Thursday, January 30, 2014

My short but intense obsession with Rust

I've only signed in long enough to check out the base, make sure it hasn't been raided since we last played Rust. I'm alone. It's pitch black on the other side of the windows. We have so many resources I couldn't care less about risking an excursion into the dangerous environment outside. Inside, I'm right where I want to be: I can craft an entire suit of kevlar, not to mention explosive charges, and all my favorite weapons and ammo. I accomplished this feat through finding and collecting somewhat rare blueprints and research kits. In other words: it was a shitload of work over the course of a few days. I figure I'll make myself useful to the rest of the players in my group and reorganize our valuables, which have been carelessly thrown into boxes.


Then I hear footsteps. Gunfire is directed towards our base. An otherwise friendly voice announces: "We have come for cookies. Give us cookies and we will carry on." I say nothing. I don't so much as move so my footsteps won't give away my presence. I hear giggling, then the telltale sound of explosive charges being attached to the front door. What follows is a blast, unique to the other sound effects in the game. Whenever you hear such a blast, you know someone's about to get fucked over and it's probably you.

Thankfully, our base is pretty raid-resistant. We have several series of metal doors, each of which requires two or three explosive charges to knock down. The would-be raiders don't have enough of the explosives to get very far into our base. So I peek from one of the windows on the third story and look down. I see the men walking away empty-handed. I fire at them and after a five-minute exchange of gunfire, they swear they'll be back as they run away wounded.

It's time to rebuild. There's a lot of rebuilding in Rust, so much so that servers get bogged down with all the shit people have built.

Garry's Mod was the second or third game I ever purchased on Steam. Of the nearly three hundred games I own, it's one I revisit more than any other, the exception being Counter-Strike. When I found out Garry was making a standalone survival game called Rust, I didn't wait until it appeared on Steam. I actually won a beta key during an auction and proceeded to play the game for, oh, about ten minutes. It wasn't that I didn't like it. It was just that I was hungover and, then, life got in the way. Damn life.

A few weeks later, after its appearance on Steam, I see my friends have also purchased the game. I join their server and take the game a little more seriously. As it turns out I really enjoy exploring, looting, and zombie hunting. One friend seems to enjoy base-building while another enjoys gathering the wood, metal, and loot we'll use to furnish our base. It's a pretty good group. Our base, by the way, is wedged between two cliffs atop a mountain, which means raiders only have two entry points: front and back. The sides are completely inaccessible, even with explosive charges. And, lucky us, we have a door that leads to the top of the cliffs which acts as a good sniper tower.

Occasionally there are random airdrops. An airplane goes overhead and drops supplies. We manage to snag one of the drops early on and find explosive charges in our possession. Giggling like a couple of kids, we head out to a neighbor who not only settled way too close to us, but killed some of us even when we didn't even have a single stitch of clothing. We blow his door off the hinges and I can't even begin to describe the thrill—it's on a level of playing paintball for the first time at thirteen years old. Inside we find six large boxes of loot. Really nice stuff.

The next day we find he has replaced his metal door. We know he hasn't had enough time to secure anything worth raiding, but we blow his door off again just so he gets the message: you're not welcome here. Later the same day we find he's put up a wooden door so we knock that fucker off the hinges, too. Eventually the player seems to have left the server altogether.

Over the course of several days, we've been making a kill-on-sight list. The name of anyone who's ever attacked us for no good reason (we're generally friendly, helpful, and play well with others unless you settle too close to us) goes on that list. When all is said and done, that list is twenty-one names long. A funny thing about vigilantism: when you take revenge on someone, they tend to whine in global chat about how innocent they are, that they were just minding their own business when someone "killed me for no reason!" Either that or they try to convince an admin you were hacking. We usually reply, "You killed me yesterday when I didn't have anything more than a rock," but they always deny this.

 The Naughty List

Justice is pretty much a fantasy in the real world, but in the world of Rust it's nearly non-existent. We've got a reputation now. People are out to get us. Three of us are online, in the base, when we hear the explosive charges: one after another, seemingly endless. There's three or more of the raiders, decked out in kevlar and the best weapons in the game. We exchange gunfire for a while through the windows, then two of us manage to escape with most of our valuables. The base-builder decides to go down with the ship, hiding in one of the auxiliary rooms, ready to ambush. As soon as the door he's hiding behind is blown, he's one-shotted in the head.

As a group we migrate to the far side of Everust Mountain and build another base. Later, one of us discovers the guys who knocked down and replaced our front doors haven't yet replaced the back doors, which we still control. They've tried to take our base over, but man: what a fuck-up not getting rid of all our doors. We sneak back into our old base and proceed to not only take what was ours in the first place, but our raiders' stuff as well.

We were on a good little server there for a while, but the admins moved to another and ours dropped to one or two players at a time. We would have played more Rust, sure, but our interest in Starbound was renewed after the recent and final character wipe. Garry has a lot of great ideas on how to develop Rust, but he's also talking about removing the weapons I have come to like, not to mention instilling microtransactions (this sounds unlikely, however). Either way, it's a great game and I'm sure we'll be back when it's a little more developed.

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