10 Steps for Getting Started with Rust

A quick guide to hunting, gathering and not getting shot in the face.

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Although it’s only an alpha build, I already feel like I’ve gotten my money’s worth from Rust, having spent many hours trying to survive the game’s dog-eat-dog world.

But every time I log in to the game, there are always a few players asking for help via Rust’s in-game chat, having no idea what to do, where to go or how to avoid getting murdered by bandits. For all the Rust newbies out there, I offer this guide to escaping death and achieving happiness in the wilderness:

1. Kill Some Animals

You arrive in the world of Rust naked, with only a rock for hitting stuff, a torch to see at night and a couple bandages to stop instances of bleeding. The bigger problem is that your stomach is half-empty and getting emptier, so you need to make calorie consumption your top priority.


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Wild boar make for good beginner hunting. Run slightly ahead of them before swinging your rock, hitting the animal five or six times. Once it’s down, smash the carcass to gain “raw chicken breast” (this is an alpha build, after all), animal fat and cloth. Rabbits or chickens will suffice, though they’re tough to spot from afar. Deer can be killed with patience: Approach while crouched, attack, wait for them to finish sprinting away, and repeat three or four times. Avoid bears and wolves at first, because they fight back.

Don’t eat raw meat. We’ll get to cooking soon.

2. Chop Some Wood

Wood is plentiful in Rust, so don’t go bashing every tree you see, but after you’ve found food, get at least five chunks for a campfire. Optionally, collect more wood for a hunting bow, hatchet and shelter. If you see a pile of logs on the ground, smash it to quickly increase your supply.

3. Break Some Boulders

You won’t get anything from the larger crags and mountainsides, but you can use your rock to break small, round boulders that you find on the ground. Boulders aren’t the easiest to find, so harvest them as you see them. In exchange, you’ll get stones–a necessary ingredient for arrows and a hatchet–and ore that you can smelt into metal and sulfur later on.

4. Travel the Road, but with Caution

Animals and boulders are scarce resources in Rust, but your best bet is to search along the road that circles the island. Resources are more plentiful near the road, but these areas are also more populated. You must constantly look around for other players and keep your distance unless you feel like chancing an encounter. Most of the time, you’ll spawn near a road, so seek high ground if you can’t find it right away.

5. Find a Safe Spot

Once you’ve gathered food, wood and hopefully some stone, it’s time to settle down for a bit. Head away from the road and find a secluded spot in the hills to set up camp. One word of caution: Lighting a campfire out in the open at night is a sure way to attract other players.

For maximum safety, you can build a wooden shelter or look for an empty one that doesn’t already have a door on it. (You can’t open and close doors made by other players.) Building a wooden door and hiding inside a shelter will keep you safe from any immediate threats.


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6. Cook Some Food

Press “tab” to open your inventory and crafting menu. Make a campfire and place it on the ground. Press and hold “E” to “open” it, and place your meat on an empty tile in the right-most section. Close the menu, look at the fire, and tap “E” to ignite it. Give it a minute, and you’ll have cooked chicken breast.

7. Craft Some Tools

If you have the resources, you should craft a bow and arrows or a stone hatchet. They’re not just weapons; the former is great for hunting, and the latter will help you harvest materials faster. With spare cloth, you can create clothing that reduces damage, slows down your calorie consumption, and stops you from looking pathetically naked.

8. When in Doubt, Run Like Hell

The unpleasant reality of Rust is that many players, and some animals, will try to kill you on sight. Even players with good intentions may go on the offensive if you look threatening enough.

If you’re under attack and can’t defend yourself, or want to avoid confrontation altogether, the best thing you can do is run away. Other players and creatures can’t outrun you, so head for the hills and try losing your pursuers in the mountains. If you can defend yourself, the mountains can also help turn the tables and create an element of surprise.


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9. Establish a Base

At this point, you’ve fed, clothed and armed yourself. Now you can start building a life. With enough wood, you can create a basic shelter and a door, ideally in a secluded area that you can easily find your way back to at any time. Rustle up 15 bits of cloth and create a sleeping bag and put it inside. Any time you die, you’ll wind up back at that sleeping bag, so feel free to add a storage box to your shelter for safekeeping valuable items. At some point, I recommend building a furnace, which can smelt or turn into fragments for creating guns and ammo.

Just one caveat: Servers reset on occasion, and shelters break down over time, so nothing’s really permanent in Rust–at least not yet. Don’t get too attached to anything you’ve created.

10. Do Whatever You Want

What now? That’s up to you, of course. You can look for friendly players and try to build a community, join a group of bandits and raise hell, go on a hunt for valuable loot or live the hermit life in the middle of nowhere. There are no set objectives in the Rust alpha, so as long as you feel fulfilled, in a sense you’ll have won.

A few other quick tips: If you’re having issues with grass flickering, press F1 and type “grass.on false.” If you don’t like where you’ve spawned or just want to start over, press F1 and type “suicide.” And no matter what other players tell you, there is no in-game map.

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