Unturned - My opinions and things I've realized after 4500 hours of playtime (this is a rant, kind of)

I’m gonna start this off by saying that this is definetly not the first time at least some of the things I’m about to say have been said. But now, after having spent roughly 4500 on the game, I have decided that it is time to get a lot of stuff of my chest, and sparkle a real conversation on what this game’s future will realistically turn out to be.

So. A bit of background.

Our story begins in October 2015, that was the very first time I’ve ever downloaded and played the game, Unturned. If you don’t know what Unturned is (which most likely is not the case, as I’m posting this on the SDG forums) you can search it on Google or Steam.
Anyways, back in 2015, I really was not impressed with the game, and ended up uninstalling it after a couple of singleplayer playthroughs, in early Decemeber.

Fast forward to may 2016. The game had, by then, received some updates, so I once again downloaded it and started messing around trying to get some achievements, this time, though, I gave servers a shot, all of which were survival vanilla ones. I kept playing for a while, but sometime after the russia map update, having experienced all of the new content, I left it behind once more, but not before making a very short come-back in October of the same year to check if the game had received any substantial updates.

Now, in these 2 very short years, I had rarely even encountered the biggest chunk of the Unturned community, in fact, I didn’t know this forum even existed until 4.0 update logs started being published god knows when. What I did do, however, was discover the RP genre of servers.

RP as a genre was not really popular at the time, but there was a fairly large amount of people playing it. As time went on (now in 2017) I started playing and getting involved with these servers and their management. I’ve been staff for various different RP servers, something that would have helped in the future, but I’d like to stop here and discuss this for a second.

Running just any type of server, as long as it’s not a completely vanilla & survival one, is relatively easy - running a RP server, however, is not. Why? You need a whole bunch of assets, and skills to use them effectively.

I’ve made an extremely oversimplified list of those, splitting some of them into different groups - So, what do you need to run a RP server effectively?

Non-Essentials yet extremely recommended:

-Plugins & Workshop mods
-A modded map with NPCs

Essentials:
-An active playerbase.
-A good place to host your server.
-A capable, possibly experienced, and also active staff team, made of people you are 100% sure you can trust.

And to top it all of, the most important thing of all: a competent server Owner.

Now, due to how difficult it is to (efficently and seriously) run a server, some server owners will try to cut back on one or more of these assets, the most common of which, being Staff members.

It was not rare, nor is it now, to find Staff members abusing their powers. (this, of course, is common between all server types, not only RP) Why? Simple: if you’re a server owner, and need admins, who are you going to ask for help first? Of course, your FRIENDS. But now, what are the advantages, and the disadvantages, of having your friends as staff members?

Positives: You can trust them. That’s pretty much it.
Negatives: They most likely will not have any or have very little Staff experience. Also, since they are your friends, you most likely are never going to punish them for the things they do - and they know this.

Now, you might say that this is not always the case. Your Friend X may have some level of staff experience; but let’s face it, cases like yours are extremely rare, in the english-speaking Unturned community, at least.

After giving staff powers to their friends, a server owner might also want to give them to someone else, possibly a frequent player of theirs, who’d like to get involved more with how things are run, to help out the others. And this is actually a pretty smart move - in theory. In reality, what happens is that those players turned staff members, will be the only ones to soak up all the admin duties and work there is to be done, as the owner’s friends can now sit back and have fun making whatever use they want of their powers.

Moving on, what else can a server owner cut on? In one way or the other, pretty much everything else that was on the list, including, their own management skills, and the care they have for their server.

I have personally seen the downfall of so many servers not because of the level of the content they provided or, whatever else you could image, but because the server’s owner simply could not fix or was too lazy to fix some aspects of it. And like domino tablets, something that doesn’t get fixed with a server, is most likely going to cause some trouble, as players are unhappy with what they’re getting, and simply leave, causing a downfall in player numbers, which will definetely not be seen as a good thing by the server’s owner. This may produce one of these two different effects:

  1. The server owner tries his best to fix whatever problem there is and bring players back. (extremely rare)
  2. Further stop caring about how things are going, or just never finding the willpower to learn how to patch things up. (the most common route)

There is another thing that can make server owners quit working on their service, but we’ll get to that at the very bottom of the post.

So, what did I want to say with all of this? Competent Server owners, or at least, decent ones, are very, very, very hard to find.

Ok, but why am I telling you this? It’s because the vast majority of Unturned players relies on servers, and only a small fraction of them play the singleplayer mode. And since we’ve clarified that these problems are common with pretty much all server types, you have a problem. A bloody huge one.

This problem is clearly shown in Steam’s player charts, which show that Unturned lost almost seven thousand players in May 2020. Let me reiterate: in 2020, during a global pandemic, Unturned, has LOST players. And while the last 30 days do show an extremely small increase in those numbers, it is not nearly significant enough for a free to play videogame, during the beginning of Summer holidays.


It is in the final 6 months of 2017 and early 2018 that I’ve gained most of my experience as a staff member, finding myself in staff positions on RP servers basically every month or so; I say this, because, as mention before, many servers I’ve worked for have shutdown. How was I able to gain this experience? I guess you could say it’s because I tried to help other players as much as humanly possible, putting their experience over mine, on servers where I was left alone to care about all the staff work pretty much on my own, as the numbers of normal players who become staff are very slim anyways. And now, I know what you may say - Nobody forced you to help anybody - welp, I kind of had to if I wanted to learn how the job works, and also, I don’t get a kick out of people asking for help in the chat, unlike most server moderators seem to these days.

It is in this period, that I started interecting with the community a lot more, for obvious reasons.

Anyways, eventually, I had enough of how I was being treated and of having to listen to, I want to say, incompetent people, though I can already see people angrily smashing their keyboards to write something along the lines of - You’re saying they’re incompetent, but what proof do we have? - you mean that the fact that their servers are now closed is not enough proof for you?

Angry boys aside, it is during the very late months of 2018 that I first opened my own server. With the motto - We do things my way, or the highway - and I 100% meant those words. But it was not easy. I had basically no connections, no contacts of experienced staff members, and no friends of mine playing Unturned, to boot.

But… I guess I was also lucky. Having nothing to lose, I started giving some of my very first players staff powers, and they turned out to be my best staff members to date. Those very players, I today see as friends, and I rarely talk with them on a daily basis. This initial success was followed by growing player numbers and just a great feeling of proudness and joy in what I had desperately tried to put together.

Now, while I’d love to talk about my (now, past) server in more detail, I’m not here to brag, I’m here to write a rant on why I quit the bloody game. So let me get back to that.

During the months my server ran, I had to get ever more involved with the Unturned community; to find good workshop mods, good technical advice (as I used to be really really bad at getting plugins to work), etc. And so, I joined some modding discord servers, and there, I realized a couple of things:

  1. Server owners may be the ones keeping the Game alive, but it’s mod developers who really made that possible, as the amount of vanilla content was, and still is, rather small.

  2. There were developing problems not only in Unturned’s playerbase (which was, and still is, predominately kids around 12 years old) but also the modding community. There already were many modders dropping out of the Unturned modding scene, and those who remained, downcreased the amount of content they put out, for reasons which basically any modder could tell you. (One of them being that Unity work is a pain and that a lot of projects are often cancelled because of it, or incoordination between the people involved in said projects)

  3. And, oh god… While, I did know this was a problem, I had not realized it was (and still is) that BIG of a problem. What am I talking about? Pay. To. Win. Servers. Yep, they exist pretty much on any game, but Unturned, and other free to play games, attract loads of people whose only goal is to squeeze whatever money they can out of their players’ pockets, which is actually relatively easy due to the afore mentioned very young age demografic of Unturned players.


Since 2018, things have only gotten worse for Unturned. Dwindling player numbers, an extremely toxic community (made so by its young age demografic) & a dieng modding community are not usually syntoms of a game with a bright future, and we must all face that.

I personally do not see a bright future for this game, and I’d be very surpised if it isn’t dead by 2021. Unturned has experienced its highest influx of players in the first years of its realease, and those days are not coming back.


Thank you for reading my post. This was Malviyn. Former owner of Malviyn’s RP. But before I turn my back. I have a couple of more things to say.

  1. About that “something else” that can make server owners quit working on their services - we have some other causes, IE: the sheer numbers of servers popping up for a few weeks and then closing & the player numbers themselves. Both of these things combined, kill actually active servers. Why? Combine the fact that, when a server pops up, at least some people are gonna play on it, until it eventually closes, then facture in the second thing I mentioned, and you’ve got yourself a seemingly unstoppable beast for servers who are not backed up by big Youtubers, and russian servers, for some reason. Now, why am I telling you this? This is exactly what destroyed what little hope I still had in Unturned up until a few months ago, alongside making me quit the game.

  2. About what I said in point n1. Youtubers. There are a few of them who I’d like to call out. I’m talking to you Nylex. And Elitelupus. And Fudgy. Bloody love how pay to win your servers are mate! Because of your notoriety you even went as far as jacking up the prices for your donator perks! - I might as well give them all of my mum’s bank account details while I’m at it! - that’s what your viewers are thinking everytime they donate to your servers, I bet.

Apart from your obviously staged content, you have such a strong levarage power, that servers will let you break their rules just so they can keep you recording on them. Oh and god forbid someone criticize you like I am doing right now - you’re gonna send your 12 year old army to murder us in our sleep! You’ve contributed to creating a tumour in the Unturned community. Congratz, blimey!

  1. This one’s about the modding community. And I wanna wrap this up quickly since I really do not want to write Dante’s Divine Commedy 2 Electric Boogaloo. This isn’t as much of a criticism as much as a - I’m just dumbfooled that it’s come to this - this, as in, the modding scene is pretty much dead, and the last modders who still make mods for Unturned, do so only if they get commissions (of which I have made plenty, and spent about 300 euros on in the span of 2 years) and never actually play the game.

Welp, that was all. If you agree or disagree with any of my points, let me know: I have some time to spare to answer at a least a whole bunch of comments.

EDIT: I forgot to mention another reason why I believe Unturned will be dead before 2021, and that is as follows: Unturned 4.0 / II is not gonna come out in time to save the game. Nelson is continuing to work solo, which is a rather bad idea, for a game that needs to be more detailed and complex than Unturned 3.0 - Nelson. Take some word of advice here. You 100% have money after all the gold edition and skin sales. Get yourself at least a couple of Devs.

EDIT N2, Electric Boogaloo: I did not purposely leave the fact that Unturned has gained players in the past months (except May). I suggest everyone go give a look at the steamcharts if they really wish to - Unturned player numbers can vary greatly as Animatic was saying when he mentioned 2019.

-My point is that, during a global pandemic, near the beginning of the summer months, Unturned has lost players. Usually, these are periods when games gain a lot more than they lose. (The 2% increase in the last 30 days is rather insignificant because of this specific period, too)

-Malviyn

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Bruh moment.

After reading through the post, I decided to write up a quick rebuttal.

First off, hours in a game don’t mean jack. You can have 20K hours in the game and still come up with a completely deluded standpoint. Not saying that’s the case here, just saying that it’s a bad precedent.

I do actually agree with your standpoint on servers, it’s a hot topic in the community mainly because finding a ‘good’ server is hard, especially from the standpoint of a player who’s looking for a vanilla experience. It’s possible, but it’s just hard since that’s not what the majority of the playerbase is into. I’m not going to get into the ‘RP’ side of things because I’m not well-versed enough to speak on that.

What I don’t agree with, purely because you got it wrong, was the fact that the community is dying. Unturned may of lost lots of players in May, but you conveniently left out the gains that it’s had since the beginning of the pandemic.

Leading up to May, the game gained a whole lot of new players which were then mostly lost. That isn’t a net negative, it’s neutral. It’s certainly better than Q4 of 2019, where the game was at 18K players but then got bumped up to 40K again.

As for any comments on Unturned and it’s predecessor, Unturned II, I don’t think it’s fair to assume that both games are going to die because the first one seems like it’s going to. Theoretically speaking, even if Unturned 3.x dies, that doesn’t mean that any interest in II will be squandered, it’s a separate game that’s bound to attract new players on it’s own.

I personally don’t think Nelson should hire new employees, nor do I think my opinion has any weight because who are we to judge how his company is run. New developers might even slow down development time due to a myriad of factors.

Finally, I want to wrap up with the idea that the game won’t make it to the end of the year, it’ll be flatline dead by 2021. That again, is simply untrue. Unturned is a free game on Steam, meaning, there will always be someone looking into it and playing it. There are also many planned community updates for the game that will last through out 2021 that are bound to garner attention.

I think that’s about all I had to say, long post, so it has to be good*.

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Wanted to clear up a few things

  1. I did not purposely leave the fact that it’s gained players in those months. Unturned player numbers can vary greatly as you were saying when you mentioned 2019. My point is that, during a global pandemic, near the beginning of the summer months, Unturned has lost players. Usually, these are periods when games gain a lot more than they lose. (the 2% increase in 30 days is rather insignificant because of this specific period, too)

  2. I was not talking about Unturned 3.0’s predecessor, I am talking about the development of Unturned 4.0 (some people call it Unturned II, so I can see why you may have misunderstood me there, since I also called it that)

  3. There are plenty of dead free-to-play games out there, and by dead - I don’t necessarely mean noone will be playing it in 2021, rather, an extreme decline in player numbers. And thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk about community-made updates. Isn’t it kind of unprofessional to use community-made content as updates? Yes, they are volounteers, nobody has forced them to do anything, but it still looks kinda bad IMO. - To top things off, as I said, the modding community has practically stopped pumping out content, and when the major modders will eventually leave, these updates will have to slow down.

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And yes, I understand that player numbers usually do not mean a great lot, but still, I bet my arse that if some random dude who barely had 100 hours on the game made a post like this, he would had his… arse, kicked.

I feel your sentiment. A few things about the modding situation that you didn’t mention:

You got the situation almost entirely right except for the fact that because 80% of the good moders have left, new and inexperience modders have shown up. The Unturned modded community is still pumping out content but its not good content. A lot of bad or new moders are reusing assets from older mods, or just making copies, or taking maps and turning them into RP. This has caused an oversaturation of either bad, or copied content. (or maybe the actual good mod every hear and their).

Hot Take (And partially the tru tru):
This is also why a lot of RP servers are complete garbo with bad admins, and moderators.

(Survival Servers FTW)

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That is true, but I gotta say, being a frequent user of modding discord servers, I have not seen a lot of newcomers, and those who do come either only make models because Unity is too complex for them or just dissapear

and yeah, reuploading mods is a huge problem but it’s bound to happen with a free to play game such as Unturned

You should probably let valve know about this.

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sup, Aden here

*downfall

no, because all my friends are professional shitposters and gamers, not experienced network administrators from IBM.
It’s simple - If you choose instantly giving your friends perms and shit over hiring someone that’s actually shown competence and dedication, then you’re fucking retarded. Bottom line.

And because lots of server owners, especially newer ones, tend to overthink and hop right in the nearest “logical” decision they can find, lots of servers end up with terrible moderation and administration teams. This includes all genres of servers, whether they be RP, dedicated PvP or even Vanilla PvP (albeit extremely rare)

I’m seeing a pattern here.

Hmm… Surely not…

Wow, it can’t be…

No shit.

it’s also because a majority of servers are dogshit.

Hm.

I can see that.
I’d also like to point out that

  1. People can get bored of vidyas, y’know.
  2. A majority of people in the U.S. are already thinking that COVID-19 is some kind of pushover and protesting some kind of political shit or fuckingkillmegoddamnitIdon’tevenknowwhatitis and are already going outside and interacting like it’s a normal summer.
  3. Why the fuck does this even matter? As long as I can enjoy the game, I don’t care if other people do, I just play it. I hate to be harsh, but it sounds like you’re trying to solve other people’s issues right now.

Unsurprising.

Bouta move this thread right over to #community-lounge

I uhh…

I ain’t seein’ it, pal.
It’s dwindling in player numbers, but that’s normal for quite literally any game on the internet.
Dying modding community? Hell the fuck no.

Personally, I think you’re kind of basing everything on the playerbase. A “Dying game” because the playerbase is, what, “bad”?
Yeah, no.
Players will come and go, but that doesn’t kill a game.

So Unturned is gonna lose 20,000+ players in one year? Doesn’t sound likely.

I’ll take Unturned 4.0 for 500, Alex.

Unturned 4.0 isn’t supposed to “save” U3, so why would it?
It’s supposed to be the successor to the amazing game we all know and love.
Except maybe not the “love” part for you.

HAHAAHAHAHHAAHA
no.
There’s been a thread on this before, and the general answer was no.
If we have more developers on a single game, sure, it’s faster, but there’s bound to be far more mistakes than a single person.
With only Nelson working on the game, he can shift it how he wants to and ensure that there’s way less potential bugs than with an entire team.
I mean yeah, it’s slow, and that’s fine.
If you don’t have the patience to wait for an update, you can go play some other game.

Damn right.

Wanna make a fat fucking bet?

Are. You. Fucking. High.

Hand over your arse, mate.

2 Likes

Lol where’s that

Nope doesn’t seem to me like I am

Anything for the right price

If I didn’t at least like this game, I wouldn’t have made a forum thread about it and simply moved one, nor have spent as much time as I did on it. And uh, save the game - as in - save its community.

Players come back if they substantial amounts of work being done on a game

Read the title, this post’s arguments were made at least partially with own opinion and experiences.

I think you’re the drunk one here. May I ask you if you’ve had your eyes closed while the Unturned workshop became pretty much a reupload-of-old-mods-only buffet?

Mate you seem not to have gotten it through your skull. First off, I did say this applies to all server genres, second off, I wrote what I wrote in the perspective of your avarage unexperienced server owner, so what you’ve said only further supports my point - also I did include a bit for people who’d say “No, my friends are idiots”

I don’t see why you would cherrypick every instance of me saying that but more power to you m8, though it does look kinda funny when listed like this lol.

  1. So people who get bored of a game will try another, and eventually, they should have found unturned, and they have, yet, they’ve not come back to it
  2. Ameritards… EU Master race here
  3. I’m… not? I’m pointing out what problems I see with the game, with my opinions and experience. I’ve enjoyed the game personally even with all of these problems and simply pointing out why some things are the way the are. You can play whatever game you enjoy, from Super Mario to that bloody anime cat girl cafe visual novel thing, I don’t remember the name, I’m not pointing a gun at your forehead and demand you stop playing Unturned

Fixed the spelling error - lol

Like they’ve ever done anything after HL

Jokes aside, if someone’s submitting something they made to be used as an update, I really do not mind nor have anything against it, it just looks odd from a player’s perspective that the lead… and only, developer, is choosing to go in this direction

I’m unsure why you’d find it odd for a game to have community-created content updates. It’s rare for a game to provide such (But not in a way that they’re isolated cases), rarer for the developer to encourage larger projects. This goes especially with, like you said, the fact that he’s the only developer. Despite that, many games with bigger teams have done this as well.

Even if it’s a big part of an update/the game (Map, objects, vehicles and items) it is no different in concept to any other game that allowed community-created content as part of the game.

This is basically doubting a developer choice that worked and has been highly beneficial.


As for the massive rant I don’t have a comment, but what I can say is that you’re highly underestimating the game’s lifespan. Many users from 1 - 5 years ago curse the game to its death for the supposed ‘Flaws’ or ‘Bad developer choice’, the only sort death that has occurred is the doubter’s complete absence

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Most servers don’t even need moderation teams. The only servers that actually need active mods are RP servers, to stop all the kids from KOSing each other and stuff (which never works).

Why would a vanilla survival server need moderators? RP servers in general are just boring and not fun. Here’s what every experience on a RP server is like.

[spawns in]
[gets shot]
“Can I build a base here?”
“no you need admin approval to build a base”
[buys a gun and clothes with the starter money]
[gets shot]

Why not just like, play on a PvP server or something? RP is just a really boring, really restricted version of the actual game.

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The heavily modded PvP P2W experience:
[spawns in]
[gets shot]
[respawns]
[starts running]
[gets shot]
[respawns]
[run the other way]
[find a nice camp]
[get stabbed]
[respawn]
[run a different way yet again]
[find a small spot to make a base]
[miraculously don’t get shot]
[finds another newfag]
“aye, wanna base together?”
“ye, that sounds pretty alright”
[chop down a tree for wood]
[get shot]

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on PvP you’re actually supposed to shoot people though

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I think you’re mistaken on what a sequel is supposed to actually do. A sequel isn’t supposed to “save” anything, it’s a seperate game. Hell, the latest game in the cult classic series Stalker was released in 2009, and development is ongoing on a new title with a 2021 release date. Interest in a game doesn’t just evaporate, and you don’t need to piggyback off the people playing a previous title in order to get more people to play a new title.

It’s going to be a free, open-world survival game. The open-world part is hardly unique, but the free to play part is, and that’s a pretty big “selling point,” if you will.

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didnt read

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Aye, fair point.
But then again…

[gets shot]
[gets shot]
[gets shot]
[gets shot]
[chops down a tree]
[gets shot]

I did not say that those rules applied to every server genre, but in some way, at least a couple do. As you’ve said, survival servers is one of those server genres which doesn’t need moderation.

First off, I have played on those servers as I did write in the thread - Second off, Unturned vanilla content, is extremely slim? Repetitive? These are points that I did use when writing the whole thing…