May 2009 is the month I was introduced to Minecraft by my younger brother, at the time it was a brand new game with creative mode only, there was no option to save, worlds were only temporary, there was no multiplayer and there was no option to purchase the game. (relevant: notch.tumblr.com)
June 2009 Minecraft was growing in popularity, still a very small game with only a few thousand players but with Notch’s constant updates the game continued to grow at a steady pace. After the game became available for pre-order (the only reward was a custom skin!) the game continued to grow, on June 16th 2009 with the original mojang forum (mojang.com/forum) succumbing to masses of spam I created what we all today know as the Minecraft forum: minecraftforum.net.
At the time the forum ran the software fluxbb and had only a small amount of sections, an archived copy of the forum a couple of days after it went live can be viewed here (it’s only the homepage, none of the links work). The first 14 members of minecraftforum.net were, in order: citricsquid (me), Vetle, Notch, Mikesword221, Randati, msarge, ZomBuster, Nalok, wingboy, Quatroking, Evil-Ville, jack, Eibz and ez. Hopefully some of you recognise the names here!
June 17th 2009 I was talking in #minecraft and Quatroking suggested that alongside the Minecraft forum we should also have a Minecraft wiki. I registered the domain (minecraftwiki.net) and installed the Mediawiki, from that point on Quatroking lead the administration and I only dealt with the small technical issues that arose now and again. To this day he remains active, a dedicated community member.
August 3rd 2009 I ran into financial issues, at the time I had just left high school and had no job, I couldn’t afford to pay for the servers that ran the forum and wiki so they unfortunately went offline. Nothing was lost as I kept backups, but they were down for almost 3 weeks. After 3 weeks community member aera (who has contributed a lot to the Minecraft community over time, including the first ever custom Minecraft server myne!) stepped forward and offered to cover the costs and he did.
The forum continued to run as it had been and everything was dandy. As Minecraft continued to grow over the next few months the forum and wiki did too, both becoming an essential part of the Minecraft experience. As the forum grew we realised that the software I had chosen (fluxbb) was not suitable for a large community, so aera started to work on converting the forum from fluxbb to phpbb at the request of users.
February 7th 2010 marked the day that minecraftforum.net moved from fluxbb to phpbb thanks to the hard work of aera. Forum user “gilbbbr” took some commemorative screenshots of the forum on the day, they can be found here and here.
During 2010 Minecraft grew exponentially, it marked the year that Notch formed Mojang as a proper company, the year of the first Minecon (arranged through the forum by lanternghost!) and the year that the Minecraft forum and Minecraft wiki doubled in size every week for over 2 months.
In August 2010 with Minecraft growing so fast we out grew the hosting that aera was providing, he had been covering all costs for over a year out of his own pocket and we needed a new plan. Community member WedTM stepped forward and offered to help, he had spare hardware that he allowed us to use and we did, however it didn’t last long, with the forum and wiki growing even faster than ever we were having serious stability problems.
September 2010 was a very rocky month, we started the month on around 200,000 page views per day and by the end of the month we were doing over 1,000,000 per day. As we fast out grew the hardware we had access to and we had no financial backing (at the time the forum and wiki were completely advert free) we turned to the community, we asked for donations from the members and in one short week we raised over $3,500 which was enough to allow us to rent the hardware we needed to return to stability. This was the month we also introduced adverts to the forum and wiki to allow us to cover the on going costs, our bill for October was over $2,000. As part of the move to generate revenue we formed the company “Redstone Wire, Ltd" (which is now at the time of this post Dissolved).
October 2010 was a more stable month but we were still suffering from fast rising traffic and costs, things that we couldn’t keep up with. WedTM, aera and myself (all volunteers) were the only people involved with the day to day operations, WedTM with a full time job of his own and aera with a business to run and myself with technical incompetence, 3 volunteers running sites that were now bigger than Stackoverflow.
In November 2010 we were approached by Donovan Duncan of Curse, a company that focuses on operation of video game communities, at the time their lead forum was mmo-champion.com one of the largest World of Warcraft fansites. The deal we came to meant that Curse would acquire Minecraftforum.net and Minecraftwiki.net and hire myself, aera and WedTM to manage them. The deal meant that Curse would ensure the stability of the sites with their server management experience and allow us to focus on running the community, which had now grown to over 50,000 members.
…and the rest is history!
Today 14 months since the sale Curse has moved minecraftforum.net to superior forum platform IPB, helped grow minecraftforum.net to over 1,000,000 members, minecraftwiki.net to over 100,000,000 page views per month and both sites into an essential part of the Minecraft community, with minecraftforum.net being one of the largest forums in the world.
November 2010 - January 2012: over 2,500,000,000 page views.