RUST Contact System Guide

The contact system is RUST’s very own little black book.

In RUST, the greatest threat facing players is often their own paranoia and fears. RUST players don’t know what their neighbors are up to, so they tend to posture aggressively, arming themselves for war the moment they step outside their base. But, they don’t always have to take this posture. If only there were some way of knowing whether other players are friends or foes before it came to blows. 

Introducing the RUST contact system. Now you can keep meticulous records on your fellow RUST players and categorize them yourself. For example, are they allies, enemies, or merely ships passing in the night?

The RUST Contact System Button

The RUST contact system can be accessed by pressing the “TAB” key and opening your inventory screen. Located at the top of the screen, there is a “Contacts” button you will press to open the contact system window.

How does the RUST Contact System work?

Whether you’re at home tending to your base, roaming the streets, or surfing along the sea, any players that come within close proximity will automatically be tagged by your contact system. The interactions can be so fleeting that you may not have seen the player yourself, yet they appeared on the list.

Often you’ll get back to base only to find that several new contacts have been added to the list. Luckily, the contact system takes a quick snapshot of the person who saw you, and notes the time frame you last saw them.

The devil is in the details, though, as that snapshot might giveaway what gear and weapons that contact was sporting, giving you more intelligence for your next encounter, not to mention the date/time you can extrapolate. Knowledge is power.

If you happen to receive a strange photo of some rocks or a bush, then you’ve passed someone who was really trying to stay out of your way. This makes it worthwhile to check your contacts list whenever you return to base. Or anytime you have a spare moment, for that matter.

Friendly, seen, and enemies categories

The RUST contact system will automatically divide the encountered players into one of three categories:

  1.  Friendly
  2. Seen
  3. Enemies
An Empty Contact List

To see where the players you encounter end up, open your inventory screen by pressing the TAB key. At the center-top of your screen, you will see the “Contacts” button, marked with a waving hand icon.

This will open the contacts interface, starting with the friendly, seen, and enemy categories. Then, checking out each of the tabs, players will see that all targets will fall into seen or enemy by default. 

Only the player themselves can dictate when a passer-by becomes a friend. But anyone that kills you will be automatically shifted to the enemy category.

Once you choose a contact from the list, the center of the screen will fill out with the target’s info. At the top, their status as a friend or enemy in green or red, the player’s name, and most importantly, the time you last saw that player.

A contact’s information 

Suppose you met a lot of players, or you’re not sure how somebody made it onto your contacts list. In that case, the information about the last time you saw them is invaluable. But, you’ll often see a screenshot of the player looming somewhere out of reach. 

Combining that screenshot with “last seen on” info will give you a good idea of where it was that you and the mystery player crossed paths.

Viewing a Seen Contact

By default, all players first fall under the “seen” category. To simply be near a player isn’t enough for the system to determine if they are dangerous or not. But, if the player you see kills you, they will be shifted automatically into the “enemy” category. Players simply hurting you isn’t enough.

Of course, you can edit a contact to move them in and out of the respective categories.

Choosing your own RUST contacts 

There are plenty of reasons you might want to change a contacts category. For example, suppose a friend accidentally ends up on your enemies list.

Select the player from where they appear in the contacts list to fix this. You can also use the “Sorting By First Seen” and “Last Seen” buttons to help locate people on your lists. Then, look at the bottom of the interface, underneath the player photo.

You will see several buttons; set friendly, set seen, set enemy, and forget. To change the player to a different category is as simple as hitting the “set” button you prefer. And if, for any reason, you don’t want the contact system to keep that screenshot and other information, hit the forget button.

Unlike the other categories, a forgotten player will again appear in your contact system if you run into them out in the wilderness. However, any player you flag as an enemy will remain in the enemy category for the remainder of the wipe until you manually change their category.

Similarly, any players you set to friendly will remain there, even if they inadvertently kill you. So it’s vital to get the categories right. Of course, you can change a player’s category as often as you like. Still, if you choose to “forget” them, you will have to meet them in the wilderness again before assigning them.

Take note of RUST contacts

Just to the right of the seen player’s photo, you can see the notes section. Simply click on the notes window to begin typing. 

Taking notes with the RUST Contact System

Using the notes section to keep tabs on specific players’ information is helpful. For example, maybe write down the map coordinates when you meet. Or perhaps, if you think you’ve scouted out where their base is located.

Even observations about their playstyle are worth adding. For example, if you’ve repeatedly seen a player and not fought, they might not be a friend, but take note, literally. This will free you from committing to memory all the people you come across in a wipe.

We don’t have a lot of time to stop and check our little black book every time we come across another player in RUST. Hence, it’s good that the contacts system has been tied into RUST’s player name and pip system. 

RUST player name and pip color

Setting a player to a category in the contacts window will set the color of their name or colored pip.

  • A seen contact will have a grey name and pip
  • An enemy contact will have a red name and pip
  • A friendly contact will have a blue name and pip

When players in your contact system are too far away to register their names, the pip will appear over the character’s head.

These colors are in contrast to the active players in your team, which will remain as a green name and pip, regardless of which category you place them in.

Suppose you’re keen to encourage other players to treat you as friends. In that case, you can use the “wave” emote to make your player name appear at a further distance from other players. If you prefer to scout other players out before interacting, you can also use binoculars.

Looking through the binoculars will show the colored pip dot above the enemy’s head, regardless of distance. However, you will only see their full name if they wave at you while you’re looking at them.

Facepunch is working on a system that will actively identify aggressive players. The plan is for the player’s pip to change steadily from gray to red, regardless of whether they have attacked you. This will give players the chance to assess potential targets and allies before forcing an interaction.

Advantages to the RUST contacts system

The big upshot of the contacts system is that it undoes some of the mystery surrounding other players. Of course, in RUST, as in life, we can’t know the intentions of our peers. But we can make assumptions based on their past behavior. 

The RUST contact system tracks that behavior for you, feeding it back to real-time through the colored player names and pips. Of course, there are some advantages to this because now enemy players can’t skin their armor to match your teammates. The red name will give them away and will prevent them from sneaking in amongst your comrades.

On the flip side, these tools can help you meet your neighbors rather than simply eye them suspiciously. With the RUST contact system, actions speak louder than words. Players who don’t like to talk over a microphone can build a rapport by simply not attacking others. 

And the eternal tricksters of RUST that like to laugh and be jovial up until the moment they choose to grief will find themselves with a reputation, notes, and red pips. 

Contacts allow players to automate the identification process, which helps particularly in RUST. Particularly helpful as all players all have similar, if not the same, faces. Players can change their names in the Steam interface too quickly to be a reliable way of identifying them.

Making friends in RUST

It’s not all about identifying enemies. However, it can also be about making genuine connections with other players. Facepunch intended for the contact system to help “like-minded players” find groups. Either to work together with or simply to get along.

Having peace of mind while you’re out farming makes going out to farm a lot more relaxing. And ultimately, if the contact system starts to fill with red names, maybe it’s time to think about relocating until you find somewhere with a lot more gray and blue words. 

RUST contacts shifting the meta

The contact system presents a shift in the overall RUST experience. As the intended experience moves away from paranoia and uncertainty to an environment where players can build trust, a change in the general flow of a RUST wipe will change. 

Clearer lines marking your friends and enemies, and forcing players to tip their hands as to whether or not they are a danger to you, will change the way people interact in RUST. So if you haven’t played in a while because the inherent toxicity of RUST is getting to you, it might be a good time to give RUST another shot.

We have come a long way from the “jump-checks” of the past, so get out there, get waving and make new friends. Communicate with others and fill out that friends list.

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About Gal

Gal is a writer and editor of Corrosion Hour; a RUST and survival gaming community dedicated to helping server owners with administration and navigation and creating useful how-to guides and information for new and veteran players. Gal is a survival crafter veteran with qualifications in video game development and design and spends much of his time finding ways to bring new people into the world of survival crafters.

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