Do you know how to spot a cheater in RUST?
Making sense of cheater reports as a RUST admin can be a blind-siding experience, particularly for those who haven’t experienced the wide range of cheats available to the general public. Further complicating the job is often the sheer volume of reports that staff can receive in a short amount of time.
Being able to spot the tools that a RUST cheater employs, aside from using the F7 report feature, is the best way to give your administrative team a leg up on would-be troublemakers. There is no worse feeling than being unable to recognize a cheater when you feel something is wrong.
What defines a cheat?
There is an important distinction to be made between blatant, game-assisting third-party applications and in-game exploits left by the developer. Unlike public game exploits, cheats are clearly designed to throw off the balance of regular gameplay and give users an unfair advantage. They are intentionally installed and utilized with full knowledge by the user that what they are doing isn’t standard practice.
Different types of RUST cheats
Catching a cheater is a multifaceted problem; it typically involves the person being reported and then admins being able to arrive on the scene IN TIME, ascertain what type of cheat is being used, and say with confidence that cheating is taking place. You might have noticed that the biggest problem with all of those steps was being in time to catch the cheater.
Many of the cheats we will cover today are ‘toggled.’ Toggling is a process of enabling and disabling a cheat quickly enough to avoid detection. These cheats are often the hardest to pick up on and prove, as once they are suspected, the average player will often call them out publicly. This is counterintuitive to their intention of getting the cheater banned, as it almost guarantees that said ‘cheater’ will toggle the script or hack off and go back to regular player performance levels.
It is highly advised that Admins enforce a policy to prohibit players from calling out cheaters in the server chat. A simple repetitive message in the chat is usually sufficient, and having a player base that knows to quietly report such behavior is much more likely to end in a positive outcome for all legitimate parties. With all of that being prefaced, the following are the most common cheats associated with RUST:
ESP and radar hacks
Usually described in tickets as ESP (extra-sensory perception), this is a common allegation made when sending in F7 or Discord report tickets. Cheaters use a variety of ESP cheats to gain considerable advantages during fights or to break down the layout of a raid target. This type of cheat can take the form of simple distance-giving or within-distance notifications, ranged name plates, player skeleton visibility, enemy player head outlines, or outlines of players being always visible, regardless of obstruction, and escalate to more complex versions that put boxes around every other player within range, complete with team filters. These are often the culprit of ‘pre-firing’ reports when cheats are found to be employed. Higher-tier varieties of this cheat also show enemies’ current health. Sometimes called Wall Hacking.
As implied, this often toggled feature is available on most cheat programs and allows the offending player to fire without missing headshots unless obstructed. Spectating players and referencing combat logs for headshot percentage are valuable methods of detecting Aimbot manually. This cheat can also be indicated when receiving pre-fire reports.
Similar to Aimbot, recoil scripts are also a favorite toggle of cheaters. These ‘scripts’ affect the cheater’s mouse to anticipate and counteract the recoil effects of weapons, especially over distance. They are more subtle than Aimbot but every bit as deadly. Spectating players, even to the trained eye, is sometimes not enough to spot this cheat.
Probably the most literal description on the list, spin botting is the practice of using a cheat that puts the offending player into a full 360, non-stop spin at a very high rate of speed. It is in no way subtle and quite easy to see when used. It is commonly paired with other cheats, primarily Aimbot, speed hacks, or no-clip hacks, to make the player practically unstoppable until killed or banned.
More of a byproduct of the Set Admin toggle, this is the action of players using said exploitative cheat to produce items at will, giving them unlimited resources and weapons to fight with. Inspecting suspected cheaters’ bases, stashes and inventories often will reveal unreasonably sized stacks (more than the default size allows) or loot inconsistent with time played on the server. These are indicators of loot spawning.
No Clip / Object-Passthrough / No Fall Damage
No Clip in RUST is a command administrators and moderators use to become unaffected by game gravity and pass through solid objects with no resistance. It is weaponized as a cheat to do the same thing and placed on a toggle most of the time not to alarm suspicion. Players under the effect of this often will not take fall damage. If properly toggled, this can be exceptionally hard to spot. Performing aerial teleportation on suspected cheaters is a very effective way of testing whether it is currently toggled on.
As implied in the name, cheaters are able to accelerate much faster than the average player, usually paired with No Clip or Spinbot. Relatively easy to spot.
Players without admin status on a server without public teleport commands use this to quickly travel to and from locations and players without detection. Also used in conjunction with other cheats to give an overwhelming advantage during gunfights. The most efficient way to detect this cheat is via first-person spectating.
God mode/set admin
Probably the most dangerous cheat due to its implication, this toggle, depending on the software, can either replicate the god mode command for the cheater, making them invincible to other player damage, or grant them control similar to having authorization level 2. This can be incredibly hard to detect without reports or utilizing an RCON capable of showing all command-use readouts. Server admins and owners might also consider an Oxide assist, such as Admin Logger.
Artificial lag switches
Artificial lag switches simulate distortion of connectivity for the person using them, causing them to appear to teleport or move considerably faster than those around them. This can also result in abnormally high instances of Projectile Invalid messages in the combat log when shooting at the cheater, yielding a hit but no damage dealt. Also noteworthy is the use of FPS lag switches, which cause players fighting the cheater using them to experience sharp FPS drops, freezes, or stutters. They are hard to spot as they appear mostly like a bad connection. Very rare report.
Free-look / spectating debug
Just as admins can use
debugcamera, the act of leaving your player model in one location while looking around unimpeded, so too can cheaters. If reported and suspected, simply watching the cheater will look a lot like they’re AFK. If that AFK is followed quickly by a raid where they can blow straight to a hidden tool cupboard, it’s a fairly safe bet that they’re debugging.
Whether by exploiting existing admin mods (your own Vanish) on the server or using other methods, cheaters using this will become invisible to players and admins alike. If your server uses Admin Radar, invisible cheaters will still have visible nameplates.
This cheat was designed to allow players to use it to scale or jump up walls and obstructions. While very similar to no clipping, its purpose is to circumvent the player height trigger that causes flyhack kicks. Fairly easy to spot once reported and on scene.
Less used, this cheat allows guns that fire ammo types that usually spread out considerably to instead fire all of the projectiles at a specific point (usually other players’ heads). Often used with Aimbot. Very obvious once you see it.
While this list constantly needs updating as technologies and exploits change, the most powerful method for detecting cheaters is the F7 report feature. In addition to the Easy Anti-Cheat system used by Facepunch to monitor and catch cheaters, the admin community has other options that they can employ, including a few listed above, to even the odds a bit with would-be server wreckers. For even more useful information, admins are encouraged to explore our wide array of useful RUST admin links or perhaps check out The RUST Admin Toolbox Guide to gain inspiration and tools to fight the good fight.
At the end of the day, even the most veteran RUST admin isn’t going to be 100% certain with some of the more subtle cheats and toggles that exist. Trusting the EAC process, reporting when necessary, and getting definitive proof when proceeding with server bans are important.