By Bixyl Shuftan
It was about two years ago when my gaming friend Nydia Tungsten and I found out about "Rust." For those whom haven't read our previous articles on the game, it is a survival game developed by Facepunch Studios in early 2014 that at the time was loosely compared to "Minecraft," and "Day Z." The game had no "score," rather the player woke up naked with nothing but a rock and a torch in the middle of a wilderness marked by a road with occasional abandoned buildings along the way. Standing in the player's immediate goal of survival were bears, wolves, zombies, and other players. The players could use the rock they started out with to gather wood, stone, metal, and sulphur to make tools, harvest meat and skins from animals to build up health, get food, weapons, and blueprints to make things from containers in buildings. On occasion, there would be an airdrop that potentially had valuable goods, such as metal building parts and automatic weapons. To help them stay alive and preserve their stuff, players built bases, either their own or a few getting together to make one. People had to log in at least every couple days or their buildings would slowly decay, or "rust," away.
Still in open alpha development, Nydia and I and our friends gave it a try. We had fun for a while, building up our combined base. There were a few changes over time. Early on, the zombies were dropped, replaced with mutant red bears and wolves. Some players complained, but the developers stated they didn't want their game to be just another "zombie MMO." Over time, we saw some creative builds by other players. But unfortunately, we were having to spend more and more time rebuilding from our bases being broken into and finding resources to replace what was stolen. Eventually, Nydia and her friends got tired of dealing with the "PvP kiddies" and left Rust behind for other games.
when they introduced black skins to some of the players. But there was some controversy as the choice was taken away from the players, "just like in real life, you are who you are - you can't change your skin color or your face." While there was "a definite uptick in overly racist language," the big issue seemed to be that some people "have a strange need to play someone similar to themselves in games." While female skins were eventually made, so far they are limited to members of the development team.
It was in the tail end of December 2015 when Nydia's friend Brandi Streussel decided to take a peek at the game. So I decided to check things out. The first thing I noticed was it was taking much longer to load than last time. Once in, I began looking around for resources, and it wasn't long before I found there had been further changes to the game. The roads were back, and not only were the containers back, there were a greater variety of them, sometimes appearing as metal drums, trash cans, and half-torn boxes, but they could appear away from buildings. There were "hemp plants," which could be harvested for cloth. It was a welcome addition as there had been times in the old Rust it took a while before I found a container or critter to clobber.
When first set up though, building parts are rather flimsy and won't take much punishment from other players before they collapse. To strengthen them, build a wooden hammer. And when it's active in your action bar, the building part it's near will be highlighted green and can be upgraded. There are five levels for building structures: wood, stone, metal, and armored. At the beginning, stone is the strongest you can make the walls of a sizable structure, but it should keep out raiders whom have yet to get explosives. Judging from the abandoned buildings I saw while exploring, players need to keep logging in, or their structures will decay, or "Rust" back into the wilderness.
It should also be noted as a "Survival MMO," some servers are listed as PvP active or "Player versus Player." So far, my experience with the game has been with one server marked PvE or "Player versus Environment." Unlike Ark, in which players can't directly hurt anyone in a server where PvP combat is disallowed, a server's PvE status is supposed to be enforced by administrators. In the old Rust, we had trouble when some players ignored that and kept going after us. In this one, we've had a little trouble with people breaking in and stealing things. It hasn't quite reached the level we had in the old Rust yet. But it does leave me, and others, to wonder a little if there's truly such a thing as a true public PvE server in Rust.
In developer Gary Newman's 2015 review, he's described himself as learning some lessons over time. Among them, "Don’t be afraid of the reaction of people on the Internet. The first reaction is always outrage, and is usually from people who haven’t played the game for months." He also has a few plans for further developments, such as Experience, Blueprint, and Skills systems, things to add variety to experiences, such as the occasional apple or birds nest with eggs when chopping trees, and being able to throw meat to distract bears and wolves.
So two years later, Rust is still around and has life in it.
As I was finishing up this article, Nydia told me she was getting a private server for her friends. So there may be some more "Return to Rust" tales in the future.
Sources: playrust.com, kotaku, wiki.facepunch.com