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Rust drops you in a field with a torch, a stone and some bandages. There's no tutorial or objective marker to follow. So, what the hell do you do?
The first couple hours of Rust can be frustrating. My early experiences were marked by several embarrassing deaths. Your start in the game doesn't need to be as rough as mine, though. Hopefully this guide can help you stay alive through the first two hours.
Pick A Server That Doesn't Suck
The first time I played Rust, I was hacked to death by a hatchet-wielding bandit. I had it coming: I had picked a PvP server with a high population, which really isn't the environment for learning the ropes. For your early hours in the game, I'd suggest somewhere with little to no other players. You could pick a server with words like "PvE" and "new players" in its title but the low population is the key. There are going to be dicks who hunt other players regardless of what the server's description is. You're better off being all alone, with no one to kill you or compete with you for resources.
There are many things that could kill you in Rust, including bears, wolves and falling. The most reliable cause of death, though, is starvation. There's a bar measuring your hunger on the bottom-right of the screen, just below your health. It'll start ticking away as soon as you log into the game. To make matters worse, you didn't spawn with any food.
Fortunately, you have a rock. You need to find a pig, chicken or deer and then bludgeon it to death. Pigs are the easiest because they can't outrun you, but you might not find one in time. You can get close enough to any animal for a surprise attack by crouch-walking over. Deer generally take a couple hits to kill, which sucks because they'll dash away after the first strike. In time they return to wherever you first found them, though, and their health doesn't seem to regenerate so you can just sneak up and finish them off.
Before you go searching for dinner, hit F1 to bring up the console. Then type "grass.on false." This hides grass, making it easier to spot animals from afar. This should also boost your frames-per-second, which is never a bad thing.
Finding an animal is your first priority right now. If you walk past any large round stones in the ground, though, I'd suggest smacking them with your rock a few times to harvest their resources. You'll need Stones in a bit.
If you haven't found dinner by night, you're in trouble. The darkness makes it difficult to see anything more than a few feet away, even if you have a torch. You're not completely screwed, though. Use your rock to bash a tree a few times. After you've collected 5 wood from the tree, open your crafting menu and create a campfire. You'll have to drag the campfire to your action bar, select it with the appropriate key, and then place it on the ground. Once the campfire has spawned, press E while targeting it to start the fire.
Once the fire's going, just sit there until dawn. Believe it or not, this keeps your hunger at bay. You become more hungry when you're moving or cold so standing by a fire can keep you alive long enough until morning, a much better time to find animals.
Cook Your Chicken
Once you've killed your first animal, you have to harvest it by smacking it with your rock (or stone hatchet, if you made one). You'll get raw chicken Breasts, animal fat and cloth. First off: congratulations, you've gotten past the worst stretch of the game for beginners. It gets much easier from here on out.
Second: don't eat the chicken yet. Raw chicken will hurt you when you consume it and possibly poison you. It's also much less filling than cooked chicken. Make a campfire and hold E over the flame to bring up a small menu. Select "Open" and a new table will open where you can place the chicken. Close the table, wait a few minutes, and then open it again to collect your cooked food. Right-click to eat it. You've successfully bought yourself a lot of time.
With cloth and wood, you can make a hunting bow. If you found some stones too, you can make a few arrows for it. The hunting bow is a great weapon that lets you kill any animal, including bears and wolves. It will usually take more than one hit to kill your target, though, and there's no crosshair so make sure you're close enough to make an accurate second shot while far enough way to avoid being attacked if you're shooting a carnivore. You can outrun wolves or bears if they get too close for comfort.
Your goal with this hunting trip is to get 15 cloth. This allows you to make a sleeping bag. Sleeping bags function as spawn points. Dying in this game sucks because you'll drop everything you're carrying. However, with a Sleeping Bag, you've got a set spawn point and therefore a better chance at finding your corpse and recovering gear from it.
Stake Your Claim
Once you've got a sleeping bag, it's time to make your first home. Wood shelters are a mere 50 wood, making them the cheapest option by far. You can place them on any flat surface. I'd recommend finding a place that's close to resources but also not out in the open. Some players might be tempted to rob your humble abode while you're away. Why make it easy on them by putting your home in the middle of a grass field?
Personally, I prefer putting my home near a mountain range or the coast. There's no map in the game and few landmarks so you need to find as memorable of a location as you can. There's no point to building a house if you can't find it later.
Once your wood shelter is built, create a wood door and place it on the front. This door locks for everyone but you when closed. While it won't make your shelter thief-proof, this rickety plank makes it much harder for someone to rob you.
Now place your sleeping bag inside the shelter. Congratulations again: you've cleared the second major hurdle facing new players. You've now got a foothold in the dangerous world of Rust. If you've got the resources, build a wood storage box and place it in your home. Now you can gather up a stockpile of supplies before you make your next base.
Now Make A Home That Doesn't Suck
While a wood shelter is easy to make, it has some serious drawbacks. It's going to de-spawn if it's left unattended for 12 hours. It can also be flattened easily by a would-be bandit, putting all of your stored valuables at risk. It's time to make a more sturdy home.
Collect as much wood as you can from the surrounding wilderness. Your best bet are piles of logs scattered through the world. They give you several times as much wood as trees themselves. You're going to need several hundred pieces of wood for the next home you make.
Yes, you're going to make another home out of wood. However, you're going to construct this house out of individual parts instead of just making a Wood Shelter. While it takes a lot more resources to build, this custom home can also take a lot more abuse and last several days.
I would strongly suggest making as simple of a home as possible at first, with one foundation, three walls, a door, four pillars and a ceiling. Building takes a little guessing used to. You need to space the pillars apart just right or you won't be able to place a wall along them. My first custom house was a complete mess, with gaps between the walls large enough for a person to walk through. Keep it simple to avoid wasting any wood.
A 1x1 home is only slightly larger than a wood shelter. Still, it's a great long-term home for you while you build up your equipment and move toward the more advanced portions of the game.
Leave The Stone Age
Your next major crafting job for your new home will be a furnace. This item allows you to smelt pieces of metal and sulfur ore you recovered from stone into usable materials. You use it in much the same way as a campfire, placing items a 3x3 grid to cook them. Put the item you want smelted on the top row, and then wood to fuel the fire on the bottom row. After a short wait, the finished ore or sulfur will appear in the furnace.
You can also fit a workbench (stone and wood) inside your house. Between your workbench and furnace, you'll have the ability to craft many advanced items. This includes a metal hatchet, firearms, and bullets. Make a spare weapon or two and keep them in your wooden stash box, just in case you die and need to kill a predator to recover your corpse. With your spare cloth, make a set of basic armor for yourself.
During your early moments of the game, you may have seen towns of stone buildings. These towns are inhabited by zombies but also have great items and blueprints to expand your crafting knowledge. Now that you're armed to the teeth, you can reliably kill zombies as long as you maintain your distance and aim carefully.
While in town, you may hear a clicking noise. That's radiation and it's going to kill you if you stick around too long. Get the heck out of there when your radiation hits 500.
By now, you've probably seen an airplane or two fly by. These planes drop supply crates filled with all sorts of loot. Recovering a crate is even more risky than venturing into towns, though. Every other player on the server is probably going to try to recover the crate as well. They might not be willing to share. Be prepared for a fight.
No matter where you go from here, remember the basic rules. Keep your house out of sight. Maintain distance from targets. Cook your chicken.
Rust can be purchased through Steam Early Access for $20. If you want to know more about the game, read our rundown on its features.