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MineCats Vanilla server is a server dedicated to the experience of game-play Mojang has intended and provided.
With this said, there are many options that can make two Vanilla servers seem very different. All of these being options in the Mojang Minecraft server. MineCats Vanilla, however, as part of MineCats is using a slightly modified server. This allows us to do various things, including the ability to even host the server on MineCats' Lobby / hub server. There are also a few options which have been set to ease antagonizing situations in a multiplayer environment. MineCats Vanilla has a couple of non-player ranks (Staff ranks), to allow correcting misbehavior, maintaining the server, and otherwise to represent MineCats.
From the Player's perspective, there is no difference between MineCats Vanilla server gameplay and what the player would find in a LAN multiplayer game. Other aspects of the server may not appear vanilla, such as having helper staff, and a few little things set aside for Admins to maintain the server.
One of the few things that Players will notice is that the area directly outside of the spawn area is occasionally regenerated. This is a 128 block square around the outside of the beacon wall. Regenerating this allows for the server to be more visually aesthetic, as well as gives new players opportunity to gain supplies easier earlier on. For those who make bases in this area, heed this warning in that regeneration happens at the discretion of the Admins. Outside of the spawn area and this 128 block square ring around the spawn area, staff interfere very little.
Being that MineCats Vanilla is so basic, it is often one of the first servers to be updated when new versions are released. This means if you're one of those who likes to update even though most of the servers in the world have not, you can still play on MineCats Vanilla!
There are specific rules for the sever at spawn, as well as a wall, referred to as "Staff Board" which lists the staff. There are also Ender and Nether portals at spawn. Due to the public multi-player environment, Nether and End portals are often destroyed - at minimum, the ones at Spawn will allow entrance to these worlds.