Well, at this point in Rust, it sure is. Most players have stopped playing Rust because they’ve found other games or they are bored by it and then there’s every other player group who say the exact same thing. “We got sick of all the hackers and admin abuse so we make our own server”. Seriously. Every. Other. Group. This results in more than twice as many servers than players and people still complain about all the dumb stuff and go off make new servers without having even one experienced admin, so the result is the usual barf half-duration no-decay shit server where admins will still abuse (because they can and they’re new to the job and nobody will ever notice).
I’m serious, all the people who make new servers because of “admin abuse” and “hackers” first don’t know what they’re getting themselves into (being an admin is a very hard and unthankful job, trust me, I’ve been doing this for over 12 years), second mostly aren’t any better than 90% of all the other servers, third they don’t make anything special, it’s just yet another one of these servers and lastly they have never actually been on the correct servers with experienced admins (and by that I mean people who are hosting and running communities for at least >5 years).
It makes absolutely no sense at this point to try and create a new community in Rust, there’s too few people scattered all over the thousands of servers, and if you don’t have anything unique to offer, why would people want to join your community? What makes you special? I can tell you what doesn’t make you special. Making a server that’s what people on facepunch tell you they want in a server, because every other server is pretty much that. Go make something special, people will automatically come and stay and tell their friends to come and stay too. That’s how it is supposed to work. You shouldn’t make a server with settings to get as many people on there as possible, you should make a server where you think this is how the game should be played and you will then get the audience that matches the server. I can guarantee you, if you go with all the stuff people “want” in a server (and let’s face it, they don’t even know what they want, they just want super easy gameplay) you will mostly have 8 to 16 year olds crying over every little thing and falling into adrenaline rage every few minutes. Do you want that?
Figure out what you want to give to the players and make it happen.
Our server, for example, is special in that we’ve got our own RCON mod that enables 20+ commands, lots of statistics on our website, super fast contacting of admins (ringing phones…) and other fancy stuff, we have programmed and balanced all our features ourselves and its very chatty so players know exactly what the admins are up to. Also, we’re running a blog where we explain every ban in detail and offer a ton of transparency to what we’re doing.
We’re aiming for hardcore Rust players who know that this game is about getting killed (or trying to prevent this) and so most of our long term players are exactly that, which is great! People who cry about getting raided every day (while having built a huge castle in the middle of a field) are completely wrong on here - they don’t know how Rust works and we’re not interested in serving them a super easy building simulator. You need to set your mind on what exactly you want to offer and what you don’t want to offer and stick with it!
So, to conclude or tl;dr, don’t force your server to attract as many people as possible, that’s not the point of having a server. Make it special and unique and people will come and stay.