RUST 2023: Year in Review

Change: the only constant in life… deja vu?

Revision. Diversify. Modification. Shift. No matter how you slice, say, or phrase it, change is something that most humans and RUST players loathe. With it comes unexpected bugs, side effects, distortions, and forced alterations to routines that some would prefer had been left alone. It feels like we’ve been here before.

There’s no denying it; change is also synonymous with another less frowned upon term—time. Both work together to make the whole experience we call life continue unpredictably.

Unlike regular humans, change for the RUST player can often alter the player experience. If you dare read on, you will arguably find the top 25 changes made to RUST in 2023. Each highlights the overarching alteration or addition and briefly touches on the good, the bad, and the potentially ugly that manifested as a result. 

This isn’t an all-inclusive list and is the product of thousands of hours of exhaustive play and research. Take it for what it is, or join us on Discord with your opinions and views! On with the shambles!

New Items Introduced to the Game

The list of newly added weapons for 2023 far surpasses any prior year in recent memory. For this reason, we are simply adding a comprehensive list with links to each within our item database. Some have since been removed, altered, or redacted, such as the mirrors, but are being included for completeness’s sake.

Combat & Weapon Changes

While historically a sore subject for many, changes have been made. Whether or not we agree with them is left up to the players to decide, but they are what they are. Spoiler alert, we never did go back to the old AK recoil.

SMG Recoil Changes

A pile of sub-machine guns

May 2023

  • The Thompson now favors one side for slightly easier control and predictability.
  • Thompson and MP5A4 were given a higher chance to land center mass during extended auto-fire

October 2023

  • Aimcone once again reduced for SMGs, resulting in better center-mass hits during extended auto-fire
  • Built-in burst mode improved for SMGs, resulting in higher accuracy and better recoil.
  • The MP5A4 damage output was increased slightly and now has less bullet drop.

Sleeping Bag Limits

Why, oh, why would you put Sleeping Bags under combat? Simple! Fewer places to spawn means fewer flank bases, directly impacting every facet of gameplay for those who like getting into the muck.

With the incorporation of the 15 bed/bag limit at any time (default, changeable variable), players have been forced this year to be more careful about how many bags they place and where. Like it or hate it, this change impacted the game significantly.

Flashbang AI Effect

An AI holding his hands over his eyes after a flash bang

When the Flashbang first hit last year, players found it relatively underwhelming, especially compared to its coincidently released Molotov Cocktail. With the release of the new, slightly claustrophobic Missile Silo Monument, Facepunch decided to throw us a bone and give it a new feature – the ability to work against and disorient AI. While certainly not game-changing, every little bit helps.

Homing Missile Launchers

We’re speaking from firsthand experience; there is no greater butt-clinching moment than flying alone on a Minicopter and hearing one of these locks onto you. Homing Missile Launchers were added with the Airborne Update as a unique tool to combat the brand-new player-operated attack helicopter (more on that in a few minutes).

These shoulder-mounted launchers are like mini SAM sites, but they are far more portable, lightweight, and require no electricity. If you haven’t familiarized yourself with the noise their targeting makes. You would do well to educate yourself before taking to the skies.

Wounded Information Screen

The Wounded Screen

After last year’s Wounding Update, where players could crawl away from the battlefield after being rendered down, Facepunch gave us some metrics to go along with it in the similarly titled Wounded Updated. Now, when players are wounded, a few display icons will pop up showing both your likelihood in percentages of standing up and the amount of time that you have to wait to find out. Quite handy, indeed.

Burst Modules

Considerable changes were made to Burst Modules, including reducing the time between each shot and the recoil felt after making them. They were also made more accurate due to a reduction in aimcone. 

Parachutes

RUST Parachute Deployed

While we won’t be reviewing each item added this year, some are worth mentioning due to how much they can impact gameplay. We already went over Homing Missile Launchers, but we’d be remiss to gloss over another aerial device: the Parachute

The Parachute does exactly what one would imagine. Having one when falling from a Scrap Helicopter is a literal lifesaver. Alternatively, using one to jump from a cliff or tower into a neighbor’s compound is equally thrilling—absolutely a 2023 fan favorite.

On-the-go changes

Double Horse Saddles

Sometimes, you can’t find a pair of naturally spawning horses to ferry you and your duo across the map to your build location. Sometimes, you hate to ride alone. Whatever the reason, this reasonably priced item allows for the reality of two players on a single horse. It is all that it sounds like and more.

Tugboats

The RUST Tugboat

Considered by many one of the biggest additions not only of the year but maybe in the history of RUST, Tugboats were introduced with the Deep Sea Update back in July, and boy, oh boy, they didn’t disappoint.

For the first time, the community had a genuinely new housing alternative – sure, we had campers that could have bags and loot, but you can honestly get on a Tugboat and have a moving, grooving base experience on the open seas.

Changes are still being made monthly to these vessels, but we encourage anyone who hasn’t visited a Large or Small Harbor monument and taken a tug for a spin to give it a whirl. They move deceptively fast for as large as they are and have decent fuel economy.

Attack Helicopter

Author pre-disclosure: this is by far my favorite vehicle in the history of RUST. That being prefaced, what else is there to say other than hell from above? The Attack Helicopter dropped to rave reviews by the community with the Airborne Update in September, and those with 2250 Scrap to spend haven’t looked back since.

With its cutting-edge capacity to fire High Velocity and Incendiary Rockets, a built-in turret bay for any weapon your copilot cares to fire, and the ability to deploy flares when homing missiles are incoming? Some of us were starting to think Christmas came early. Oh, and it handles like buttahhh.

Hot Air Balloons

A RUST Hot Air Balloon with Armor

Hot Air Balloons are arguably one of the harder vehicles to pilot in RUST. Fortunately, with the Airborne Update also came the capacity to enclose yourself in Hot Air Balloon Armor so your friends can’t tell that you are struggling to get it straight.

The HAB armor makes this mode of travel more secure, practically doubling the vehicle’s strength, adding a door, and eliminating many angles from which to be shot.

In addition to armoring up, fuel consumption was also reduced while flying; an anti-stuck mechanic was added so that the balloon itself would decay faster and use fewer system resources, and they were even added to the Airwolf Vendor at Bandit Camp.

Invalid Projectiles when Mounted Fix

For a large portion of 2023, just like in 2022, a bug existed that made shots fired from a (mostly aquatic) vehicle register as Projectile Invalids in the combat log, resulting in wasted bullets and no damage being dealt. Simultaneously, those mounted could still be hit, resulting in loss of life and property.

This bug has been mostly addressed; however, attempting to raid a moving Tugboat remains hit-or-miss, especially when tossing explosives on doors.

Monument Changes

Nuclear Missile Silo

Nuclear Missile Silo Monument

Oh boy, jumping down into a ground-bunkered concrete missile silo full of armed guards and dark hidey-holes? What could possibly go wrong?

While there were quite a few bugs with the release of this monument, it’s mostly smooth sailing at this point. The Nuclear Missile Silo Monument offers a Large Oil Rig difficulty-level experience on land with a simple swipe of a Blue Keycard.

This monument is ideal for stocking up on weapons, components, ammo, some diesel, and an elite crate at the end. It has quickly become a streamer favorite.

Ferry Terminal

It should be prefaced that Ferry Terminal is destined for bigger and better things in the coming months, as the launching point for the new Nexus terminal for allowing players to transition between paired servers. As it stands right now, this monument is very entry-level, having no guards other than the general populous and boasting quite a bit of loot for what it takes to run the monument. Check out our guide on it.

Pumpjacks & Quarries, Oh My!

RUST Quarry

No major changes on this front, but the art department was hard at work, giving a minor facelift to both monument features. For the briefest of moments, a bug made them appear from a distance that they were constantly in use, but this has since been remedied, and you can go back to being paranoid now.

One late change made in 2023 was the build radius of quarries, a player favorite of walling it off from others. It is now slightly harder, as the no-build radius received a minor increase.

World Changes

Repopulation Unit Survival Test Event

  • Incorporated in tandem with the Nuclear Missile Silo Monument, the R.U.S.T end of wipe event was added as a way to sort of spice up the last day of a wipe cycle and make players feel like there is significance to the event beyond losing their stuff.
  • Vehicle patrols across the map in the form of Bradley Tanks while fighter jets rip across the landscape in the last 24 hours of a cycle, and there is a laptop with a timer that displays the remaining minutes until the wipe initiates, deep within the Nuclear Missile Silo Monument.

Recycler Animation

  • It moves, grinds, and jiggles now! No, it won’t hurt you to stand on top of it. Just a quick quality-of-life realism feature. Good job, team.

Ping System

It’s an exciting time to be a set of Binoculars because now you can grant players the power to ping targets or points of interest with a button click. Check out more about this system in the Bags to Battles Update.

Map Marker System

RUST Map Marker System

Going hand in hand with the Ping system, custom map markers were added to make it much easier for teams or individuals to mark safehouses, ping enemy base locations, or whatever else you might have the fancy to put a pin in. You can even use custom icons and label them with wording.

New World Models

Several world items and entities received much-needed facelifts, receiving a model of their own and finally standing out in the crowd while your neighbor despawns his loot during the online raid you gave him. Teas are still tiny, but at least you can tell the difference between shotgun ammo if you look closely.

Aquatic Revamp

With Tugboats came a complete revamp of water in RUST as we know it. With over two years of work, this update brought more realistic waves, variable weather conditions that impact said waves, and a more realistic degree of clarity and focus while submerged. Aesthetically, it was a real shot in the arm for realism.

Edge of the World Boundary & Drift

What’s new water without new boundaries? Long past are the days of reaching the world’s edge and immediately dying. Now, we can fly or boat to the edge and be gently nudged back instead of having a long swim to retrieve our gear. What a time to be alive. 

Oh, and if you’re thinking that you can take your tug and disappear from society, think again. That bad boy will drift back to shore if left unattended long enough.

Quality of Life & New Systems

Industrial System Update

If we’re to analyze impactful systems added to the game since its creation, the Industrial network must be at the top of the list. Trust us when we say that the system itself is far too vast and complicated to summarize in a short snippet properly, so we will instead link to our Industrial System Guide on how it can improve every process of your in-base life.

Side note: as far as solo life goes, those Electric Furnaces are the best thing since the invention of the peanut butter sandwich.

Zipline Fixes

RUST Ziplines

This Zipline: 218 days since last “accident”

After considerable trial and error with the zipline system in general, especially as it relates to mounting, dismounting, and becoming a tree hugger, the team seems to have zipping from place to place in a relatively good place. Deaths from zipline-related accidents are down (no pun intended) across the board.

Small Rechargeable Batteries

Small Rechargeable Battery users, rejoice! The capacity and output of these small marvels were increased, making life in a 2×1 just a little bit nicer.

RF Detonation

While the RF system existed before 2023, this year, we were given the capacity to enable RF signaling on Timed Explosive Charges, granting them a whole new “gotcha” dynamic that even the most seasoned RUST pro would find spellbinding and butt-clinching—yet another impressive offering with the Eye-in-the-Sky Update.

Auto Turret Changes

For some, Auto Turrets are the peak of base protection, while others view them as little more than skill-compensators and a brief annoyance on the path to base hopping. While many facets of their existence have changed, two big ones occurred in 2023.

Up first, players gained the ability to control them remotely, given that they were programmed with an identifier and had access to a Computer Station. This function offers real-time ability to manually target and fire on persons or vehicles, cutting down on ammo use and at no risk to the user.

Second, what some consider the biggest nerf of the year, Interference was added to the game. This system prohibits more than 12 turrets from being operational around the same 40-meter center at any given time. Of course, there are ways to circumvent this, and the admin team can alter it at a server level—all good things in moderation.

RUST+ App Changes

Third-party applications took a beating in RUST this year, and rightfully so. Many offered up-to-the-second updates remotely about server happenings, allowing for remote spying on static CCTV camera systems around the map from your real-world phone and many other things.

While RUST+ is still a very powerful app in its own right, most of the more exploitive abilities were hedged back or disabled altogether, including viewing Oil Rig Monument cameras from your phone while on an in-bound-RHIB, for example.

Vending Machine Changes

For years, we’ve been able to place our most valuable loot in Vending Machines and then use any number of methods to destroy that machine, erasing the loot inside forever. And you would have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn’t been for those meddling developers.

Half of all loot within a Vending Machine is dropped on destruction. For those selling plants from one, you can also see the genetics that shoppers buy remotely. Vending Machines now drop temporary debris when they are destroyed, temporarily disabling immediate replacement in the event of a raid-like situation.

Oh, lest we forget, that awesome bug that allowed for purchasing large stacks of Wood or Stone after a server restart was fixed. Ironically, you can still get large stacks on the first purchase if you buy them via drone.

Loot Bags & Boxes

Loot on the Boat's Deck

Alt+H or Alt-clicking items to immediately equip them became a thing this year, allowing for an almost locker-like experience when looting a corpse on the battlefield. 

More improvements were made to boats or other vehicles on the water, allowing for items stored on the said vehicle to be placed into floating boxes on its destruction instead of sinking to the bottom of the ocean.

Door Placement Through Deployables

Yes, this is as awesome as it sounds. Finally, we have the capacity to place a door through entities that could otherwise be placed where they were after the door was up anyway. 

This improvement sent shockwaves through the hearts of at least four community members who couldn’t be bothered to take the door down and redeploy everything again. You know who you are.

Building Upgrade Effects

Sheet Metal Building Upgrade Effect

If you haven’t played RUST in a while and come back, you might notice that building is much more eventful. We are, of course, talking about a new animation and sound effect turned on by default (yes, you can turn it off) that adds an interesting dynamic to building and lets people know when you’re expanding your base for miles.

Combat Knife Quick Untie

Combat Knives were given the capacity to untie underwater shipwreck crates extremely fast, simply by hitting them. The Combat Knife doesn’t even take durability damage when used in this fashion. Take that, sharks. Please don’t kill me.

Chat Emojis

RUST Chat Emojis

Have you ever wanted to communicate in RUST in a completely non-verbal method, using pictographs and symbolism to get your intentions across? Right around the time we got our wounded screen improvements, the good people at Facepunch also incorporated emojis into general chat features.

They were so good, in fact, that a few weeks after release, some of them had to be disabled or redacted to dissuade the community from using them for nefarious purposes. 

Naughty RUST players.

Craft Queue Server Crash Loot

After years of “I WAS CRAFTING 50 ROCKETS AND I LOST IT ALL, WTF!” spam in Discords and chat across the world, crafting queue items are no longer lost if a server unexpectedly pooters out for any reason. And this is why we once again can and can’t have nice things.

Metric Ton of Art, Cosmetic, & Bug Fixes

Too numerous to count or quantify, but our early estimates show that this was a banner year for art improvements and cosmetics rivaled only by the early days when the world and monuments were first being created. Great job, team.

Tool Cupboard Layout Update

Long story extremely short, the Tool Cupboard was simplified to a single window of information and given an extra slot for that Spray Can you’ve always wanted to store.

Weather Frequency & Water Impact

While we’re not directly attempting to correlate the update to the water in the game with a developer’s desire to show off how weather now impacts the seas, we totally are doing that. It can’t be ignored; someone had to say it. Weather can again be bad considerably more frequently now that the ocean looks a lot cooler.

Floating Pylons

Most floating electrical towers and pylons that became prevalent over the last year when procedurally generating a map have been resolved, and their wire mishaps have been corrected. Not that it doesn’t happen still, but is considerably less common.

Steam Nicknames In-Game

RUST added the capability for players to display custom Steam nicknames via an options toggle, which has greatly simplified the Streamer Mode. Players can instead change everyone they play with to something random or a first name and have that appear in their interface.

Multithreaded Networking

You get a query port, and you get a query port! Seriously, everyone who wanted to be found in 2023 on the server list needed to go through this process if they wanted to ensure their capacity to be found by the community.

Hardcore Gamemode Hardclosed

Official RUST Hardcore Servers Removed

As an unfortunate side effect of players losing interest, Facepunch elected to close or otherwise repurpose some of their servers from the Hardcore Gamemode format to other things this year. RIP to the following servers:

  • EU Hardcore Facepunch 2
  • EU Hardcore Facepunch 3
  • EU Hardcore Facepunch Small 1
  • US Hardcore Facepunch 2
  • US Hardcore Facepunch 3
  • US Hardcore Facepunch Small 1

Safemode RUST?

Having not used this feature much, it might be best to use the developer’s own words.

It’s now possible to launch or reset RUST into safe mode – a basic, extremely low quality settings config to help diagnose problems. You can use safemode with a new button in the Options menu or by passing the -safemode command in the Steam launch settings.

You should only use this feature if you are advised by our Support team or are experiencing problems with launching the game. Using this feature will overwrite your current settings so be sure to back them up beforehand.

Facepunch

Windows 8.1 Support Discontinuation

You read it right – upgrade those machines and people, or reap the whirlwind of obsoleteness.

Global Networked Bases

Who’da thunk it – being able to see 5 times further with less resources eaten up, what sort of witchcraft is this?! That is what is being attempted at the moment by the Facepunch development team, though the verdict is still out. It gets turned on and off quite a lot, but optimism remains that seeing a SAM site before it shoots you out of the sky by default is right around the corner.

Browser Caching for Server Selection

Still very experimental, but in theory—yes. You should no longer have to wait upwards of a minute for servers you’ve interacted with before to load on the selection screen if you are using caching. Does anyone else have a sudden craving for cookies? Also, do they call web cookies in the UK biscuits?

Year of DLCs

Instead of going into a deep dive on how in-game skins and exclusive items have gone mainstream, it might be easier for you to jump right into the marketing that went into them. We present 2023: RUST DLC’s Gone Wild.

DLCDescription
Adobe Building SkinA smooth building material made of earth, rock, and various organic materials.
Brutalist Building SkinA strong, concrete building style similar to Stone but with a cold, harsh appearance.
Shipping Container Building SkinA sturdy construction material made of recycled shipping containers. Changeable color with the spray can.
Abyss Item Store PackA damaged deep-water diver suit was found in the abyss. Although it may no longer serve its original purpose, it functions reliably as a Hazmat suit. Combined with a waterlogged Assault Rifle, Metal Pickaxe, Hatchet, and Divers Torch, you’re ready to take on the abyss.
Brick Building SkinA strong, classic building material made of recycled brick and other masonry debris.
Frontier Base Decor PackA wild western-themed collection featuring ten new items and 17 variants.
Legacy Wood Building SkinA throwback to the earliest days of RUST.

Afterthoughts

Feel like something else should have made this list? We love a good argument! Be sure to reach out through our official Discord and let us know. While this list wasn’t all-inclusive, we stand behind our decisions based on player impact per category, and many long days went into researching every little changelog. 

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About No Limit Llama

An aspiring woodworker and web designer. Father, husband, and Rust veteran. Llama has written op-eds and official game documents for over two decades. The earliest writings were on Asheron’s Call, followed by World of Warcraft and eventually Rust. The vast majority of his indoor time is spent running Rust servers or helping friends with their Rust-related projects. He enjoys working around the house, continuing his education when time permits, and creating new processes to simplify activities of daily living for his friends and family. He has an incredible wife, a dog, three children, and one granddaughter.

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