A Bazaar Situation

On April 1st, 2016 I started building in the middle of nowhere. Why would anyone do this? We’ll come to that later. First I had to get there.

In Minecraft, nowhere is all over in a place called The End. In The End players may fight “The Dragon.” After that, they may look for distant End Cities, but there’s hardly anything besides. Just imagine a floating island surrounded by complete darkness for a thousand meters. After that, imagine more floating islands and darkness, basically forever – The End.

To reach The End one must find and use an End Portal. In Liberty there might only be two of these. Ordinarily, an End Portal will generate as part of an underground labyrinth of hallways and stairways with libraries full of cobwebs and loot. It’s all very impressive, but not in my case. My End Portal is more a shipwreck on the ocean floor. I still don’t know why, but I digress.

When one first arrives in The End they’ll be on an island which is home to a dragon. This dragon can phase through blocks and shoot fireballs. If you get too close it may knock you straight off the island and into The Void. The Void exists beneath each of Minecraft’s three dimensions. In The End a player may easily fall into The Void by stepping off any island. This kills the player.

Having dealt with the dragon, I was free to build above The Void in that first thousand meters of empty space. Now, I can understand you thinking this was some kind of fools errand, but my goal was very specific. By building in empty space I could optimize to reduce load times and latency. I wanted to create a place that people would visit often; an area for player shops called The Bazaar.

The Bazaar started life as a flat platform with twenty five simple plots arranged in a grid. Each plot was available for purchase. I hoped to create a shop district by selling these plots to other players. Ordinarily, being in the middle of nowhere would be a problem, but this is Liberty Minecraft and we can think with Portals. So, I created a link to Spawn. In the first month, seven players bought plots. I figured I could expand if space became a problem, and when I had finished expanding I planned to build a nice wall that covered up the endless nothing beyond.

The Bazaar cleared most trades in Liberty Minecraft over the next year. During this time the original plots were enough to handle the churn of shop formation, failure, resale, and new shop creation. However, shortly after our official launch The Bazaar’s plots were completely sold. Players demanded much more space and competition among trade centers was growing. Alienslayer8 was building Landing Market and dust_eater would soon open Hayexplosive! I was also asked to expand The Bazaar.

On July 1st I doubled the number of shop plots, but it wasn’t enough. Our players had big ideas and my plots were deemed by some to be too small. One player decided to stop me from expanding the bazaar another inch. Maybe he wanted to make a point following a disagreement with another player about land disputes. Maybe he wanted to improve his stake in Landing Market. Maybe I’ll never know. What I know is this: the original design for The Bazaar had a flaw. It could be surrounded.

That same month, RodericDragonbow bridged over to The Bazaar from it’s nearest island, several hundred meters away. Next, he completely surrounded The Bazaar with land claims of his own, thereby blocking any further expansion. A few days after he started building an “Ivory Tower” on one corner, a stunt that was not a commentary of any kind, he lied.

However, one cannot expect everyone’s interests to perfectly align all the time. It was inevitable for a player’s interests to be at odds with my own. The question was what to do about it? It seemed my expansion plan had come to an end. So, I took the next step and started construction on a wall. This took several weeks, and turned out much like I had imagined.

However, there was a fundamental issue that I did not immediately consider. My original goal was to guarantee fast load times, but I couldn’t do that now. RodericDragonbow could build anything right outside my wall, increasing latency and load times. My objective was compromised. The Bazaar was not different, and I could not get ahead this way. To insure this interest I had to own every block in load distance, i.e. roughly a quarter million square meters.

So, In early November I re-surrounded RodericDragonbow’s claims using the method he had used. I expanded these claims out to load distance, and then I offered to buy his land. Effectively, I wanted to realize a loss that I felt was long overdue.

Paying up is an inevitable consequence of building a flawed design, and I expected it would cost me. RodericDragonbow had a good position. After all, I had more than a year invested in The Bazaar and he could justifiably expect that I was still interested. Even though his land generated no profit as it stood, I was willing to buy it above the cost of its claim blocks. He listed the land at a total cost exceeding $400,000, 300% more than the cost of its claim blocks. He justified this price on the basis that it took him a considerable amount of time to claim the land, and fair enough. If I wanted the land I would also have to absorb his loss at a cost of several hours work.

Perhaps I would have accepted this deal, but he overplayed his hand in one critical way. RodericDragonbow wasn’t alone when he surrounded The Bazaar. Someone else owned a land claim and he could not offer me a complete solution. In other words, I could pay a fortune up front only to pay far more later. Paying him also meant he might be a tougher adversary in the future. This was a deal I would not accept. Instead I accepted the truth: The Bazaar no longer offered me what I wanted. I left.

In November, 2017 I started over by building a 250,000 square meter land claim. In the middle is “The Bazaar,” new and improved. I own everything within load distance.

Building to completion will take many months but more than 50 shops are already available. There are beacons that offer to heal players and provide them with other benefits just for visiting The Bazaar. Within one month, more than one thousand prices will be listed for over 300 items, all using Alienslayer8’s Super Shop design. After this, I will add automatic farms which produce crops, baked goods, and iron whenever players visit The Bazaar.

Edit: RodericDragonbow has reduced his prices by 50% for land claims around The Bazaar.
RodericDragonbow and Flying_Nostril have given the new Bazaar a proper name: Nullmart.

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