When venturing into a new survival game, players will need as much guidance as possible to survive their first night, not to mention any extra time spent in the wilderness. Rust is one of those games that is particularly brutal for newcomers, as there aren’t an abundance of helpful hints waiting for players when they enter a server. While some other players on a specific server might be willing to lend a hand, more often than not these players will go after newcomers for an easy kill. If you want to enjoy your first hours in Rust, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve compiled a list of beginner’s tips to help you get started on the right foot as you begin this popular yet demanding survival title.
Rust has been around since 2013 on PC, but recently came to last-gen and current-gen consoles. Whether you’re a gamer entering the well-established PC scene or new to the console side, we’ve got some essential tips for surviving your first few days and nights.
1. Choose the right server
For the most part, Rust works on an online-only multiplayer basis. While players can manipulate the files to create their own private server and play solo or offline, the majority of gamers won’t venture down this rabbit hole. So, for most players, choosing a server will be one of the first things to do when starting Rust for the first time. There are different types of servers in Rust, which are displayed on the left side of the server list. There are Official, Community, and Modded servers, all of which have their pros and cons.
The official list might be where players initially want to look, but that might be a mistake. Since these servers have been around for so long, many of them are full of experienced players who might not be so nice to new players. Instead, players may want to search the Community tab. This is where community members have created servers for various purposes. In this tab, there is a search bar at the bottom of the screen. You can search for any tag and a list of servers will appear accordingly. So you can type in tags like “beginner” to get the best starting servers. Of course, if you want a trial by fire, going for a hardcore or official server might be the way to go.
2. Gather the wood as quickly as possible
Wood is one of the most important early game resources you can gather in Rust. It’s the only material you’ll need to build your first homebase, and it’s also needed to build things like a storage box and a campfire. To gather wood, you will first need a simple object like a stone. Even this primitive item will allow you to hit a tree in order to get a modest amount of wood. Once you have 100 wood and 75 metal shards, you can craft a hatchet, which will increase your wood gathering speed.
As you progress through Rust, you’ll find that different trees drop more wood, and stronger hatchets drop more wood planks each time you chop down a tree. For newcomers, however, just use a rock or a hatchet and chop down as many trees as you can until you have enough to build a base.
3. Choose a safe place for your base
The first thing that might deter a newcomer from continuing to play Rust is if their base is ransacked by another player. Even if players have chosen a server suitable for beginners or PvE, their base can still be stolen. For this reason, players want to make sure they choose a remote location for their first base. This will allow them to start with a modest amount of resources and learn the basics of building a base. Once you’ve spent a few hours in Rust and understand the mechanics of the game a little better, you can move your base elsewhere.
If you are trying to find a safe place, we recommend a place deep in the forest. This gives you great cover and puts you close to a plethora of materials that you can easily gather just by walking past your door. If you want to go further, you can build your base in a forest near an abandoned town to be near even more resources. There are also dozens of useful YouTube videos for players looking to design their first base.
4. Make a sleeping bag ASAP
If you happen to get killed during your first few hours in Rust, you want to make sure you have a sleeping bag already made. A sleeping bag, once asleep, creates a respawn point for you when you die. Whether you die of natural causes or at the hands of an enemy player, if you don’t have a sleeping bag, you will respawn at the beach. If you choose to build your base in the dense forest far from the beach, the road back to salvation could be a long one.
To craft a sleeping bag, you will need 30 fabrics. This resource is easily collected from Hemp Bushes, which can be found all over Rust starting areas. They look like little green Christmas trees on the ground. Players only need to find three to have enough fabric for a sleeping bag.
5. Don’t light up at night
While it may seem tempting to light up the world around you with a torch or campfire at night, it’s best to avoid it altogether. While it can be hard to see at times, lighting a fire of any kind makes you an immediate target for enemy players around the world. If you’re playing on a newbie server, you might be able to get away with lighting a secluded campfire outside of your base. However, it will always be a risky business. In most situations, you want to try to avoid lighting up in order to protect yourself and your base. The only outliers might be if you’re forced to cook or build at night.
6. Gather resources effectively
An easy mechanic to overlook in Rust is how to gather your resources. If you hit a tree or rock, be sure to aim for the red X that appears in various spots on a tree and the faint flicker that appears on rocks. Pressing that red X/flicker will collect the resource much faster than if you just had to aim anywhere. This mechanic becomes questionable once you craft a hatchet or pickaxe, but in the early hours of Rust, when you only have a rock, aiming for that sweet spot can save you a ton of time.
7. Maintain your base
One crucial feature that most players don’t even initially know exists in Rust is base degradation. Slowly over time, your base structures will decay and eventually crumble if you don’t do maintenance management. To access the maintenance management tab, you need to build a tool cabinet and place it inside your base. It requires 1,000 pieces of wood to build. Once the cabinet is in place, interact with it and read the maintenance management description.
Essentially, you need to keep putting the right amount of resources in the closet to make sure your base doesn’t collapse. With a starter base, resource requirements will not be high at all. However, as you grow, you will need more and more resources to maintain your base.
8. Gather only the materials you need
Perhaps the most important tip on this list is to not overuse resources. While it might seem like the best thing to do, as it is in other survival games like Minecraft or Valheim, overmining Rust can lead to you being targeted by other players on the server. Of course, this may not apply to those who choose to play on beginner servers or on servers with few players. In most cases, however, if you have an abundance of materials in your base or in your character’s inventory, you can set yourself up for disappointment down the road if you die or get ransacked.
However, this trick becomes useless once you have proper defenses in place. At the start of the game, however, you don’t want to gather more than you think you need to settle down with a base and a few extra builds.
9. Protect your valuables
Speaking of protection, that brings us to the last tip on this list. Every time you start to progress in Rust and build a bigger base with more resources invested, you’ll want to start protecting your items. The best way to do this at the start of the game is to create two separate rooms with all your resources and other items inside the second room. You can build something like this by placing two locked doors at either end of a room, then creating another room beyond one of the locked doors. This is called a “loot room”. Essentially, you want to make it as difficult as possible for thieving players to access your valuables.
Placing two rooms, both with locked doors, in your base will prolong the process of a player trying to steal your items. There are much better ways to protect your base as you progress through Rust, but a simple solution like this is best for early gamers who don’t have as many resources to burn.
These are our nine tips for surviving the early game of Rust. Hopefully, with enough luck, these tips will allow you to avoid enemies and keep all your items without too much hassle.
GameSpot may earn a commission on retail offers.
The products discussed here were independently chosen by our editors. GameSpot may get a share of the revenue if you purchase something featured on our site.