RUST Building Location Guide

Looking for tips on where to build your next base in RUST?

Hundreds of thousands connect to RUST servers at the beginning of each month as if called to participate in the fresh start afforded each of us that first Thursday. Wipe day is a special time when the clocks are seemingly rolled back to a place of equality. The wealthiest, most loaded clans of yesterday are reset to zero, having the same net worth as every other naked waking up on the beach.

This guide is highly subjective; your needs will dictate what might work best for you. Some solo players are more comfortable building larger bases, while some teams prefer to live relatively unnoticed in tiny shacks. And while there are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ location choices, this is also subjective.

For simplification, this guide will assume that you’re playing a server with a procedurally generated map seed on the minimum base size of 4250 to accommodate the standard complement of monuments and the above-ground rail network.

Forethought

Forethought

Recognizing the playstyle and wiping expectations of yourself, your team, and your comfort levels is paramount. RUST isn’t one of those games where throwing the uninitiated into the deep end always works out – some people are turned off to the game completely when thrust into the potential conflict.

Alternatively, if you bring on a player with thousands of hours on higher-population servers and build near a fishing village with no action, they’re also not likely to stick around. That said, we’re looking for a balance of environment and engagement sustainability.

Discussing preferred monument proximity and access to map features before the wipe or having an internal conversation if solo about what you’d like to be near (or not) will save you a lot of time when choosing a base location.

Suppose you’re playing alone and want something lowkey and stealth like a cave base. If you’re going to build the most extensive clan base an official server has ever seen, that rules out a lot of potential spots when you finally get to see the map.

Browsing the Map

Browsing the Map

Some RUST communities do map voting and suggestions, while with others, you’re left waiting until wipe day to get the first glimpse of what you’re working with. If you can access map information before the wipe day, consider yourself lucky. For those without it, your first glimpse should happen when you wake up on the beach, while you have nothing to lose.

Knowing what you’d like to build and where is essential. Sometimes planned base design prohibits some locations altogether. If you’re building a massive, split-TC compound that relies heavily on a flat and uniform surface, then a cliffside or iceberg base isn’t what you’re looking for.

Conversely, if you’ve decided to stay off the raider radar and lay low, occupying a large swatch of premium real estate on a flat sand barge is ill-advised.

Since it is such a significant, nuanced, and impactful decision, it’d be best to break down aspects of the map into their base elements and then elaborate on the strengths and weaknesses of each on their merit.

Biome Considerations in RUST

Biome Considerations

There are aspects of each biome that are drastically different from their counterparts, which we will tackle per subsection, but many are also similar. With this in mind, the following geographical features may appeal to the RUST builder or detract from their desired base location.

Cliffside Base Locations

Cliffside Base Locations in RUST

Nothing says ‘cozy’ like a tucked away cliffside dwelling, cleverly hidden from sight from most other players. Some exceptionally well-built cliffside designs further add bunker features built right into the side of the rockface, making the overall cost to raid your humble abode considerably higher than a similar base built on flat greenery.

Depending on the climate and the color of the rockface, some item skins (arctic, desert, or temperate) are designed to add a touch of camouflage to these structures. With this in mind, there are negatives for each and every positive.

Cliffsides are more limiting when placing foundations, inherently restricting the footprint of your final build design. To combat this, some players simply build overhang floors to expand further, but these create weak spots that can be raided into by crafty eco-raiders.

When building a structure clinging onto a cliff face, there is also very little recourse in the event of an online raid. To maintain concealment, the standard utility of a roof on a regular base to repel raiders is virtually non-existent on cliffside bases. Ultimately, it all comes down to base design, but this structure type is tough to defend if a good base design is lacking.

It’s easy to look over, but you should consider gravity’s impact when looking at cliffside base locations. Since implementing the HDRP backports changes, scaling mountains has been more problematic.

Now imagine your base is under attack, and the raiders control access to your upper doorways. Without additional planning for alternate methods up and down from the mountaintop, your base design can work against you. Also, be sure to add further difficulty in utilizing larger, outside entities such as Small Oil Refineries and Large Furnaces on such narrow footing before making any decisions.

Waterfront Base Locations

Waterfront Base Locations in RUST

Nothing says luxury living like beachfront property with a view. However, in RUST, planting yourself firmly on an ocean shore or lakefront makes you an obvious raid target. Beach property, in particular, gives players the assumption that the base must be loaded.

From floating trash pile loot, underwater shipwreck treasure, and quick access to any number of late-game content, these ‘oiler’ bases are frequent hits for mid-to-end tier raiders.

Lakefront property is less targeted in this way but still an easy find for would-be raiders because of its prominent position on a map. On the other hand, having an inexhaustible supply of fresh water, especially for farming, is a definite plus. Much like a Cave base, inland water sources (and the bases built near them) are easy to track down and target.

On the other side of that coin, these weaknesses are also tremendous sources of strength. Beachfront housing affords you the fastest possible access to either Oilrig, the Underwater Labs, the Cargo Ship event, and many other things.

In addition, depending on your proximity to the water, cool entrances, and exits can be worked out and integrated into your base design to allow for underwater entry or the possibility of underwater bunkers.

A word of caution: building too close to (or in) the water can leave you highly susceptible to the rarest form of raiding; submarine torpedo raids.

Summit Base Locations

Summit Base Locations in RUST

Similar in logistics to cliffsides, the mountain peak has its unique and impressive list of advantages and disadvantages. There is nowhere to hide your base for those bold enough to go this route. More to the point, maybe that was your purpose all along.

Since kindergarten, mock king-of-the-mountain instincts have been woven into our cultures, making this base location appealing. Everyone wants to dethrone those who sit the highest. No one has a better view than the one sitting on top of the world.

People in RUST often make associations and assumptions, whether evidence exists to the contrary or not. If you build on the highest peak overlooking the peasants, the implication will be that you did so with the intent to roof camp. It doesn’t matter if you don’t even have roof access. Other players will think it. Know this fact going into it.

Aside from that, getting to and from can itself be a logistical nightmare. Steep inclines make it hard to traverse to and from your base, whether traveling by foot, automobile, or horse. At the same time, it will also make it difficult for others.

A suitably fortified base from this position could prove problematic for even the best teams to successfully online raid. Being so high up does, unfortunately, make you an ideal target for MLRS barrages, so plan for that accordingly. You can see potential raiders coming from miles away; at the end of the day, that’s something.

Valley Base Locations

Valley Base Locations in RUST

At least you aren’t the roof camper at the top of the hill. All joking aside, the elevation makes a considerable difference in RUST. Those buildings in recesses and valleys have very few secrets.

Players from all around will grab a set of binoculars and make it a regular habit to check your progression as if opening the oven door to see if their cookies are done baking. Valleys are also relatively synonymous with having large clumps of starter bases; all lined up and ready to be raided.

Most importantly, few places are known by name better than the Valley of Death, a prevalent concept within RUST, with those being downhill in a gunbattle being at a considerable disadvantage to their elevated opponent.

If you’re building a starter base on the way to something better, valleys are an alright option if you can’t find something better. These locations can’t be recommended for forever-base spots, though.

River Base Locations

River Base Locations in RUST

Quite often, the location of some of the best roleplayers to ever grace a RUST server, rivers are a universally recognized mecca of free, plentiful food (biome permitting).

As a natural byproduct of this, those wishing to grow food from seeds will often settle down right on top of the river. The unlimited supply of fresh water, coupled with onsite resources, makes it much faster to cultivate appropriate genetics and provides the means to feed the largest zerg or set up scrap-yielding shops to feed the masses.

As far as raiding goes, different servers vary by player. Some communities value the food-producing shops and farms, while others view them as an easy target for thousands of cloth and other resources. Farmers will turn on one another on exceptionally competitive servers, often raiding the competition to corner the market.

Apart from food production, this base location is relatively neutral, with no significant advantages or disadvantages. There isn’t much to be said for building on rivers other than to expect an exceptional amount of foot traffic (and a lot of grubs).

Flat Shallows Base Locations

Flat Shallows Base Locations in RUST

Because of the procedurally-generated nature of RUST maps, most of the ‘flat shallow’ areas of the map will be in more remote locations, usually where the ocean forms a peninsula—generally viewed as ‘Zerg’ territory, as they are similar to Ice Lakes.

Clans will take over large, flat expanses at the beginning of a wipe as the primary location for a main base. Some teams will go so far as to claim the entire area with Tool Cupboards until they have the materials to expand.

Solo players or those with small teams are usually discouraged from occupying this location, as a land-claim raid is undoubtedly in your future. Automated defenses and multiple TC base designs are your friends for those brave enough to venture into claiming these areas.

Flat shallows are essentially the same setup as waterfront builds, with relatively the same advantages and disadvantages. Assuming that you’re building in a semi-submerged location, additional considerations are external entities that you will want to place.

Large furnaces and small oil refineries are particular when being deployed in anything but the most shallow of water. Placing high walls can also be a chore if a deeper water pit exists nearby. Consider where you place foundations carefully, and be sure not to overlook any oddities before you invest.

Cave Base Locations

Cave Base Locations in RUST

These deep, dark places of RUST are reasonably visible to the trained eye on any map, adding and subtracting the potential appeal of building here. It makes it a lot easier to coordinate with teammates not yet grouped at the beginning of the wipe.

It also acts as a source of early-game materials and tools. At the same time, any new player with an Eoka can almost single-handedly halt the progression of a group or individual by simply hiding in the shadows and waiting for you to leave your underground abode.

Caves are also natural attractions for new players looking for the same resources and tools your team wants. Because of the sizeable no-build radius at the top of each cave, putting up a compound can be costly and time-consuming.

Depending on the cave base design you decide to build within the cave, food costs can be outlandish. Some techniques requiring dead-drops to enter will require visiting nearby rivers frequently for food rations. This tedious process works both ways, as dead-drop caves are typically far more expensive to raid offline and nearly impossible to raid online.

Some caves may facilitate ground-level electrical being wired directly into them. This feature provides additional amenities like lights, electric furnaces, and added security in the form of Auto Turrets.

Whatever your design or motivation for living in one, expect a lot of foot traffic should you decide to build in or near a RUST cave.

Island Base Locations

Island Base Locations in RUST

Sometimes the beachfront shoreline isn’t enough, and you really want to escape it all. Look no further than a desolate, isolated, often Boar-covered (if you know, you know) piece of land just off the coast.

Depending on the landmass’s size and scope, an island can be the perfect setup for a large group compound. If you plan on adding a boat base, buying helicopters, or piloting Hot Air Balloons to get around, islands can be idyllic.

Sure, reaching any monuments takes a bit longer, but it’s also considerably harder for door campers and raiders to reach you. That said, it is much safer for that raider to offline raid your base.

One of the best things about being so detached from everything is the distance—from seeing and hearing your neighbors. This distance also works against you, taking the form of neighbors not hearing your base being raided and no counter-raiders showing up to slow down raiding progress.

A veritable moat prohibits quick crossing and works for and against base owners along the same premise. Island bases are regarded much like a target on top of a summit, as you can see threats coming from all directions as a base owner. This protection only really counts if your team is constantly online.

Those enemies regularly doing the Cargo Ship event are also guaranteed to discover the island base. Couple this with often limited resources available and being water-locked at least early on in a wipe, and the assertion can be made that Island living isn’t the easiest option for a player or team.

Roadway Base Locations

Roadway Base Locations in RUST

Second to second, there is no faster method for acquiring components for daily living than hitting barrels and looting trash piles. While certainly not the safest, especially with grubs lurking in every big bush, this farming method also requires the least overall investment, no real radiation requirement (except around monuments), and nothing more than a stick to poke the barrels with.

Building near a road is an ideal scenario, especially for the newer player eager to get out there and learn. Unfortunately, this idea is so popular that most other new players have the same idea. This strategy makes you both a metric for giving directions (the wood shack down by the road) and a quick raid target or recipient of door camping.

However, if participating in these activities is a dream job of yours, then build a little further from the road than your neighbors and hop right in. Be sure to account for the road’s build block radius before placing foundations. They’re quite unforgiving.

Train Track Base Locations

Train Track Base Locations in RUST

The appeal here is quick travel – you can jump on a nearby train and zip across the map much shorter than walking or taking a horse. A side effect of selecting this base location is those players traveling by this same method, seeing and considering your base while passing by.

While the build block radius is small, it is also essential to recognize that it could be an issue if you build too close. Train tracks do not have loot spawns along their path, so you’ll get much less foot traffic than building near roadsides, but understand that there are perils to living anywhere in RUST.

Building on train tracks does provide a unique opportunity in that if you’re looking for a fight, the fight may just be brought to you, giving you the advantage of being headquartered nearby and knowing the terrain quite well—with easy and quick depo and re-supplying.

Monument Base Locations

Monument Base Locations in RUST

This guide will dive into the pros and cons of building bases near certain monument types concerning team needs a bit later. Still, first, we’ll caution about the potential logistical challenges of the monuments themselves.

Some monuments aren’t too bad, with relatively small building block radiuses and low radiation emission zones extending beyond the no-build zone. Others, however, can have building-excluded outcrops that might block entity or building placement that no average player could anticipate.

The Launch Site alone, given its odd shape, has specific locations around it that you wouldn’t think you could build, but you can, and others that you should be able to build near that are blocked for miles.

For the former, placing your first foundation and removing all radiation-protection items from your character is a good idea. Better to find out now that you’re building in an irradiated zone before you spawn there and start dying immediately. The Launch Site monument is incredibly prohibitive of nearby cave systems, making building in them nearly impossible.

Basing in the Arctic Biome in RUST

Basing in the Arctic Biome

We will provide a link to our already-existing individual Biome-specific guides, each tailored to answer questions specific to those biomes in more depth. We’ll also go over the geographically-exclusive features of each just after.

You can read up on our complete RUST Arctic Biome Guide. If you decide to continue considering this biome as the location for your palace, consider giving the following features a try.

Ice Lake Base Locations

Ice Lake Base Locations in RUST

Ice lakes are big and flat areas easily located on the in-game map and often claimed by the largest and strongest groups on the server.

But consider this, small group…it’s a frozen lake that almost assuredly comes with built-in polar bears! Although these guardians might be indiscriminate in who they choose to attack, building on one of these winter wonderlands has many positives.

With notable, quite evident exceptions, ice lakes are perfectly flat surfaces that can accommodate just about any base design footprint. Much like flat shallows, visibility around them usually extends for miles, mainly if your base design includes any degree of height.

Ice lakes are coveted landmasses that Zergs desire, especially for the resources that spawn around them. So it’s a near guarantee to invite these players to your doorsteps.

If you’re looking for a challenge, and to be challenged, rush here straight from the beach and put down roots. Someone will be along in a few moments to show you how you messed up.

Iceberg Base Locations

Iceberg Base Locations in RUST

People think of icebergs in RUST as miniature islands, minus the potential for close resources. While entirely defensible through the deployment of entities and their surrounding water being deadly to anyone not properly waterproofed, icebergs are limited in square footage.

Icebergs in RUST will significantly limit the footprint of any base design a group larger than a trio would dare to construct. Furthermore, they’re sometimes not the easiest landmass to reach, with ice floats limiting boat access, and those same ice floats not necessarily always reaching the mainland to form a makeshift bridge.

Also consistent with island living, those doing the Cargo Ship event will note your base’s existence. The biggest detraction by far has to be that boats do not spawn in the winter biome, thus making it a constant struggle to travel to and from your base quickly and easily. Though, that, too, is a blessing and curse.

Icebergs are also notoriously far from most of the monuments on the map, being at the outer boundaries. They can be closer to the Large and Small Oil Rig monuments, location pending.

Basing in the Desert Biome

Basing in the Desert Biome

Be sure to check out our RUST Desert Biome Guide for an in-depth analysis of more specific biome factors you will want to consider before choosing this area. While not necessarily building-related, the number of pigs roaming around the biome will help expedite the creation of a furnace.

Hoodoo Rock Formation Base Locations

Hoodoo Rock Formation Base Locations in RUST

The desert isn’t unique in that it has rock formations – it is unique because of the amount that it can generate. In some sections of the biome, large clusters of rocky outcroppings and taller-than-average thin, spired formations with signs of erosion are the perfect camouflage for a quiet, hidden base.

While undoubtedly not efficient for guarding against aerial surveillance, bases built in and around these labyrinths of earth can easily blend into the surrounding, especially with the help of skinned rugs and the new Adobe building skin.

Basing in the Temperate Biome in RUST

Basing in the Temperate Biome

The idea of talking about monuments seems counterintuitive to a guide focused on building locations and considerations, but what if you could build inside the monument itself? In addition to our RUST Temperate Biome Guide, consider the following as additional reasons for building a base here.

Abandoned Cabins Base Locations

Abandoned Cabins Base Locations in RUST

While most players are either indifferent or utterly ignorant of the existence of the Abandoned Cabins, those who know know that it is a great place for resources such as Sulfur and Green Keycards. It’s also a buildable monument.

Sure, obstacles in and around the swampy area make it harder to do proper foundation placement, and you are limited in most directions as to how large you can build, but that’s no excuse to exclude this spot outright.

In addition to the cool factor and novelty of building in a genuine monument, you also have an unlimited supply of drinkable fresh water in the surrounding water, spawning loot boxes for food and components, and ambient lighting on the surrounding buildings to see by at night.

Swamp Base Locations

Swamp Base Locations in RUST

Marshland swamps areas boast the same sulfur and water content that the Abandoned Cabins monument does, but without the monument loot features or build-restrictive zones.

Instead, some of these swamps have large trees in the middle of them that are buildable. One major downside of this type of building is the possibility of often being kicked for fly hacking.

Deep, Dark Forest Base Locations

Deep, Dark Forest Base Locations in RUST

Sometimes the best place to build is right in the middle of the woods. Natural and player-crafted coverings like rugs and High External Wood Walls can shield your base location from prying eyes. Add the bonus of not having to travel far for resources like Wood or Cloth, and you have a reasonably solid option in building amongst the trees.

Ultimately though, your camouflage could be short-lived. Large swatches of trees and brush attract other players, looking to harvest these resources to build bases of their own. What was once your hidden glade could be someone else’s front porch tomorrow.

Another often not talked about detractor of living in very thick woods, especially among the game’s newer players, is that people are known to lose their houses by forgetting the coordinates or marking them on the map. It’s less about them not getting raided or otherwise evicted, just losing them and not being able to find them again. It can happen to the best of us.

Your Team’s Needs

Your Teams Needs in RUST

Briefly discussed in the forethought, it is paramount to consider the needs of the team (or yourself) when looking for a base location.

While starter bases are less critical because of their ‘temporary’ home status, investing hundreds of hours of resources and work into a structure to realize afterward that the location is untenable or economically infeasible is a real gut-kick.

Your needs in this context boil down to resource availability, the popularity of the spot, and a few other things. Consider each listed below.

Components

Components

RUST typically works on a sliding scale for component gathering – the higher the difficulty level and risk, generally the higher reward. The same is true for the equal but opposite – the lower the difficulty, the less potential reward profit.

And while it is true that you can get quite wealthy rather quickly living next to an out-of-the-way Gas Station or Mining Outpost with less foot traffic than a main-zone monument, these monuments also inherently boast lower-tier loot boxes.

Trainyard, Water Treatment, or any medium-tier monument have higher concentrations of crates, while the Launch Site or Military Tunnels have better quality crates onsite.

This idea should be a primary focal point of your needs analysis: What kind of content is my team prepared for?

If you are unfamiliar with keycard puzzles, uncomfortable with PVE content, and complete sitting ducks with PVP, starting smaller and more remote might be best.

Building Resources

Building Resources

While less of an issue these days with the “Quality of Life” improvements over the last few years changing things drastically, there was a time when node spawns were quite lacking, particularly in the desert. Even so, a chief killer of that biome remains Wood gathering.

Now, for a team with quick transport options like horses or cars, zipping over to the Outpost and turning in Stone for wood once daily isn’t a big deal. But when starting, a lack of large tree masses can seriously damper progress. Factor in competition with other neighbors for these already limited trees, and you have a recipe for conflict.

By that same metric, if you decide that agriculture is the path to riches that your team has in mind, it makes no less sense to build in the center of the map without access to plentiful fresh Water. The needs consideration to look at here is ‘what will I lack later.’

End Game Content

End Game Content

For some, the idea is to go from a Hunting Bow to an AK as fast as possible. Since the recoil change, the general player population is still trying to figure out their strengths and weaknesses in the gun game, and there has been a marked decrease in the amount of ‘roaming pvp snowballers.’

As a byproduct, many groups have taken to ‘controlling’ end game monuments, going so far as to wall off things like Giant Excavator or ferry campers out to Oil Rig.

If this is your team’s playstyle, considering the need might be as simple as distance to X monument. After all, it makes little sense for ‘Oilers’ to build in the center map.

Survivability

Survivability

This concept should be sensible, but sometimes it gets overlooked by even the best and brightest players. Survivability, or the ability to survive in a ‘hot zone’ of player activity, can make or break most teams.

Some groups come from smaller, 100-max population servers where they were top dog running Launch Site and decide to challenge themselves on something 2 or 3 times bigger. They quickly discover that their usual playstyle is subpar against those that run Launch on their new server.

Needs come down too harsh lessons that are best learned with an open mind. If you expect to excel and overcome every obstacle you face in a new environment, that environment will quickly teach you a valuable lesson; no one is invincible.

While not attempting to discourage those deepened dives into the unknown, do so humbly, and if your original build spot turns out to be too much, have a backup plan.

Expandability

Expandability

Sometimes you just run out of room. We’ve all had wipes where past members plan to play, might join sometime next week, and might be bringing a friend.

If your team composition is uncertain, even up until a week into the wipe, planning for expansion (or occasionally, downsizing) is essential.

Your location should facilitate your square footage need, and giving yourself a bit of wiggle room up to 15%, either way, will pay dividends down the road.

Stealth

Stealth

For those thinking more lowkey, sometimes the most important prerequisite for a location is to be stealthy and out of sight. There’s no shame in it.

Being ‘just another base’ is a sound strategy thousands use daily to draw as little attention to their existence as possible. While it may be foolish to assert that any base could ever be stealthy, there is no harm in trying.

The need to recognize here is your shortcomings – if you have limited hours to play, very few hours played prior, or lack a solid base design that you feel is bulletproof, use every tool (and tree) to stay just beneath the radar.

Excellent Drainage

Stealth

It sounds weird, but there is an inescapable intangible element to picking a base location that my team has never been able to articulate correctly—we have always called it having Excellent Drainage.

You’ll know the spot when you see it. You come over a hillside or around a bend, and there it is, as if custom-landscaped to conform to your ideal base design. This spot has excellent drainage, a great view, and cover all around. This is the spot, boys. The rest is history.

Final thoughts on RUST building locations

Spoiler Alert: Any base can be raided. This concept might come as a shock to some, but there is no perfect location that will stop this. However, those who heed the information above might find the right spot to delay the inevitable as long as possible. It also helps not to do some of these things.

If there is a specific topic or subtopic in this article that you would like more elaboration or illumination on, please get in touch with us via our Discord; we would be honored to expand on it. Be good to each other, always.

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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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