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.

December 21st Wipe Preview:

Upcoming Events:

Barring anything REALLY unexpected, I will not be in the hospital tomorrow, and we’ll have a fully new, new map. At the VERY least, tomorrow’s wipe is going to be fresh, Fresh, FRESH! With the new map, we have a few things going on:

  1. Christmas & New Year!  We fully anticipate player numbers to be a little lower this wipe, because people are going to, I dunno, do things with loved ones and stuff, whatever THAT’S about. (Seriously, from all of us here at Serenity Valley, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and whatever other holidays you may be celebrating this year!)  For those who are around this wipe, anticipate an increased rate of present drops, increased pill drops, and a ton of decorative items available for purchase in the shop!
  2. SALE: In the spirit of giving, for this wipe only, you can gift a friend or loved one with 2 months of Wastelander patronage for the price of one!  Make a $15 donation, include a message telling us who is getting the gift, and whether or not you want them to know you sent it, and get a FREE month of Wastelander for yourself!  Already a subscriber? No problem! Your free benefits get added to your current subscription package!  Gifting a subscriber? See above.  Easy. (Gifted time is non-transferable, no exchanges, does not gain special Discord access or video support.)
  3. Cheaper Bases: Upkeep costs are being adjusted across the board to reduce the pain of the new Building 3.0 system. We’re here to play Rust, not “Feed the Tool Cupboard.”
  4. Building Contest: We’ll be doing our second build contest!  Just as with the Halloween Build Contest, all players will have the opportunity to create their ideal vision of a holiday home/base/building/monument of their choosing!  With all of the new building and decoration options available to us, this promises to be one of the most creative build contests, EVER.  All of the details for this are on the forum here.
  5. Christmas Tree Contest: Also located in the Events section of the forum, we’ll be hosting a challenge for all players who wish to participate! The top 3 participating players with the most fully-decorated Christmas trees at the end of the wipe will receive special prizes for the January 4th wipe! For folks not interested in the contest, this is a great opportunity to sell those ornaments. For everyone in the contest, it’s a great chance to win some pretty snazzy prizes!
  6. PRIZES:  For both the build contest and the Christmas Tree Contest, there will be 3 tiers of prizes:
    • Grand Prize:  On the 4 January wipe, start with 150 pills, and 1 month of Settler Patron status (Includes access to the patron’s lounge in-game, as well as the daily opportunity to meet and mingle with the admin staff and access to over $1,000 worth of skins, an in-game vending machine at your base to automatically convert your gear into the uniform of your choice, 240 Duct Tape,  custom base design assistance including 1 windmill, a custom landmark designed conveniently near your base to grant convenient access to a pumpjack in-game item, and a custom 1-car garage designed for your base.  Month of settler is non-transferable, offers no exchanges, and combines with all current subscription products.)
    • First Runner-Up:  100 pills, 100 tape on the 4 January wipe.
    • Second Runner-Up:  50 pills, 50 tape on the 4 January wipe.

Rules Changes:

Added to our anti-griefing policy will be the following:

Do not destroy another player’s Tool Cupboard. If you do accidentally destroy a TC, replace and restock the TC with at least 24 hours of materials before departing the raid. Players found to have destroyed the TC in another base without replacing it will face a 1-wipe ban. Should something happen and you’re unable to repair/replace a TC, notify the admin team immediately using the admin-report channel on Discord.

Store Changes:

With Building 3.0 coming along, it’s shifted a lot of how things play, particularly the balance between solo/small group and large group play. To that end, we’re going to try a shift this wipe in how things are presented at the store.  HQM will remain (relatively) inexpensive and accessible. That means it should be easier to armor/defend TC’s in bases, or if you want to go completely nuts, armor an entire base. With the passive defenses of bases being much more effective, the prices of autoturrets (but not flame and shotgun turrets) will increase significantly.

Get your motor runnin’..!

…Head out on the highway!

Introducing Serenity Valley Patronage! Beginning today is a whole new phase of growth for our game community. We’ve just launched a new page through Patreon to allow players to contribute to Serenity Valley through a monthly subscription, which will fund our newest initiatives.  For our free players, that means more admins, more servers, and more ways to enjoy our unique community standards.  For our patrons, it’s a new way to get fun new rewards to make your gameplay experience even more fulfilling on our servers!

For as little as $1 per month, players can customize their gear with a $1,200 skin collection, get hundreds of duct tape to use each wipe, gain access to unique base customization, custom landmarks near their homes, and oh yes:  Cars.

You can see all of the donation tiers on our Patronage Page, and from now until December 7th, 2017, each new subscription gets 1 bonus car at any subscription tier, for 1 month!

Planned Improvements:

The donations we have received so far and all one-time donations that people make go to maintaining our current server, website, and console customization. The new patronage system is entirely building toward growing the offerings available through our community. Some new features that you’ll be seeing as our budget increases:

  • New Admin Support:
    By adding additional admin support and actually compensating them for their time, we can get people who are well-trained, dedicated to the server’s welfare, and compensated for their time, so that the need or desire to play on the server is negated. By eliminating the temptation or possibilities for admin abuse, you get improved, outrageous customer service, without any of the worries of fair play being compromised.
  • New Servers:
    Right now, we have two new servers planned, with more on the way!  These new servers will still have a server store created and maintained, and both donors and patrons can choose where to have their rewards delivered in part or in total, allowing them to play on multiple servers concurrently!  Serenity Valley Long will only wipe the map and blueprints when forced by Facepunch! Serenity Valley Advanced will be essentially identical to Serenity Valley Main, but without the newbie-friendly play policies, allowing for bases and raids to be conducted completely without limitation by the rules.  The only things that won’t fly there will be cheating and griefing.
  • New Games:
    There’s a great deal of value added to a moderated community that’s led with a light touch and an expectation of fair play and basic human respect. We’ve made ourselves a home in Rust where play can go on without the hateful toxicity found in other communities–why not have a few other games where we can play with the same expectation of fairness and decency?  While it’s too early to settle on exactly which game will be our next, the community will get to vote to decide which survival game is the next to be added to our roster!
  • More to Come!
    That’s right.  We’re watching how development proceeds in this and other games, as well as how patronage affects gameplay on our main servers, and adjustments and new products and services will be added as the need or desire becomes apparent! Physical awards are also in the works so you can rock your support of Serenity Valley both in and out of Rust!

…And the Winners Are..!

The 2017 Halloween Build Contest has concluded!  From October 19th until now, players have had the opportunity to build their dream base, and they were scored last night by a panel of five judges, scored for Theme, Design, Decoration, Creativity, and that certain “Je Ne Sais Quoi” that tickles a judge’s fancy. We had 13 people enter the contest, and every one of these bases was a sight to behold!

Our Grand Prize winner was KILLSHOTT with a haunted farmhouse.  The design was gorgeous, featuring a log farmhouse, a creepy field of withered corn and lush pumpkins, all guarded by a field of scarecrows. Inside the house was an assortment of fearsome decor, hinting at some sinister agenda in this household.  Where other people might keep a teddy bear or an extra blanket at their bed, this household kept a rusty axe. Tucked away, hidden in the attic, some dark dealings were happening with a coven of evil teddy bears, and the arrangement of the home on the edge of a desert gave the whole place a sense of death and desperation.  All of the judges very much enjoyed the attention to minute details, and we’re very pleased to announce this house as our grand prize winner!

KILLSHOTT will start the next wipe with 3 handy blueprints, scrap, and duct tape to give a nice head start for the wipe, as well as 3 elite crates to get a good head start!

Second Place went to RANDY for his Haunted Village entry.  This place was massive, consisting of ten buildings, an outhouse, and a graveyard! Inside the haunted mansion, there were some amazing features, including a “functioning” chemistry bench, a brick hearth, and a wonderfully decorated mausoleum. This entry made amazing use of deployable items and very much deserving of its place on this list!

(This place was huge.  You can find more pictures of it by checking the contest entry on the forum.)

Finally, our second runner up was TIMBERWOLF, with the Serenity Valley Correctional Facility!  TimberWolf’s take on a Rust prison was absolutely great, featuring security checkpoints, watch towers, visitation rooms, and three cell blocks for incarcerating folks trying to get themselves banned!

A huge thanks to all of our participants for this event–keep an eye on our Steam Group, as well as this blog for our next contest event! There’s more to come, and soon!

New Wipe, New Server Store

2/16 Update Changes:

Good afternoon!  I’m going to only briefly touch on the changes in today’s update, as Rustafied has a pretty good summary on their blog post. Much bigger news today is the change coming to our server and how we stay alive!

In today’s update, we’re getting a few new items:

  • New Refrigerator item (Very little functionality right now)
  • Metal Shop Front (Secure trading between players!)
  • Vending machine fixes
  • Semiautomatic Pistol nerf
  • Semiautomatic Rifle buff
  • Python buff (!!!)
  • Fish is better food
  • Bear traps (inside your build privilege) can be picked up or repaired
  • World models for components

So that’s cool–more good stuff coming along, promoting trade, commerce, and economy within the game.

Server Support/Store:

As many of you are aware, last week we had to very suddenly find a new server host. We had to scramble to borrow money to get the server back up and running, but we’re here for a few months. Going forward, we’ll be looking to the community for funding–but also changing how the administration of the server works. Everything about the server:  Map sizes, game modes, game events, and so on will all be decided by the players. You literally get to choose everything that happens from now on. Rather than being someone who quietly sits back and doing work to make things happen on the server, you get to choose what happens, and how. Basically, since you’re the ones that are paying for it, I’m your employee, and will do what you want with YOUR server.

In order to help make some of that more immediately real within the server, each wipe, I will be constructing a small store that works with the in-game vending machines. Those people who contribute to the server, whether volunteering their time to share the forum on other servers, those who recruit new players, those who are active on the forum, and those who donate to keep us up and running will receive a form of in-game currency that can be used to purchase materials and items in-game. Duct Tape can also be won in events and contests we’ll be having in the future. We’ll be watching closely to avoid making this pay-to-win.  Our aim is to add convenience and comfort items primarily, though nothing that involves real money doesn’t get immediately decried as pay-to-win.

People who donate their time or money to the server’s operation will receive an amount of Duct Tape, which can be used to purchase goods from the vending machines. Duct Tape exists in the world, can be traded freely with other players, or stolen in raids or lost to PVE elements. Guard it well! Players with access to a Duct Tape allotments can request it at any time in the first week of a wipe, giving them some time to build up a secure location to keep their treasures.

At this time, the Duct Tape store will include 2 vending machines, selling some basic survival items, as well as convenience items to help donors get a head start.  The Duct Tape store currently sells:  Wood, Stones, Metal Fragments, Small Furnaces, Black Raspberries, Blueberries, Candy Canes, Armored Doors, Tech Trash, Rifle Bodies, Medical Syringes, Large Medkits, Hazmat Suits, and Pookie Bears.

Another vending machine will be set up that exchanges goods that players have farmed for crafted items. These sales are intended to aid in convenience, so that folks who are able to farm loads of stone, for instance, but live somewhere that wood or something else is hard to come by.

The final vending machine will be for items you collect in the world. In this case, Anti-Radiation pills can be collected and traded for rare or special items, including old-style Radiation suits, Pookie Bears, and the M-249 LMG.

A separate page will be set up on our website to show current store contents, our PayPal link, and of course, a link to the feedback thread on the forum where you can let us know what you think, recommend new items for the store, and so on. Your feedback is crucially important to making all of this work and in keeping the server running the way you want to see it run.  I look forward to hearing from you!

The Ruins of Fort Williams

The Ruins of Fort Williams

Rumors have persisted about this island; that it used to be home to some kind of a military stronghold. Several survivors brought back stories of the frozen northwest, and the mechanical horrors they witnessed there. If their tales are to be believed, the old ruins of Fort Williams exist today, on a small rock outcropping on the northwest of the island. Supposedly, the power is still on–and the old armory, supposedly still stuffed to the gills with weapons–is intact!

The Ruins of Fort Williams is a large, multi-structure base off of the mainland of this wipe to provide experienced players a difficult raid target that is owned by no player, allowing them a rewarding offline raid, without the fear of upsetting or driving away newer players. Take your time exploring, though!  Drink in the rich flavor and atmosphere of the old, creepy, damaged base. From the cramped air ducts of the barracks to the forgotten shooting range, every building has its own story, its own life, and its own dangers.

Fort Williams will run this wipe in lieu of weekend events, allowing players to face down the challenges within at their own pace. Some play considerations include raiding it for yourself, keeping others from raiding the base, or setting up shop close enough that you can hear when someone else is engaged inside, let them do the dirty work for you, and move in for the kill once they’re busy and focused elsewhere!


  1. Can we grief the fort?
    —  Not really, because it belongs to no one!  Do what you need to do on this island to get your loot!
  2. Can we move into the fort?
    —  YES!  Be aware though that the no-rules-here stance of Ft. Williams’ island still apply; you can be griefed and forcibly evicted from the fort!
  3. Can we build on the island?
    — Yes you may.
  4. Does the loot respawn?
    — At this  time, there is no plan for replacing taken loot, though we will monitor the raid area and adjust accordingly if it is necessary.

Get Good!

In recent weeks, I’ve gotten a number of questions about how I’ve built large bases as quickly as I have, or how I stand up in firefights or score good hits.  While it’s always a bit of a liability to share your tactics with someone else, I’m always happy to share someone else’s tactics when they’re willing to put them on display.  Today’s Rust Community Update included the fantastic video below of a three-man group’s one-day progress in Rust. I won’t go too deep into analysis, but there’s a lot of good information that can be learned from watching how other successful people behave.

New Month, New Wipe, New Crafting System!

Tomorrow, November 3rd marks the ending of the XP system and the introduction of Rust’s new component-based crafting system. Those who’ve had a chance to test it have reported some positive things and most folks seem to prefer it to the XP system, so I’m certainly looking forward to hearing everyone’s take on it!

With the new month and new wipe, I’ll be rotating our server to a North American-based server for a couple of reasons.  First, I promised our NA players that we would; it’s really only fair that our player base get the opportunity to take turns between having 20ms ping versus 100ms ping. As someone who’s been playing from NA on an EU server this whole time, trust me:  Don’t panic. It’s not a big deal, at all.  The other NA players and I did just fine these last three months.  The second, and much more important reason is this: It’s no secret that our server host has been kind of shit at maintenance and stability for Rust, and with the server based in France, our host has been able to tapdance around American consumer protection laws that would otherwise require them to either fix the server or refund our money. By moving the server to a US-based location, it gives us a lot more leverage to be able to actually force things to get done and to make the server actually stable and reliable, which have been big issues at times.

I’ll be closely watching the dev feeds and package releases tomorrow and expect that we’ll be up just a few minutes after the server packages are released.  Tim has been kind enough to reach out over some social media channels to spread the word about our server, to invite some new folks to visit us during this awesome new phase, and to unleash some exceptional mayhem!

Due to the changes coming both to the map and to the crafting system, we won’t be doing a map vote this month, and I’m going to hold off on setting up an event schedule until we have a better idea of what the new crafting system looks like; I don’t want to risk early game imbalance.  I will be doing some testing with supply signal drops and drop rates, as well as some testing with barrel drops, during low-population times. If it looks like presents and signals won’t break the game for folks, we’ll get back to using those as our daily giveaways and running some events that will give people a chance to win some new goodies.  Until we’ve got a little more data on balance and loot propagation, expect events to be more along the vein of our primitive arena, labyrinth, and hunger games events.