Land Claim with banners
Planting a banner claims an area of land. No monsters can spawn in that area, and only selected players can build or destroy in that area. You can select a player by clicking on them with a banner, similar to how you would add a banner to a map. No commands required.
There's several good reasons for this suggestion:
First of all: Ambiance. I do actually really like the way the game looks when it's completely dark with the exception of ample light coming from the windows and one or two torches scattered about. What I don't like is the 50 mobs spawning in my perfectly designed ambient environment where there are not supposed to be mobs. I don't mind mobs, don't get me wrong, but I don't want them there.
So how would you change this? Stop mobs from spawning on certain blocks? Planks are only really used for houses, but I don't just want them out of my house, I want them off my lawn!
What about scarecrows? Well, scarecrows look very out of place in most places, especially in inside environments. But banners you can customize however you want, and you can make them look good wherever you place them.
You could just hide them underground or in the walls off course. Same for scarecrows. But why add a completely new item when the same mechanics fit much better with an existing item? You could always add scarecrows to scare away passive mobs, but banners should stop mobs from spawning. Not repel them, remind you, just stop them from spawning. Just like how a torch would stop mobs from spawning, but it doesn't give off light, and you could hide it and still get the effect.
The next reason is that banners are used in Pillager outposts, but could also generate in villages and mansions to stop mobs from spawning there or to make the mobs spawning there part of a defined group. Villages need protection, desperately. Without a wall 90% of the villagers usually die within the first night. The problem is that most of the wall designs I've attempted don't look good with the way villages generate. Nothing compares to the simplicity jet detailed banners. Each village could have its own unique design as well. They would stop mobs from spawning within the village where the street lanterns fail and they would give villages a lot of personality and individuality.
Banners inside pillager camps could also stop mobs from spawning, so that when you enter a pillager outpost you are sure to only face the enemy type you are supposed to face, and no anomalies.
Maybe illagers could be attacked by zombies just like villagers, but the banners stop them from spawning inside while the spooky dimly lit vibe remains the same. It's even much more spooky, with all those banners. Or better yet, what if mobs would still spawn in the mansion, but they would be allies of the illagers? Then you could have the best of both: Scary axe wielding necromancers and zombies laying siege to a haunted mansion filled with scary axe wielding necromancers.
Another good reason, you ask? Griefers. Griefers are still a big thing and ever since the release of multiplayer they have terrorized many servers, devastated homes, murdered, "trolled" and majorly inconvenienced players. There are dozens of plugins for server hosts to download that introduce a system designed to stop griefers. From being able to revert specific chunks to previous saves to claiming an area using a hoe. The issue with this is that you would have to download plugins first. This makes it harder to start up a server. And minecraft relies on the community to host servers.
Having a single, easy to understand system in place for every server allows users to more freely brows and change servers as well, without having to invest as much time in understanding each server's plugins.
What more? With the added possibility to add a banner to a map as a marker it would only be a next logical step if that marker meant something. In this case it means that the marked area is claimed by someone.
This doesn't have to be implemented the way I imagined it. These are just examples of what you could do with claiming land using banners. The range in which mobs don't spawn can also be modified for balance, and can easily be changed through updates, unlike with lighting.
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