Rust is the new survival sandbox game from Garry 'Garry's Mod' Newman and it's an intimidating beast. Follow survival sandbox noob Dave Cook as he spends his first day in hell.
Before starting this piece I logged into Rust just to see how my survivor was doing off the back of a highly prosperous session. I had gathered plenty of resources, built myself a shack and finally felt like I was getting somewhere. But when I spawned into the server I was dropped into an empty field with only a torch, medi-kit and a single rock with which to defend myself
I had been either been murdered in my sleep or the servers had been wiped. The bastards.
Now, I'd never played a game like Rust, DayZ or Minecraft before due to the amount of hours and dedication needed to understand the rules and get good enough to survive, so this was all new to me. My first few hours in the vast sandbox were laughably poor, and I was killed several times by other survivors, vicious wildlife and starvation. You're always on the back-foot in Rust, and everyone is your potential killer. It's the law of the jungle; the Wild West.
Rather than be deterred I soldiered on, read a few Wiki guides and started to survive longer each time I entered the servers. I'll do my best to explain exactly how it all works and what you need to do if you want to last your first night, but given the unpredictable nature of each server that might prove difficult. Regardless; this is my noob's journey - try not to laugh at me too much, please?
Step into the shite
Get used to seeing these witty death screen folks; you're going to be seeing a lot of them when you first step into Rust's savage countryside. Like most survival games there is no aim other than to simply endure, whether it's fending off another online player trying to kill you for the clothes on your back, or the disease you contracted from eating un-cooked food. Friendly faces are few and far between here, so it pays to be sceptical of everything you see.
Because you only start off with a rock, you really don't want to be getting into any fights at the start of your survival run. There's a lot of smart players out there with handguns just waiting for some trusting, innocent soul to wander over in an attempt to make peace. If you see another player early on, just assume they're hostile and avoid them. I found that out the hard way, after several players shot me dead from a distance.
Your first task should be to get a shelter set up, and to fashion a bow. Like Minecraft, Rust features a resource and crafting system that takes some getting used to, but it's not so bad if you persevere through all the deaths. I spent some time in a secluded valley hitting trees to gather wood while trying to not draw attention to myself. It worked, and in time I was able to set up a little shack near a forest.
It was a little slanted, but most important of all it was set up among a cluster of similar-looking shacks. This is important because while players can only open and close their own shacks, they can still be destroyed by other survivors. Setting up your home in a populated area seems to draw less attention than a bigger wooden fort on its own in a flat meadow. I've seen enough wrecked homes on the road to know that the bigger they are, the more likely they are to be attacked.
So I had a home, but my hunger levels were dropping fast and night was only a few in-game hours away. What's worse is that Rust doesn't have an in-game map, so you have to memorise the vast landscape unless you want to get stranded once darkness falls, or forget where your home is. I dropped some wood beside my hut to mark which one was mine, but I still became disorientated whenever I went out hunting for resources or food.
Nightfall without a torch looks like this by the way:
I'm not joking here; but I was terrified at the thought of being attacked and killed in that darkness. It gets worse when you've been working hard to craft and gather items for ages, because all it takes is for one hostile survivor to sneak up behind you and deal a killer blow and you've lost everything. It is possible to set up a spawn point in case you get killed in the open, but I'm getting ahead of myself here.
The lesson here is to be aware of the time, get your bearings and if you feel you can't make it to wherever you need to go and back before night falls, trust your gut and save the expedition for another day. I'm not kidding around either; you seriously need to use your instincts to survive in Rust, and that air of distrust and scepticism really goes a long way too. Unless you play it safe you'll probably end up like these two poor buggers I encountered near some cliffs:
Want to get stoned?
Ah yes, stones. In order to make your first hatchet - a useful tool used to gather resources at speed and clobber attackers to death - you'll need to gather stones. You can't just walk up to any old rock-face and farm it either; you need to wait for specific, circular and darker rocks to spawn into the world. I spent ages looking for those bloody things, and it cost me my life many times. I was about ready to give up once night fell and a bear mauled my ass, but someone in chat helped me out.
One quick side-note about Rust's chat bar; it's full of some of the most unhelpful, gloating trolls I've ever had the displeasure of sharing a server with. I saw a lot of newcomers ask honest questions, only to be shot down and ridiculed for daring to have only just bought the game. Sure, I get that these games are about improvement through discovery and exploration, but the Dark Souls player in me didn't like how unhelpful some folk were being.
Now stones, as it happens, spawn in around populated areas, so if you're running around looking for them without any sense of direction your chances of finding a farming point will be reduced. Stay in one area, gather some wood and over time rocks should appear. When they do, simply bash them a few times to grab stones, ore and other valuables. Once you have what you need, simply hit 'Tab' and bring up the crafting menu:
I found this thing pretty easy to use actually. If you click on a craft item the UI will tell you what resources you need to make it, and while you need to build certain objects before gaining access to others - like a crafting table - it's all pretty self-explanatory. I cobbled together some wood and stone to make my first hatchet. It's a crude device, but every little advancement helps your chances of survival in Rust.
Also note the little loot bag to the left of my shack that I dropped so I could find it again. I thought it was smart but it probably wasn't. If anything it was an invite to looters.
The hunt was on, and with my shack and trusty hatchet I was ready to begin my ascension from gibbering Rust noob to feared killer of the grassy plains. Did I manage to dish out some revenge for those first shoddy hours spent as someone else's fodder, or did I fail miserably like so many of Rust's victims before me?
Check back tomorrow to find out how my story unfolded.