Rust is a survival game with a crafting system, a building system, pve, pvp, and a wide range of possible ways to interact with other players. You wake up on an island, stark naked, with a rock and a torch, or typically some slightly more advanced tools if you’re playing on a modded server. In Rust, you will learn to accept death. You will savor every chance you get to improve how well off you were before. You will die again and will desire to perform an honor killing on whoever shot you in the back with an arrow. And you will probably die again to another person.
Its building system is something to be reckoned with, it being incredibly flexible with where you place your initial foundation before switching over to a responsive snap system. New segments of the building snap into the possible positions and provide a good amount of flexibility with the types of walls you can place and can produce some interesting and very fun results. A man’s home is his castle and in Rust, your home can quite literally be a castle. Players have built massive walls, small towns, cities, shrines, fortresses, towers, lake houses, and mountainside manors. The world is yours and you have the tools to sculpt it.
You also have the tools to defend your castle and you’ll need them. Across the world are blueprints to craft bigger and better weapons, explosives, bear traps, pick axes, and axes. The only catch is: You’re probably going to have to fight other players for them. When resources are on the line, if you don’t have a buddy, every player you encounter may do their best to bash your skull in with a rock, shoot arrows at you, or fill you with lead. Every new blueprint you find will make the deaths leading up to it worth it, unless you find yourself returning to a ransacked house. That can really add a damper on things.
Rust is one of the few games on Early Access to truly embody the idea of Steam’s Early Access system. Facepunch Studios, the team behind Rust, first released Rust on Dec. 11, 2013 and since that time the game has wildly evolved from its earliest iteration. The original game was running in an engine for a previous game Facepunch was working with and after immense struggles with a system that greatly limited Rust, they canned the entire game and remade it in HTML so that Facepunch’s game could support its unexpectedly large player base.
Now every week the Facepunch team releases a devblog logging every change they make so that their process is entirely transparent for those that have purchased or are interested in buying the game. Updates will often have screenshots of whatever the team is currently working on, lists on tweaked and balanced mechanics, images of the latest build of new items or graphical updates, and videos of new functions. They also release a weekly Community Update so we can see all of the ridiculous antics and concept work players are producing. The images tend to range from perfectly harmless to entirely sociopathic.
Rust is a game that thrives on player interaction. Rust also happens to be the type of game to breed or awaken sociopathic tendencies in its player base. The narratives that are born from that are nothing short of amazing.
I joined a server with a small established player base and spent my first ten or twenty minutes wandering around until I stumbled into a castle build into a series of rock formations, walls of reinforced steel and locked metal doors that guaranteed a newbie like me would have no chance getting into this fortress. “Hey,” A voice called out, a voice came from beyond the palisade, a figure stepped out throw a now unlocked steel door that resembled the door of a bank vault than it did a door. “You want some clothes?” Yes, yes I did.
He brought me into his castle, a fortified tower surrounded by walls, stone, and additional sealed vault doors. Minutes later I was clothed, given medical supplies, and a few dozen arrows. The owner of this castle introduced me to his friends, offered me a place to make a bed so I could respawn when I inevitably got myself killed, and a corner to call my own. We laughed, we hunted the animals to gather fat and skin to make more clothing and medical supplies, and gathered materials to make more weapons and more structures. And then we were attacked. A group of nude men attacked us in the night, shooting at our windows, killing one of our own that was running some supplies, and breaking into our fortress to grab a paltry amount of lumber. Two more of us died in the resulting attack and our leader eventually made peace with their leader who called himself the Sheriff.
A tense peace was established and the serfs returned to their lord’s castles. Something primal was roused in myself and one of my compatriots. Perhaps it was pride or a deeply rooted sense of loyalty that our serf ancestors once held for their lords. He and I agreed that what was done could not be undone and in the dead of night we made off with a handful of explosives our boss had found on an earlier raid. We were going to pay them back tenfold for their transgressions.
We descended from the snowy mountains with only the supplies to make it to our rival’s base and enough C4 to teach him a lesson. There was no coming back from this venture. His base stood before us, glowing orange from the floor of furnaces dedicated to producing metal en masse and crept along the mountain toward the fortress of steel. The three defensive perimeters and two of the Sheriff’s men perished in our initial assault and when we made it to the center of the structure we saw an opportunity like no other. Every support beam for the Sheriff’s fortress was before us and we could hear gunfire and the sound of people running down stairs to confront us before it was too late. Every support beam collapsed under our Hail Mary of explosive charges and in a moment both the entire structure, our enemies, and ourselves were erased from the world. And I soon after realized that I and a newly found friend suicide bombed the Sheriff and his men.
We both agreed it was high time to log off.
Rust is a game with infinitely many narratives. It just depends on what you want to make of it. Facepunch has created something that is more than a survival game and much more than another gritty Minecraft clone. It’s a living storybook that will leave your heart racing.