Hi. My name is Mitch. I just deleted about a thousand words complaining about getting raided. I realized it was useless, and took away from the suggestions I have.
Bear in mind, the suggestions I will make have probably already been suggested, and in all likelihood a few of them are even being worked on by developers. The current major problem with Rust is that the rich get richer and the poor are left with nothing. As a player gets more powerful in Rust, it gets easier for them to conquer lesser players. This makes sense. However, there comes a point where there are enough powerful forces on a server to completely obliterate anyone else's chances of achieving equivalent wealth. On one hand, logic would dictate that in order to balance things, barriers should be put in place to prevent super powerful players from crushing new spawns. However, this takes away from what Rust is all about, the interactions between players that have all started from scratch. There's no true solution to this conflict. Allow me to get slightly off topic. My point will (hopefully) become clear eventually. When foreigners first arrived in America, wars began between the natives and those seeking land to claim for their country. These conquistadors, as they were known, had weaponry far more advanced than that of the natives. Their battles were not unlike those of a new spawn with a bow versus a gunman with metal armor in Rust. The gunmen, for the most part, were victorious. Those who were proven to be weaker at fighting were wiped out, and their land was taken. Except, in Rust, the natives respawn. Despite how it tries, Rust can never accurately simulate what it would be like to establish a community from scratch, and a large contributor to that fact is the respawn system. Do not misunderstand me; I am not suggesting that we get rid of respawning in Rust. I am simply saying that we cannot resolve the conflict between new spawns and gunmen by examining history. Instead, an underlying balancing system must be implemented, one that alters the behavior of a powerful player while making it seem like it's their decision. The goal is to establish a method of lowering their desire to raid someone weaker than them. In order to do that, one must examine their motives for raiding in the first place. Players raid bases primarily for the loot they contain. There is a secondary motive, the thrill of destroying someone else's work, but for our purposes we shall focus solely on the looting aspect. Advanced players raid lesser bases and bases equivalent to their own in order to acquire resources without gathering them. It is indisputably a more efficient method of gaining resources. Keep in mind, I am not entirely against raiding. I simply believe raiders should only have motive to attack those of an equivalent or higher strength than themselves. Back to the point I am trying to make. When a player gets strong enough to raid other bases, their time spent searching for rocks lowers a significant amount. Therefore, the best way to stop a player from raiding a smaller base than theirs is to introduce a more efficient method of acquiring resources. How to go about doing this, however, is more open ended. Things have already been put in place to achieve such a goal. For example, quarries and oil rigs allow players to acquire rocks and metal without having to go out and gather it themselves or breaking into someone else’s base. However, more could be done to lessen their motive for raiding small bases. For example, farms that include growing crops and breeding animals could be implemented, reducing the desire to loot bases for resources such as cloth and food. Perhaps even factories could be introduced, mass producing things such as armour and clothes. This could even give rise to stores in Rust. Thus far, Rust has been steered towards fighting and fighting alone, even though it could be so much more. Raiding will always remain, no matter what is done, and that’s a good thing. But if other ways of achieving tremendous wealth were implemented, it would take some of the heat off of players trying to establish a decent base.
tl;dr When it boils down to it, I am trying to get two points across. First, something needs to be done about the state of players who have bases made of stone and wood. They are extremely vulnerable, and a player with enough metal to make a couple of pickaxes could raid either of them. Second, I believe Rust can become so much more than a game solely about fighting.
Keep in mind, everything I have said is simply my opinion, and I welcome disagreement and criticism. I also encourage further suggestions in the comments.
Thanks for bothering to read all of this. Sorry for any mistakes in grammar, spelling, or logic.