The RUST Hardcore Tips & Tricks Guide

Survival is in the details

For players new to the concept of hardcore mode in RUST, it can be a real kick in the face trying to get a footing in a hardcore mode wipe. Not every player has the same background in the game, so some tactics may not come naturally to everyone. If you’re a RUST player looking to stake a claim in hardcore mode, we’ve compiled a collection of tips that may help you pull through and thrive in a mapless, wild environment.

Sleeping bags are multi-purpose

Without using maps and coordinates, you need to make the most of every resource and tool you have to mark where you are and where you want to return. Sleeping bags (and beds) are a tool with a lot to offer in this regard. Here are some tips for playing smart with sleeping bags and maximizing their use.

RUST Hard Core Sleeping Bag Tips

Tips for using sleeping bags

  • Name your bags and beds. Without a map to see where your bags are placed, you’ll have no idea where you are spawning. Give them a meaningful name, so you know exactly where you’ll end up.
  • Be smart about placing your bags. Five bags is a small limit when you think of the potential vastness of the island. Only place sleeping bags in the most crucial places you need to access, like your main base and important monuments. If you place them out in the open, keep them in inconspicuous locations, with no player-placed objects nearby.
  • Reserve one bag slot for temporary use. This can be for raiding, exploring, used outside hotly-contested monuments, etc. Being able to place a bag freely means you’ll have the chance to recover lost gear and loot should you meet a quick and painful end in an important location.
  • Have at least one interior and one exterior bag. Your base is a crucial resource to protect, and you’ll want as many chances as possible to do so. Keep an indoor and outdoor respawn point in the vicinity of your base should you need to defend it actively.
  • Use unskinned bags for exterior placement. Brightly colored and glowing sleeping bags will draw attention, which is bad in the hardcore environment. Keep things dull and unnoticeable; hopefully, other players won’t see and destroy them.

Team coordination and communication

Moving your team around in hardcore is a big challenge, hands down. However, there are ways to improve the situation, using tools and methods you are likely already using. Something as simple as wearing an unusual item (pumpkin heads!) can help you identify your team in a scuffle without any additional outside help.

Friends who stay together, die together!

Tips for communication

  • Coordinate clothes and armor. Decide early as a team what armor types and clothing skins your team will wear to help identify each other in the field. If done well, this can significantly reduce the rate of team killing you may experience.
  • Make use of 3rd party voice programs. You’re probably already using Discord for your team, so hopefully, this tip comes naturally. You can use Discord voice to coordinate team movements, share screenshots of your immediate areas, share intel, etc. 
  • Use Local chat to determine proximity. Especially when moving at night, using a basic Marco-Polo ping method can help teammates know whether they are still in range of each other. If you stop receiving responses to your ping, you’ll know that the group has moved outside of the 100m radius of each other.
  • Use com-initiated jump checks. Without the on-screen aid of team markers on players, an immediate method for team identification is to use jump-checks on command. You can use variations on the jump with a double jump, a duck, an emote, whichever your team decides.

Use everything around you to navigate

The basic concepts of wilderness navigation and survival in the real world apply to surviving hardcore mode. Everything around you has something to offer in terms of navigational assistance. Be mindful of the geography and landmarks around you, and you’ll begin to build a mental map of your area.

Navigating Hardcore Mode Requires Memorizing the Landscape

Tips for navigation

  • Recognize unique geography. Special features of the environment will help you recognize where you are and help you give directions to other team members. Rivers, mountains, nearby monuments, roads, rock formations, caves, peninsulas, and inlets are all notable features you can use to recognize your location.
  • Use the good, old sun. You can easily recognize East and West by noting the direction that the sun is rising and setting. For reference, the sun will rise in the East and set in the West. You can quickly determine North and South by remembering that when facing West, North will be to your right, and South will be to your left. If it’s easier to use East for orientation, North will be to your left, and South will be to your right.
  • Leave yourself markers. You can use various seemingly innocuous items to remind yourself of where you are. Wood barricades, campfires, and signs are all fair game to remind you where you are, where to go, or where not to go. Better yet, you can also use these markers to mislead others to protect your area or lead them away from your farm spots.
  • Save up for a Minicopter to do some geological survey. It may be an expensive way to learn the island’s geography, but getting a Minicopter will give you that all-important bird’s eye view of the island and help you build a quicker plan of action for your wipe. Keep in mind the extra challenges of flying at night without a map and that a Minicopter in the sky will be noticeable by many people and may give up intel of your base’s location.

Base location is key

Let’s face the facts: without a map, you cannot pick the ideal base location as soon as you wake up on the beach. You are restricted to your immediate area to start with, so you’ve got a couple of options for how to proceed. You can run inland a bit, pick a direction and go for it, or head for the nearest high ground to get a look around your area. Whichever strategy you use, make sure your chosen location is recognizable. 

Base Location in Hardcore Mode is Crucial

Tips for placing your base

  • Location first, farm second. Don’t begin farming for your base until you’ve settled on the site and set down a basic starter. If you die with an inventory full of farm and no base to respawn in, you’ll be hopeless to find your inventory pack again without the map.
  • Consider your surrounding geography. When deciding on a base location, consider the biome (arctic, desert, temperate) and nearby monuments. You need a location that has ample resources. Otherwise, you’ll be forced to roam further from your base to find resources. Longer roams increase your chances of dying and losing what resources and scrap you’ve collected.
  • Pick a landmark that will represent your base location. This landmark can be anything that will help you and your team remember how to find the base again. 
  • Don’t build too close to landmarks. Players will seek out landmarks for many reasons, and you don’t want to become a stop in their exploration or a raid target later on in the wipe.
  • Prioritize your base build. You’re operating blindly on the island, so start small and stay smart about your base build. Make sure you’ve secured yourself a protected respawn point as soon as possible into your build. This way, you can always pop back into your base after intended or unintentional death. 
  • Pick your door skins carefully. Don’t use glowing skins for external doors since this will draw attention at night. Choose a skin that is unique to your base and will help the team recognize its base.
  • Position doors away from player view. Try to determine the direction players are least likely to pass through when placing your door. This way, potential glows from code locks, and various other interior lightings won’t give away your base’s location at night. 

Never pass up a free meal

You cannot pass on any resources or loot you come across when gathering. This includes ground spawns, loot barrels, animals, and players that you come across. Unless you’ve already got a firm knowledge of the geography of your area, you won’t know how many junk piles and tiny monuments are nearby, so gathering everything.

Wrapping up our hardcore advice

Hardcore mode is a brutal flavor of RUST that many aren’t cut out for. The stakes are high, and many vanilla game elements are missing, making many players nervous. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to be successful and competitive in this game mode. You and your team need to be smart about every move you make, mindful of your surroundings and always try to think two steps ahead of other players on the server. 

We hope these tips and tricks provided additional insight into surviving the hardcore game mode. If you found these tips helpful or would like to contribute a tip you think we’re missing, join our Discord and let us know!

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About Squishface

Squishface is the co-founder and owner of Corrosion Hour; a RUST community and website dedicated to helping server owners with the administration and navigation of the ever-changing landscape of RUST. As a programmer with over a decade in the field and a decades-long love of gaming, she spends much of her time in code researching and developing ways to bring meaningful content to help players and readers.

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