Rust is brutal, unforgiving, and extremely unfair. People always talk about Dark Souls being the hardest game of all time, but they obviously haven’t played Rust before.
Every bullet you hear in the distance puts fear in your heart, as you wonder if a geared out player will find you. Even a friendly player will stab you in the back if given the chance
If you’ve ever attempted to play Rust, you’ll realize what a daunting task it is getting established. Nearly everyone in the world is on a mission to steal and destroy everything you’ve worked hard for, so you need to know how to survive in this harsh landscape.
This guide is filled with great tips for both solo players and those with team-mates. While I do play solo, I believe playing with friends is where the game really shines. Over my many hours of playing, I’ve learned hundreds of ways to give you the most chance of success, and I’m going to share a few of them with you.
Choose the right server
Before you can start your Rust career, you’ll have to decide what level of involvement you can afford. Vanilla Rust is basically a full-job, especially on a high population server.
The harshest environment you’ll ever face in Rust is the official Community Servers, which is vanilla Rust paired with the highest player counts in the game. These servers are filled with mega clans taking over huge portions of the map, while smaller groups of players slaughter each other for the scraps left over.
I recommend learning on a Community Server because it’s the purest Rust experience you can get. You’ll most likely decide than these servers are too ridiculously hard, and I can’t blame you
When you’re choosing any server, the two main factors you should look for are upkeep status and time between server wipes.
Upkeep is a mechanic added that basically makes your base decay if you don’t daily add materials to your base. The larger your base is, the larger the number of materials you’ll need for upkeep. If your base is upgraded a lot, the materials you’ll need will be much more expensive.
To put it simply, upkeep requires you to farm every single day, sometimes for hours at a time. If you aren’t prepared to be continually farming, then you might want to look for a no upkeep server.
Servers will completely reset all the buildings and player stats on wipe day. These usually occur on the first Thursday of every month. Server owners can make whatever wipe schedule they like, so some servers wipe after only 2 weeks.
You’ll need to consider how much you’d like to play because short wipe periods force players to work harder. If you’d like to enjoy the fruits of your labor a little longer, then stick with a monthly wipe server.
You should also consider blueprint wipes before starting a server. Blueprints are hard to obtain, but they allow you to craft a certain item once you’ve learned it. You should stick with a server that allows you to keep blueprints as long as possible, that way you don’t have to scramble to get them after each wipe.
Using these tips, figure out what type of server you’d like to play on. When you think you’ve found the perfect one, join the server and get ready for the fun to begin.
Run for your life!
You wake up naked on a beach with nothing but a rock and a torch. Get away from the beach as fast as you possibly can! Players patrol the beaches looking for new spawns (also known as Nakeds) in hopes of killing them for both sport and materials.
Make your way inland while avoiding players. Most likely you’ll be killed several times before finally finding a clear area, but don’t give up! Keep running further into the forest until you find an area free of bases and players.
The night is the optimal time to travel, as you can move stealthily through the darkness. Players can be easily spotted by glowing spots in the distance, so you’ll know what to avoid.
If you happen to run into another naked, they will most likely try to kill you. Unless you’ve collected a weapon, it’ll be a rock battle to the death.
Speaking of weapons, you can find them inside barrels by the side of the road. Maces and swords are awesome finds for a naked, so always break open any barrels you find. Besides melee weapons, there’s the potential to find weapons such as a revolver, which you should do your best to avoid losing.
Collect some materials
In your travels, there are 4 collectibles you need to keep an eye out for:
- Hemp bushes
Stumps and stones are great ways to get smaller amounts of wood and stone, while hemp allows you to craft the bow, which is insanely useful for early game. The first things you should craft are axes and pickaxes.
Bashing trees with your rock will grant you wood. You can collect wood faster and more efficiently by hitting the red X on the tree trunk. As soon as you craft an axe, you can harvest wood much faster than with a rock.
While there are tons of large rock nodes around the world, not every stone can be collected. Minable rocks will be dark in appearance with a small speck glowing on its surface. This speck is the equivalent of the red X on trees, so hit that to mine faster. Craft the pickaxe to mine more stone at a faster rate.
There are 3 different types of stone chunks:
- Stone – dark grey with a brownish tint
- Metal – dark grey with a metallic tint
- Sulfur – light grey with yellow highlights
Food is extremely crucial to surviving. Pumpkins can be found by rivers, and are a great source of food. Grab as many pumpkins as you can for both food and health when you get injured. While you’re at the river, drink some water to fill up your hydration bar.
Ideally, you want to collect as much wood and stone as possible, because you’re going to need a base to stash your loot. There’s a high probability that you might die and lose anything, so try to be as invisible as you can.
Base Building Basics
Now that you have the proper resources, you absolutely need to build a secure base. There are 4 components that are crucial to any starter base:
- Tool cupboard
- Sleeping bags
The tool cupboard allows you to claim a section of land as your own. Any player that doesn’t have access to the tool cupboard will be unable to build in that area.
The tool cupboard also keeps your base from decaying. It’ll tell you the correct amount of resources to place inside to be protected for the next 24 hours.
Sleeping bags allow you to spawn on them whenever you die. You can place lots of bags around the world, so they are a good way to travel.
You should place one bag inside the base and another hidden in a nearby bush. This allows you to spawn outside your base for an easy escape if you get sieged.
Players can destroy a bag out in the open, so always check to make sure it’s still there. There is a cooldown on sleeping bags, so don’t respawn on them too many times or you’ll be stuck waiting. I recommend placing multiple sleeping bags both in your base and around it, as the cooldown annoying to deal with.
Storage boxes are crucial for keeping your items safe. When you’re able to craft the large storage box, you should build a well-secured room for storage. When you leave your house, only take exactly what you’ll need, because venturing out always brings the chance of death.
An airlock is a separate room and door that sits behind your base’s main door. They consist of at least 2 doors, but more doors translate to more security.
Rust players are notorious for door camping, and they might kill you the second you exit your house. This leaves your base open for them to raid. If you get killed in the airlock, you’ll have a closed door behind you, so the raiding player can’t just walk in.
You absolutely NEED to have this security measure in any base. To use an airlock properly, exit the first door and close it behind you, and then open the second door.
Construct a small abode
With the previous tips in mind, it’s time to finally craft a small shelter to call your home. The optimal starter base is a small, 2 foundations wide base consisting of a living space and an airlock.
When you’re ready to build a base, craft a Building Plan, which gives you the ability to make and place building parts.
For all these screenshots, I took them in a modded server, so the GUI will look different from an official server. Here’s what a skeleton of your base should look like:
This is a basic twig structure (minus a roof), and it is extremely weak. Twig can be destroyed in a couple of hits by most weapons, so you want to upgrade to wood and stone as soon as possible.
In order to upgrade the base, you need to craft a hammer. Right-click a wall while holding a hammer, and it allows you to upgrade to a certain material.
Doors are your friends
Obviously, the base is missing doors. Those are not in the building plan, but they are crafted in the normal crafting inventory. Craft 2 of them to finish your airlock, and make sure you position the door to open inwards. This is what INCORRECT (outward) door positioning looks like:
Currently, any player can just waltz into your home and take whatever they please, so you need to make some locks. I personally hate normal locks, as you need to keep track of keys, but you can make a key by holding E on the lock.
For each door you make, it’s extremely important that you craft at least 2 keys. If you lose your only key, you won’t be able to craft another one. Keeping a spare set of keys in your house will make sure you don’t get permanently locked out.
I like to take this a step further and stow some keys in a nearby stash. A stash is a small storage item that you can hide underground. My strategy is to find a random rock tucked away somewhere, and place the stash inside that.
It’s preferable that you don’t keep the stash super close to your house, as people will always check there. Whenever I leave the house, I place my keys in this stash to ensure that enemy players can’t steal them and enter my base.
As you build your base, keep in mind that every wall has a weak side. The weaker side won’t be obvious at first, but you’ll notice it after upgrading to a new material. To fix this, simply use a hammer on it and select rotate.
Even after upgrading to wood, your base is still vulnerable. Wooden walls and doors can be easily destroyed with flamethrowers.
You want to upgrade to metal doors and code locks as soon as you possibly can. Not only are the doors much stronger than wood, but code locks completely eliminate key management.
It’s such a relief not having to worry about your keys being stolen. The stash you placed outside is great for storing emergency weapons. What’s even better is if you have an emergency sleeping bag right near it, which will allow you to spawn there and take out invaders with your stored bows or guns.
The finished product
This picture shows my favorite one room starter setup. I start like this every time I play like this, as it has everything I’ll need for the time being. Many times I get killed in the process, but you can sometimes make your way back and keep building.
The key to succeeding in Rust is to get up when you fall down, because you’re gonna be spending a lot of time on the ground. If you find yourself completely unable to get set up, move to a new location or join a lower population server.
Now that you have a starter base, it’s time to do some exploring. You really have 2 options at this point:
- Farm materials to upgrade your base
- Hunt for useful items and materials
Since this is a beginner’s guide, I won’t be getting into any advanced base building tips, but I will tell you what you need to know about exploring.
Become a blacksmith
You might have collected a bunch of metal ore from rock nodes, so now it’s time to smelt it. Furnaces can be crafted from Low Grade Fuel which is obtained by killing animals and getting their fat.
When your base is larger than a single square, try to craft a few furnaces to smelt your ore. Spread ores out into 3 furnace slots to smelt more efficiently.
You’ll obtain both metal fragments and charcoal, and you should save both of them. The fragments are needed for most higher quality items, and charcoal is essential in the creation of explosives.
Airdrops = death
You may have heard the ominous drone of an engine as a plane flies by, which means that there’s an airdrop on the way. Airdrops will fall at random locations and can be seen by players all over the map.
This means that dozens of people have their eye on this already, and they’ll come heavily geared. Players will camp in the distance and wait for others to show off, then attempt to pick them off one by one.
The last few survivors will get as close to the drop as they can, and kill each other off until there’s one man (or team) standing. I highly recommend avoiding airdrops completely, unless you go naked. 90% of the time you’ll wind up getting shot, so airdrops are extremely high-risk loot.
If you do manage to get ahold of one, the value of items will be hit or miss. Sometimes you’ll get a bunch of great weapons and ammo, while other times you’ll get some items.
Going streaking (AKA scouting)
All around the world, you’ll run into dozens of nakeds, but most of them have a base and weapons somewhere else. Don’t ever trust a naked wanting to come into your base, as they are probably scouting for a raid.
You can use naked scouting to your advantage as well. Simply remove all your items and run around talking to people. You’ll get killed a lot, but you have nothing to lose.
Doing this also allows you to make runs to nearby structures (such as gas stations) without the worry of losing your best gear. Sometimes, you can trick players into allowing you into their bases. Use this to your advantage by scouting out their loot and base layout.
When you’ve started to get some raiding gear only bring it out when you plan to raid. Carrying anything on you is a major risk of losing it.
Are you ready to get some awesome gear? Well, you need to start exploring monuments. They are extremely dangerous but worth exploring. Some of these have radiation around them, so you need either a rad suit or radiation pills. Clothes will provide some rad protection, but the best protection you can get is with a rad suit.
If you manage to make a base next to a Military Tunnel, then you’re setting yourself up for success. These tunnels spawn several elite crates, which house the best gear you can find. These tunnels are also great for finding items for both research and scrap, so it’s a great location to be close to one of these.
Other monuments such as the Dome require some parkour skills but net you some decent items if you survive. The Rocket Launch Site is home to an NPC tank named Bradley, who is extremely hard to defeat. Upon defeat, he’ll drop some good items, but every player on the map can see that he’s been defeated.
You’ll just need to explore every monument until you find your favorite ones. The Military Tunnel is my favorite, and I make it a priority to be close to one.
Scrap is like gold
I mentioned scrap before, but it’s complicated enough to merit talking about again. Basically, scrap it the basic component that allows you to make everything in the game. While it may not seem like it at first, you need scrap to make stronger crafting tables and blueprints.
Scrap is an item that players will often trade like currency. Sometimes they’ll set up vending machines selling guns and items in exchange for some scrap. You can find scrap by searching barrels and crates, or by recycling.
Recyclers can be found in gas stations or other similar monuments. Each item you place is the recycler will give you a couple of items such as scrap or metal fragments.
In addition to the crafting benches, scrap allows you to research items. Each item you research will be destroyed, but it will give you a blueprint to craft it as many times as you want. Blueprints are saved on most servers, so they will remain after the server wipes.
You’ll probably spend as much time farming scrap as you do farming for building materials. The good news is, once you learn a blueprint, you won’t have to relearn it after the next wipe.
Chopper of death
Have you seen the chopper that sometimes flies around the map? Well, it’s out to get you. Its machine guns will shred you to pieces, and its missiles will wreak havoc on a base. Heavily geared players can take out the helicopter, but even then it’s still a challenge.
The helicopter will only attack you if you are wearing more than 3 clothing items, or have any ranged weapon in your character’s hot bar. As a naked scouting, you won’t have to deal with this annoying NPC.
Destroying it will place a marker on the map that everyone can see. It’ll be a huge draw to others, so always be wary of those coming to pillage the chopper’s flaming remains
There’s always a bigger fish
And by bigger fish I mean there’s always someone playing the game longer than you. On one server I played, there was one player that played probably 20 hours every day.
One day he decided to raid my clan’s base, but he failed to realize that we logged on and started preparing. We survived the raid, and we couldn’t believe the amount of loot he and his goons had on them.
He threatened to come back with more, and we knew we couldn’t survive a second attack. It was a day away from wipe day, so we decided we would abandon ship. My clan and I set up tons of turrets and despawned everything we had. The last thing we did was leave him a couple of notes, taunting him that he couldn’t get our loot.
The lesson we learned from that experience is that no matter how hard you play, there’s always someone who plays way more than you do. Accept this fact early, and you won’t feel as bad when the neckbeards start raiding you.
Trust no one
I have a very relevant story for this tip. About a year ago I was playing Rust with my friends when we met up with a random neighbor of ours. Throughout the course of several wipes, we got to know him, so we developed a bit of trust with each other.
We were smart though, so we didn’t give him our base codes. One day he comes up to us and says he joined up with a bunch of other guys who immediately gave him their base codes. Naturally, my group wanted to nab their gear.
Our neighbor led 3 of us over to a huge base where about 8 people were sleeping. Those idiots had given him the code to literally every single lock in the base, including chests and tool cupboard. My group and I utterly ransacked the place and stripped it clean.
We stole all of their weapons and resources, changed the code to every single door, and removed the items from their tool cupboard. Eight people logged off of Rust being some of the wealthiest players in the server, but they re-joined to find themselves dirt poor and locked in their own base.
The moral of the story is: everyone in Rust will backstab you if given the chance. Only put your trust in your closest friends, and even then you should probably be on guard.
If you feel that you need some videos for more explanation, check out these 2 awesome explainer videos for explanation:
Rust is an extremely complicated game that can take months to master. The tips given here can help any beginner survive, but it’ll take a lot of experience to learn how to be a Rust master.