The always up-to-date beginner’s guide to Rust

Updated on August 5th, 2018 at 09:02 pm

So after hearing your friend go on and on about Rust, you finally pulled the trigger. The good news is that your friend was absolutely right – Rust is a blast. The bad news? Rust can be a tough game to learn. Hostile players who kill everybody they see and a subpar in-game tutorial system can be a cruel combination. If you can make it past your first few hours though, you’ll find that Rust offers one of the most unique and exhilarating game experiences out there.

The goal of this guide is to help you get past that initial, tough learning curve as quick as possible so you can get to the good stuff.

Let’s jump in.

Hello world

beginner's guide to rust

waking up on the beach, naked

Every player starts their Rust journey the same way – face down on a beach, naked. You don’t want to stay there though so go ahead and left click to get up. Now that you’re right side up, you’ll notice that you’ve got a couple items in your inventory, a rock and a torch. We’ll dive more into those in a bit because right now you’ve got something more important to do…


Yes, run. Rust is filled with people who get a small rush of joy from killing new people on the beach. Not to mention your fellow “nakeds” that are filled with blood lust and want to take it out on you with their rock.

So as soon as humanly possible, start sprinting away from the beach (hold shift to sprint), preferably toward trees. Once you get there and feel decently safe, it’s time to start gathering resources.

Sprinting tip – After holding down sprint for a few seconds you can release and your character will keep running.

Getting wood in Rust

beginner's guide to rust

getting wood the hard way

A huge part of Rust is building and to build, you need resources. One of the most important resources, throughout the game, is wood. Lucky for you, Rust has kindly provided you a rock to cut trees down with.

Cutting down trees is pretty simple. Just walk up to one and left click with your rock selected (you can select items by using your number keys). As soon as you hit the tree, you’ll notice a red X pop up. You’ll want to keep hitting that X as it lets you gather both more resources as well as get them quicker.

Wood gathering tip – You can also gather wood by picking up stumps that you see. Each stump gives you 50 wood. Just hit the interact key (e by default) to pick it up. This method has the advantage of being quiet.

Our goal is to get enough wood to make a stone hatchet. Creating one of those takes 200 wood and 100 stone so as soon as you get 200 wood or so, stop chopping down trees and start looking for stone.

Finding stone in Rust

beginner's guide to rust

Hitting a rock… with a rock

Finding stone when you are just getting started in Rust can be tough. To the untrained eye, all rock looks the same. But, as you play more you’ll start to learn to tell the difference.

For now, we’ll concentrate on two methods of getting stone – loose stone on the ground and stone “nodes”. Other methods are described in our full guide on how to get stone in Rust.

Loose stone is kind of like the tree stumps that give you 50 wood. Instead of wood though, you get 50 stone. Here’s what they look like:

beginner's guide to rust

loose stone in rust

These can be particularly tricky to spot. Just keep an eye out for rocks on the ground that are both lighter colored and the same shape as the one pictured above. You’ll get the hang of it.

The other method is searching out stone nodes of the shape and color below:

beginner's guide to rust

picturesque stone

As with loose stone, stone nodes have a defining shape and color. You can tell them by their round shape and light, almost whitish color.

Once you do find a stone node, you can harvest it by hitting it with your rock. Be sure to aim for the glowing dots – they speed up the time it takes to harvest the stone.

Regardless of the method you choose, make sure to get at least 100 stone so you can make a stone hatchet.

Crafting a stone hatchet

beginner's guide to rust

a stone hatchet in the wild

Now that you’ve got 200 wood and 100 stone, it’s time to make a stone hatchet so you can both get more wood and get it faster when you chop down trees.

To craft a hatchet, just hit your inventory key (tab by default) and select the stone hatchet from the quick craft menu in the bottom right.

Wait 30 seconds for it to craft and then head for the nearest trees.

Building a starter base

beginner's guide to rust

humble beginnings

Ok, hopefully you’ve made it unscathed thus far and have a stone hatchet at your disposal. If not, don’t be discouraged. Even the best players have a tough time starting out so just keep at it and eventually you’ll get there.

Now that you have a stone hatchet, your goal is to gather enough wood to build a small starter base. The magic number of wood is 2,000. So go and cut down a few trees.

Once you’ve got 2,000 wood, pull up your quick craft menu (tab) and craft both a building plan and a hammer.

30 seconds later, you’re ready to build. First, you need to find a decent place to settle down. Preferably as far away from other players as possible while still being decently close to a Monument (large, man-made structures like lighthouses or gas stations). Here is a short list of places not to build: on the beach, next to a Monument, and next to other players.

Once you have that perfect spot picked out, pull out your building plans and left click to place your foundation. The foundation is the floor of your base so make sure it is enough above ground that you are able to place other foundation blocks around it later on. Mountains can make this particularly tough.

beginner's guide to rust

placing a foundation

Next, right click and hold to select walls. Then stand on your foundation and place three walls, leaving one side open for a doorway. After you’ve got those placed, put a doorway down and add a floor as a roof (just trust us on this one).

Building tip #1 – Walls can be placed facing the wrong direction so make sure you are standing on the inside of your base when placing them. Incorrectly facing walls are much easier to destroy.

beginner's guide to rust

outside view of the different wall types

beginner's guide to rust

inside view of the different wall types

Unfortunately, wood that hasn’t been upgraded makes a pretty pathetic defense so you’ll want to pull your hammer out immediately and start upgrading the foundation, walls, doorway, and roof by right clicking and selecting “upgrade” from the menu.

Building tip #2 – If you mess up, you can use the hammer to demolish or flip walls. Be careful though, you’re only able to do that within a few minutes of placing the object. After that, you have to tear them down manually (it’s not fun).

Once everything is upgraded, pull up your inventory and quick craft a door and lock. When they finish crafting, place the door in the doorway and then the lock on the door. After placing the lock, point directly at it, hold interact (e), and select “lock”.

Important – You don’t need to create a key if it’s just you playing. The lock will magically open and close, even if you’ve never created a key. Your friends WILL need one though, so if you are playing with others, they’ll need to craft some.

Now, take a deep breath and pat yourself on the back.

You’ve officially built your first base!

Completing your base

beginner's guide to rust

a small, but cozy home

You don’t want to stop here though. No base is complete without a tool cupboard (1,000 wood) and a sleeping bag (100 wood and 30 cloth). So that’s next on your agenda.

Before you leave though, make sure you craft a small wooden chest and put a spare key in there. That way you can’t get locked in. Once you’ve done that, head back out for more resource gathering.

Finding cloth in Rust

beginner's guide to rust

Hello, 10 cloth

You already know how to get wood. But cloth has yet to be covered.

There are a few different ways to get cloth (covered in more detail in our guide on how to get cloth in Rust), but early on the main method is simply going up to hemp plants and hitting interact (e) to gather them.

Cloth gathering tip – You can actually grow your own hemp plants so make sure you hang on to those hemp seeds you gather when picking up cloth. You can plant them around your base by selecting them and hitting interact (e) when looking at the ground.

A fully grown plant nets you 10 cloth so run around a bit until you get 30 cloth. As soon as you get it, head back to your base, craft a sleeping bag, and place it on the ground. This is a big deal – now when you die, you’ll spawn back in your base rather than on a random beach.

A note on cupboards

beginner's guide to rust

a placed cupboard

A common point of confusion for new Rust players are cupboards. They serve two very important roles in the game. One, they prevent other players from building within roughly six foundations of your base. So essentially they mark the area around your base as “yours”. The other, newer, function of cupboards is to prevent base decay by allowing you to place resources in them.

Base decay isn’t a new feature, but the ability to prevent it by “feeding” your cupboard is. Basically the idea is to make the game easier on the servers that host it by slowly removing bases that no one is up keeping. It also serves to make it expensive to build massive, clan bases which helps solo or duo players (perhaps like you).

Upgrading your base to stone

beginner's guide to rust

a stone base in the wild

Next up is upgrading your base to stone. It’s important to do this as soon as possible as stone is about three times more resistant to explosives than upgraded wood (it takes 10 satchel charges to destroy vs 3 for upgraded wood). Wooden walls might as well be paper mâché to a determined raider.

To fully upgrade your current base, you’ll need ~1,600 stone. So get on out there and hunt for stone. Once you have it, upgrade the foundation, three walls, and ceiling (don’t forget the doorway).

Building an airlock room

beginner's guide to rust

top down view of an airlock

Your next base improvement is a big one – building an airlock to protect it from “door campers”. What are door campers, you ask? Well they are evil humans who sit outside your door with a shotgun and wait for you to come out so they can blow your head off and raid your base. It’s not fun when it happens to you. It is quite fun to do it to others though.

The best defense against door campers is to build an “airlock” room. That way if you get killed outside your exterior door, they still can’t get in your innermost door.

Building an airlock room is pretty simple – build another room outside your current door. You’ll need around the same amount of stone and wood as it took to build your current one room base to do it, so go ahead and gather what you need.

Base defense tip – Adding an extra door also makes it twice as expensive to raid you. Instead of just two satchels, raiders now need four to get through both wooden doors.

Once you have the resources, put down a foundation, two walls, a floor ceiling, and a doorway. Then upgrade everything to stone and slap down another wooden door and key lock.

You’ve got yourself an airlock!

Upgrading your wooden doors to sheet metal

We’re almost there. The last thing you need to do to get your base up to an acceptable safety level is replace those wooden doors with sheet metal doors. Don’t worry, it’s pretty easy.

The key is you’re going to need metal fragments to craft those doors. That means you are going to need a furnace. Since we’ve already covered furnaces and smelting in detail (How to get metal fragments in Rust), we’ll just hit the high points here.

Crafting a furnace requires 200 stone, 200 wood, and 50 low grade fuel. Crafting 50 low grade fuel requires 13 cloth and 39 animal fat. Getting animal fat requires killing an animals or humans (preferably with a bow). Here’s a list of how much animal fat you get from each animal (if you use a bone knife or hatchet): Bear (100), Boar (39-41), Deer (10), Horse (10), Wolf (10), Human (1-2). If given the choice, the boar is the best animal to hunt due to it being full of resources and relatively harmless.

beginner's guide to rust

a furnace hard at work

Once you’ve got a furnace, toss in some metal ore and wood and turn it on. Wait a few minutes and as soon as you have 300 metal fragments, craft two sheet metal doors and swap them for your wooden ones.

beginner's guide to rust

What metal ore looks like

Base defense tip – Sheet metal doors are much more resistant to explosives than wooden doors (4 satchels to destroy vs 2 for wooden door). Note: To switch doors, hold interact on the door while it’s open(hammer must be selected).

Raiding in Rust

Coming soon…


If you managed to make it through all that, you should be ready to do some damage. If you have any feedback (like things that we didn’t explain well or left out), please let us know in the comments. We truly want this to be the best beginner’s guide to Rust on the internet and your feedback is a huge part of that.

Thanks for reading – and good luck out there.

As always, Rust still being a game in development means things change all the time. If anything stated is incorrect, please let us know in the comments so we can get it fixed.