Cold and alone? Learn how to survive in the arctic biome.
It’s a harsh life for players trying to survive the RUST arctic biome. This breed of player faces challenges that few others have to consider when logging on and freezing to death, while AFK is chief among them.
But for every negative presented by the climate, a positive emerges. As with all things, every dark side has its lighter component, and RUST biomes are the same if you know how to navigate the terrain. Consider this your biome roadmap.
Before choosing to base and work out of the arctic region, several factors will impact your ability to flourish if you don’t prepare properly.
Food & water in the arctic biome
This biome isn’t exactly conducive to things growing or flourishing naturally. It is far too cold to farm without incorporating a complicated electrical system to keep the temperature of crops suitable. Equally challenging is the lack of non-frozen lakes from which you need to draw salt-free water for plant development.
While rivers appear in the arctic biome, they typically do not grow food. These water streams can act as a good location for winter-based farming. Still, anytime you base on a river, you attract other players.
Touched on later in the guide, bears tend to be the primary source of food for those in the arctic – partly because they’re plentiful, but mostly because they’re not overly friendly.
While making your way from the beach to your winter oasis, stop by a more temperate river network and pick up Pumpkins and Corn. Consider visiting some smaller monuments for food crate pickups.
Resource challenges in the arctic
There are no shortages of every node type in the arctic biome, with sulfur, metal, and stone aplenty. While not as plentiful, good tree patches are usually available so that even the most active zerg may continue to progress unimpeded.
The greatest resource bottleneck players will encounter, especially in the early going, is cloth. Hemp plants do not naturally grow in the winter zone, so players are forced to recycle or raid for the majority of the cloth that they need.
Most of the cloth gathered through the skinning of animals gets used in converting Animal Fat byproducts into Low-Grade Fuel. If you are one of the few that decide to go the farming route, you still need to outsource seed gathering to a different biome.
Since all adventures begin on sandy beaches, make the most of your cross-country trek and pick up every Hemp plant you can find. Be sure to gather enough for at least 20 cold protection worth of clothing, if not more. Have at the very least two sleeping bags crafted (one for inside your dwelling and one out) before making it to your desired build area.
As simple as they are, two words demand your attention when choosing to live in the arctic area: Polar. Bears. In addition to regular brown bears, packs of wolves, free-range chickens that roam too far, and wild boar, polar bears enjoy the winter area immensely. Never mind the occasional solo bear wandering into the desert biome; he knows not what he does.
In addition to hitting harder, attacking quicker, and chasing faster than other animals, they also possess a keen natural camouflage in this region. Often mistaken for typical stone nodes when standing still, there is no mistaking the dread felt when you hear the feet clomping through the snow at a high rate of speed.
Always keep wood and a Building Plan handy. In the current game release, animals cannot physically path onto any player-built structure. At the low cost of 25 wood, putting down a simple triangle thatch foundation and standing on it (or under it) will cause any pursuing animal to disengage from combat and flee. This trick does NOT work on other players…in most cases.
If you find yourself too close to the road to build a safety foundation, fall back to jumping on top of a roadside truck and jump into the air repeatedly. Animal AI has a height threshold parament that causes them to disengage players not touching the ground by a certain distance. This trick does NOT work for roadside scientists. Their bullets can fly. #aimbotted
Dealing with other players
Several factors limit most of the general populace from entering the arctic biome. Due to its harsh climate, minimal readily available ground pick-up resources, and field of view, most of your grub-type players avoid the winter area unless there is a quick raid to counter.
Because of this, it is widely regarded as ‘safer’ to visit monuments such as Gas Stations and Supermarkets here. Be forewarned, though, that this is merely an illusion and that grubs may appear anywhere at any time. Be afraid.
Should you be engaged in PVP while in the arctic, limited cover and harsh environment will typically aid in ending fights earlier, with downed players succumbing to Cold faster and those pesky polar bears giving away your position to the enemy should you manage to hide in a treeline.
Due to the high concentration of mineable resources within the winter area, roam-raiding smaller bases is a favorite past-time of larger groups. The general assumption is that any 2-door base could house mountains of sulfur ore due to its ready availability outside.
Pay attention to the map – if you’re solo or a small group, avoid high-traffic areas such as Ice Lakes and Arctic Research Base until you’re more established and can afford to lose kits. Keep to the outskirts and cliffsides, where escaping or hiding is much more achievable. Be sure to deposit goods that you gather into your base frequently, and keep extra low-tier clothing around for a longer period of time. Being killed and spawning naked in the base at night will quickly earn you a bag timer.
To blend more seamlessly into your surroundings, check out our guide for the Best Skins Surviving the Arctic Biome.
Rain and fog in any other biome are mild inconveniences. They limit visibility and add a degree of ambient noise that hinders clear hearing and sometimes thinking. If the rain is light enough, it’s almost peaceful.
Take these same elements and place them in subzero temperatures; you will find the outcome drastically different. Gentle rain noises turn to blistering wind gusts, and that Wet status that you acquired suddenly makes the normally brisk climate far more deadly. Complicate the scenario further with the sun setting in the west, and quickly your vision begins to darken, and your health begins to drop.
If you’d like to go the pay-to-win option and intend to spend a great deal of time in the Arctic, we cannot recommend the Arctic Suit enough. While it doesn’t make you completely impervious to late-night temperature dips, the 33% cold protection is sufficient to make it through. The real saving grace is its Waterproof utility, preventing the Wet condition entirely.
For players without this Permanent Store skin, consider a base layer Wetsuit and overlapping Hide Poncho combination, along with other accessories for extremely high cold and radiation protection, with the same waterproof status. While not the best for being shot at, being cold and wet at night will kill you just as fast. If all else fails, carry around a pre-crafted Campfire.
Exclusive arctic monument
The arctic biome is home to one of the, ironically, hottest monuments in the game, the Arctic Research Base. Chads, streamers, and farmers enjoy its mid-level difficulty offerings, from plentiful crates, boxes, and barrels to the Arctic Scientists’ loot.
The monument has some of the highest-yielding spawns for both red fuel barrels and small crude and low-grade crates found anywhere in the game. In addition, players with a Blue Keycard may gain access to the Snowmobile located inside (unless otherwise looted).
Due to the popular nature of this monument, players should take note of its location when deciding where to build their base. If you are built within the direct path of other monuments and ARB, the chance of being raided increases considerably.
All about building
With all this information being prefaced, it’s now a good time to carve out your little slice of chilled heaven. Further considerations on this topic are as follows:
The arctic biome, as noted, boasts some of the highest spawn rates for nodes of all types. This is because of its higher concentrations of ridges, nooks, valleys, and cliffs. There aren’t quite as many flat buildable locations as in other biomes.
However, all of these different plains and plateaus offer unique building opportunities for the smaller base owner. Tucked away, cozy cliffside shacks, mountaintop strongholds, and hidden away farm bases all have their place within the biome. Just make sure that you keep your distance from the mighty…
That’s right, usually reserved for the larger groups on the server, ice lake fortresses are some of the richest, grandest structures constructed on RUST servers. Because of the flatness of the building site, groups trade the security of secrecy for the promise of easier builds. In addition, with the increase in natural resources surrounding said lake, materials tend to farm and funnel in faster.
These compounds go up faster and taller than their desert and lush green counterparts but are often the subject of early wipe raiding by other groups. The tenants tend to have much larger stockpiles of raiding materials ready to go, so it is essential to be mindful and friendly towards the neighborhood ice lake zerg. And when possible, avoid them altogether and build at a convenient maximum distance.
Caves are always a solid choice to build in and also a reliable raid target to others. RUST cave systems vary from large to small, but all have a few things in common. Chiefly, they’re all fairly visible to the trained eye on a map.
Like ice lakes, living within a cave puts a literal target on your base.
While not as evident as the huge superstructure next door, the cave has several strengths and weaknesses that are inherent only to itself. While offering a natural shelter from the Wet-causing elements, these underground havens do not warm you up. You will still very much die if you venture away from your keyboard underclothed and nightfall hits.
You can also tell whether it is day or night outside in a winter cave based on your player’s temperature. In the Arctic Suit mentioned before, during the day in an arctic biome cave, you will sit at 5℃ while at night, you will drop to -7℃.
Caves are also natural attractions for new players looking for resources and tools. Expect a lot of foot traffic should you elect to build in or near one of these.
Only the most sadistic players willingly strand themselves on a floating glacier, miles from civilization and surrounded by ice-cold water.
For those brave enough, these buildable ice blocks can provide quite a defensible structure when properly done. Although space on the said structure is often far more limited than putting it down on the mainland, players are not at all restricted when placing external defensive entities, such as high walls and large furnaces. You can become an island unto yourself, though the need to wear waterproofing clothing after the fact is increased exponentially.
Similar to living on cliffsides, the Cargo Ship frequently passes by all of the map’s icebergs. Your base will be front and center for every group to see that does the floating event. Another considerable downside is mobility, as boats do not naturally spawn in the winter area. Try to incorporate boat-base functionality to make getting to and from your compound much more convenient.
One of the often overlooked landscapes for RUST housing is harder-to-reach cliff sides. Often smaller and offering less expansion, these tucked-away options can be the perfect location for a solo/duo to put down roots and live within their means. They’re less attractive targets for roaming zergs and, if done properly, can be even harder to reach for the less-informed scavenger.
The one major downside that is commonly forgotten about is Cargo Ship. Most times, a team will infiltrate cargo and then sit idly atop the captain’s nest, waiting for counter0s. While up there, there isn’t much to do but look towards land and shoot at ocean barrels. It is important to pick a spot that at least slightly obstructs a cargo-side view of your base. Otherwise, expect a visit from a full-loaded RHIB soon. Oh, and mind your step when leaving at night; it’s a long way down.
Raiders are coming
As different as each biome is from one another, so too is the process of waging war within them. The contention that the defender will always have the advantage has never been more evident than in the arctic biome, especially at night.
Ill-prepared or equipped raiders in the winter zone quickly discover that exposure to elements is almost as deadly as exposure to bullets. As the sun sets, the winter zone can bring a team of raiders to their knees, forcing them to huddle around a hastily placed campfire in their raid base, or worse, abandoning the raid and flying south for the winter.
Just as you plan for defensive structures, turrets, and counters, so too should you plan accordingly for the weather. While not as simple as turning on the news and checking a forecast, bringing a few winter hazmats with you as backup kits is vital to success. A properly constructed raid base with all the bells and whistles, and a fallback plan, if necessary, are also essential for success.
If you’re looking for new ways to incorporate these mechanics into your compound’s defense structure, consider adding a Sprinkler network along the boundaries of your walls and gates. These systems would provide fire suppression support in the event that raiders employee Molotov Cocktails or Incendiary Rockets, as well as douse any non-waterproof raider with a healthy dose of Wet, causing their vision to wain and their health to passively (rapidly) drop.
Final thoughts on RUST’s arctic biome
Being a winter rat doesn’t have to be an insurmountable challenge, with a bit of prior planning preventing that poor performance. The biome can provide a less stressful, quiet experience for some or an absolute horror scene for others. It all comes down to diligence, preparation, and attention to detail.
Please keep those suggestions and begrudgingly witty comments coming back to us directly in our Discord. Together, maybe we can spawn a byproduct species of winter grub.