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The controversial Rust update.

By Abbie Crouch

With a staggering 90% positive reviews on Steam, survival game ‘Rust’ is a popular choice amongst gamers looking for a replay-able survival game. With an average of 75,000 players and 520 million hours played, Rust creators ‘Facepunch’ clearly have a prize turkey on their hands
Rust is known for its unique PvP (that’s Player Vs Player) in which gamers fight each other to attain loot. The game used to be known for having set ‘recoil patterns’ tied to each weapon in the game- a mechanic which meant players had to learn a pattern with their mouse and repeat said pattern in order to have pique accuracy. Despite being in place for almost 5 years, this recoil system wasn’t loved by everyone and was under constant criticism by portions of the Rust community.

Its main flaw was also arguably its biggest strength- the technical skill required to perfectly replicate the recoil meant that only players who fired magazine after magazine in training servers would be effective in combat. Those with the time and patience to learn these patterns praised the system for creating a skill gap in which they could prosper, and those who perhaps did not have as much spare time would curse the system as it would put them at a disadvantage. Famous Rust YouTuber ‘Tacularr’, has spent over 14,000 hours on Rust, and even his weapon spray had flaws. “If you didn’t have hundreds if not thousands of hours practicing the recoil in rust, firing at people in the game would often feel like attempting to align two poled magnets.” -Facepunch blog.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the gaming industry saw an increase like never before and Rust shot up to a staggering 250,000 concurrent players. With this popularity boom came a flood of cheating software which would aid people in their PvP skills. ‘Scripts’ is a term used to describe a software which would follow a scripted set of instructions (hence the name) and were used to draw out the spray pattern perfectly each time. These ‘scripts’ began to pop up everywhere but were only downloadable for a fee paid for by the user. The Facepunch team summed up the dilemma: “This was fun for morally bankrupt individuals who would choose to use scripts to gain an advantage”. Clearly, it was time for a change. What happened next is the most controversial change in Rust’s history.

In June 2022, on the first Thursday of the month, came ‘The Combat Update’. It would reinvent the Combat system in place- changing everything from recoil patterns and gun sounds to bullet drop and weapon models. The casual player’s voice had been heard by Facepunch. The guns now had a more traditional recoil system, similar to that of Call of Duty’s and uses a gradient based aim drift (a technical way of saying that the gun shoots up).

The community had become more split than ever before and those unhappy with the update began to boycott the game and company whilst the other side of the community got their heads down and practiced their skills on the new system. The main criticism was that those with thousands of hours in the game were now on the same level mechanically as a brand-new player who bought the game yesterday. One outraged player writes “No skill gap and any 50-hour Andy can beam as much as a 10k hour player”. The dust had not yet settled, and the burn was still fresh for many. Others, however, rejoiced in the update in saying “I finally stand a chance, thank you Facepunch!”. Twitch streamers including Shroud and xQc praised the update, saying how the casual player can finally play the game. Shroud, who is known for his incredible aim with a mouse, often cursed the old recoil system for being too difficult and for catering only to those with “too much free time”.

It has now been 6 months since the change and Steam reviews have never been so positive, so we can safely assume that this update, however controversial at first, has given a breath of much needed fresh air to the Rust player base.


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