Interview: KenZo from Survivors.gg

What is the goal of Rust? Survive! Well I can tell you that the guys over at Survivors.gg, formally known as Battle of Rust, are doing that just, and with ease! They currently have seven active Rust servers and are a growing community with over 2000 members. After a couple of negative experiences on different servers due to admin abuse and pay to win rewards, KenZo started his own community back in 2014. I managed to have a chat with him regarding Survivors, their history, players and Rust itself. KenZo is a man with short, straight to the point answers. My kinda style, so let’s jump in the air balloon (yes, air balloons in Rust is a thing nowadays) and take a journey through the community of Survivors.gg!

KenZo! Thanks for doing this interview with us. First of, how are things going?

Hi Syff, I’m doing well, hope you are well too.

I’m doing great! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and Survivors.gg?

Of course, I am a middle aged family man, I take enjoyment from the little things in life. To me Survivors.gg is part of the family, I love my community and I’m proud to say that I am the owner of it. Survivors.gg has always had the focus of putting the player first, our staff do just this. A nice community which is mainly vanilla.

What made you change your name? (Battle of Rust > Survivors.gg)

I started Battle of Rust in 2014 at Legacy Rust. We had 2 Battlefield servers that were almost always full of players. Because we have no battlefield servers anymore, we had to find a suitable name for our community.

Recently we changed from playrust to survivors.gg, this was due to us realising that in Rust the main thing we all share in common is the desire to survive.

Did you have any experience running a community prior to Survivors.gg/Battle of Rust?

Yes I did. As well as running the battlefield servers, I played Quake 3 excessive and excessive plus for a very long time. Over there we also hosted several servers.

The community is still active actually

I noticed you hosting a mix of vanilla and 2x servers. What made you choose only these two types of Rust gameplay?

Yes well personally I like the vanilla feeling in rust, but in the future we will also release  several other rust servers, X5/10 etc. If the community voices heavily that they want, something we will consider it.

Let’s talk about the player moderation for a moment. First of al, how big is the admin team? Since you have 7 servers to moderate.

So regarding moderation we currently have 3 admins, Aspire being our newest in the team. He was an active player who was given the opportunity to become a moderator and then onto admin.

In the near future we will be looking for other active administrators for the Rust server and discord.

I noticed on your website that admins don’t participate in the game. Why is that?

Well in the past I’ve seen admin play the game which led to admin abuse. With our servers I don’t want the players to have the feeling that we are advantageous. Our admins understand this, we have the chat moderator rank available which means that although you would the power to mute/kick, you can still play the game.

Does this mean players are unable to become members of the staff team?

No, so I will explain our rank structure. So players are called Survivors, then the most trusted and respected players are called Veteran Survivors. Next there are the people who are shortlisted and sometimes given the opportunity to become moderators of the discord and server chat. They can still play but they don’t have any powers which can be exploited to their advantage.

“It may not be quick but if you work hard and stick to a set of principles you will achieve success”

A question many starting communities have, how did you manage to grow your community so big?

Well to me the most important thing is always to be fair to the players and to take the players seriously. You also have to invest a lot of money into the servers and a lot of time. It may not be quick but if you work hard and stick to a set of principles you will achieve success.

Do you host special events within the community?

Yes we plan to host events and competitions. Our admin Aspire wants to organize several events in the future where you can win money, skins etc.

Any plans for branching outside of Rust?

At the moment we have no such plans. But you never know, opportunities present themselves out of the blue sometimes.

How do you think Rust has evolved over the year and has it impacted your community?

Well rust has changed greatly, I remember when the twig update hit and players were very unhappy, some updates bring with them massive change, we as a community must evolve with this change. When new updates come out bugs sometimes appear, some members alert us to these bugs and there’s not a lot we can do, unlootable air drops etc.

We try our best to support our community, if anyone has a question regarding a new update, even if we as a staff team don’t reply our community will, we are a fairly positive community. Also I feel like rust has become less toxic, I know a lot of communities may disagree, but when I go onto the server all I see is happy people, strangers who would never normally meet new people, but rust is a great game, it brings great people together.

All these years of running your community must had its ups and downs. How do you keep yourself motivated?

Well like I mentioned previously I am a family man, sure there has been hard times with the community/servers, but we as a community have gotten through it together. I’m motivated by my desire to see this great community flourish, we have 2000 members, all of which I look at and realise they chose to be here and they choose to stay here, my motivation will and has always been to see Survivors.gg grow as a friendly community.

“The fact that we are as successful as we are now makes me proud to be honest”

Looking back, what are some of your best memories/achievements with Survivors.gg?

Over the years I’ve had some great memories, when we hit 1k for example, that was a great day. I take enjoyment out of coming onto the discord and seeing new members there.

Looking back we have evolved as a community and I’ve watched players evolve themselves. The fact that we are as successful as we are now makes me proud to be honest. To think of when we had hardly any players and now we are being interviewed by a very successful gaming website.

I’m proud to say that I’ve watched clans grow with members, create enemies and adapt to the changes. Clans will come and go within our community. But our community will always be here for them.

As always we end our interviews with some tips. Any tips you can give (starting) communities out there?

Understand why players would choose you, what can you offer them? Get in the mind of a player, work out what they want, what you can offer them, then do it. Build a well structured discord, start with 1 server and get your friends to get on it. Think about when you are going to make it wipe, think about when is your best chance to get players, you don’t want to wipe when another big server wipes.

So to summarise:

  • understand the player
  • build a discord
  • get 1 server which is built around the ideas you had of what a player would want
  • promote the discord
  • promote the server through the discord and get stuck in
  • be patient
  • be supportive
  • listen to your community
  • evolve to their needs

You will succeed. It is not an overnight thing but you will grow overtime.