It won’t take you very long to realize that PvP interaction is the driving force behind the entire game of Rust. Without PvP, the game would be nothing more than a survival building game.
Many players will die dozens of times before wondering how they are ever supposed to get good at PvP, so I’ve put together a long list of ways in with you can improve your skills and win the majority of your violent encounters.
All of these tips apply to vanilla Rust, but I do have some ways to improve your combat abilities that involve playing modded servers. This guide is geared more towards solo PvP, but also applies to groups as well. In my many hours of playtime, I’ve killed countless players and died by many more of them, so over time I’ve learned from the mistakes I made along the way.
Become a ninja
Stealth is one of the most important aspects of PvP, especially for solo players. If you manage to catch your opponents by surprise, you have a much greater advantage than they do.
It doesn’t always matter if your opponent has better gear, because you can usually outwit them by attacking when they least expect it. Sometimes, they’ll react very quickly and manage to kill you, but you still have the upperhand if you are good enough at stealth.
Hide in bushes, crouch as you walk, and stay far enough away that they can’t see you. Stalk your target until the perfect time arises, and then strike when the time is right. Nighttime is especially good for hunting players, so use the darkness to your advantage.
Another great time to attack a player is when they pull out another tool and start gathering resources. If you know a player has some decent firepower on them, wait until their weapon is unequipped. Sometimes the half-second it takes for them to pull out a weapon is enough for you to land the killing blow on them.
Never underestimate how much of an advantage you have by being stealthy. If you can manage to have 2 or 3 teammates sneak up on your targets, you’ll be able to take them out before they even know what hit them.
Camp enemy bases
I know, I know, it sounds like something a noob would do, but it actually works quite well. While you’re stalking your next victim, make a mental note of how many doors they have.
For anyone new to raiding games, most bases have what’s called an airlock, which is essentially a door behind another door. Airlocks prevent enemies from gaining access to a base in the event that they kill the base owner as they exit the base.
Although most players create airlocks, they don’t always use them as intended. People get lazy after farming for hours, and sometimes forget the proper procedures for exiting the base. The proper way to exit an airlock is to open the inner door, enter the airlock, close inner door, then open the outer door.
Often people will simply open the outer door before they close the inner, which is a terrible habit to get into. If your target does this, they are the perfect target for a door camp. They become even better targets if you notice that they don’t even have an airlock at all.
When you’ve found the perfect target, wait until you know they’re home, then make your move. Grab either a Waterpipe Shotgun or Eoka Pistol and a bow or crossbow, and get ready for them to come out.
Always crouch as you sneak up to their base, or else they may here you and not come out. Listen for doors opening, as you’ll be able to determine how many they have in their airlock. When they finally open the door, jump in and down them before they have a chance to close it.
When you knock them onto the ground, don’t kill them right away. Grab anything they have on them and check to see if you can gain entry to their base. The reason you don’t kill them early is that they could respawn and come out with more firepower. Players will often suicide via the console, so you should be prepared for the respawn anyway.
If their base is wide open, be sure to head in and kill them as they respawn. You’ll want to watch out for turrets as you enter, so don’t sprint into the base. The next thing you need to do is destroy their sleeping bags. They can’t easily attack you if they can’t respawn, so break those ASAP. When the coast is clear, you have a few minutes to grab all of the good loot you can.
Don’t let down your guard yet though, they could have a backup sleeping bag or raid base nearby. Whatever you do, do not let them trap you in their base, as it’s usually a death sentence then. If that ever does happen and there’s no way out, despawn everything they own to make them pay.
Besides being accurate with your weapons, being calm in battle is probably the most important list. If you can’t react properly, you’ll get destroyed every single time. Rust is a game where you can lose many hours of work in mere seconds, so it’s understandable when people don’t remain calm during the fight.
Many times I’ve found my heart pounding in real life due to some insane situation in Rust, and the adrenaline rush is something I’ve never experienced in any other game. Because of this, sometimes you tend to lose your judgment in fights. Your aim becomes worse, you do things you wouldn’t normally do, and a calm enemy has a greater advantage because of it.
The best remedy for this is to simply get into more fights. The more combat you experience, the cooler your head will be when you have precious resources on the line. Modded servers are great for getting practice in, especially battlefield servers which I’ll cover later in this article.
Beginner Rust players will often rush into battle and make dumb decisions that cause them to die, but they begin to win more battles the calmer they get.
Master and bow and crossbow
These 2 weapons will be your constant saviors throughout the entire game. Rust veterans have a mastery of these weapons that allow them to take down pretty much any opponent, sometimes even the ones with armor and guns. They aren’t great against a party of more than 2 people, but at least you have a fighting chance.
Using the stealth approach with these weapons will also let you take down opponents very easily, and often give you access to late game weapons if you manage to kill a loaded player. If you watch any popular Rust Youtuber for more than 5 minutes, you’ll realize they use these ranged weapons extensively.
Since the best players use these versatile weapons, then you should probably start practicing with them as soon as you can. They do a great amount of damage for the insanely low crafting cost they have, so it’s a smart idea to have a bunch of these as backups in case of an emergency.
Get the nailgun early
The nailgun is a surprisingly good weapon that’ll allow you to kill most players at medium to close range. One time my friends and I were streaming Rust, when one of us accidentally revealed our base codes on stream. One of our viewers found our server, located our base, and singlehandedly killed all 5 of us with only a nailgun.
The range isn’t as good as the bows I mentioned before, and it’s a little more difficult to craft, but it’ll kill much faster. You won’t have to worry about reloading after a single arrow, as you can unload an entire clip of nails into your enemy, quickly downing them.
Listen for the enemy
It’s extremely important that you’re able to hear when enemies are nearby. Having a good headset is like this one is an essential part of Rust PvP, and anyone who doesn’t use one is at an immediate disadvantage.
Using audio, you can tell when someone is outside your base, stalking you while exploring, and where they are coming from. If you get shot at, you need to immediately know the direction it’s coming from.
One of the best ways to more accurately hear your enemies is to turn music completely off. I know, the tense environment created by the music is way more immersive, but the music has to get turned off. It really sucks when you get attacked from an unknown direction, and you can’t accurately pinpoint the located due to the loud music
Just turn the music all the way down and you won’t have to worry about it anymore. Part of being calm in a fight is knowing what your enemy is doing, and it’s much harder to do that when you’re unable to hear them.
Never stop moving
Everyone knows that a moving target is much harder to hit than a stationary one, so always keep moving no matter what you’re doing. Run in unpredictable zig-zag patterns to confuse anyone shooting at you, which is a smart move even when you aren’t in enemy crosshairs.
When you’re mining rocks or chopping trees, move around in circles so you’re harder to target. Running through a field? Run all over the place! Never allow a potential enemy to easily target you, or else you risk getting instantly killed by a bolt action headshot.
However. you don’t have to always move when you’re stalking someone behind cover. If they aren’t aware of your presence, you’re the one with the advantage. Always remember, a stationary target is a dead target, so never stay in one place until you’re safe behind the walls of your base.
Look around like a madman
Did you know that holding the Alt key will allow you to look around without changing your direction? If you already use it, then you’re probably not using it enough. I think it gets kind of annoying to use all the time, but it’s saved my life more than once.
You can be downed in less than a second if you get caught off guard, so the best thing you can do is to see your opponent before they see you. As you’re running around, look in both directions to make sure it’s clear of enemies. Someone with an AK-47 could be heading your direction, and you have a more fighting chance if you see them before you’re in their range.
Get behind cover
When you’re a solo player-facing multiple enemies, you should immediately get into cover as soon as you can. You won’t survive in the open very long, even if you’re zig-zagging everywhere.
Mid game players may have SMG’s or some other inaccurate weapon, which can be countered by diving behind a non-destructible object. However, remember that you need to keep moving. It’s fine to stay in cover when there’s one opponent, but multiple enemies can easily find you and kill you.
Keep changing cover to either get further away or closer to the target, depending on if you think you can take them out or not. Bushes can make you harder to see, so take cover in a bush if you have to.
Bring some friends
I’ve played Rust as both a solo player and as a clan, and I almost always prefer to have friends with me. Literally everything in Rust is easier with more people, especially PvP.
Now, when I say bring friends to fight, I’m not saying you should zerg rush everyone. Zerg clans ruin the game for everyone, so don’t be one of those people. It’s perfectly fine to have 5 or 6 friends maximum out on the hunt with you, but just know that it’ll be harder to be stealthy with more people.
Official servers are brutal for solo players, so it’s almost a necessity to play with a bunch of other people. Even then, the mega clans will probably raid your base like nothing, so you should probably find a smaller server.
Back in the older days of Rust, my friends and I would constantly die by accidentally killing each other, but fortunately, there’s a good solution to that now. If you join your friend’s team, you’ll see a green dot above their heads, indicating if they’re friendly or not.
Another great way to indicate who’s on your team is to wear uniforms. We used to use a purple hoodie as our uniform, as it was easy to determine who was friendly or not. It is a smarter idea though to wear something more camouflaged, but you can use whatever uniform your team likes.
Control your weapon
The weapons in Rust are harder to control than most games’ weapons, so you’re going to need to practice with them often. The AK is particularly hard to control, and most players have trouble with it.
Many players accuse the good players of using recoil scripts, but in reality, they’ve just spent a lot of time practicing. There are modded servers in which you’re able to practice aiming and shooting at targets, so I highly recommend joining one of those.
Here are the ways you can use your weapons, and what situations you’d use them:
- Spray – when an enemy comes very close to you, as in melee range close, it’s best to simply spray your weapon at them. You don’t need to worry about aiming as much, just pull out your weapon and unload a clip into them.
- Burst – burst firing isn’t a set fire mode, but you should never hold down the fire button for too long. The recoil in Rust is too out of control, so you should use controlled bursts of fire to attack enemies at a medium range.
- Single-shot (AKA Tapping) – with the exception of the snipers, most weapons are either semi-automatic or automatic. Because of this, enemies at long ranges are most accurately dispatched by using single, precisely aimed shots.
Skip the suppressor
Unless you’re planning on stealthily taking on enemies hitman style, you’ll want to run your weapons unsuppressed. They do reduce your weapon loudness by a lot, but they reduce the damage to the point where it’s not always worth it to use one.
For a game where you can die in less than a second, every bullet counts. A suppressor might mean that distant players can’t hear you, but that wouldn’t even matter if the closer opponent killed you first.
However, solo players might want to consider using a suppressor most of the time. Their advantage is stealth, so they should try to limit any attention drawn on them. Solos should definitely use suppressors when stealth raiding a base with explosive ammo.
Groups of players have more of a fighting chance without the suppressor, so leave it off until a pure stealth situation arises.
Research revolvers early
Early game, you can either use the bows or the nailgun I mentioned before. While all of those weapons are great, you’ll probably need something with a little more power behind it. This is why I recommend you learn the blueprint for one of my favorite weapons in the game – the revolver.
This particular gun isn’t that special, but it’s insanely cheap to craft that many can be made early game. Whether you’re a solo player or are in a clan, these are amazing for early-game monument runs.
I made a dozen of these for people in my clan the other day, and when someone lost one I’d easily replace it. Many people don’t like it due to its low power, but you can down players that have pretty decent armor with it. Its cost is so low that it won’t matter if you lose it either.
Of course, you should bring better guns with you as you progress, but revolvers will always be a trusty handgun to have by your side. They may allow you to kill players with much better weapons, giving you some new firepower to play with and research.
Speedily manage your inventory
If you haven’t already, go watch some Rust Youtubers take on multiple enemies at once. One of the things you’ll notice is how quickly they’re able to loot the enemies they kill, which is a very important skill to have.
In tense situations, you don’t have much time to grab the ammo from the fallen foe, so you need to get it as quickly as possible. It’s also extremely important that you know exactly what to grab because you’ll have a greater chance of dying the longer you linger on the inventory screen.
Right-clicking items in another inventory will bring them into your inventory if you have an open slot. If your inventory is full, you have to drag it from one inventory to yours, and doing this several time will waste precious seconds.
You should also try your best to never have a full inventory of junk. Wasting precious seconds in cleaning your inventory is a terrible move when there are people trying to kill you.
Don’t get greedy
Part of inventory management is knowing exactly what you need because taking more than you need will waste time and often lead to death. If Dark Souls has taught me anything, it’s that getting greedy with hits or items will quickly lead to your death.
Never loot an enemy during battle unless you absolutely have to, or you know that the enemies are gone. Even when they’re gone, you need to be extremely cautious about them respawning at a nearby base. It would suck to win a fight against multiple opponents, only to have them gear up and kill you as you’re looting them.
You also don’t want to have a full inventory going into any fight. It’s highly probable that you’ll run out of ammo during a fight, so it’s important that you have an open slot to throw whatever you need into it.
Use the right armor
There are a bunch of different types of armor in this game, so you need to know what armor is best for what situations. For a more detailed explanation, check out this guide to the Rust armors.
One thing I explain in that guide is that damage is calculated by a random number generator, so the damage done to you is random. This means that sometimes armor won’t help you if the RNG decides it’s against you at that moment.
However, it is best to use the best armor you have available, but you shouldn’t bring your best armor every time you leave your base. The best armor should be limited to high yield monument runs and raids, and the rest of the time you should either go naked or lightly armored.
If you can spare the armor, just wear the best armor you can. Heavy plate armor gives the most defense, but its awful speed and visibility reduction make it impractical outside of defending your base. End game players can run around with metal facemasks and metal chest plates, which give them a ton of extra defense.
Don’t pick unwinnable fights
Are there 3 heavily armored enemies heading to a monument near you? It’s probably best to come back at a later time. Numbers in Rust almost always equal an advantage, which is why players hate the zerg clans so much.
No matter how good you are, players with more numbers will usually end up being the victor. More bullets fired at you equals a faster death, so make sure you don’t try to fight people who have the advantage.
Of course, there are several ways to beat players that have an advantage over you. Here are some of the ways you can increase your odds of destroying your enemies:
- Bring better firepower and armor
- Have your friends come to help
- Wait until they log off and offline raid them
- Get a better tactical position
- Be stealthy
- Place traps
- Ally with other players
There are probably dozens of other ways, but these are a few great ones that come to mind. Bear traps are great for players who are good at being stealthy. If you can manage to place a bunch of them in a hidden area and lure your enemies to them, you can potentially kill them all without even firing a bullet.
Sometimes you might get just plain lucky. Rust Youtubers make it look so easy as they mow down a dozen armored foes with a P2 pistol, but that takes hundreds of hours of experience plus a lot of luck to pull off. When you feel the situation is against you, it’s better to retreat, unless, of course, you have nothing to lose.
Perfect your controls
Having a good control scheme can make quite a difference in fast-paced combat scenarios. Sometimes the simple act of scrolling across your Hotbar is enough to get you killed. For this reason, I highly recommend setting keybindings for each of your inventory slots.
I have the Logitech G910 keyboard, which gives me 9 extra buttons that I can bind shortcuts to. This keyboard gives me immense control over my keybindings, so I highly recommend checking it out here. However, stay clear of any recoil macros for your mouse, as they’ll get you banned
For those of you without a fancy keyboard, you can simply use the number keys on your keyboard. The downside of this is that sometimes you have to move your hands off of the movement keys to press one, which can confuse you and get you killed in the heat of battle.
If you have multiple buttons on your mouse, bind your most important slots to the easiest to access buttons. My preference is to make the first side button my inventory slot, and the second side button one of my inventory slots. That way, I know to always place either syringes or weaponry in that one slot, and I can switch to it on a dime.
As you get better at the game, these things will become second nature to you. You’ll automatically hit your hotkey and dive behind cover, and your quick reaction time can make you the victor.
Be aware of your surroundings
Your environment makes a MASSIVE difference in whether you win or lose the fight. Having the high ground gives you a major advantage, but standing on a hill with no cover will expose you to every enemy in sight.
Open fields are literally the worst places to have a battle. When that happens, it’s less about skill and tactics than it is about aim and luck. Whoever sees their opponents first has the advantage in that case.
Enemies can also flank you from unseen areas, which is why you need to be aware of how many there are in the fight. NPC’s like scientists and animals like bears can be a major distraction in a fight. The aimbot scientists will likely kill you faster than a player will, and the bears will devour every player in sight.
Have the right supplies
These are a list of all the things you MUST have with you if you’re planning on running into any players. It’s also a great list of things to carry with you at all times.
- Weapons – only exactly what you need. If you bring your whole arsenal out with you, you’ll lose it all in one death.
- Ammo – a no brainer if you’re using any weapon that consumes ammo. I find the perfect amount is to bring enough to reload your guns 4 times. If you have to reload more than 4 times, you’ve probably killed several people and taken all of their ammo.
- Medical Syringe – a must-have if you get into any prolonged firefight. If you get damaged at all, stab one of these things into yourself and magically get healed.
- Bandages – have a few stacks of these to stop bleeding in case you get shot. They’re perfect when paired with a few Medical Syringes.
- Medkit – a much more expensive healing item, but combines the syringe in bandage into a single package. The Medkit will restore you to full health, but it takes some time. It’s best to carry at least a couple Medical Syringes with you just in case.
- Armor – the best armor you can afford to lose. If you have tons of high-quality metal, equipping your metal armor for monument runs and PvP encounters is a no brainer.
- Food – where ever you’re living on the map, I’m sure you’ve found a decent source of food. Pumpkins are my favorite, but you can bring a stack of corn or meat.
- Water – although a water bottle will suffice, it would be much more helpful to carry a water jug with you. It holds much more water than a bottle can, and isn’t that much harder to get.
- Placeable items – this one is last because it’s optional, but still a good idea to use in a pinch. Traps are great to pull out when you’re being pursued but sometimes won’t work very well if multiple opponents have guns. High external wood walls are often carried by players to use as cover should they get caught out in the open.
These are only the most essential of supplies that apply to the average combat scenario. You’ll have to add more depending on where you’re going, such as warmer clothes for snow biomes and hazmat suits for radiation prone areas.
Another part of having the right supplies is to not have valuable items in your inventory while PvPing. Sometimes it’s avoidable if you’re on your way back from a raid or monument run, but you don’t want to run around with half a dozen guns just because.
Sometimes I’ll bring multiple revolvers with me just so I save reload time in the heat of battle, but that’s only because they’re so cheap to make. I don’t see any reason why you would ever carry 2 guns such as AKs or bolt action rifles unless you’re bringing it to someone. Just use common sense and be willing to lose anything you bring outside.
Carry only what you need
I can’t stress this point enough. If you don’t have a use for an item, throw it away. Having a cluttered inventory in a fight will only confuse your brain and cause you to react to the fight slower.
Let me give you an example that illustrates this. The other day my friend and I were making a run to the Oxum’s Gas Station, and both heard the recycler turn on. My friend attempted to flank the player, but he got shot, and the enemy swiftly executed him.
I waited for him to make a move, and sure enough, he ran around the corner where I was waiting. It took six shots to down him, and I used a seventh revolver bullet to finish him off. My Medical Syringes had been used up earlier, so I checked his inventory to see what he had.
Sure enough, there were 2 syringes in his inventory, but I had so many good items that I didn’t know where to put them. I took several seconds to determine what I was going to discard, but by then his buddy had run into the gas station and killed me.
Had my inventory been more organized, I wouldn’t have hesitated to grab the syringes. Many people underestimate how valuable mere seconds are, but Rust has insanely low time to kill. It only takes a second to fire several rounds, so hesitating to heal will allow them to quickly kill you.
Either do everything you can to have a clear inventory or don’t worry about throwing away valuable items for something you need in the moment.
Play practice servers
There’s only one thing that’ll help your PvP skills more than playing for hundreds of hours, and that’s practicing on PvP only servers. These servers are often called battlefield servers, and are modded so that the only thing you can do is fight other people.
You’ll usually spawn it fully loaded out with guns, ammo, armor, and healing supplies. It’s almost a bit like Call of Duty, since you’ll be killed and respawn often.
There are other servers that have drastically increased resource harvesting multipliers, such as you hit a tree with a rock once and get 10,000 wood. In these servers, you can build a base insanely fast, get high tier weapons in less than an hour, and practice your raiding skills on other bases. What’s great about these is that since you don’t have a lot of time invested into your base and gear, it doesn’t feel bad to lose anything on these servers.
Servers like these will massively improve your aim, as well as your confidence using the Rust weapons. You’ll begin to be calmer with every encounter you have, and soon enough you’ll be able to take down many opponents like nothing.
Look for opportunities
If you’re in a newly wiped server and there are a bunch of players with high-level guns, this can actually be a good opportunity for you. Either they are a massive clan with many members grinding at once, or they are a small group focusing mostly on getting weaponry.
One time my group and I found someone like this, and we couldn’t believe their carelessness. One of their members fell asleep on their roof with an inventory full of guns and C4, which we then took and used to raid their tiny little base. To our surprise, the chests in their base were filled with the most valuable resources in the game, such as high quality metal, bullets, and every gun you can imagine.
All of those items came from a small 4×4 with stone walls. Those guys had spent so much time getting weapons that they had no opportunity to build a decent base. Bases like these are perfect to raid, and can yield quite a bit of awesome resources.
Other opportunities can happen if 2 groups end up fighting each other. You can take advantage of the situation and kill the survivors before they can heal up. Then you have 2 groups worth of resources to take home as spoils of war.
If 3 groups meet up, well, just wait and see what happens. Obviously only one group will be the victor, judge the situation and see if it’s worth taking advantage of. There may be a lone survivor, and in that case, kill him and loot the half dozen corpses lying nearby. Then get back to your base ASAP.
This is by all means not an exhaustive guide, but there’s enough information here to make you a pretty great PvPer. There are plenty of great guides on Youtube that have some awesome tips in them, so definitely spend some time watching them after you read this guide.
Here’s a video from Rust Youtuber Welyn, who has some insane PvP moments: