Rust is yet another survival MMO to join the Steam Early Access program amidst competition from the likes of DayZ, Nether and 7 Days to Die, but how does it stand up? I originally found myself drawn to the survival genre as a break from the typical MMORPG formula but I quickly found myself growing tired of the loot - kill - die - repeat mechanic that plagues practically every survival genre available today. It was only through friends hassling me on a daily basis did I decide to purchase Rust but I've yet to regret it.
Within the first few moments I realized Rust was a little different. I chose a server that provided the option of receiving a starter pack, a few items to help get you started, so I already had a tool to gather materials and a sleeping bag to call home. As with other survival MMO's there's very little in terms of a tutorial, players are thrown into a world with little more than their common sense as a weapon. It's pretty obvious that you're expected to gather so I went on my way to collect some wood and other materials. The gathering did feel a little slow and without a weapon I quite often found myself fleeing from various forms of wildlife but it wasn't so difficult that it became frustrating.
After a short time I was able to craft a shelter, a small wooden hut that had enough space for some storage and my sleeping bag. This was the first time that I felt Rust had a little something else to offer. I was able to place my shelter almost anywhere, experimenting with placement locations until I found a safe spot up in the mountains. I had enough wood remaining to craft a crate to store items so I was well on my way.
The crafting system is a little cumbersome. The UI is very basic and feels dated in most places, and each item takes a certain amount of time to craft. During this time you're forced to walk very slowly, making it extremely dangerous to travel outside safer areas - basically forcing you to remain in your safehouse for the duration. This isn't all that bad to begin with but as you craft bigger items, you'll find the time increasing.
After just a couple of hours I find myself with a few foundations in place to build a proper house and with my bow in hand, I felt unstoppable. I'd yet to encounter any players and I was eager to see what the community had to offer, so I explored outside of my comfort zone for the first time. It didn't take long before I bumped into another player, a solo guy with an axe and minimal clothing. I stated that I was friendly and told him to keep his distance, the response was classic. He immediately took off all his clothes and started screaming down the microphone like a crazed lunatic, heading straight towards me - axe raised and eyes determined.
I didn't feel up to losing my gear so I took him out with my bow rather quickly and as night was setting in, I decided to return to the safety of my little shack - but not before I had a giggle about my first encounter. Night time is dark. When I say dark, I mean pitch black. Without some kind of light source you cannot see more than 2-3ft in front of you outside so I lit my campfire, popped on some raw chicken and sat back to enjoy the night sky.
It seemed as though the rest of the server agreed with my approach as the chat suddenly became alive with people asking for information and sharing stories. Instead of simply hiding away at nighttime I found myself remaining near what I knew, defending my shack and the items I'd accumulated. Sharing conversation with players showed me that Rust has a lot more to offer that what appears on the surface. That night a few players arranged to meet and trade items at a location near my house, I was expecting trouble.
However, watching from safe distance the trade appeared to finish without a hitch. There was no gunfire or weapons involved and both parties left happy. However, a group of them left in my direction so I was convinced my items would soon be under threat. They arrived and began knocking my door with an axe but after a brief exchange in words they actually left a small parcel outside my house with some great starting items, a complete surprise.
The game itself has impressed me and the community is unique to the genre, I cannot wait to see what's in store tomorrow.