faction's name with a capital letter. Looks good!
  5. You can also use /f owner to assign plots. Use this to its full potential.
  6. Always have a “Mission HQ”. It helps your faction members know about your goals even when you are not online and help in completing targets faster.


Q- I want to publish this guide on my blog/forum/website etc. Can I do it?
A- Yes, you can. But it must be clear that I am the original author if this guide. Also, please email me the place you are posting it to. (Just interested to know)

Q- I am working on a translation if this guide, can I post it?
A- Same as above

Q- I want to know more about the plugin and factions on a whole...
A- Comment here I will be more than happy to help you out! (IGN- Consulting_Gamer)

Q- I need you to be a member of my faction on XYZ server. Can you come?
A- Maybe! Email me and we will see.