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Since 2011 a group of Minecraft players have been building an entire city. No, more like a region. No, maybe a state? Or could it possibly be the size of a small country? Well, no matter how big the place is, it's one of the largest server maps in Minecraft history.
There's a post over on Reddit by user Beatry that explains that the Shirecraft map has been designed by more than 1,500 different players and it's still expanding. They've been working on the server for the past half decade. Beatry links to an imgur post that you can view below from user Enderp007. It contains lots of images that basically cover more than 145 different locations scattered throughout this massive server map.
This isn't just some standard Minecraft city collaboration either. Each location within this map is a fully fleshed out place. In fact, some of the cities are based on real life locations, while others are wholly made up from scratch. The ones that are original are some of the most impressive, especially the emerald city and a city based on Budapest.
Some of these locations have gone viral all on their own, separate from the map itself. A small shire with hilly houses nestled out in the countryside managed to amass more than 275,000 views on YouTube.
The railway system that runs throughout the entire world, enabling gamers to travel to more than hundred locations sprinkled throughout the map, was designed by a handful of Minecraft players who had to meticulously implement the railway system throughout each city, each location and each region without disrupting the continuity and aesthetic flow of that region. A difficult task, no doubt.
Some of the locations in the map are built and left alone; there as monuments of the hard work put into them by dedicated players. Other locations are still being worked on and expanded upon to this very day, showcasing that the creative talents of some players have no boundaries.
The one thing that really took me by surprise was just how intricate and detailed some of these custom _Minecraft _places are. They don't look like standard player-made cities, towns or hot spots. They look like they could belong in some sort of big budget production. There's a tower that extends far into the sky while also going down deep below the surface -- the chasm around the tower is lined with walkways and there are massive golden chains latched onto terraformed mountains keeping it all in place. It looks like some kind of ominous, impressive tower out of the Lord of the Rings, yet it's an entirely original structure.
Speaking of the Lord of the Rings and the two towers, there is an Isengard location, which is nestled into the imgur album just below Hyrule castle from Nintendo's famous Legend of Zelda series. A modified version of Minas Tirith is also present, alongside the Mines of Moria. Tolkien fans would be impressed.
Some of the most impressive spots in the map including the floating city of airships and the Havana region that sees stucco-rooftop buildings intersected by canals filled with water. The city of Oranjestad is probably one of the most complex and visually eye-catching given that it's a city built on the premise of verticality. If that sounds crazy that's because it is. Everything goes upward, with ladders and stairs and climbable structures designed to help players get to their destination.
The entire album is filled with some of the most visually rich and creatively dynamic locations I've ever seen in Minecraft. If you want to take a tour through the server and see all of these different places for yourself (and it would probably be even better if you had a VR headset like the HTC Vive) feel free to check out the Shirecraft website to learn how to get onto the server.