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Rust: a noob's journey - part two

Rust continues to crush VG247's Dave Cook under its cleated heels of savagery. Follow his futile trip into the unknown in part two of his noob's journey.


At what point does the suffering end? When does Rust finally say, 'enough is enough?'

Never. It doesn't stop, and that's why the game is bloody brilliant. From the minute you first arrive in Garry Newman's island of utter despair, you'll be kerb-stomped into understanding its harsh rules and penalties, but overcoming the odds and succeeding is a feeling to be savoured. It'll be snatched away from you again soon enough.

The previous entry in this blog series ended with me setting up a shack in a valley, crafting a hatchet and getting to grips with the laws of the world. But by this point in my first day I was starting to get hungry, and my personal status showed that I was cold and miserable. I had to find something to eat and build a fire to keep my survivor happy and alive. It was time to go hunting.

Tastes like chicken
The world of Rust is full of humans waiting to kill you, but the wildlife isn't exactly friendly either. Bears can maul you to death in moments and you need to be stealthy to get close enough to clobber deer and pigs with your rock. Animals take a few hits before they go down so don't be surprised if you smack one and it runs off out of reach. Chasing after them only wastes valuable time and can draw attention to yourself.

You need to go long-range if you want to hunt effectively, and this is where the bow comes in handy. You'll need to melee some animals to begin with if you want cloth and food, but I wouldn't recommend hunting this way for the whole game. Sprinting after pigs while flailing some blunt instrument like a maniac gets tiresome after a while, that's for sure.

I made the bow and felt ready to defend myself and hunt like a pro, but then of course - this being a survival game - you also have to craft arrows. I'd recommend taking as many as you can carry to begin with, because you're going to miss a lot at the start. When I first drew my bow to hit a deer from far away I noticed that Rust doesn't have an aiming reticule.

After a few missed shots I figured out my bow's firing arc and hit the beast, sending it running off across some grassy plains. I kept my distance and let it simmer down before sneaking through the thicket to deliver a follow-up shot. With the deer dead, I walked over and clobbered it with my hatchet to farm cloth, animal fat and weirdly; chicken. Wait, what?

Yeah, that's not a typo; you really do get chicken fillets from killing deer, pigs and bears in Rust. It's slightly odd, but remember that the game is still in alpha. I stupidly ate some of the raw meat and made myself sick. Getting ill drains your health quickly, and it cost me a few precious medi-kits. One glance at the game's crafting menu made clear that I could make a fire and cook the food.


House proud
I went back to my shack and forged a campfire but couldn't figure out how to cook my food, stupidly eating more raw chicken in the process and sapping more of my health. Feeling like an utter tit I consulted the Rust Wiki guide again and found that you have to actually open the fire like a storage chest, drop your meat in there and leave it for a while. While my banquet was roasting, I made myself a sleeping bag out of all the cloth I farmed from animals.

Now I don't want to over-sell this, but sleeping bags are perhaps one of the most important assets in Rust because they serve as your spawn point should you be murdered out in the field. You don't have to use one if you're feeling brave. For example; I saw one guy in chat going on about how he went out exploring away from the safety of his home and found himself miles across the map by the time darkness fell.

He said he slept rough until morning, and took a massive risk in doing so. If you log out and leave your survivor standing around, he'll sort of flop down on the ground face-first until you next log-in, leaving him at the mercy of murderers or animals. At least with a sleeping bag you can be sure that you'll respawn the next time you log-in. That is, if the server isn't wiped before you make it back. This happened to me after a really good run, and it still stings.

I set my sleeping bag down inside the shack and gathered all of my warm chicken fillets for eating. By now it was pitch black outside and that dreadful sound of faraway gunfire echoed throughout the canyon, letting everyone know that Rust had claimed another victim. With my home securely locked and my survivor safe, I used my downtime to play around with the game's crafting options.

Suddenly, out of nowhere I heard a horrible, guttural sound through the wooden wall of my shack. Panicked, I doused my campfire to hide and sat listening to this:

It was a bear that had been drawn to my shack. I'm still not sure if the fire's light attracted it to my location, or perhaps it was the sound I was making, but it just wouldn't leave. Eventually I heard another survivor fighting the beast outside and - presumably - they managed to kill it. It's amazing how eerie night-time is in Rust, and how there's so much to be heard and observed by just taking a minute to stop. I even heard a plane passing overhead, dropping random loot into the world.


The stand-off
I managed to survive the night and spent another real-world hour exploring the world. One thing really resonated with me that morning; an act of real mercy that made the world feel a little big brighter. Basically, I had fashioned myself a set of cloth armour and was feeling pretty powerful with my bow and belly full of chicken. Such arrogance can get you killed in Rust.

I was sprinting around looking for rock deposits to farm stone and make a crafting table. The problem was that I was running around recklessly without surveying the lay of the land or looking for threats. Suddenly, my survivor yelled out in pain as a stray gunshot collided with his back. My health was almost halved, and I only had my slow, unreliable bow with which to defend myself. I turned around to see the guy sprinting at me, closing in for the kill.

Desperate, I opened the chat bar and lied to the guy. I typed something like, 'Don't kill me. I'm unarmed and new to the game. I have nothing of value to steal.' His avatar stood some distance from me for a moment. I had nowhere to hide and if he chose to shoot me again I'd be killed for sure. While I waited to see what he'd do I furiously healed myself in case I had to fight.

He turned away without replying and left me to fight another day. Needless to say; I proceeded with the utmost caution, and made sure to be more aware of my surroundings in future. Although I had been spared by the player, others wouldn't have been so lucky. In this regard you could even call Rust an experiment on the human psyche.

Many players kill people on sight because it's either fun, or they simply don't trust one another. Others feign weakness to lure trusting players in to their death, while genuinely friendly players often band together to take on the world head-on. This is what makes Rust compelling, and unlike anything I had ever played before it.

Again, I had skipped over DayZ and Minecraft due to the time-sink issue, but I really do understand the appeal. I'm still smarting from having my progress wiped in the last server reset, but I'll definitely be jumping back in to see how much further I can get. It's a challenge I'm looking forward to, certainly.

Do you have any stories from Rust so far? Are you enjoying the concept? Let us know what you think below.

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