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The Untold Truth Of Rust

Rust, the first-person survival game from Facepunch studios, has experienced a surge in popularity after its release in 2018. The official IGN review observes that while Rust integrates different survival game elements in interesting ways, it never reaches its full potential, even after four whole years of Early Access testing. However, gamers have changed the narrative on Rust by reviving the game years after its release.


While games like Fortnite have amassed a huge fanbase on streaming platforms like Twitch, Rust stands out because of its relative anonymity for the first few years of its existence. But what has streamers flocking to play Rust online? And who's attracting all those fans to Rust streams? Part of the answer lies in the innovative way that streamers approach Rust, which involves a combination of internet clout and roleplay.

On its surface, Rust is a survival game that places players on a server with others trying to survive just like them. With limited equipment at the beginning of a session, players must work to survive the wilderness while also living through encounters with others. However, a large part of Rust's story doesn't involve survival at all. It involves communal storytelling.


It all started with streamers

Though Rust has many dedicated players outside of the world of streaming, the members of Offline TV have particularly helped popularize Rust through its own dedicated server. Offline TV is a collective of streamers with almost 2.5 million subscribers on YouTube. The group has included several big names in the streaming community, including Pokimane, LilyPichu, and Disguised Toast, among others. While the members of the collaborative effort have changed, the team's popularity has not.


Offline TV's massive following and success in streaming Rust has aided a recent spike in players, according to Steam charts. Rust has a massive fanbase, though it's decidedly not for everyone, and many do not see the appeal in the intense survival game. However, streamers often help shape what's popular, and on Jan. 3, 2021, Rust boasted over 1 million viewers on Twitch. Unfortunately, the stream wasn't just about celebrity streamers having a good time. There was a bit of drama as well, and it all had to do with roleplaying.

Roleplaying opportunities and survival drama

Way back in 2014, Tech in Asia's Iain Garner wrote about Rust as a potential roleplaying opportunity. The game invites players to create their own backstories and craft narratives around their actions. This aspect of the game could be seen in a series of letters published by IGN, which depicted two Rust players falling deeper and deeper into issues of power and control. Writing for Wired, Ryan Rigney observed that games with a focus on survival can basically turn players into psychopaths, mad with power and engaging in acts they would never dream of in real life.


Offline TV, as one of the leaders in Rust's popularity, has announced that the team will open an RP-centric server on Jan. 7, 2021. In a tweet announcing this plan, Offline TV member Abe explained that the new server will feature fewer streamers and more roleplaying, along with some PvP opportunities. This announcement comes after the Rust streaming fanbase felt divided over streamer xQc's behavior on the increasingly peaceful Offline TV server.

With game fans eagerly tuning in to Twitch streams and anticipating more drama from Rust players, and developers continuing to update and release DLC, it's unlikely the game will be disappearing anytime soon.

A game that's constantly changing

Rust players got a surprise when a weird item began showing up in their inventory. Apparently, Facepunch Studios accidentally implanted an item in the inventory of any player who happened to be on the dev server at the time. At first, the item was a "very rare generator," which quickly changed to "The Accident Book," an item with no in-game worth that cannot be traded or crafted. "The Accident Book" is just one cheeky example of how Rust developers continue to work on and change the game, improving the experience for players. 


Because Rust continues to develop and offer new content to fans, it also grows and changes along with its fanbase. In an AMA session on Reddit, Newman stated that improvements made to the game will tend to skew more realistic, commenting, "It's always a balance between realism and fun. I'd say we lean more towards realism – just because it's harsh – and that's what survival is about." Fans will have to wait and see what new, harrowing survival details get added to Rust in the future.

A sense of humor

Rust contains a lot of fun Easter eggs, just like a lot of games, but one of its most hidden details references a horror classic. That's right, there's a reference to Steven King's The Shining buried deep within the world of Rust.


Fastidious players can find the Easter egg in the offices, right by the launch site in-game. Though it's hard to see in detail, astute players can zoom in on a red typewriter in the office to see the famous line, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy," printed on a sheet of paper in the machine.

While fans don't entirely know why this easter egg was added to the game, it could be because of an impressive fan tribute to both The Shining and Rust. Brunt Force Trauma's "The Shining the Video Game" places music from the film over carefully crafted settings in Rust. The humorous dialogue, created specifically for the adaptation, has a tongue-in-cheek style that fans of strange comedy will love.


Whether Newman just really enjoys The Shining or adores the adaptation made with his game, the typewriter is a fun addition to the world, even if it is one that players may have trouble finding.