Let me prefix this by saying that Rust is a great game. It has already impressed gamers from around the globe with its fresh approach to the world of the sandbox survival genre but despite earning over 55% of Garry's Mod total revenue in just over a month, Rust does have some problems. The game is currently in Early Access via Steam so it's safe to expect a variety of bugs, glitches, unfinished features and a lack of content so please don't confuse my approach to this single problem as a prediction of pending doom.
The problem I want to discuss today? The gap between new and experienced players across practically every server that's more than a week old. Unlike traditional survival MMO games of today, player progression does not transfer between servers. This means that items, blueprints, craft materials and everything else personal to your character is also personal to that specific server. This does eliminate problems such as server hopping but it brings with it a whole new array of different problems - one of these being the gap it creates between new and experienced players on a single server.
When a player joins a new server they usually begin their journey anew. Some servers offer starter packs but for the most part players join a new server without any tools, equipment or materials. It can take hours to farm enough materials to make a small house and days of gathering to create a secure stronghold - but even these secure locations can still be raided by other players using explosives.
C4 is the only reliable way to destroy many structure related objects in Rust and it's the C4 that causes huge problems with balance vs progression. For a single player to obtain enough C4 to raid a heavily defended stronghold, it could take up to a weeks worth of play - averaging at the very least 4-5 hours a day. This isn't including unexpected deaths, raids and other mishaps that may occur during your time exploring Rust. Okay, so it takes a long time to get enough explosives to destroy the base of a veteran of that particular server, that's cool right?
Well, not really. Those same players have already accumulated enough C4 and all the blueprints required to continue making C4 at an alarming rate. Therefore they're able to destroy the base of any newcomer with just a few minutes spare and why wouldn't they? The thousands of wood and metal are vital to anyone, even those with dozens of hours behind them. It's the equivalent of making a level 100 in today's typical MMORPG's battle a level 30 in PvP.
You can argue that this is the nature of the survival MMO but at the same time, alienating your player-base within just hours of them joining your game is a recipe for disaster. There's still plenty of time to adjust this problem and a lot of it will likely dissipate once the map is more open and hideouts are harder to locate but for now this remains a big problem in the world of the survival MMO in Rust.