Dogcraft.net

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Dogcraft.net is a website that serves as the official online destination for all fans of ReNDoG, known as Cyberdogs. The site has been active since its founding on the 12th of July 2012 and is officially run and endorsed by ReNDoG himself alongside his team of staff. On the site, visitors can find a forum, an online shop as well as information sections about the website's Minecraft Server and community. The site also acts as a place where fans can create an account, which allows people to post on the forums and purchase things from the shop.

Features

"Welcome to Dogcraft.net, the place where #Cyberdogsunite!" Dogcraft.net

Dogcraft.net has had many features and revisions through the years. Despite this, the core of the website - to serve as a hub for all things ReNDoG has continued to remain the same throughout its legacy.

  • Forums
    • Historically, the forums were the main place Cyberdogs went to chat about the latest ReNDoG videos as well as other gaming and non-gaming related affairs. The rise of Discord and instant messaging has weakened the popularity of the forums in recent years, but they still stand as a good way of chatting with fellow players.
    • Forum games have also been popular, acting as fun distractions where players would come up with a "thread rule" which players had to comply with when replying to a thread.
    • Speaking on the forums nets Cyberdogs Dogcraft Dollars.
  • Shop
    • The Dogcraft Shop is known today as the place to go to purchase Minecraft server-related upgrades. However, before the server launched players could purchase website stock, which were virtual items that had the sole purpose of increasing the "estate" value of your account.
    • Players could trade these virtual items, and some were exclusive or limited. Though the items served no practical purpose, Cyberdogs would enjoy trading and purchasing these items to climb the rich list and raise their estate values.
    • Players used to be able to purchase Dogcraft Dollars with real-world money before the server had to comply with the Mojang EULA changes.
    • Towards the latter half of the Survival 1 world, you could rent mall plots from a section on the website store.
  • The official logo of the Dogcraft.net website, server and community in red; depicting a bone (representing ReNDoG) and pickaxe (representing his fans) inside a cog.
    Chat
    • A chatroom was in operation for most of the website's life. The chatroom was very popular among Cyberdogs and was well moderated. ReNDoG would often hang out in the room and discuss videos and Minecraft with his fans.
    • The chatroom was controversially removed in late 2016 as a result of the rise in popularity of Discord as a medium for communication.
  • Arcade
    • Cyberdogs were able to play some classic flash games which were embedded onto the website. This section was known as the Arcade.
  • FAQ and Rules
    • The website was home to information about ReNDoG and his fans, as well as rules regarding how users must conduct themselves when communicating on the website.
  • VIP Membership
    • Before ReNDoG switched to Patreon as his sole method of supporting him, website visitors were able to purchase a VIP Membership to support the website.
    • Purchasing VIP would earn you exclusive access to a special forum of the website and a special tag and the membership would be a monthly subscription. Later on, when the Minecraft Server would launch it would even earn you a special rank there.
  • Wiki

History

Founding

"Go check it out guys, "Dogcraft.net", we've got a whole bunch of peeps there we [sic] got 200 members already, we just hang out and chat!" ReNDoG[[source]]

The homepage of Dogcraft.net on the 21st of August, 2012; one month after the founding of the website.

Though the date is somewhat a mystery, the common consensus is that Dogcraft.net was launched on the 12th of July, 2012[1]. On this date, ReNDoG would launch the website which he built himself as a "place where Cyberdogs can hang out and chat". He would first mention his website by introducing it to his fans in Episode #56 of his Let's Play Minecraft series, which he uploaded on the 14th of July, 2012[2]. In the video, he introduces the Dogolith as a monument to immortalize his fans by inscribing them in signs on the side of a tower structure in his survival world. From this point, a spot on the Dogolith became quite sought after by viewers and would lead to an influx of registrations for the site.

Rise and Growth

The homepage of Dogcraft.net in late 2013. By this point, the website had advanced with its community.

As ReNDoG grew in popularity as a YouTuber, the website would grow and expand over time. As the website grew, ReNDoG would appoint prominent members of staff to his community to help improve the website. Mattigins was appointed to serve as an administrator, for a time accompanied by Razor. Forum members victix11 and Staircaseclimber who would assist in the moderation of the website. In addition to the forums, a chatroom based on AJAX software was installed and used heavily by cyberdogs, with ReNDoG even joining the chat after video uploads to talk to his fans. The curation and high quality of moderation on the website would nurture a good, non-toxic community that was all too common in early-2010's internet forums of the period. Rules were introduced to achieve this, of course, including the infamous "Over-13's only" rule to comply with British internet legislation.

Through the website, ReNDoG would also meet some other content creators. An attempt was made to create a group known as the "Cyberdog Network", acting almost like a MCN (Multi-Channel Network) of YouTubers promoting each other in a group. Members of the Cyberdog Network included Baergo, IvanDogovich, MudDog, Razor and Strife; all of whom were Dogcraft.net members throughout the history of the site. Together, the group began a series on a Hexxit Modpack server and the website was updated with discussion forums for each member of the group. However, these plans would ultimately be short-lived as the group lacked chemistry and coordination much of the time.

Minecraft Server Launch

See also: Dogcraft Minecraft Server § History

As the community grew, members would frequently request a Minecraft Server for fans to play together. Many fans would create white-listed fan servers throughout the site's history to achieve this, the most notable attempt being that of SGHUK, who hosted an unofficial server from 2014 all the way up until the launch of the official Minecraft server in 2015[3]. SGHUK's server was a vanilla server lacking many of the advanced plugins present in the modern server and required sign up through the website. Despite these limitations, the server was highly popular acting as the de-facto home for many Cyberdogs.


It would not be until the fall of 2015 where an official fan server would be announced by ReNDoG and his staff, where a full server would be created for players to enjoy. The server launched into a testing phase on the 28th of September, 2015 with Survival, Amplified, MCMMO, Creative and Skyblock worlds for testers to play on, as well as a Server Hub connecting them based on ReNDoG's Mole City in his survival world. On the same day, an official Dogcraft discord server was created, which would ultimately serve as the replacement for the AJAX web chat system.

During the testing phase, only lucky players who were selected on the forums to be pioneers were able to play on the server and test out its features. The server would officially launch to the public on the 14th of November 2015 marking the beginnings of great expansion for the community. From this point forth, many argued that the community shifted away to being a forum with a Minecraft server to being a Minecraft server with a forum as the server became hugely popular among fans.

Crash of March 2017

The current front page of Dogcraft.net

In March of 2017, the website experienced a hard crash, corrupting all of the data on the website and bringing the website down which had stood since 2012. This was devastating and meant the loss of thousands of forum posts and history. A lack of backups meant there was no way to restore the data, requiring a completely new website to be built.

Following the crash, the website had to be completely rebuilt from scratch which was done by administrator Mattigins. The new website removed the flash arcade games on the forums and opted for a cleaner, less cluttered look.

March 2017 - September 2019

Since the crash, the website lost much of what made the original site attractive to fans of ReNDoG, though the high-quality community the site built was not lost. In recent times, usage of the forums has dramatically fallen as a result of the rise of Discord as a platform for communication. Through this time, several features came and went such as mall plot renting.

In 2017, Dogcraft celebrated its fifth birthday in which Head Moderator LilWolfie asked site members to list their favorite memories of the site. As of 2019, the website has over 7500 registered and linked accounts, with the Discord Server having over 2500 members[4].

However, by September 2019 years of neglect left the website in a poor state as a result of two years of administrators building on top of the site and so it was decided that the site needed an overhaul, which is currently being carried out by Ironboundred.


Legacy and Impact

Compared with other Minecraft YouTubers, ReNDoG's usage of a website to build a community may be considered a unique approach, however in this case many would argue it has been remarkably successful. The Dogcraft.net site has allowed ReNDoG to build a strong online presence further boosting his following in an era of the internet before platforms such as Discord allowed for this easily. The high levels of moderation have come under question, though despite this they continue to maintain a high quality of community.

Trivia

  • The Dogcraft.net website is also accessible via the URL ren.dog.
  • The name "Dogcraft" is the same as that of a long-running modded Minecraft series by fellow YouTuber stacyplays, despite their being no correlation between the two.
    • As a result of this, many people googling the term "Dogcraft" end up on the website.
    • To assist with this unfortunate clash, the FAQ section on Dogcraft has a section answering questions about stacyplays "Dogcraft" series[5].
  • The name which ReNDoG calls his fans by, "Cyberdog" is also shared by a fashion retail outlet in Camden, London[6].

References