How I Peaked
Or, How I Finally Quit Video Games:
A Memoir, A Warning, A Saga
I. Dances with Deseado
Within days, the press release seemed to have worked. Suddenly, players who were against the ICI started declaring themselves “chestists”, and in turn, we started going around accusing players of being “crypto-chestists” and extracting written renunciations of chestism. One of the largest towns on the server, Deseado, took up the mantle in particular. They had abruptly sprung up on the server, being some sort of established gaming clan that had migrated from a different server that had also been using an Earth map. With almost 20 active and fairly dedicated players, their town rose up into one of the largest on the server in a matter of days, both in terms of size and builds. This of course made them an immediate target for the ICI, along with their steadfast defiance during chest inspections. Though they had very little combat ability to speak of, their wit was unmatched on the server, as their members tended to skew a little older. Usually, we just bantered in the chat, but one day, some verbal sparring with them occurred in the server’s Discord voice chat. In the words of the history book (admittedly this excerpt goes a little bit hard on the whimsy, but the broad strokes are accurate):
The server’s second-largest town Deseado, on the other hand, stubbornly resisted ICI by constructing decadent monuments of chests and starting a variety of heretical cults that spread seditious texts and ideas, along with chests. ICI Representative Director and Lead Inquisitor profbananaslug even showed up in Discord voice chat and debated Deseado leader, “Hoyaneh” Dayzle (a.k.a. Gayzle) and thoroughly dismantled all his arguments until he left in shame along with his goon squad. “Forsooth!” cried Dayzle “Thou can’st maketh people give up chests using force! Peace and love mine dude, verily I sayeth!” (top historical scholars believe he may have imbibed some of the Devil’s Lettuce or even the dreaded Lysergic Acid Diethylamide prior to the debate). “Fool!” retorted profbananaslug “We can’st make anyone limit their chest usage without’st a punishment for not doing so! There be not a single civilized society upon our merry Earth with neither law nor justice system nor prison, good sir!” And thus, the argument continued until Dayzle’s inevitable flight.— EARTH, A History, Vol IV: Chest Inquisitions, and the Battle of Wabanaki
Dayzle was the mayor and leader of Deseado at the time. He tried to preach pacifism and criticized ICI’s forceful methodology as being ultimately ineffective in getting people to reduce their chest usage, but of course this was not news to me. Little did he know how effective ICI had been in accomplishing its true goals. As a newer player, I do not think he suspected what I was up to, and genuinely believed I was a well-intentioned, but misguided extremist. As he tried to convince me to pursue less forceful methods of convincing people to give up chests, I stubbornly clung to the main ICI talking points I’d developed until he grew frustrated, started getting less civil, and accused me of heinous crimes like “taking the game too seriously”. The funniest part of the entire voice chat debate, though, was that a player who had only just joined jumped in, and began ardently defending ICI and my actions with almost more fervor than I had. I later invited him to ICI and he joined, but I guess he used up all his energy that one day, because after that he pretty much fell off the map. I must admit though, even if they never realized that the ICI was all a big joke, the Deseado crew really did get quite creative with their opposition to the ICI. They didn’t just adopt my ready-made vision of chestism, they took it and extended it beyond, into a religion called “Chestianity”, with “Chestus Christ” and the “Holy Binble”. All of that got a hearty chuckle from me in secret, despite the fact that they probably thought it would make me mad.
Later on, ICI’s first major war on the server would end up being with Deseado, though not because they particularly wanted it. As explained before, towns could form nations, and then go to war with other nations. There was a default war system included with the Towny plugin, but the server opted for their own custom-coded one instead, which as a result had quite a few bugs and other quirks. In the custom war plugin, combat was enabled for the enemy nation members (and their allies) everywhere except for the spawn, and the goal was to either get 15 kills on enemy nation members, or kill the nation leader once. However, for a small daily fee, nations could toggle their status to “Peaceful”, which made it impossible to declare war on them. Almost every nation did so, since the fee was small compared to the benefit of basically being immune to wars. As such, “official” wars were quite rare on the server, despite the tension and the frequent skirmishes. The Peaceful status always being toggled off for the ICI nation was a point of pride, but nobody was brave enough to declare a war on the ICI anyway. Instead, the peaceful status of nations simply became another potential configuration option that we could exploit if people were not careful, just like with firespread in towns. So, when word reached us that Deseado was looking to make a nation soon, we realized that we’d have a small window in which we could attack them, right after they formed the nation but before they were able to toggle the Peaceful status on. On our nation’s behalf, I’m pretty sure somebody in Guantanamo spent something like an hour continuously imputing the war command against Deseado, just so we wouldn’t miss the opportunity. This is just one example of the kind of absurd (and probably unnecessary) stuff we’d do to get ahead, though even at that point, I would’ve never done something like that myself. Once the war was declared, it proceeded about as you’d expect. From the history books on this subject:
As soon their nation of Wabanaki was created, ICI declared war, determined to finally put an end to their rampant chestism. Battles raged in the narrow streets of Deseado as the the Inquisitors of ICI hunted the residents. Due to a glitch in the plugin, the war was allowed to go on far beyond the usual kill limit, and ICI reigned supreme with a final overall 83-0 grand Victory after an hour of fighting.— EARTH, A History, Vol IV: Chest Inquisitions, and the Battle of Wabanaki
Despite their massive loss, Deseado remained defiant. A few days later, we noticed that firespread was on within Deseado, so we came back for another round. From the history books once more:
The Great Fire of Deseado occurred but a few days after the war. Members of ICI infiltrated the area around Deseado and stealthily burned down several buildings within Deseado, including their clocktower. Deseado and Wabanaki would never truly recover after the fire, and they faded from the global stage and soon the server itself, leaving behind their shining city protected only by occasional deposits into the town bank.— EARTH, A History, Vol IV: Chest Inquisitions, and the Battle of Wabanaki
II. Allegiant Attacks
To the leadership of Allegiant, the Deseado affair proved that ICI was dangerous and had to be dealt with somehow, for the good of the server. Members of Allegiant had been secretly plotting against us for a while now, but now they became openly hostile, despite outwardly complying with the ICI regulations. They began to use some indirect, shadowy tactics to try and weaken ICI. Hqvox, the nation leader of Allegiant, sent some insulting messages my way for the first time, and implied that one of our number was about to betray us and defect. I knew this was bullshit since everyone in the town was beyond suspicion, but I thought it would be funny to throw them a bone and appear as if I was taking it seriously. Lytei had been playing on an alternate account and killing other players rather indiscriminately, even those in compliance with the ICI chest regulations, so using that as an excuse, I removed the account from the town. Of course, I said that it was due to “violation of ICI regulations”, but Hqvox thought that I was now tearing apart ICI, trying to hunt for a traitor that didn’t exist. At the same time, Hqvox also plotted to get an actual traitor into ICI in the form of one of his minions, although that ended up going nowhere since I was far too careful to ever let happen.
For days, the tensions between Allegiant and ICI gradually rose, as Allegiant pursued tactics to try and make us weaker that ended up being nothing but annoyances. The area around the ICI home base of Karakorum had already been thoroughly griefed with all sorts of random blocks, and we had made it clear we didn’t care by never making any attempt to clean it up, so they instead turned their eyes to Guantanamo. This was also motivated by the fact that one of the members of Guantanamo, Maxyne_, had been quite diligent in targeting members of Allegiant around then. The plan they concocted to get back at Guantanamo was to dig out and sink the entire island of Cuba. The history book covers the incident:
Tensions had been escalating between Allegiant and ICI, but the leader of Allegiant, Hqvox, was wary of confronting the ICI since they were so powerful. Outwardly, Hqvox appeared indifferent to the growing influence of the ICI over Allegiant and their attacks on Allegiant’s members, but in council with his cabinet, his raging could barely be contained. After a particularly protracted campaign by Maxyne_ against members of Allegiant, Hqvox could hold back no longer. He knew that griefing the ICI’s capital directly was a futile and dangerous task, so instead he turned his eyes to Guantanamo and to Cuba, home of Maxyne_. Working diligently at perhaps one of the only things they were good at, Hqvox and his Allegiant goon squads began flooding the entire island of Cuba, starting at the tip opposite Guantanamo. As the flooders and the flooding neared Guantanamo, ICI took notice. The work on the flooding stopped as both nations began to draw the lines of battle in the sand. Allegiant claimed an outpost in Cuba facing Guantanamo and began to build up defenses and gather players, and ICI did the same after they were informed that an attack was imminent. In terms of numbers, Allegiant had the clear advantage being the largest nation on the server, but numbers alone had never stopped ICI as demonstrated during the battle of Karakorum. ICI had, however, managed to attract a defector from Allegiant, Bricks310, though it was practically guaranteed that he was simply a spy for Allegiant. As such, the first strike of the Great Battle of Karakorum occurred when profbananaslug and ICI made the decision to dispose of Bricks310, who had come over to their side of the battlefield. In the midst of this first strike, profbananaslug encountered something that would mar the rest of the Great Battle: he was mysteriously disconnected in the same way that Uqknown had been after the war with Wabanaki. Besides a subsequent three deaths and the loss of his head for profbananaslug due to the random disconnects, ICI took no other casualties and successfully routed the Allegiant forces, who were pushed back to their outpost before finally retreating from the area entirely. The Floodening and the Great Battle of Cuba had come to an end.— EARTH, A History, Vol V: The Battle of Cuba
We neglected to mention it in the history book, but during one of my deaths due to being disconnected (this was a feature of the combat tag plugin, to prevent people from simply logging out to avoid dying in combat), somehow my player head had dropped. Player heads were the heads of players that could be placed in the world like building blocks, although there was no way to get them in the default game. One of the server plugins, however, added a small chance (around 5-10%, could be increased somewhat with the Looting weapon enchantment) of players dropping their own heads when killed by another player. Having your head taken by your enemies and displayed (or even just possessed by them in the first place) was humiliating, and it became a point of pride for us that nobody had any ICI heads, as we were almost never killed. Now thanks to a server glitch, they had gotten the head of none other than the leader of ICI, and could parade it around despite not being “deserving” of it by having gotten it outside of a fair fight. My head drop could have avoided if I had simply stayed back and not fought after the first time I got disconnected and killed, but instead I logged back in, suited up again, and went back in until I had gotten disconnected and killed something like four times, after which the battle ended in our victory. Such is life when you’re a slave to Minecraft honor.
Even though he hadn’t even participated, the crushing defeat in Cuba was the final straw for Allegiant’s leader Hqvox. Despite hundreds of dollars of donations for various perks and leading the largest nation, he was helpless in the face of ICI. He made a last-ditch, public appeal to the server staff to ban ICI for “trolling”, which may actually have been against the server rules at the time (par for the course), but it was to no avail. Most of the staff were on our side, we had been very careful about following the rules, and the server owner rarely played so he thought ICI was just “joking around” instead of presiding over what some called a “reign of terror”. But Hqvox didn’t really want to give up the server, so instead he did the next best thing: he devoted his energies to creating his own server that was more or less the same, except without the ICI (all of us were banned on it). Getting a playerbase is always difficult for new servers, and even though Hqvox had gotten many of his friends who loathed the ICI just as much as he did to play, many Allegiant members just shrugged and kept playing on the main server, since that’s where they were already established and it was where everyone was. At this point, Hqvox would only log in just to complain about ICI, and then subtly plug his server as an alternate option or solution. He would log in and speak of his own server vaguely, hoping to bait people in private messaging him questions on Discord (or some other method off the server), where he could then speak candidly and promote his server, as advertising was banned on the server. Eventually, the server owner got sick of the ruse, and one day banned Hqvox for advertising, completely out of the blue. Unfortunately for Allegient, in the Towny plugin, there was no way to change the leader of a nation without having the nation leader do it themselves, so that was more or less the end of Allegiant. Some of Hqvox’s closest friends stuck around for a while in the zombie nation, which wouldn’t actually fall until it ran out of money, but most of the active Allegiant members saw the writing on the wall and created a new nation for themselves.
III. Chest Aid
Around this time, I was starting to think about how I would wrap up my own activity on the server for a while, since I was about to go on an extended trip (about a month and a half) to Glorious Nippon and wouldn’t be able to play at all. Obviously, I wanted to make a huge spectacle out of my departure and go out with a bang. Sometime around then, I’m pretty sure I watched that “Bohemian Rhapsody” movie, and got some inspiration: ICI would host a benefit concert called Chest Aid, which would mainly serve as a vehicle for the bombshell announcement of my retirement and some additional gloating about ICI’s victory over Allegiant. For my last week on the server, I put all other ICI activities on hold, and worked continually on the Chest Aid stage in Karakorum and other related preparations, including hyping it up for everyone on the server.
Then, finally, the day of the Chest Aid “benefit concert” arrived. We teleported maybe 2/3 of the players on the server to the venue, and took the stage. We also had everyone get in the server’s Discord voice channel, since what we had to say was a bit too much for just text chat. Even though the main point of the event was to make the announcement of my departure, I had still billed it as a concert, so with great difficulty I found some concert-like things to fill some time in the lead-up. I started off by playing five or six of the in-game music discs on jukeboxes and called it an “avant-garde performance by my band, “P. Bananaslug and the Nakadashi Boys”. Then, what may be one of my all-time best moments in Minecraft occurred. We had Lytei, who was a practicing Muslim, get up on the stage and recite (which, if you’re familiar with Islam, is really more like singing) one of the suras from the Quran. A bunch of random people (including many kids) stood there quietly in-game, and listened to somebody sing (and quite well, I might add) in Arabic from a holy book. It was honestly a beautiful and surreal moment. Once it was over, there was a brief pause as everyone collectivity gathered themselves back up and processed what had just occurred. We then launched into a huge drop party, in which we gave out gold and many valuable items in order to demonstrate ICI’s goodwill (and vast wealth).
With the preliminaries over, it was finally time for the actual main event. I took the stage and worked the crowd up about my “big announcement”. Then, I announced that effective immediately, I was stepping down as “Lead Inquisitor and Representative Director of ICI”. I thought it would be funny, so when giving my reasons for doing so, I muttered something that implied I had to go to court-ordered rehab. Some people still believed this months later, even though in the same breath they’d also call me a liar, so I guess there’s a lesson in there somewhere about how people will believe things they want to be true. This alone was a huge bombshell, but I wasn’t done yet: I still had to name my successor. Absolutely nobody saw it coming when I called ProfessorUtonium, Allegiant’s Secretary of Defense, up to the stage.
In fact, Utonium had been working for us the entire time. He had been part of the crew from the beginning, and had started out with all of us in Karakorum after the reset, but with remarkable foresight, he had taken advantage of my ban to leave the town and distance himself from us. This predated the formation of the ICI, so despite some initial suspicion due to having been in our town, he was able to insinuate his way into the ranks of Allegiant over the course of a month or so. The entire time, though, he still participated fully in the ICI by playing on his alternate account, MadeHistory. So, as it turns out, ICI’s war with Allegiant had been rigged from the start, as they say. He had been almost constantly feeding us information from the inside (some of which was used to write our history books, and even this piece), though we had been very careful on how much of it we acted upon, to avoid showing our hand too soon. Utonium had also performed many subtle acts of sabotage, such as equipping Allegiant’s fighters with subpar gear during the Great Battle of Cuba. He had been the one who had warned us of the impending attack, and disclosed to us Bricks310’s (albeit poorly disguised) traitorous intentions. In the battle, he fought poorly on purpose, and allowed himself to be killed by us. For some reason, that last fact had put him beyond suspicion in the eyes of Allegiant, since I suppose nobody considered that it wouldn’t really matter to him if he died and lost his items to us in the battle, if he was secretly working for us.
But now Allegiant had been defeated, and as one of the most active and dedicated members of ICI (as MadeHistory, at least), Utonium was the clear choice to be my successor, so it was time for the big reveal. He came up on stage, thanked me, and made all of the usual motions. Then, he said that he had brought some presents to commemorate the occasion, and I invited him to reveal them. Utonium pulled a lever on the left side of the stage, and I pulled one on the right, which caused the center part of the ICI-logo backdrop at the back of the stage to fall away. Behind it was a massive, solid gold wall with banners spelling out “GG EZ Allegiant Clowns”, decorated with Allegiant banners and the player heads of every prominent Allegiant member. Below it stood armor stands bearing my player head (at last, retrieved!) and Utonium’s, mirroring us. After Hqvox’s ban and the disintegration of Allegiant, Utonium had collected all of the heads, under the pretense of building a memorial to Allegiant. The players who had not yet had a head drop had even stood around, and let Utonium kill them until their heads finally dropped.
The coup de grace was yet to come. Utonium announced that he had one final present, pulled it out, and threw it to me: the fabled Dragon Egg. It was supposed to have been the centerpiece of the Allegiant memorial, but instead, it had finally fallen into our hands. We had come full circle at last. Nothing was safe from the ICI. Never before and never again would we dominate a server so completely. There is no end goal in multiplayer Minecraft, no way to officially finish the game, but I think for Towny/mcMMO servers at least, we got as close as anyone could get. While everyone stood there in shock, I announced that we were going to do celebratory fireworks display to finish off the event, and pushed the button to start it off. Everyone looked up and watched the fireworks, and thus Chest Aid concluded. Well, not quite. Because we were the ICI, there was one final thing we simply had to do. I ducked into a hidden room below the stage, broke a pane of glass, and pulled a lever. As soon as I did, the floor in front of the stage fell away, and everyone in the audience plummeted to their deaths at the bottom of a massive pit. We had dabbled with some traps in our town before, but this one was on a completely unprecedented scale. Nobody was that surprised about this development (because we were the ICI), and in fact out of caution many players had avoided bringing any items or gear to Chest Aid. We did end up getting back almost everything we gave away, though, along with living up to everyone’s expectations. After cleaning up all the items at the bottom of the pit, I bid farewell to my ICI comrades, and logged off. The next day, I boarded the plane to Japan.
IV. The Interregnum
Since I wasn’t playing at all then, I can only relate the broad strokes of what happened during Utonium’s two-month stint as Lead Inquisitor of ICI. Things got to a rocky start, as within hours of Chest Aid, somebody pulled out a blackmail screenshot from months ago of Utonium “advertising”, which resulted in a day-long ban for him as the whole situation got sorted out. As it turns out, the ban got overturned because the screenshot had been faked as revenge by the player who had been bamboozled by Utonium into giving up the Dragon Egg. In a similar manner to how I had reacted to my unfair ban for the zero-tick farms, Utonium was now enraged (or just looking for an excuse to pretend to be) and out for blood. Upon getting unbanned, he sat for an interview with one of the server’s newspapers and made the following statement:
To be completely honest, I was not planning to focus on any war or inspections or attacking people. My goal was just to enjoy the server and let people live out freely. Profbananaslug agreed it was finally time to let the server live on its own and just to calm down and let them enjoy it alongside us and to let them catch up. At least, that was the primary target I wanted to hit as the unexpected leader of ICI. However, events occurred within the past 24 hours that have made me change my thinking and where I want to take the directive of ICI. The player known as Tqtal_CG submitted a report on the forums about me advertising. This turns out to have been fabricated/manipulated evidence and I guess people didn’t really want to give me a chance to change ICI. I gave a deal to ocelotprincess about keeping ICI calm if Total or one of their advocates submitted a public apology to me and the rest of ICI but as far as I know, it was declined. Prof then changed his mind about his statement about calming down and I have to. We will continue to be a war nation and to pvp due to the events that have occurred on the server. You may thank the nation of Allegiant/Astrea because of this. They did not trust me and they and everyone else will continue to see ICI how we normally have been functioning. Thank you for your time.
From then on, one of the goals of his tenure as leader of ICI was to make my reign seem gentle and lenient by comparison. A cornerstone was a new campaign entitled “ZCZL”, which stood for “Zero Chests Zero Lag”, meaning that now players couldn’t even have the 1.68 chests ICI had previously allowed.
Soon after Chest Aid, somebody noticed that one of the staff members, PrinceRqd, who had been a high-ranking member of Allegiant, had somehow gained several hundred levels in mcMMO combat skills in just a day or two. Lytei went out to investigate, and found him apparently unresponsive, mindlessly hitting Endermen over and over. Suspecting foul play, he shot a brief video showing PrinceRqd hitting Endermen without pause, while ignoring both Lytei in front of him and attempts to ask him questions in chat. Admittedly the video was very weak evidence, though as I’ve said before, the owner was a bit out of touch with the game, so it was enough to convince him. Prince claimed he had rebound his W key to attack and held it down while watching Netflix for hours at a time, which was a very plausible story (we had used the W key trick ourselves before), but he was demoted from his staff position and had his mcMMO combat skills reset. As the appeals process dragged on and looked more and more hopeless for Prince, he grew increasingly distraught and flirted with quitting the server, despite being the mayor of the server’s largest town, Kanaloa. When the process finally concluded, and not in his favor, Prince began getting ready to quit by unclaiming his town and transferring to his second-in-command. This was not a great idea (they should have kept the town intact and just transferred leadership) because who should swoop in then but Utonium to claim over the newly-unclaimed Kanaloa for ICI, before it could be claimed for the new town. Utonium promptly looted everything of value and burned down most of the buildings, but the most ridiculous part is that he then sold the land back to Prince’s successor at an outrageous price. They never ended up using it anyway, so the whole incident was just a huge gain for ICI.
Otherwise, Utonium mostly occupied himself with picking fights and sowing chaos across the entire server. He found many newer, small nations that had forgotten to toggle their Peaceful status and warred them. One of them happened to be Japan, and during the course of the war, Utonium noticed that one of their towns had accidentally left explosions enabled as well. That town was Hiroshima. Yes, really. You couldn’t place and detonate TNT blocks within the town due to the protections, but in a similar manner to the fireball strategy we had used before, you could build TNT cannons outside towns and fire lit TNT into them, which would then explode and break blocks. Using a lot of TNT and a cannon, Utonium managed to essentially nuke the in-game Hiroshima. In an interesting bit of synchronicity, all of this occurred at almost the same time during which I was travelling through Hiroshima in real life. Using his wealth from selling rare enchanted books at ICI’s spawn shop, Utonium also set up a bounty board at the ICI HQ. Players could anonymously submit bounties on players they didn’t like or otherwise wanted killed for some reason, and other players could then hunt them down and get the bounty money for killing them. As it turned out, the majority of bounties were fabricated by Utonium himself, who would just pick players at random and put bounties on their heads. Even normally peaceful players, strapped for cash, would show up and try to make a quick buck off of the bounties, and Utonium found that now he controlled who lived and who died on the server, without even having to do the dirty work himself. Utonium basked in his success, as chaos reigned and players became scared to leave their town boundaries, for fear of the countless assassins that lurked in the shadows.