We’re all born to RUST with the rock and the torch.
In life, as in RUST, some events are repetitive enough to be classified as certainties; the dawn and dusk, the human search for life-sustaining resources, and the passing of moments between these events. There are parallels in inevitability, such as going to work for money or going to farm stone for upkeep, but in RUST, there is no parallel for the Rule of Law. Unlike stepping across the threshold on your way out for a morning coffee in real life, that same step in RUST is potentially far more perilous.
We awake on the beach with naught but a bit of stone and a light to guide us. We are cast into this world naked, presumably alone, and often with some tangible sense of fear if this is our first time playing the game. There are familiar certainties present, with the sun or moon cascading overhead to some degree, an indicator of our health status and our level of satiation regarding food and water.
But what do you do now? You’re healthy for the moment, but other certainties are at play also. That light will turn dark, that food and water satiation will turn to hunger and thirst, and you’re not sure, but you swear you just heard someone walking through grass.
Taking that first step as a solo
Grimness and terror aside, RUST is quite a brutal host for the uninitiated. There is little in the way of beginners’ guides within the game itself, and online resources can be hit or miss depending on their release date versus the game’s current version.
Aside from the standard gameplay that remains mostly the same from month to month, subtle nuances, processes, and features are added with each update. Even the most veteran players are often blindsided by a change added but not highlighted.
So how then do you start? Simply stated, by putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward, followed quickly by heading over and checking out our guides to get down to the basics.
Context is key
So now that you’ve thoroughly brushed up on the core mechanics of RUST, it’s essential to understand the environment. No two RUST servers are the same, and your experience will never be identical to someone else’s. It is imperative to keep wipe expectations realistic, especially if you are playing alone.
When you start, you will know less than your favorite streamer and have less developed game sense and muscle memory. Don’t let this be a point of discouragement; these things are developed over time.
Before heading into your RUST adventure, paying close attention to the details of the server you are connecting to is essential. Map size, format, team limits, vanilla or modded, gather rates; all of these things are going to be very impactful on the story you intend to forge.
Establishing reasonable goals
Playing alone is the most challenging journey a player can take, except for playing a team-limited server. Having no backup or person to lean on can take a quick toll when you’re constantly outnumbered, outgunned, and facing people that have thousands of hours of play time. Because of this, it is crucial to set realistic, reasonable goals before you even load into a server.
Suppose you elect to load into a team-limited, lower-population server. In that case, your odds of survival through the first night might go up exponentially as opposed to loading into a 500-population official on wipe day. When first starting, it is wise to become familiar with a server with a little less action before diving head-first into the proverbial Rust frying pan.
Out with the tips!
You’ve established your goals, gotten a basic understanding of how to achieve them, and found a server you believe is right for you. What’s missing? Tips on making the whole process easier, of course!
These tips focus more on the solo player, with more emphasis on subtly in the method. While there are more efficient ways for groups to accomplish the same outcomes in shorter times, RUST solos need all the help they can get.
Base location is key.
The area you choose to put down roots in will dictate the difficulty of resource and scrap collection. While living next to large monuments seems like a great idea, everyone else will be thinking the same thing.
Living in a more remote location might be counterintuitive on paper. Still, it cuts down considerably on being door camped, having hostile neighbors within bow distance and increases your chance of roaming within 15 meters of your base without incident.
You should also consider the idea of having multiple small bases with spread loot instead of putting all of your eggs in one basket. Let’s be honest; this is RUST. Expect to die, get raided, and fail often. This is especially true when playing solo. But with some luck and guidance, let’s improve your chances of making it to tomorrow.
The backbone of game progress; nothing gets done without a sizable amount of scrap in Rust. While running standard monuments and hitting barrels on the ring road are great, doing so on wipe day is highly contested or simply not an option. Here are some low-key ways of getting more, both faster and safer.
- Fishing – If the name of the game is the peaceful life, then living on the edge of the world next to a Fishing Village and selling your catch to a vending machine can’t be overlooked. Cutting up fish for Low Grade Fuel is also an excellent way of getting early-game furnaces up faster.
- Poop to Profit – While certainly not the most glamorous life, there are gains to be made by converting horse dung into compost. Unloading your haul at Bandit Camp can yield a considerable amount of passive income.
- Outpost Rounds – Another equally non-glamorous method, running around the perimeter of Outpost and hitting barrels with a Paddle is a safer alternative to standard scrap gaining. Be sure to bonk the standing road signs for extra loot.
- Farming / Vending – While a bit more elaborate, a simple farm can turn quite a profit with other players if you create teas. Improve this business 10-fold by making a Vending Machine shop that is drone accessible.
The obvious answer here is rushing to Outpost with the first chunk of scrap you acquire and purchasing higher-tier tools such as the Jackhammer and Chainsaw. This comes down to player confidence and base location.
Living center map, surrounded by hundreds of higher-geared players, you are more than likely, as a solo going to lose these tools relatively fast. In this circumstance, it might be worth saving your scrap to invest in researching low-tier metal tools. While resource gathering won’t be as fast, it will be considerably less risky for slightly less reward.
If you built in a more remote location, using these expensive tools might just give you a considerable boost over potential neighbors. In addition to accelerated gather rates, the Jackhammer (forgive me community) makes a powerful close-range melee weapon on wipe day.
Take advantage of remote dirt roads and let your biome determine which components you keep early on versus scrap. Living in the desert and arctic biomes, take every opportunity to recycle Sewing Kits and Rope early to stockpile a lot of hard-to-find Cloth.
It is important to remember that components are only valuable if you can use them, but there are times when not scrapping them will benefit you more. When making your first trek from the beach to your build spot, try not to recycle until you are within a few blocks of your destination.
If you are killed, the likelihood of resources being left behind increases exponentially if your inventory is full of many things instead of neatly recycled into a few things.
Place sleeping bags everywhere
Not much to the imagination here. While hoarding cloth is nice, having a constant supply of close respawn locations lends quite a bit to advantages in both travel and combat. Be sure to put a few Small Stashes down near these Sleeping Bags with cheap weapons for quick flank locations and the capacity to get back into a fight quickly.
While you’re at it, be sure to use biome (winter, forest, desert) appropriate bag skins (when applicable) to minimize the chance that other players will break them.
Be personable, but…
As dangerous as it might feel, introducing yourself to a nearby neighbor might save your base one day. If it is inevitable that you’re going to be using the same monuments, roads, and resources as someone else, especially another solo, go knock on their door. Introduce yourself and come up with a compromise.
While this isn’t always an option, an early ‘smell test’ will almost always give you a gut feeling that you can trust. Pay attention to the details of their base while it is small in case you decide to raid it later. Knowing where TC is can save you a lot of time and effort when the time comes.
There is a time for your hand to be extended open in peace and a time to extend it closed in a declaration of war. Groups and individuals aren’t going to share your viewpoints, principles, and sympathies.
Never let a moment of weakness come between you and ‘the bag’. You can always go over and apologize to your neighbor after the fight is done. If they don’t have a green dot, always assume that they’re an enemy (except on Hardcore, of course).
Read the room
If you’re on a standard monthly map and blueprint wipe server, every wipe day is a field-leveling event. You can assume at wipe that automatic guns aren’t in play yet, and might not be for a few hours.
If you find yourself in possession of one, be it a lucky military crate SAR, or you stumble upon an uncontested airdrop for a brand new Thompson, do yourself a favor—research it or store it immediately. Don’t risk losing it to PVP or an overnight raid.
Counterintuitive? Absolutely. Logically, though, it makes perfect sense. As a solo, more so than as a large group, it is important to keep logic at the forefront of every decision.
While a temporary ‘outgunning’ of your rivals and neighbors is a huge advantage, PVP in RUST ultimately always comes down to the numbers game. Geared players die the same to bows as they do to Bolties. It just takes a few more shots.
Multiply this logic by the number of players you’re facing, and suddenly, you have handed your new weapon to a group with the scrap to research it, the components to replicate it, and the workbench to make it all come together.
Always ensure that you’re not risking more than you stand to gain. It’s better to be one man with a bow and a banked gun versus 6 bow kids than one man with a bow and no banked gun versus 6 SAR kids.
This isn’t an advocation for the hoarding of weapons; simply smarter wipe-day gameplay. Learning weapons before you have the means to make them isn’t flawed thinking on wipe day; it’s an investment in the belief that you’ll have that Workbench Level 2 soon.
Find the happy medium.
Big mistakes were made by many groups and solos alike; building too big, too fast, and drawing too much attention to themselves. Aside from the outlandishly high upkeep that comes with making a giant 6×6 square base, depending on the design, it isn’t always more secure than something smaller, either.
Look at a few of our base design guides and find a happy medium that is right for your situation. It is a lot easier to increase the size of the base later than reduce it in size when you discover you can’t fortify or afford it properly.
This goes for both PVP and resource collection scenarios. While it might seem lame on the surface, it is essential to remember that you have no one else to fall back on as a solo player. Making frequent deposits to the base will increase your wealth incrementally over time and reduce the number of donations you make to the local neighborhood zerg.
When making these deposits, be sure that you’re alt-looking and not being followed. One of the most effective ways of being raided is taking loot from someone with friends and means to end your wipe early. Once again, utilize stashes when necessary to make sure that you don’t lose the loot or the base.
Keep track of names.
Keep track of those operating in your area and know which bases belong to who. When PVPing, it’s invaluable to be aware of which direction players you kill are going to run back from.
When raiding, being able to reference the Player List gives you vital information when hitting a target, especially if you intend to do it when the owner is offline. Utilizing the in-game Contact System is another excellent tool at your disposal for aiding in this venture.
Don’t. Roof. Camp.
Is it tactically superior to engage bow-wielding kids from a place of both elevation, security, and with advanced weapons? It depends on whether or not you want to keep these advantages after you log off.
It’s the oldest story in RUST; ‘bad base owner roof camped for hours and got offline raided.’ Don’t be that guy. Even if you lose your base in the same fashion for no reason, at least you won’t be given the (second only to cheater) terrible title of ‘Roofcamper.’
Have a blueprint priority list (BPL)
It might be an odd concept, but every team subconsciously does it. Things like the Garage Door, Medical Syringe, and Ladders are very high on the priority list. These items, and others like them, range from high to low on the Tech Tree lists but make huge impacts when they are acquired and learned early.
When researched at the Research Table, some items, such as the Ladder Hatch and Floor Grill, actually allow you to learn both the original item and its Triangle (hatch, grill) variation simultaneously, saving you valuable scrap.
Avoid grubby areas
These areas go by many names; grub central, the noob starter zone, or simple tier 0 areas. This cannot be stressed enough. When selecting the area that you wish to operate in, it is imperative that you put some distance between potential spawn point beaches and where you intend to live.
To avoid this, players can use third-party websites to show the map for the server they’re currently playing on, complete with an overlay that shows all potential spawn areas. These maps can also be used to better plot in advance (if the seed is announced early) potential base locations and farming areas.
Wood doors are liabilities in RUST
Not to dive deep into this too much, but recent game changes and item additions have made wood base raiding a new favorite pastime. Check out our Molotov Meta guide for more information. Solid piece of advice, make sure it’s wood or metal before logging off or roaming too far from the base.
Final thoughts on RUST solo tips
We end at the beginning, back at certainties. Each RUST adventure will undoubtedly have its share of ups and downs. Mitigating loss, playing within your limits, and advancing over the long haul are key to enjoying a wipe. Hopefully, you can create a story worthy of streaming someday by heeding some of these RUST solo tips, making a few friendly neighbors, and striving to improve in your own regard.