I tried playing Rust and I died… A lot.
When you first start up a game of Rust, you find yourself asleep on a beach. Hopefully, you find yourself asleep and alone on a beach. Otherwise you will likely find yourself very much dead on a beach.
If you are lucky enough to make it off the beach in one peice, you find yourself naked (and again, hopefully alone) in the wilderness with nothing but a torch and your trusty pet rock.
From here your task is simple: survive. To do that you must gather wood and stone, find yourself some cloth and make yourself somewhere to sleep (a sleeping bag gives you somewhere to re-spawn after death) and a nice base to keep all of the lovely things you find and make away from… well everyone else.
And here is the where the challenge in Rust lies: the other players. Most of the people you ‘meet’ in the world of Rust will think nothing of killing you, in fact many players seem to see it as their duty to kill any freshly spawned players that are unfortunate to wander past them, all so they can take from you what little you have managed to keep hold of thus far. If you’re lucky you can survive long enough to starve to death so you’ll need to find some food as well.
By building a base, you can stash what you find, but you better make sure that your base is secure and not too conspicuous. Otherwise you won’t be holding onto that either for very long either. With a bit of luck, you will have built a small base, stashed your supplies and made some rudimentary tools and weapons and you may have even acquired some trousers.
From your new base, you can strike out into the world with your newly acquired weapons, tools, and clothing. You can use these to gather more resources to fortify your base, raid the bases of your neighbours or explore the numerous derelict monuments to delve into the mysterious past of the island on which you find yourself stranded. You might even run into some blue radiation-suit-wearing scientist types who seem to be aimlessly wondering around, but be warned, they are armed and, while not as dangerous as your fellow players, the first one I came across was more than a match for me and my bow.
Essentially, this is where you find the game in Rust: you find things and make things and then you lose things. Then you start all over again and try to make a bit more and then a bit more and then, on the first Thursday of every month (or more regularly), the server is wiped and everyone starts naked on the beach again. In a way, Rust is a very pure survival game, the only goal is to survive amidst increasingly dangerous competition and the more you have, the more of a target you become. It is nightmarishly stressful, often frustrating, always exhilarating and, for me at least, a whole lot of fun.
The Rust community has a reputation for being more than a little bit toxic and I have to say that there are some pretty strange characters out there and some that are pretty awful. Now, I don’t have an issue with people killing me as soon as they see me – that’s part of the game after all. But there are many people that definitely go out of their way to try to upset others which frankly is just sad and many of these people make racist, homophobic or otherwise intentionally offensive remarks which is completely unacceptable in my book. These people are fairly common and they do detract from the game but, if you do not engage with these characters, they will generally get bored and leave you alone. That said, the majority of players are absolutely fine (if rather aggressive) and there is a large portion of the community that will go out of their way to help new players as one nice young chap did for me. So is the community toxic? It definitely is a bit, but I don’t think that it’s beyond redemption.
So would I recommend Rust? Well its certainly not for everybody, but I’m pretty sure I love it. That said, I bought this in a Steam sale and I’m not convinced I would pay full price for it. If you’re like me and you love a steep learning curve, a bit of crafting, base building, merciless enemies all around you, and if you don’t mind starting all over again pretty much constantly, then you should absolutely give Rust ago if you find it on sale.