Avatar: The Last Airbender and its sequel series The Legend of Korra are now on Netflix for everyone to enjoy. But a select group of players have taken the fantasy universe a step further — 150 years into the future, to be exact. These players run a custom Minecraft server, called Four Nations Minecraft, that replicates the world of Avatar in stunning detail.
The server has been running since 2012, with a close-knit community of 20 players creating an Avatar map which would serve as an arena for role-play. Players can join one of the four regions, fight in wars between the kingdoms, and make their home in the world. The server slowly grew, and recently exploded in popularity after a landscape shot went viral on TikTok.
“Players can choose an element, role-play as their own character, and experience the whole Avatar world in Minecraft!” says Nick Sack, one of the server administrators, over Discord. All four nations are run by players, and the server leaders set up various storylines. Some examples of previous storylines that have played out in the server include a Fire Nation cult, a civil war in one of the nations, or a terrorist attack in the heart of Ba Sing Se. During peaceful times, the nations negotiate trade deals, compete in a bending arena, or train to become a master.
Over the years, the server has been running storylines that progress the passage of time. In 2020, the server has progressed to 150 years past The Legend of Korra. Prominent players, who participate in the server, rise and fall along with the storyline. Players run the nations in the position of Earth Queen or Fire Lord. Even the Avatar, master of all four elements, is chosen from the playerbase.
“When the staff chooses an Avatar, we always do it in a context where we can provide a great story for the players, such as a Civil War, a new villain, or something similar,” writes Sack. When there isn’t a big, worldwide event, the players take part in smaller events, like a pro-bending tournament or a trade dispute. There’s a whole unique canon, and any player who registers can eventually make a mark and put their name in the history books.
The team currently running the server don’t run a Patreon or charge fees; it’s a community-run venture with a dozen dedicated builders, a social media team, and tons of ambition. The builders are working on Republic City from The Legend of Korra, as well as the Spirit World.
Of course, the shows don’t highlight all the information needed to recreate the world of Avatar, and so the building team had to pore through art books and comics. Even that canon doesn’t cover every corner and cranny of the world and its vast, sprawling civilizations. Also, this version has to house role-players and work as a playable space.
There are times when the source material is unclear with certain areas, such as the full expanse of the Air Nomad temples, or when the server’s height limit forces the builders to adapt. According to the server’s lead builder, Div, each project — like a temple, a city, or a Water Tribe Capital — takes at least a full month or two of work, with the larger projects like the industrialized Republic City taking much longer.
With Avatar currently back in the spotlight due to its Netflix run, the Four Nations community is able to grow and expand to new fans. Even humble forts and small settlements exist on the server, which allows players to travel anywhere that they’ve spotted on the small screen, and set up their own home. And who knows — maybe they’ll even get to become a legend of their own as the Avatar of Minecraft.