There was a time before Rust, fortnight, and fallen earth. Before Bethesda murdered the Fallout Universe by shooting it in the head and burying it in a shallow grave with 76, there was fonline.

Devastating Gangs of people from around the world combine to create a post-apo hellscape so incredibly difficult to survive in that most people came and rage quit within the period of a few hours.

Most simply adopt the Post Apocalypse frame of mind. But I was born into it, molded by the harshness of the wasteland and all I needed to know of life I learned from the Post Apocalypse nightmare known as Fonline.

Education makes life easier.
In the game, you are able to read books which gives an automatic boost to skill stats. You can also, meet NPC’s that will provide you with an “education” in various professions so that you can craft your own weapons, armor or medicines.

Now, you could lose all of your game possessions in being killed and looted or being victimized in a “base rape.”

But no one could take away your knowledge or skill and your ability to make things that would help you rebuild your shattered life.

In real life, this became more evident to me. Struggling for years in jobs that paid little and having to live by the skin of my teeth. Until eventually I returned to school and completed my degree.

I found that just having that piece of paper made it possible to find jobs that were way easier and paid more. Had I become a different person? No, but it did show others that I had basic skills that were of use to them.

Sure, both in-game and IRL it was an aggravation to have to part with my hard-won money to pay for this education. I could instead buy something in game like a statted weapon or in real life like a sweet new piece of technology.

But sacrificing for that education or skill that no one could take from me has become an invaluable component of my life.
No man is an Island, find your gang.

You can be a lone wolf, losing your gear by being overcome by a large group of rats that feast on your corpse and shit all over your brand new 10mm pistol that it took hours doing shit shoveling quests to buy.

Or you can join a guild, group or gang. One that takes you around the wasteland power leveling, providing you with essential gear and showing you the tricks of survival.

Until the point that you are a beast on the battlefield, aiding them in taking over towns.

If you can’t have friends at least have allies. Join groups that have something that you are interested in.

Alumni groups, work committees, meetups, martial arts dojos maybe a cult. Where ever you can find groups that do get-togethers that may be of interest to you, do it.

You will learn new things and meet new people that have a similar interest or goal. It will help to network and lead to side quests in life and in-game that will improve your position.

It is difficult to find people that pull their own weight and force you to become a little better. Once you do, stick with them, these are the people you want to be around.

Don’t help those that don’t help themselves.

In Game: I can’t tell you how many times I gave away decent gear that I had just made to help someone that would only quit a short while later. It took time to gather those resources, my time. Which made it all the worse. Be sure not to “cast your pearls before swine.”

In real life: I once dated a woman for a few years. She would often have problems that she created herself. Whether it was wrecking her car after drinking or forgetting to pay her electric bill.

I would help her out of jam after jam. But it was just irritating and dragged me down after a while. I couldn’t move ahead in my own life because I would get caught up in her little dramas.

Make sure that when you help someone that they are willing to make changes for the better.

If they are not, then cut them off or risk losing opportunities that will help you in the long run. You will just be wasting your time and energies for someone that isn’t willing to make the changes to their life that benefit you both in some way.

Sure, people should be given a chance, but if they waste that chance, then it isn’t your responsibility or duty to try to pull someone out of the fire if they will only drag you into it.

There are limited resources and squandering yours on someone that doesn’t understand the value of them isn’t a help to you or to them.

Help people in need.
Wait, didn’t I just say not to help people? I did, but there is a difference. After giving away good gear to noobs and watching them log out, I decided instead just to take them around and show them how to do things.

I would spend a little time to teach them how to gather resources, how to craft items. I would throw them a rope that would allow them to pull themselves out of the quicksand.

I helped one noob and closed my account, I was just too busy with real life things.

I came back a year or two later and found that he had bought a base and had amassed a small fortune of several million caps. He helped me re-establish quickly in the wasteland.

Help people in need, but help them by showing them how to help themselves.

There was a neighbor that had terrible fights with her husband. I had spoken to her and found out that the reason that she didn’t leave him was that he had control over all of their money.

After she had been beaten that night and her husband went to jail, I spoke to her. It turns out that the fight had been because she had asked her husband for money for food. He had spent all the money on drinking.

I took her shopping for groceries so that she and her children wouldn’t starve and asked her what her plan was. She told me that she would go to her relatives and stay with them. So I gave her a little more money, and she made her way to safety.

Not everyone who is stuck in a bad position is a bad person. Sometimes people have made a bad choice and have found themselves stuck.

This is life, and it can be easy to see yourself in dangerous positions.

That doesn’t mean that everyone is irredeemable. Sometimes they just need a little help to make their life better. You can try to be that person, it often doesn’t cost too much and can create a lifelong friend.

Your enemies are a blessing in disguise.

I had just started in one of the Fonlines. I would go mining for crafting materials with my pack animal to carry loads of mats. At the mine, some dickhead would throw grenades at my Brahmin!! This went on for several weeks.

I had nightmares about it. Somehow I eventually befriended the Troll, and he gave me a piece of advice that literally changed the game and doubled my productivity in game.

There was also another fonline in which a Raider Group would go around destroying everything in their path. They would blow up towns, kill innocent noobs and small groups of players.

They would infiltrate other clans and rob their bases blind in the dark of night.

Eventually, it all became too much and the developers limited “loot drop.” Meaning that if you killed another player, you would no longer be able to take all their inventory.

It sounded good. But without the danger of loss, the game became too easy.

The player base fled and left only a handful of people still on the server.

In real life, there are not a lot of examples that I can think of where your enemy can help you. There is perhaps only one.

That is that your friends and family will always tell you that they think you can do anything. And this is a lie. No one person can do everything.

Your enemies, on the other hand, will tell you that you can’t do anything and while this is a lie as well, there is an advantage in this.

It is this that your detractors will give you the anger to accomplish your goals. You will succeed just to spite someone.

I had someone that cheated me one time. Not a lot of money, but enough that it made me angry.

In the act of trying to revenge, I became so good in so many other skills that my revenge became a side effect rather than the primary goal.

The amount of irritation that I gave them probably was not as advantageous to me in the long run as the self-improvement that I made to myself to achieve the revenge.

Explore, you must go beyond the boundaries of your comfort zone.
There was a time that I would try to only go into the wilderness to hunt wild geckos to sell pelts.

It was relatively easy, and there were so few people interrupting my gameplay.

While I made money, I didn’t make a lot of money. I wasn’t opening up new areas of the map. I couldn’t discover what else there was to do in the game.
Eventually, I became bored and started to explore the map a little more. I would go to different towns and speak to NPCs, I would talk to other players, and they would tell me different things to do that might be of interest.

There were other ways to level quickly and new dungeons to crawl. I learned how to find rare items and did it so well that I could basically have anything I wanted with little effort and became wealthy doing it.

In my own life, I thought that getting a passport was some kind of long arduous process. I avoided it worrying that the government would find some way to deny me.

Eventually, I had no other choice than to go and get my passport. It was easy, there were only a few questions, and since that time I have been able to travel to many different countries with just a little money.

I ignored my own fears and just did what I needed to do. Since that time I have enjoyed traveling and seeing new things that I would never have if I had listened to my inner demons and just stayed in my comfort zone.


Grinding sucks but often it is the only way to get ahead.
Grinding in a Fonline meant many things. It meant shoveling shit, cutting down trees, mining ores, killing hordes of low-level enemies. It could suggest doing a dungeon crawl and waiting for the respawn.

Crafting and selling batches of goods to vendors. Rinse and repeat. It sucks, hours of gameplay just so you could have that one fantastic raid. It was often the only way to achieve that quest to get that one bonus that you would enjoy until the next game wipe.

Eventually, I found a mine that I could both kill enemies to level and mine for gold. I found it to be incredibly cathartic and rewarding. I didn’t need queue in a group for a town raid, waiting for people to arrive and gear up. The best part was that so few people came to this mine that I practically had it all to myself.

No one likes to work. You might enjoy your job to a certain extent, but no one would rather be at work or even running their own business as opposed to doing something more fun. But it is part of life, the grind. Often it is the only way to be able to do the things that you want to do.

The chance that you are going to be able to win the lottery is very very low. So learn to enjoy the grind. Enjoy your co-workers or other students and learn to have fun in a way that you won’t get fired or expelled for.

Hopefully, you make a little more than “just” enough to cover your bills and can save away for more exciting things to do. If not then you need to look at reducing your bills or trying to find a way to get more work by grinding more. There really isn’t a secret or magic bullet to this. It is just the way it is and has always been.

The only real thing I can say is to try to find some kind of grind that is more in the line of your own interest and temperament. Even if it isn’t your dream job, it will put you in a better position to find your dream job someday.

There is no point in going to school for Liberal Arts when you love to work on cars. Whether you become a mechanic or an engineer, it will help you to grind that much better and put you within striking distance of your dream job.

Not everyone plays the game the same way.
There were the raiders, there were the PVP Apes that did nothing but try to control towns, there were the PK’s who love nothing more than to ruin someone’s day.

Then some people liked to create more creative gameplay methods.

There was a small group that tried to create a mining guild. They attempted to establish a trade network to the various factions.

There was one guy that worked to develop a kind of wasteland CIA/KGB with a network of spies. Beyond the basics, people came up with genuinely remarkable ways to play an ancient and basic game.

No more was evident than in everyday life. Even though I might be the right person, there are others that try to get over. One person’s motivations may be to make as much money as possible while another’s may be to help as many people as possible.

The methods to get to the same goal are different across the board as well.

General Patton once said, “Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.” True today as it was then. People play the game of life in a wide variety of ways, and no one way is necessarily the right way to do it.

You have to keep this in mind. Always try to understand a person’s motivations while trying not to taint it through your own personal filters. Easier said than done in many cases.

Don’t trust everyone you meet.

One of the most tragic parts of the game was when a noob entered into a protected area and was offered help by someone. “You’re new right? If you need help to follow me to my base, I can give you some gear.” the player would say. That poor bastard would follow the veteran player and be lead out into the desert to be shot and left for dead on the ground.

Not everyone in life has your best interests at heart. It is difficult to distinguish the true altruist from the one that only wants to take advantage of you in some way.

Learn to read people, learn how to protect yourself from the predators of the world. Learn the scams, and if something is too good to be true, then it isn’t.

Always protect yourself with written agreements and discover ways to mitigate any losses from potential bad deals. Knowledge isn’t power by itself, it is the application of knowledge that is power.

The more verified information you have, the better off you are.

There is one prepper company that offers survival classes and training. The problem is that people purchased these classes online and never heard from the company again.

A quick view of the reviews and a little investigation of the website makes it easy to determine that they are scamming people.

Sometimes it isn’t so easy. Sometimes you really need to do your homework to not be taken for a ride. I am surprised that people will meet up in today’s world from hook up apps without knowing a single thing about the other person.

You could literally be walking into a serial killer’s or future stalker’s house ladies. For some action that may or may not be any good.

Difficulties make you stronger.

In Fonline the difficulties weren’t just from the regular enemies, they came from the other people. Players would try to lie cheat and steal from you. You would walk into a town and players would exploit the lag between the moment you arrived to rob you blind, literally. Eventually, it makes you more aware. You know what to do and what not to do.

The same happens in life. You may hate what happens to you. It will suck.

But eventually you will adapt to it and overcome any obstacle. This troubles is there for you to become better. Sometimes it might seem like the entire world is against you, but just remember that someone somewhere has faced and overcome the same problems at some time in life.

No one enjoys problems but keeping a keen mind ready for it will help you to overcome the problems.