Monday, June 17, 2024

Tales from the East Side: Willhenri’s “Rust” Run.

( Welcome to the first Tales from the East Side where I go into stories from the MnM/Crossroads roleplaying community. The community usually roleplays in a modified Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption 2 servers but is based around the Music and Mayhem (GTA V) and Crossroads (RDR2) servers.

While we’ll get into the storylines and events from Crossroads RP and MnM in later updates, our Tales from the East Side debut is about one player’s adventures in the survival game Rust. It is in Rust that I experienced one of the greatest non-roleplay stories by a role player: willhenri, the “Friendly Gamer”, “Demon Queen”, “Terror of the Tunnels”, and a “true demon of the East Side.”

willhenri gamer

Who is willhenri?

Before we dive into this streamer’s week-long misadventures, a little bit about willhenri. I first discovered Will while he was playing “The Demon Queen” Ashley “Smashley” Williams in MnM. His character was the leader of the Queendom, a criminal organization in Los Santos which featured women as the main command of the group.

While he’s a really good role player who strained his voice playing Smashley, MnM is a setting where action was at the forefront. Clapping and slamming was the order of the day, so it was a faster-paced server than cities such as NoPixel (Whitelist), Twitch RP, and New Day RP.

The nature of the server will be a topic for another Tales from the East Side but willhenri displayed the killer instinct of a shooter while also being versed in combat driving and strategy. A prime example of all three of these traits is when MnM implemented gang turf for a brief period in 2022 and willhenri’s role in holding territory in the northern part of the county against the sneaky strategic shooter Jay Jizzle (played by YhLad) who led the Jizz Cartel.

Outside of RP, willhenri’s tact has been displayed in the dungeon-based battle royale Dark and Darker, which he played with members of the MnM/Crossroads community. To be honest, DnD is what led willhenri to dive into Rust.

The Odyssey of a True Demon of the East Side

See, Will had become extremely invested in the first open beta of DnD. The combat and go big or go home gameplay was similar to Rust and Escape from Tarkov—simply in a sword and sorcery dungeon setting. Actually, he became a bit toxic towards the end of the first and second play test as the leaderboard became his goal.

Will would team with his friends in MnM/CR or go it alone with ridiculous levels of aggression and speed. Slamming kids with stealth, daggers, and arrows was his jam in the first play test while magic and mayhem was the Canadian’s calling card in the second play test.

The thrill of DnD and anticipating the April play test left him needing more. In same sense that a bird needs to fly, Will needed to slam and roleplay wasn’t really fulfilling that need. He resumed playing in Crossroads RP as his Swamp Rat, a swamp person who was originally introduced as an East Side Bandito during the ban/break of several notable community members from MnM.

Swamp Rat was reintroduced in the community’s wild west server as the leader of the Swampers, a gang that was pretty much the original reoccurring threat to the Lawmen. The character is depicted as the son of Marshal Boss Hoggington (played by BlockbyBlock) and nephew of Marshal Berry Cades (played by ZombieBarricades)—both real-life brothers.

Will would mix in some playing some BattleBit—a voxel game based on Battlefield—but it wasn’t exactly getting the job done. That’s when—a little over an hour into his March 6, 2023 stream he dove into Rust.

The First Three Days

Going back to the week before, viewers were in ZombieBarricades’ stream wanting him to do another Rust stream. Rust is a kind of hardcore survival game that can also be viewed as something of a social experiment in how ratty a person or a group can be.

ZB agreed to a Rust stream for the following Thursday and even said it would be a scam-a-Thon or a sub-a-thon where the streamer plays for several hours but often doesn’t finish the agreed- upon time. To set things up for the scam-a-thon, willhenri and other community members were to get blueprints during the Monday wipe on the game’s main server.

Blueprints allow players to create many items such as weapons, construction pieces, and so on of varying tiers—the higher the better. This is where the misadventures started for willhenri.

The first three days were rough going as the community base wasn’t in the best location but was in a better location than the second week’s base. Also, progress on the base was slow. Whenever base builder PhantomRP came online there were usually two questions: “What happened to all the materials?” and “Who put this here?” usually in reference to something being placed in the base that wasn’t there when he finished construction for the moment.

Everyone else’s primary goal was to farm—or gather resources—for the first couple of days. By Thursday, the expectation was for there to be a sizeable, defendable RP base in the middle of a server of hardcore players and sweats.

As a matter of fact, the original villain of this story was a player named Denji who killed Will on the first day after the MnM crew failed in taking his base. It was such a kill that willhenri considered reporting him but didn’t. On the second day, Denji and his group took over the base. Will would vow to slam Denji and his group when he ran into Denji after losing horribly while gambling scrap.

The thing is: Denji doesn’t factor into the rest of this tale after Wednesday.

If you’re still with me on this story—things didn’t happen like that. While the crew would end up with a base that avoided raids from larger groups and lasted until the end of that week’s wipe, it wasn’t without some struggle and stress on Will who was often the person who remained on for hours from around noon until a little bit after midnight.

Civil War Versus the Bean Can Bandits

During those hours, there were often big plays attempted that ended in failure either by being outnumbered or underequipped. Monday and Tuesday featured an effective team involving Will, his protégé/bodyguard Riftz, Slidez, and one other. There was also a problem of having teammates on but not being on the same page. See, streamers have different times that they get on and can participate.

That means that resources can be depleted by an early morning crew after the afternoon- evening team gathered it and vice versa. This was the cause of some internal strife between Will and the Bean Can Bandits, friends of his who play in Crossroads RP as the Bean Can Bandits.

The group is headed up by YhLad, who is kind of like Vegeta to his Goku—rivals who become allies but have no qualms about fighting each other.

Will made the error of getting on their case for doing nothing and using resources. Mind you, YhLad established himself as the base DJ during the Monday wipe and was often away from the keyboard while others were farming. He’d get active later in the afternoon but in the morning/early afternoon, he was usually at the base while willhenri was in the field.

After bringing this up, Will found himself in a mini-civil war where YhLad, Moonbape, and Jason Harp trolled him for a little over an hour, trapping him in the base and refusing to let him out. Will would kill them several times and inch his way out of the base, but the Bandits had control of the base’s security.

Once he was out of the base, Will would be killed out in the field and lose the gear and loot that was on his character. The base was his home and he had to return empty handed and humbled to get back inside and gear up again.

The incident annoyed a few of the members of the base as it hindered the progress of the base. However, the Bandits remained with the base and would be part of a great twist to this story.

Love Thy Neighbor

By Thursday, March 9, things began to turn around Will and the crew. However, the base was

far from where it should’ve been if everyone had been on the same page the whole time. ZombieBarricades showed up for a bit after days of checking in on the progress via Will’s Twitch chat and on Discord.

It should also be noted that member Slidez, who is currently main-ing Rust frequently recommended moving to another server that would’ve been more enjoyable and less stressful. There was a consensus that the gang should move to another server, but it was late in the week. Not only that but willhenri was invested in the base.

Again, he’d gotten on early and stayed late trying to make this thing work. The group would move on to another server while Will soldiered on with the original base while others trickled in. Things weren’t looking good for the base until Friday.

Most of March 10 was the same as the rest of the week for the East Side Base. In the background was the war and raids of larger groups SMG and Galactic Assassins which resulted in rocket and gunfire echoing throughout Rustoria.

With parties out raiding and the base not being that defendable, there was the expectation that it was next to be raided. You’d think that building up defenses would be the main objective—and it seemed to be—until the community’s Kick plug Phoking basically ignited a conflict with a neighbor within seeing distance of the base.

Will figured that the base would be raided since he was alone but continued to do runs for materials regardless. Sure enough the once-friendly neighbor was ready to turn his guns on the base when Phoking returned! For several hours, willhenri and Phoking held off the neighbors with a spotlight aimed right at their foes and a sniper rifle. Will would clear trees while Phoking sniped others, allowing him to safely farm and attempt loot runs.

The sniper tower had been constructed by YhLad who would later fortify the tower. After two or three hours, the duo was joined by mNmIllmatic—the developer for both MnM and Crossroads servers—and Vectant in the late hours into early Saturday morning.

With a small, effective group, the field force of Will, Illmatic, and Vec managed to raid the neighbor’s base successfully. The three would raid another base before calling it a night on this big turn in fortune for the base.

Saturday Night Fever

Saturday was more of a continuation of Friday in that the group was juicing with both resources and gear from the raids. The early morning crew of the YhLad, Jason Harp, and Moonbape came in and got work down as far as farming and construction with YhLad adding on to PhantomRP’s work.

They would manage a successful raid on a base before Will returned. This time, willhenri had a larger team to work with as Slidez, Moonbape, YhLad, Jason, and JDogg joined in along with a few others. Both Slidez and JDogg were around on Friday but were gone by the time Will, Illmatic, Vec, and Phoking took the Herbal group’s base.

A few more raids followed and the base managed to avoid SMG and Galactic Assassins who were out looking for bases to raid. Saturday ended on something of an anti-climatic note as Will and Phoking began breaking chests and sleeping bags since the base successfully survived the wipe.

Why This Story?

The main reason I chose to focus on this week-long story is because it featured everything. There was drama, comedy, action, adventure, and even romance on the rocks. We also had frenemies coming through as strong allies and unexpected allies joining in during the Friday climax.

Also, the progression of this story as experienced through willhenri’s stream allowed for the viewer to not only experience all of this but there was amazing build. It was the action of Music and Mayhem with the drama and storytelling of Crossroads but in a place that wasn’t created by the community.

Again, this is a roleplay community of friends who have played with each other for a long time. They know what they’re good at and their personalities. This was a recipe for disaster without ZombieBarricades being hands on as he had been in the past but to see this group of perceived “sh**ters” make chicken salad out of chicken sh** was an even greater story than if they had the leadership of ZB.

There’s also the story of willhenri the streamer. Knowing that as much as it seemed like he would quit, he never gave up the base. There were times when he was stressed or pessimistic about the whole thing but stuck to it like a true demon of the East Side. By Friday, he had gone into Dark and Darker leaderboard rush mode and looked ready to go down with the base.

Hell, there was even a period that Friday where the base was his base. Everyone else left and he was the last demon standing. Not only that but there was some irony in him ending up as the base lord after losing control of the base to YhLad, Moonbape, and Jason Harp.

Again, this one week run had everything I could ask for in an engaging story. The downtime wasn’t even boring because of the looming threat that this base could be attacked at any point. Expect Will to jump to the Kick streaming platform once the app drops but most of the

MnM/Crossroads community who have been mentioned in this Tales from the East Side have migrated to Kick as of this posting.

Staff Writer; M. Swift

This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.

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