Venerable Minecraft server gets shuttered, before the old guard got back together to save it

Minecraft 1.20 - Steve celebrates his new camel pal
(Image credit: Mojang)

The world of Minecraft custom content is so large that it supports countless different ways of playing the game, from all-out anarchy to prescribed roleplay. And then there's things like Mineplex. First appearing in 2013 and subsequently becoming one of the most popular custom servers around, Mineplex's schtick is custom minigames and multiplayer maps and it was so big it used to set records for player numbers. That popularity had dwindled in recent years, however, until on May 16 an announcement was made out of the blue: Mineplex would be closing its doors.

Reaction was uniform sadness. "Rest in peace," wrote nepnep20 on the Minecraft subreddit, "I was online the day they hit 34k players and set a world record". Limpdicklawyer, for it is they, said "Born to Mineplex, forced to Hypixel" (Hypixel is a hugely popular server on similar lines). "I know Mineplex has had issues but man," said SomeRandomBear, "Watching a part of my childhood die here".

The issues referred to are the kind of cheating and hacking that are rife across most Minecraft custom servers, particularly old and popular ones. Nevertheless Mineplex remained popular enough to attract thousands of players a day, and received plenty of heartfelt tributes: I especially enjoyed this one setting the closure announcement to some footage and a clip from Changes by XXXTentacion.

R.I.P Mineplex Server (2013-2023) from r/MinecraftMemes

But cometh the hour, cometh the old guard to save the day. The main mover is one Sam 'Samito' Dawahare, who is perhaps better-known as a recently retired Overwatch pro and streamer but spent some of his formative years as a streamer playing Minecraft and Mineplex, eventually becoming an admin on the latter. The announcement clearly caught Dawahare as off-guard as anyone else, but he decided to do something about it.

In short order, Dawahare acquired the server, then quickly began re-assembling key contributors from the past around nu-Mineplex in order to try and make this a viable and healthy server again (as opposed to a nostalgia project for the sake of it).

"As of today I have acquired 100% of Mineplex and am fully committed to bringing the passion that changed the lives of tens of millions of players around the world," said Dawahare on Twitter, "[...] I'm very excited to bring the heat for you guys". He later shared the below video outlining the early plans and saying the word "execute" a lot of times.

Over subsequent days both Dawahare and the official Mineplex account have been announcing the triumphant return of some key figures from the server's history. Caleb Applegate will be working as an advisor on the business side, and was previously behind the server's 2016 tie-up with Microsoft and Mojang.

The main excitement, though, is for the return of one Chiss. "You all know him, you all love him," announced the Mineplex account. "Please welcome back one of the FOUNDING MEMBERS OF MINEPLEX... CHISS! Chiss will be helping our new team get familiar with the backend!

"While Chiss is only going to be taking a MINOR role in the onboarding process, we can't think of anyone who deserves more love from this community than him. Chiss did so much good for this network, please be sure to show him some kindness!"

Dawahare says he'll be stepping back from Overwatch to fully focus on what lies ahead for Mineplex, but he's already won the hearts and minds of countless Minecraft players who spent time here. The announcement of the server's closure was met with sadness and a lot of reminiscing, while the news it was resurrected was met with near-unanimous happiness: Whether that translates into a viable future for one of Minecratf's most venerable servers remains to be seen. 

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."