/Played is a regular post where I dissect and discuss a game I’ve recently played.
Recently I’ve been playing Rust! 115 total hours on record as of writing this…
For those who aren’t familiar with RUST, it is an open world survival game in which players must harvest resources to stave off hunger and dehydration and create tools to eventually build a home of their own. It’s been developed by Facepunch Studios which was founded by Garry Newman of Garry’s mod fame. It’s currently in Early Access and available for purchase on Steam.
Creating tension through audio
Every time a player gathers resources an audio cue is triggered that signals to anyone in the area that you are near, for example chopping wood from a tree, each axe strike can be heard at a distance. The whole game experience hinges on player interaction, will that person kill me or help me? As a new player who needs the basic resources desperately, the threat of death and having spawn again with nothing is intimidating. If you are a advanced player carrying the best gear, you can still be caught unaware and lose everything you’re carrying. This puts players constantly on edge as they go about gathering resources.
Progression tied with item acquisition
There is no leveling or unlock system in RUST. The only way to progress is to acquire more items. Better tools for faster resource gathering, resistance material allowing players to collect rare items from radiated areas and improved weapons and offensive items allowing players to more efficiently raid other players bases. When progress is measured in items accumulated, items which can be given or taken it puts players on edge around other players. Contributing to Rusts player driven tense survival environment. This works in unison with…
Player persistence whilst offline
Logging out in Rust causes your character to lie on the floor and enter a “sleeping” state. When sleeping you are vulnerable and can have you inventory accessed by other players or simply killed outright. This acts as a huge motivator to build a base, a secure area to log off in so your items (progress) are at less risk of being taken (lost). Which in turn drives the resource gathering mentioned earlier.
These key elements come together to form a very tight gameplay loop. Gather items, craft a base to secure your items, gather more, improve your base to further minimise risk of theft, gather enough items to raid other players bases and aquire mire powerful items in bulk!
The above combined with brutal PvP makes RUST an extremely moreish and tense game.