The Plugin Paradox: Community or Modded

The Plugin Paradox: Community or Modded

Learn how to determine if your RUST server should be in the Community or Modded list

“The server is currently listed under Community. Please be aware that Facepunch only allows admin tools (that do not affect gameplay) under the Community section.”

This statement is made on every Community server, everywhere, every time said server goes through the startup process. Simple enough for the average player… I guess this means that any server that makes any sort of change to impact any portion of gameplay is considered Modded, correct?

Yes and no.

To understand the differences, you first have to examine the more updated and detailed Facepunch Community Guidelines. Coming straight from RUST Producer Alistair himself, Community servers must not:

  • Modify gameplay in any way
  • Modify the game user interface (GUI) in any way

To further complicate matters, there are game settings (convars) that server owners and admins can change from the default setting without violating this mandate, so long as they don’t use a plugin to do it.’

Things such as resource spawn rates, resource density, rate of decay, and upkeep, all the way down to the frequency of weather and animal spawn rates, are fair game. Check out our complete list of RUST Admin Commands for additional alterable settings. 

Altering any of these convars is perfectly acceptable within the scope of the Community Server category, according to the game developer.

One more solid wrench in the pudding; admin-exclusive plugins do NOT require that a Community server be changed to Modded. This slippery slope will be gone into later in the guide but will be prefaced with the following controversial statement; if the server description or format states that admins actively play the server in question, admin-exclusive plugins technically would (in this instance) require the server be set to Modded. Remember basic RUST server etiquette.

So what does this all mean? To sort out the specifics of a commonly misinterpreted topic, we will do a deep dive into the subject.

A brief synopsis

By their very nature, Community servers are intended to be an outward extension of the official server format, vanilla at their core and hopefully unspoiled through ownership meddling. 

Minor alterations through settings, cute names, and individual Discord servers are fine, but leave the gameplay and interface alone!

On the other hand, Modded servers are a proverbial Devil’s Playground of potential. Short of violating the game’s terms of service, server owners may load any plugins they wish and turn their server format into anything they want. 

Nothing is off-limits, from build and creative servers, bedwars, raid simulators, aim trainers, battlefield, PVE, or roleplay paradise servers. The gameplay and the GUI are everything but what the developers intended initially.

Thou shalt not alter gameplay.

What constitutes a gameplay change? Gameplay, by definition, implies the way that the game is played or intended to be played by the developer. RUST, on the surface, is a survival game; the point is not to die as much as possible.

Go forth from the beach, gather resources, and do what is necessary to survive and prosper. Convars completely aside, being whitelisted as anything goes, this leaves us with the plugin category as the sole determinant of either Community or Modded status.

How, then, do you determine a plugin’s effect on gameplay? While some cases are cut and dry, some situations and circumstances nudge a plugin’s status in one direction or the other. 

The following are questions that can be used to adequately determine a plugin’s Community-friendly status from the gameplay perspective:

  • Does the plugin alter the gathering rate of resources or items from nodes, trees, barrels, boxes, or any other loot-gathering forum?
  • Does the plugin’ hand out’ any item that the player wouldn’t have to otherwise acquire through intended drop methods?
  • Does the plugin automate any process within the game itself that players would otherwise have to do themselves?
  • Does the plugin enable non-administrative players the capacity to perform administrative functions, such as fly, teleport, spawn items, remove or destroy entities or building blocks, become invincible to AI, or anything of the sort?

While not limited to these things, if you answered yes, then chances are your server might be moved to Modded or reported as incorrectly listing as Community. Repeated infractions can have repercussions for the server in question and ultimately lead to a permanent blacklisting.

Thou shalt not alter the GUI.

The graphic user interface in RUST is like many other games of its type but certainly has its style. In the eyes of the game developer, that style should remain as they created it for a server to remain in the Community server listing.

By definition, this means that there should be no additional fancy overlays, no shapes, colors, graphics, boxes, dongles, clan signs, advertisements, or anything of the sort present anywhere from the second a player clicks “Connect” on a server, to the second the window is closed. 

The interface should be precisely how Facepunch intended it to be, with no exceptions, unless advertised by the developer’s posted guidelines. 

Similar to gameplay, these questions will shine a relatively bright light on plugin Community eligibility quite quickly:

  • Does the plugin, in any way, on any scale, alter how the connecting player’s screen interface appears?
  • Does the plugin utilize popup boxes as a means of interfacing with the player?
  • Does the plugin allow players to use commands, buttons, or interfaces to apply skins to their items?
  • Does the plugin display any logo, emblem, or design?

Just like gameplay changes, and while not limited to these things, if you answered yes, then chances are your server might be moved to the Modded list or reported as incorrectly listing as a Community server.  

Admin privilege!

If you thought this was the end, there is another plugin factor that changes the landscape entirely; Admin Plugins.

Okay, so what are the differentiating factors of an admin plugin?

  • The plugin CAN NOT be accessible to regular playing members of the server.
    • This includes playing mods and admins – at this point, the plugin would lose its whitelist status on principle, and the offending server could be liable.
  • The plugin MAY give alerts, disclose rule information, and the like, but must be done so through normal chat box methods and must not change the default player graphical experience.
    • On the subject of the chat box interface, things like Better Chat and Colored Nicknames ARE permitted without restriction for Community servers.
  • The plugin MAY be used to further enforce anti-cheat protocols and, when applicable, be used to torment, troll, belittle and run off would-be problem causers.
  • The plugin MAY alter the administrative teams’ graphic user interface SO LONG AS these admins are in no way actively playing on the server, only logging in to perform administrative functions. 
  • The plugin CAN NOT automate administrative tasks, such as the enforcement of rules, restrictions, or limitations. These things need to be done by the admin team, not by a plugin.
    • For example, Group Limits has both the functionality to alert players when they exceed a team limit placed by a server format, as well as a toggle setting to Enforce the rule through kicks, bans, or other means – Alerts ONLY are appropriate for Community servers. Automated enforcement is only permitted while Modded.

Is there a definitive listing of community-approved plugins?

Short answer – no

The problem with a ‘definitive listing’ is the nature of the Community-driven process. Plugins are not under the directive jurisdiction of Facepunch or its teams, meaning that in the eventuality that they were to produce a ‘current whitelist,’ nothing is stopping the Community or those plugins’ developers from altering that mod into something completely different.

Hypothetically, what might be billed as the new version of Vanish (perfectly acceptable admin plugin), previously deemed an ‘approved plugin for Community admins,’ could be altered without the game developer’s knowledge into something that allows all players to become invisible by default. In the current format, with the arrangement between Community developers and game developers, there isn’t a logical basis for creating such a list.

My server is Modded; can it revert?

Absolutely. So long as a server conforms to the above requirements, having no gameplay alterations via mod, nor GUI changes, reverting from Modded to Community is a snap.

Simply access your Oxide server folder, opening the file:  oxide.config.json. Within this file, under “Options,” typically around line 3, there will be a "Modded": true function. 

Change the value "true" to "false" and save this file, then restart your server completely. Your server should now display in the Community server listing instead of Modded.

Note: Some third-party server hosts will flag servers that they feel should be Modded based on your loaded uMod plugin list. It might be important to communicate your intent to them to switch back to Community to prevent future misunderstandings.

Can I report servers violating this rule?

While the regulatory procedure is kept quite close to the chest at Facepunch, they do have methods in place for Community members to report servers violating their mandates.

The most effective way will come from submitting a ticket on their Official Support Site. Be sure to include as much information as possible, including the server’s IP address, screenshots, and server name.

Parting thoughts on Community and Modded servers

The greatest resource we have is the Community as a whole; thousands of servers, server owners, and other assorted resources you can reach out to for guidance on this and other confusing settings. 

So too, we at Corrosion Hour are more than happy to lend a hand or ear when needed, and welcome anyone with a question surrounding this or other topics to reach out via our Discord

Other veteran Community members often jump in to help before we have a chance to see questions. It never hurts to ask, right?

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About No Limit Llama

An aspiring woodworker and web designer. Father, husband, and Rust veteran. Llama has written op-eds and official game documents for over two decades. The earliest writings were on Asheron’s Call, followed by World of Warcraft and eventually Rust. The vast majority of his indoor time is spent running Rust servers or helping friends with their Rust-related projects. He enjoys working around the house, continuing his education when time permits, and creating new processes to simplify activities of daily living for his friends and family. He has an incredible wife, a dog, three children, and one granddaughter.

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