Noob Friendly

It’s been posted on the name of our server for over a year, now. Many a new player has found their way into the wide world of Rust through our humble shores.  To date, we have enjoyed visits from 4,198 players. Most, obviously, have moved on to other games or other player experiences. Some few have chosen to make this their home server, and we’re especially glad for their company.

Lately a disturbing trend has been on the rise, and it has become damaging to our population. I have spoken in the past on this as it’s cropped up, and things will get a little better for a few weeks, and then it’s back to where it was before and often worse. We have had, and of late have been having a worse and worse problem with experienced players hitting new players like a fucking hammer for the tiniest slight. It’s gotten to the point that there’s even a predictable cycle that is beginning to repeat itself:

  1. New player joins server, either after having bad experiences on other servers, or after hearing how toxic of a game Rust can be.
  2. New player receives a warm reception and can reliably ask questions and get help.
  3. New player is impressed with the level of kindness and helpfulness present on Serenity Valley.
  4. New player settles in to stay or even pledges/donates in order to get a leg up and build a larger base.
  5. New player defends themselves or speaks up, saying something that experienced player(s) dislike in the world chat.
  6. Experienced player(s) threaten (or don’t) the new player, threatens to foundation wipe them.
  7. New player either leaves, or speaks up to defend themselves.
  8. Experienced player(s) wipe the floor with New Player’s base, usually offline.
  9. New player becomes disenfranchised and leaves, feeling that the game and/or community is hopeless.
  10. New player joins server, either after having bad experiences on other server,s or hearing how toxic of a game Rust can be.

How is that fun for a new player? Shouldn’t there be some kind of a warning period in there? Are their words really so traumatic that the only option is “leave our server?” As I write this, there are nine players on Serenity Valley, during prime time, on a weekend.  Nine.  Now, I’m sure that everyone here would rather play on a server with an active, vibrant population…  But how exactly is that going to happen when the first response to new people is to grind them into paste?

You’ve all heard me say that I’ll run an empty server before I run a server populated with racists.  The EXACT same thing applies to bullies. Since Christmas, just a few of the things I’ve seen have been excessively inappropriate and toxic.  I will urge you all to NOT be that guy. In that same time period, we have lost no fewer than five patrons because they don’t care for the bullying. The lost player count of people who actually took the time to send a message and let me know why they were leaving is in the 20’s. I’m going to shoot straight with you–I don’t get time to play any more. This isn’t hurting me, this is hurting all of you. The more people you chase off, the fewer people you have to play with. This is doubly true for our patrons:  You’re paying for a server that is emptying out. It’s okay to hold each other accountable.  It’s okay to hold yourselves accountable. In the last six weeks, we’ve lost almost $100 of our funding.

We can do better.  We can be better.  For those who just MUST have your PVP fix, have you considered just using a PVP server, or even just waiting until Serenity Valley has its own not-newbie-server?  It’s literally up and running right now, and will shortly have a permanent rule set. I will be sorely disappointed if online bloodlust and impatience cause everything to crash before the new option that is right in front of us can go live….

For the time being I am not naming names. I’m not calling anyone out, and I’m not coming down on anyone. I’m placing this post publicly as an open letter in order to give players the chance to self-correct and regulate/moderate themselves. If they fail to do so in short order, I will moderate things myself.

Over the next few days, I will be putting up another couple of articles about some initiatives to try and improve new player experience and build our community, rather than seeing it built up and torn down every other wipe. Keep an eye on this space for more information.

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