A Visit to My First Minecraft Realm

Back sometime in 2017, some friends and I decided to spin up our own Minecraft Realm.

Basically, a Realm is a shared server you pay a nominal fee to hold and make private to whoever you like. We could all come and go and play, build, and explore as we liked.

I don’t recall precisely how long we lived in this Realm, but it was not our last Realm. We’d launch another one on Minecraft’s Bedrock Edition some time later in 2018, but this one was our first and it was pretty special.

Join me for a trip down memory lane of the things we built.

A bird’s eye view of one corner of our little village. You can see the main train station there in the center with the steeple roof. Some small farms — wheat, carrots, cocoa — and a number of animal pens for cows, pigs, and chickens sit underneath the floating duck. The second floor of the clan hall has the lava and waterfalls flowing out of the glass facade.
The reverse shot of the above. MD’s giant cube dominates the picture, though Sal’s pyramidic tower strikes quite an impression rising up out of the water off shore like it does. Much further in the distance you can barely make out Jimathon’s Towers.
Another view from the roof of mi casa. You can see the desert bound train line recede off into the far distance.
You can make out the underwater structure we built as an experience farm. Basically just a little monster closet you could whack at with your sword to get experience and collect resources. Beyond that, the imposing obsidian nether gate rises up over the sea.
Where it all began. These redstone blocks represent the spawn point when we started this world, armed with nothing but our fists.
It’s worth pointing out that we played in survival mode. We would make some exceptions to improve quality of life, but by and large what we built we built with resources we mined. This humble smelter was a godsend when it came to refining materials. Fuel went in the far left chest and materials that we needed to run through a furnace went in the middle. We could drop off sand or whatever else we needed run through the furnace, and it would all be waiting for us in the right chest. Obviously some maintenance was still required to keep it fueled and stocked with raw materials, but this saved a lot of tedious labor.
The mechanism that operated the smelter above it.
Naturally we built a tavern, The Salty MD. It was stocked aplenty with healing potions, cookies, and cake.
The basement of The Salty MD was also one stop on the Nether Portal Transportation System.
The basement also housed our first map room. Our second Realm would feature more robust mapping, but this was our first taste of Minecraft cartography.
A closeup to the local map. I don’t recall what happened to the top left corner, but the fact it was replaced with a frame watermelon slice tells you everything you need to know about the irreverence of our group.
Built on top of The Salty MD was a warehouse that took on the flavor of a Clan Hall the moment we each built a banner by which to make our mark on the world.
The long rows of chests served as our primary store house. Framed resources next to each chest served as a rough index to help one find the proper chest.
The second floor of the Clan Hall (two floors above The Salty MD) was a private space built for the sole purpose of enchanting gear. An imposing exterior of decorative stone gave way to a fount of knowledge for the hero in search of enchantment.
Despite all the hard work, we always found time to enjoy the arts.
I became particularly interested in enchantments during my time in the Realm. To further expedite my access to the Clan Hall I built an overpass to connect my own quaint domicile with the Clan Hall.
I never got around to decorating my bedroom.
My private storage chest. Friends were always kind enough to leave a note when they’d stop by to take something or drop something off.
This was my original bed when we first started. I moved upstairs once I actually found time to build an upstairs. You can see the trap door there leading down into my first underground mine.
Deep underground, I eventually established an underground home that could sustain me during long treks into the deep caverns and mines of our Realm. A variety of vegetables and wheat grew in my garden, illuminated by simple torches. An underground tree strikes an impressive look to anyone who should wander by and served as a crucial source of wood in a pinch.
It’s always important to properly sign dangerous areas. The currents of the particular waterfall this sign is referencing could quickly result in your demise if you weren’t careful.
Countless hours were spent mining out these seemingly endless pathways deep underground, all in search of diamonds.
One of our subway stops, with storage for mine carts and properly labeled instructions for the traveler passing through the station.
Looking back on our humble village from the desert train station. The MD logo was built out of glowstone and was a memorable site every night in our Realm.
The tracks continued out further from the desert train station. A village can barely be made out off in the distance. As far as I can recall we had friendly relations with them, though it’s very possible zombies took over the town at some point. They never quite took their own safety seriously and lacked proper fortifications from the creatures of the night.
Off in the distance from the desert train station you can make out the subtle illumination of Jimathon’s Towers. Off to the left, the omnipresent glow of MD’s Cube can be seen.
A stroll along the train tracks back to the village gives us a new view at our humble village. You can make out the fortifications here, rows of cactus and fire. A truly indomitable fortress.
The structure in the center was my attempt at creating an impressive water feature, however I built the structure so tall the pool at the top that flowed eternal back down to earth never really got the appreciation it deserved.
Looking down from the roof of the Wool Factory into the animal pens. You might think I nurtured too many cows, but hold my beer.
I’m sure there was a story behind this sign, but I’ve no doubt repressed the memory.
Inside the Wool Factory. What was that about too many cows?
The view of Sal’s Pyramid is particularly striking at night.
A night time view of our underwater experience farm.
Speaking of underwater. Bees made his extremely modest home primarily accessible through a lake.
The underwater approach to Bees’ home. Extremely ascetic.
A strange shrine on the outskirts of the village. I actually don’t recall why it was built, and perhaps some questions are better left unasked.
A favorite night time activity was standing atop the ramparts, watching the mobs run themselves straight into our defenses. Cactus and fire. Impenetrable.
This extremely strange building. Wherever it was pointing, none of us ever got there. The structure to the left was one of the village gates that led to the outside world. I don’t recall that we ever explored deeply in that direction, but we could live in confidence that nothing would ever approach us from there either.
The entrance to the underwater experience farm was built right behind the arrow building.
One of my favorite experiences would be passing through this tunnel to the experience farm. The whole underwater tunnel was built from glass, providing magnificent views of the sea floor and the life that teemed there. Note: This Realm was all run prior to the Update Aquatic. I can only imagine how glorious the views may have been!
The experience farm itself was largely safe, but could prove suddenly dangerous if one was careless. The signs here remind the experience farmer of the need for vigilance.
The farm itself had a mechanism to it. I actually don’t recall precisely how it worked, but instructions were there for any passersby.
Nearby The Salty MD was the entrance to the Salt Mine. It’s important to note that this is not the mineral salt we are talking about here. This could have just as easily been called The Take Mine.
A little private forest built and protected by Sykick.
Much further out from the village we can find small remnants of travelers past, who left behind chests of goods they had carried. This here marks the terminus of the railway in the desert station direction.
Here we find a Nether Gate far out in the desert. A helpful sign to the emerging interdimensional traveler points them in the direction of the nearest railway.
Passing through the desert Nether Gate, you can see the gates were typically properly labeled, an essential feature for visitors attempting to acclimate themselves to our strange little village.
The Grand Central Hall of the Nether. The efforts to build this space in such a dangerous dimension were significant, but the rewards were plentiful. The Nether, by virtue of it’s compressed physical space in relation the main overworld, was a method of travel through the very fabric of space and time.
Many Nether Gates were built to connect the two dimensions together. The very nature of interdimensional travel often means you don’t get to choose where you enter the Nether. You build the gate and you hope it puts you somewhere nearby, and then you build to incorporate things. As a result, the Grand Central Hall of the Nether was by necessity a complex place, with many winding paths, moving both up and down through space.
Great Judas Priest song.
A chicken and a cow ride a boat into the Nether…
Looking back on our village from Jimathon’s Towers.

Here’s a video showing just how effective Nether transportation can be. Starting from the overpass connecting my house with the Clan Hall, I use the gate under the Salty MD to emerge within Jimathon’s Towers.