An Educated Suggestion to Enhance Player Introversion, Group Play, Base Design, and Interior Mechs.
Uncertainty Reduction Theory (Charles Berger 1975) is a principle theory in communication and behaviour that looks at the first glimmer of a forming relationship. The basic idea is that before two people meet and can form a relationship, there is too much uncertainty about each other. There’s a lot of IRL talk about this available online, but in the Rust-verse, specifically, let’s think about those first few moments we all know and love when encountering an unknown player. A currently ongoing poll (5/2016) on rust.wikia.com shows the top three initial responses to unknown players that Rust-ers have are (in order) 1. Hide 2. Kill on Sight 3. Try to Help. Ignoring players, however is the least selected option. Those 3 are the most common because they’re all efficient methods of reducing uncertainty, or controlling the interaction. The first option (hiding_ completely reduces uncertainty by avoiding the interaction altogether, while option two (K.O.S.) negates any security risk posed, and brings the highest potential for reward (stealing loot). It’s no wonder that the beaches of Hapsis Island are so lined with nudist torchbearers!
The second drive in player’s interactions and perceptions comes from their motivations. This can get hairy, debated, and very deep so I’ll stick to a very surface oriented approach. We all know and love Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. That pyramid that illustrates the order of our needs. As in, what do I need First? On the bottom of the pyramid, we have our basic physiological needs such as food and water. With recent tweaks to hunger and thirst, this is mostly true in game. Just as in real survival situations, players require regular access to food and clean (or rather, fresh) water. After this step comes security. For players in game, this is usually a base and a weapon. Once you’re fed, and armed (Bow/spear) you’re usually investing in building (if not earlier). But for most players (as such is the nature of Rust) it can become very difficult to feel fully secure, and therefore move onto the next steps which include a sense of belonging and later creativity. This is, aside from their immense loot gathering potential, why clans and even small groups so greatly outperform solo players so quickly – even moments after a full BP wipe. Basically, these two theories come together at the moment when two players spot each other in the woods; both with weapons – perhaps evenly matched – and yet still greatly uncertain and insecure about the other’s potential for risk/reward. These two factors either push them to a fire-fight, or pull them back into their own bases. Both options reduce uncertainty and increase security. Now, obviously, there are a lot of other factors and theories at play here that I’ve just flat out ignored (i.e. fight or flight, or perhaps one player had an AK pointed at the other who was a naked), but bear with me here.
When two people meet in the woods, it can be startling and make one or both feel unsafe leading to them avoiding each other, talking it out, or a full on fire fight because of science.
How the game currently works & its progression in this area**:
The only true, 100% sure-fire method of avoiding these unpleasant interactions is to stay indoors, and Facepunch knows this. They’re working hard on making sure we get our fair share of Vitamin D. Hence why things like Quarries and large furnaces go outside and are harder to secure. Should you wish to advance your gameplay farther, you are driven to the busy and centralized rad-towns. It’s in these more dangerous locations that the game is really played! No build zones, resource types being distant from each other, and many other mechanics drive us out of our bases and force that uncertainty and insecurity on us… and that flipping rocks! That’s where Rust gets its unique flavour. Remember, we didn’t have any of this kill on sight bullshit in Minecraft back in the day…
What, though, about when you are certain that you’re insecure? I’ve spent many nights alt-tabbed as I listened to woefully vengeful victims of mine waste their pickaxes on my stone honeycombing, or those times I’ve caught a door camper’s waterpipe poking through the wall into my airlock. Or even those less eventful times when I had no reason to go outside and found myself just staring into my small furnace watching ore process? My walls only serve to secure me. They keep me safe when I’m offline or AFK, and they make my loot harder to steal. Aside from that though, why have a base?
My Suggestion (Finally):
We need interior, small… things. Not just aesthetics though. Smelting in the small furnace is about the only activity that players really do inside. Bases consist of two or there rooms (loot, furnace, sleep(?) ). The rest of a base is just… space. Maybe functional still, like honey-combing. Maybe it’s aesthetic such as an atrium. But at the end of the day, it’s still just space. There’s no need to organize your base or to really have other rooms. Let’s change that up! The idea of dedicating indoor spaces will revolutionize base designing and how players plan and interact with their secure-spaces (not to mention change how raids go down! Can you imagine having multiple rooms that need to be protected, rather than just your one chest room?). Below is a list of rooms with ideas of what would go in each, but I want to be clear about two things:
- These aren’t prefabricated rooms that someone just plops onto their base. They’re deployable items like the small furnace that go into spaces that help define areas of a base
- The nature of this suggestion isn’t these few items, but rather the larger idea of using interior spaces, and changing the nature of player interactions, base design, and group play.
• Garage (Or stable)
o This is a space that would be used with whatever vehicles may be added to the game. Some possible interior items may be:
Vehicle Bay for parking your car or horse
Refuelling bay for filling up your tank, or feeding your horse
Parts storage Racks
• Kitchen – For the preparation of more complex, costly, and nutritious foods, as well as the longer lasting storage of prepared foods and ingredients
o Ice Box
o Stove/Oven/More sophisticated and permanent campfire
o Food processing equipment
o Plant De-seeders
• Smelter – for the more complex interactions with ore, and ore processing
o Furnaces (which already exist)
• Medical Room – For enhanced healing of critical wounds
o Surgery or medical bed
o Equipment designed for powerful healing
• Electrical room – For securing whatever mechanic is used to distribute electricity
o I assume the generator will end up outside
o House-wide battery
o Tool Cabinet (which already exists)
Again, this is just a short list of suggestions to help you understand my idea. Obviously, Facepunch ought to come up with whatever works best in their development plan. Please shoot me some feedback below. Much like all 1st iterations, feedback from others always enhances the 2nd. Thanks to Facepunch and the rest of the Rust Community for sticking with me and reading. Long Live Garry!