Interview: Gamegeared from Rust Factions

Dust off your rock put on your burlap pants because It’s time for another interview with a Rust community! This time I had a chat with Gamegeared who is the owner of Rust Factions, a roleplay community/server with an interesting history. Since the reboot (November, 2017) they have seen a steady increase of players. I was eager to hear his story and wanted to know why  “This isn’t your typical rust server

Greetings Gamegeared, thanks for doing this interview with us! First of, how are you doing today?

Good. Busy as anything with the most recent patch coming out but good.

Can you tell me a bit about how and when you guys started out?

Well the Rustfactions server certainly predates me as a community, it came out 3 or 4 years ago back in legacy rust. I came on to the server after it hit experimental rust 2.5-3 years ago and fell in love with it. Eventually when the existing admins at the time wanted to step back from rust they passed the torch to several core members of the community and myself to operate as admins.

Over time Admins have burnt out or had real life interference and stepped away from the game/server passing leadership along. I came back to Rustfactions back around late September just as the remaining set of admins were getting ready to close up the server from a combination of their own burnout, low population and a general dislike for the direction rust was taking. Having been back now for the last 5 or 6 months I can understand where they were coming from, Rust and the Rust Community is very different in behavior and tone than we had experienced in my first go a round. In the last two years rust players have really learned to hate, to bask in salt and for some reason turned roleplayer into some bizzare form of an insult. Believe me when I say that it’s astonishing how many people come on just to mess with roleplayers.

But when the previous admins decided to close up the server and the forums (they had moved to their own forums/website which are now gone) I made the decision to get in touch with some of my fellow admins from my time, revitalize the subreddit and reboot the Rustfactions server as close in spirit to the what we were as a server in my time as I could.

Did you have any experience running different servers/communities prior to RustFactions?

Well aside from Rustfactions now and 2ish years ago I was an admin on a minecraft rpg server for a time 10ish years or so ago. Truth be told now that I think about it has a similar feel to me as RF. Towns and factions as part of large nations making up the world fighting (significantly less destructive) wars using the classes that the games plugins made available mostly for the fun of it.

Roleplay within Rust is still pretty fresh, can you explain how it works to the ones who are unaware?

Roleplay may be one of the most broad concepts to approach as it’s a little different for everyone. There is a reason the opening description of my server is as broad as it is. “You can be a enterprising businessman, a brutal dictator, a religious zealot,  or even a grumpy pumpkin farmer.”

Roleplay is what you make of it. For me, the server was about in a sense writing a giant collaborative story every month. Everyone has their character and usually their faction/city with a semi defined sense of self. We are all writing our stories and throwing them into a melting pot. Seeing how everything interacts, intermingles and drives the stories of other members. It was The Brotherhood of the Sun putting down Moon cultists, one man starting a revolt against the Royals, the rise and fall of great cities. It is the ultimate in player driven story, and every era(wipe) is different.

What should a “fresh” player expect when he/she joins for the first time?

It’s a different play experience from normal rust to say the least. You won’t (or shouldn’t) be encountering situations where folks will kill you the second they see you, often times you can have proper interactions with the players you encounters. This doesn’t mean you are in some safe PVE world where no one will harm you, but it does mean there is more structure. Wander into the badlands (pvp areas) or come across the wrong person unprepared and you will find yourself robbed, enslaved or worse. But the name of the game is player interactions. Actually just this morning I saw a great example of just that. Some pirates roving the ocean badlands in their boats were captured by a group of vigilantes, sent to trial for piracy and sentenced to death for their misdeeds. The pirates were mostly good sports about their capture and the vigilantes tried to make it interesting for them. It was something awesome and organic to see happen, and weird stuff like that happens all the time.

“Roleplay may be one of the most broad concepts to approach as it’s a little different for everyone”

You guys have an impressive set of rules, something that is needed in order to create a roleplay environment. This also means the staff has its hands full from time to time right?

Oh very much so. I have found myself more than once since the reboot so bogged down with keeping the peace/dealing with troublemakers that i have had entire wipes where i don’t even get to play as a player (15 minutes of play with for every 3 hours of time makes for an exercise in futility).  The heavy workload definitely has lead to admin burnout over the years but it’s something so necessary for a server like this. And rules themselves are such a fine balance. Too much controls and players stop being able to create their own fun or regulate bad parts of the community. Too little and the server starts going down a decidedly vanilla rust route. So it’s really a balancing act to try and create a ruleset that is short enough for players to read and grasp, comprehensive enough to protect the players and give them a fun experience and manageable enough that my staff and I don’t die a little inside trying to keep things rolling. Some wipes are better than others in that regard. It is an endless cycle of trying to tune it so it’s just right.

Are players able to become staff members? if so, how does this process work?

It definitely is,  every admin past of present here has been a player at some point. Currently I work to elevate positive members of the community that have shown to have both the maturity to handle people and the love for the community needed to try and keep it going. Ultimately players becoming staff is part of the dna of Rustfactions the torch has been passed time and time again. And all you can hope for is that you have built a good group of guys to keep the fires burning.

Besides your Discord you have an active sub Reddit. Is there any specific reason for using Reddit?

At this point it is heavily ingrained in Rust Factions. It has been on the reddit for such a long time that it is where people know to go, where old players and at this point I’m pretty sure sometimes the devs (or atleast bucksexton) lurk to keep up to date on happenings, and most importantly where much of the servers history can be found. There has been times that the server has moved to private forums for one reason or another, but for whatever reason it has a noticeable impact on the server and new player flow.

Any reason why Rust Faction’s steam group has a low priority?

I could be wrong, but if I remember correctly it was simply never used. Truth be told I don’t even know who controls it anymore.

Is there any competition with other roleplay servers in Rust?

There is, though I personally want success for them almost as much as I want for itself as I want a healthy RP community as a whole.  Currently 2 are run by former players/admins of this server. LostIslesRP is run by a former admin Disconnect and is a pve oriented server, while Rust Empires is run by Allhailgeek and runs a similar to us but is structured more like the rustfactions of ~2 years ago when claimable land was broken up by the topology of the map. Aside from those two I know of a medieval RP server by the name of I believe of DarkAgesRP.

Do you host random (special) events within your servers/community?

Now and again we do if we have time or an idea that really strikes us most of the time though we try to let the players create their fun. If we have to do something specific like removing a large city we will try and make an event of it to keep something memorable. But we are an international server community so when you run an event chances are someone will be left out which I try to avoid, that combined with being bogged down with general admin duties and there often isn’t time to create something.

Let’s talk development real quick, In order to create a roleplay environment, the use of plugins becomes mandatory. Do you stick to premade plugins or do you make them yourselves/have a dedicated programmer?

While I wouldn’t say plugins are a requirement but they sure as hell make life easier. By in large we have premade plugins though we do have 2 that were custom plugins made by a former player/admin by the name of Chucklenugget.

The first is our bread and butter plugin by the name of Imperium. It’s a land claim, tax, protection and map plugin that not only makes admin work easier by preventing certain actions (like raiding without a war declared), but also eliminated some tedium from admin life like maintaining the land claim live map which used to be a manual and sometimes time intensive prospect. Now factions stake their claims and it updates real time, and taxes anyone gathering on their land.

The other is a plugin called authgroups for granting permissions on cabinets, codelocks and turrets without the player having physical access, something that has become a real boon to town owners who constantly had to deal with new citizens wiping the town cabinet out.

You guys working on anything special/new currently?

One of my players Yellowhello is working on making a plugin for buying the Chinook, Sedan and rowboat with the crafting materials/components found ingame.

I also have a wishlist plugin for creating Books in game using the notes system so that players can pickup lore books in game and discover more about the servers history but I am still working on finding a developer willing to do it.

What are some of your fondest memories which took place within the community?

Bar none my favorite memories on the server were back when I was still a player. I had created a White Knight faction riffing off Darksouls called the Brotherhood of the Sun. It was a hokey religion worshipping the sun with the goal of building a tower to blow up the moon. Our helpful nature in the spirit of jolly cooperation lead to us being allied with most of the server. I used to write multi page stories tied to the religion and some factions started to pick up the religion themselves both as a tool to foster my factions support but also as a means of adding to their own stories and RP. The wars waged during that time were a thing of beauty because of the lore backing them and the grand scale of the multi faction alliance wars that took place. Both the writing and the gameplay were a blast.

Starting a (Rust) community can be tough in the beginning, especially for a roleplay server. Are there any tips you can give to starters?

Have a sense of what tone you want your server to have and know that sometimes you will  need to course correct what you are doing to steer things down that path. Be consistent and without bias with your players, folks will still think you are biased against whatever side you aren’t supporting but the majority will see through it and understand that you are trying to be as impartial as you can be.

Don’t be afraid to experiment and see what is possible. Not everything will work out but if you aren’t willing to try you will never see change. Your players don’t always necessarily know what effect a change you make will have on the grand scale. Their voice matters and you shouldn’t dismiss their opinions , but sometimes they can’t see the necessity or the value of something you have planned.

Any time you make a rule or a design decision/mechanic take a second and run down two very key trains of thought. How can I break this, and what is the natural progression of this concept. There are so many times where I have found that an idea that sounds good on paper would be devastating if implemented when I started to think about what ways I could abuse it.

And seriously don’t let donors buy their way to resources or gameplay advantages. P2W is guaranteed to sink any shot of your server succeeding unless you find the magic formula that makes only whales play your server.

How can new people join your server & community?

Best way to join is to go on our reddit www.reddit.com/r/rustfactions read the rules and just start playing. Folks tend to find themselves with a faction or city to live in soon enough.

About Syff

Co-founder of the Angry-Mob project, a community which transformed from a gaming community hosting several servers to it's current form. A hub with information for other community/server owners/staff members. Previously, Syff was involved with several other communities dispersed over different games and positions.