A guide on all aspects of PvP in Rust.
PvP Full Guide
A few notes before this guide:
- Combat in any FPS is not so difficult that you need a guide on it, however every FPS is unique in its own way and there are many tips, tricks and valuable lessons one can learn.
- This guide is based on my experience.
- This is not a weapon guide, but a guide that shows overall tips in combat. This ranges from general tips like when to engage in a fight to how to out-aim or flank your opponent.
- Another thing to mention is that you don’t need an AK every time to kill people in this game. If you spend your time only assuming you’ll have an AK in your hands, you won’t get far skill-wise.
General Tips / “The Basics”
A few important “basic tips” to know in Rust:
- Alt-Looking: You can look behind you without turning around by holding the “ALT” key. I highly recommend using this all the time to check behind you; for flanking geared players and nakeds looking to end your life.
- Food and Water: Make sure you are at a decent threshold for food and water, as in Rust, it heals you faster over time if you are over 200 food/water. Eating food can heal you, which is useful if you have no meds. Drinking water can also be used to heal you if you are below 50 HP.
- Bandages: Bandages stop bleeding, and heal you 5 HP every time you use one. They are relatively cheap to craft with only 4 cloth. You normally want to have a few of these with you.
- Medical Syringes: The holy grail – a syringe heals you a considerable amount of HP, some HP recovered instantly, and some over time upon each usage. Syringes are expensive to make with cloth, metal fragments, and low grade fuel – so don’t go out with too many. Normally you want to bring around 2-4 stacks of syringes with you if you are running around with a gun.
- Medkit: Stops bleeding immediately and heals you to full HP over time. These are not used as much in PvP in Rust, but they can help immensely as they do not require an animation to complete. Good to use to stop bleeding immediately after being shot.
- Wounded: When you are low enough HP, you get wounded in Rust, you can be looted and have a small chance of getting up, or be revived by another player.
In order to improve on PvP, you will need to improve on general aiming and practice good technique.
Here I will list a few important tips for aiming that will help you:
Yes, Rust does not have crosshairs – but ironsights and attachments can serve as them; however this is not always the case. When I talk about this “crosshair placement”, I am referring to always envisioning that the middle of your screen is your “crosshair” regardless of what weapon you have. I will explain what good and bad crosshair placement is, and why it’s important:
Good crosshair placement
If you ever watched a good Rust PvPer like hJune or Posty, you notice that they get most of their kills with headshots. How? Easy answer: good crosshair placement. They are always aiming head level when they are “peeking” around corners or engaging in a fight. When running around they have their view open to the whole field in front of them, and when engaging in PvP, they are always aiming head-level or facing their screen towards where the enemies are.
Bad crosshair placement
A good example of bad placement is almost always aiming at the ground. How are you going to kill your enemy when you are shooting at their feet? More examples of this include pushing an enemy while aiming away from them, or not focusing your screen towards where you know they are coming from.
Crosshair placement is essential in many situations. For example, if you are pushing an enemy who is in a base, you should be peeking/aiming in areas you haven’t checked, and be level with where their head/upper body should be. If you are aiming at a doorway at “head level”, or where you assume a person’s head will be when they walked in, it’s simple: all you have to do is pull the trigger when they walk in front of your “crosshair” (or ironsight).
For one, it makes it a more simple concept to follow than overthinking how guns in Rust work. A new player in Rust can easily be overwhelmed by the ironsight feature in Rust, or the numerous attachments that are offered. Just follow the simple formula: the middle of screen is your crosshair.
In many situations you may need to hip-fire at your enemies – for example, when you are not ready for them to push you with a close-range weapon. Instead of wasting time trying to aim down the sight, you could easily just aim the middle of your screen on them and shoot. Knowing where the “crosshair” or middle of your screen through practice makes this very easy.
Know where your “player” is
Sometimes when you are hiding to med or take cover from being shot in a place you “think” you are covered, you end up being headshot and die. Or maybe when you are holding a doorway and you are shot by someone you can’t see. This is a common mistake new players have – always know where your player’s model is in relation to your viewpoint.
When you are peeking an enemy, you always want the smallest percentage of your body being shown to them, including your head. Keep this in mind when you are peeking out from behind a wall: don’t over-expose your body to where you are an easy target. This makes it harder for them to kill you, and in some cases they won’t be able to see you if you practice this correctly!
If you have a general idea where your player is, and how to use it to your advantage, you can now focus on angles. Previously I mentioned how someone can see you, but you can’t see them – this is the advantage of “holding an angle”.
A quick example is someone who is shooting at you around a corner when you can’t see them. What gives? This is because they have the better angle on you. When in combat, always keep in mind what angle your enemy may be holding. This can help you know so that you can move and re-position without being shot, for example.
Just like Obi-Wan having the high ground. A meme indeed, but the truth. If you have a height advantage, you can rain hell from above with less risk. Not only is it harder for them to shoot you, it is also harder for them to react – they have to spend more time aiming all the way up to get a chance to shoot back.
And for the love of god, the “high ground” does not apply to roofcamping unless you are indeed a Pepega or 4Head.
Spraying versus burst firing versus tapping
Deciding when to spray, burst fire, or tap depends on the situation but I will break these down into categories quickly:
- Spraying – this should be prioritized if you are close-range and the enemy is running up on you, or is already shooting at you.
- Burst firing – this should be generally used mid-range for SMGs, or even rifles as a priority if you want to conserve ammo and you are not immediately threatened by the enemy.
- Tapping – should be used if your enemy doesn’t see you yet and they are standing still, or they are at a far distance away.
Consider practicing these techniques on a PvP server to see what suits you – or look at the “Resources / Credits” section below.
If you played games like Battlefield, you may be familiar with bullet drop. Bullet drop is a huge part of Rust and applies for almost every weapon except the L96 (virtually, it is range-less without a silencer). Rust is not a “hit-scan” game – that is, shooting where you aim is not instantaneous. The bullets, arrows, even rockets and other projectiles you shoot in Rust are pulled down towards the ground by gravity. With this said familiarize yourself with every weapon you use and how its “drop” can be used to your advantage.
Always consider where your enemy is when you are shooting at them – the farther they are away, the higher you should aim. Bows are the most prime example of this, and probably the one you should get more familiar with before mastering it with other higher tiered weapons. When your target is running away from you, the range between you and him is increasing. You have to think where to aim, in front or behind the target (depending on which direction they run), while also thinking how high to aim. It is not rocket science, but it takes practice.
* – Look at the “Resources / Credits” section for more information on aim training servers and familiarizing yourself with bullet drop and Rust weapons in general.
Movement / “Run n’ Gun”
Movement in Rust is essential to mastering PvP by flanking your enemy at the perfect time, strafing while in combat, or even positioning yourself for the most optimal outcome.
I will break down this section into a few simple categories to make it easier to understand.
Peek with intent in mind. In layman’s (simple) terms, if you are peeking an enemy, assume that they know you are there – and always be prepared to engage more than one enemy. There are many situations where you may see one person run behind a rock, assuming he is solo, but then to you surprise two more players help attack you.
Strafing is simply avoiding your enemy with movement – forcing your opponent to be “out of rhythm”. When shooting (spraying, bursting, etc.) at your enemy, knowing they can shoot back (or they already are), you can move left, right, forwards, or backwards constantly to make it harder for them to hit you back. Do random patterns of strafing left to right (left 3 seconds, right 1 second, back left, etc.) to maximize the benefit. As simple as strafing sounds, it is hard to master with automatic weapons like the SMG or Assault Rifles that have difficult recoil patterns, s practice is recommended. Regardless, you should always practice strafing whether you are in a bow versus bow fight or gunfight.
Positioning is a key aspect of PvP in any FPS. Prioritize what range your weapon is and use to to your advantage. For long-range weapons you should keep yourself distanced from anyone around you (minus teammates) – for example: you don’t want to use a sniper rifle against a naked with a DB close-range. For close-range weapons, you should focus on positioning yourself where there is sufficient cover (walls, terrain, rocks, etc.) against opponents with superior weapons with a longer-range such as a rifle. Make it a rule that no one should be 10-20m away from you at all times (if they are an immediate threat) when roaming.
Flanking is normally a very useful tactic against both large and small numbers of enemies in PvP. I highly recommend flanking your opponents, as even in a 1-on-1 fight it may prove to be advantageous. Flanking can be very beneficial if you time it properly – such as having a moment where your enemy can’t see you, or if they are far away. Use your surroundings, such as a cliff, to go around from a different angle and attack them or cut them off.
Engagement / “Fight or Flight”
Knowing when or when not to engage an enemy is important, especially when needing to know when to take cover and heal, hide to cover from an enemy’s spray and re-peek, and so on.
In order to make the best out of a fight you are initiating or 3rd partying, knowing when and where to engage is very important. This also relies on what weapon you are using and how much ammo and meds you currently have.
Here is a list of tips for what I just discussed above (assuming they aren’t nakeds on a beach attacking you):
Starting a fight
Before you engage in a fight, think of how you can best make it in your favor. If it’s a 1-on-1 fight, make sure you know you can kill the opponent fast. If you are solo and outnumbered, the element of surprise may be of use to you – running into an open field in front of 3 fully geared players is generally not the best option. Even in 1-on-1 situations, the element of surprise may work in your favor as well. It is best to kill the player close range with a DB from behind than rush them with a pistol and give them a better chance to kill you.
As a rule of thumb, you should generally not start a fight unless you know you can fully commit. For example, being solo and engaging in a fight with a full inventory of loot. Unless you are trapped and must fight your way out (i.e. a raided base, cave, etc.) then retreat and come back.
Peeking / Re-peeking
Take an example where you and your opponent are both using SMGs – both of you peek and spray at each other. Instead of standing/moving out in the open the whole time, you can get an advantage by hiding behind an obstacle (wall, barricade, doorway, etc.) for a bit and then re-peek. You can even time your peek to when they need to reload their gun, giving you an easy kill. Rinse and repeat this process and you will reap the easy benefits – some players tend to keep spraying where you just took cover, or where you may peek from again. This can be used as your own advantage because you can delay your re-peek and force them to waste bullets.
Re-engaging during a fight
When I say “re-engage” I refer to the moment of where you are taking cover, re-positioning, or pushing your enemy to engage them again. You should generally only re-engage when your health is high enough, your opponent is low health, or you know you have the advantage.
Hitmarkers can tell you if your opponent is low – that is the amount of “ticks” you get from shooting/hitting them. If you know you hit them a good amount of times and they are hiding, it would be a good idea to push them. You can use this to your advantage to know how low your enemy may be in order to move in closer or fully push them.
Health and Ammo
Knowing when to engage/re-engage also revolves around your health and amount of ammo (bullets, arrows, etc.). If you are low health, your priority should be re-positioning yourself away from the enemy in order to heal to a higher HP. This, however, can be used as an advantage as well. If you are low HP in a fight, your enemy will know because of the hit-markers (or callouts from his teammates if its against a group) — he will assume that you will hide, and therefore push you for the finish. You can use this to your own advantage, however, by peeking him if you know you have time from the HP and bleeding you have. This will catch him off guard and give you an easy kill.
Ammo in Rust is a very important concept – it is normal for a player to go with a stack of 5.56 ammo for an LR-300 or Assault Rifle, or 1 and a half stacks of pistol ammo for an SMG (and lower amounts for pistols, shotguns, sniper rifles). It is essential to not waste your ammo, such as full-spraying an SMG over 100 meters away, when you could simply burst fire at them. When you are fighting, make sure to constantly monitoring how much ammo you have in the magazine of the gun and how much you have reserved in your inventory.
Out of experience, going for the gun is not always the best option even if you are geared. If you are being attacked by low tier players (who have bows), resort to using a bow or double-barrel shotgun instead of using a weapon that will just get more attention – it saves ammo and also saves you from being pulled up on a zerg.
Looting / “Greed”
Considering Rust is a survival game, loot is a very important part of PvP. This is where the self-control of greed is required in order to have a better advantage in fights.
Instead of staring at a “loaded” body, when you know there are threats (nakeds with DBs, geared players) around you, prioritize the important items to loot first to ensure you survive (as explained below) and keep yourself out of imminent danger.
Here is a simple priority list of what you should loot during PvP (the first few items may change order depending on the situation!):
- The guns – this should be the most obvious one. This is especially important when you downed a member of a group you are fighting that is near you, or you don’t want a naked to pull up and make the snowball of a lifetime. Smack that “E” key on their weapon, and then focus back into the fight.
- Meds – syringes and bandages are a must to keep you alive, which is obviously one of the most important! Quickly click and drag or hoverloot (explained below) meds into your inventory, then your hotbar, so you can keep yourself alive.
- Ammo – keeping a good amount of ammo is always important, so this is definitely a priority. A good tip is to practice looting just the ammo you need for the gun you are using (when low ammo) and then focusing on clearing the area, or re-engaging with the rest of the enemies (i.e. the teammate of the guy you just killed)
- Anything else. The above 3 items are interchangeable based on the situation for the most part, as they are the most important to stay alive. Anything else (except guns, meds, ammo) that is on a dead player’s body should be a priority only until after you know you are safe to loot. Practice looting the three essentials above with quickness, so you can spend less time freaking out and screaming “He’s loaded!” while simultaneously dying to naked with a DB and ragequitting.
- Quick loot (aka “hover looting”): A blessing to Rust that was recently added. Holding the “h” key, or whatever key you binded to “+hoverloot”, will allow you to simply move your mouse over anything you want to loot in a queue to loot very fast. You can use this for clothes to quickly equip a full set of gear as well!
- The ol’ click n’ drag: Clicking and dragging items sometimes is considered faster. Combine this with quick loot, and boom – you are the best smuggler in the galaxy.
- Multi-tasking: You can heal with a syringe while looting – to do this, left click with a bandage or syringe, then loot the body with “E”. This is more efficient.
- Pro looter: If you combine the above three, you can become very efficient and fast at looting. People will think you’re some sort of magician or you pulled out the Sleight of Hand card.
Awareness / “The Third Eye”
Being “aware” is what I like to call the “third eye”, or as many call it: “game sense”. You wonder how your favorite professional player in any sport just knew when to make a decision that was game-changing or mind-blowing. Or maybe how they are just “so good” that they predicted exactly what bombsite the enemy was going to – or even exactly where they are on the map.
I like to call this phenomenon a simple word: familiarity. Over hours and hours of playing, their mind is so familiar with the game and its intricacies, that it becomes almost automatic or sub-conscious of them to do things. An example of this could be a pro FPS player hitting a nasty shot and then even they themselves don’t believe what just happened; or even where they predict the enemy’s next move. This only comes through patience with learning your surroundings.
When playing Rust, focus on your surroundings and use them to your advantage. I’ll list a few things that will help you achieve this familiarity:
- Sound: Footsteps are important in Rust and can help you know when you are being pushed. In Rust footsteps are so detailed they are based on what footwear your enemy is wearing, and what material they are on. For example, the “boot” footstep is made when a player is wearing a Hazmat suit or boots, which can hint that they are most likely geared.
- Gunshots are also an essential thing to pay attention to. Always be aware of where and how far away you hear these gunshots – the most obvious thing being what gun they are using. A simple search on YouTube will let you get familiar with what gun sounds are associated with which gun. This is essential, especially when you are roaming as a solo player and don’t want to grab attention.
- Terrain: Terrain can be used as an advantage in many cases, and familiarizing yourself with it can be a very good thing. For example, you can run around rolling hills or mountains to mask your view from roofcampers.
- Monuments: Monuments have a lot of PvP action, so getting to know monuments are essential in many ways. This could open ways for you to flank around when being pushed, or even find a secret exit to escape with a loaded inventory. A good example of this is oil rig: both as an attacker or defender you have cheeky ways to flank by dropping down behind them, or climbing up under the heli-pad to go up a level without them noticing. Another example is that oil rig scientists only shoot at players if they are in their view directly (in front mostly, or behind) – a good way to know if a boat is approaching or an enemy is still on oil rig that isn’t you or your team. Practice PvPing in monuments and you will eventually become very well aware on how to always get an edge on your enemies.
- Sensing Baits: A lot of times, players try to bait you in Rust with noises in some situations. For example, if someone is doorcamping you, they may try baiting you to come outside by having their friends shoot in the air to simulate a gunfight. Other examples include hitting a sleeping bag to pretend they are destroying it, by hitting it one or two times and then stopping. It is important to always assume that you may be baited – some players even bait by hiding
- Crouch-walking doesn’t make footstep noises, however, if a player un-crouches (or gets up) it makes one footstep sound. This is important for both yourself (if you are sneaking) or being sneaked upon by another player.
- You aren’t always hidden during night-time – Rust has two night-time modes: “moon” nights and normal nights. “Moon” nights are where its very easy to see people a good distance away, and normal nights are usually pitch-black. When running around during night-time, also keep in mind that your body can be seen against the backdrop of the sky – so always make sure you are running against a hill, or mountain when its pitch black to not be seen.
- Flashlights are both a blessing and a curse – aside from using them to obviously see where people are, you can also use them to blind your enemy if you aim it directly at their face. It makes a giant light orb around your upper body, making it harder for them to shoot you. Flashlights at night-time are disastrous if you have them on the whole time – people can see them from far away. In order to combat this, practice flicking your flashlight on only for moments to see in front of you, then turn it off.
- Lasersights – when you use a lasersight attachment, everyone else can see it so keep this in mind. If you are aiming at a player’s head or in front of them, they can easily see a laser and might notice you are trying to shoot them. This is also applied in the opposite way – someone is aiming at you if there is a laser on your screen.
Consistency / “Endless Cycles”
In Rust, you start on the beach with a rock. For some, the story ends here or repeats constantly unless they read this guide. 😉
It is important to understand what consistency is – through repetition (practice) and understanding.
If you are repeating the good things that benefit you, such as consistently practicing a spray pattern for each gun and good technique such as strafing. Repetition is a key factor of being consistent, but only when you are doing it daily.
You must understand that Rust, or any game really, has cycles. Every time it wipes, that is the end of the cycle. This “cycle” includes dying over and over on wipe day to better geared players, or being offline raided and losing your gear just one day in. Practice consistency in knowing that you can push through. Some situations you are just unlucky and die, but only the best players understand that this cycle can be conquered to their liking.
If you can master both repetition of good PvP technique, and understanding that self-control over being tilted/frustrated (such as dying naked on the beach on a wipe day, or even dying with a good amount of loot) can help you become an overall better PvPer. A good example, which you see in a lot of experienced players, is running back to where you died in a gunfight. The odds may be against you now that you are naked, but you can make a play by finding you or someone else’s gun – mastering this takes time, and better yet, a lot of patience.
Survival in Rust is indeed a short cycle for new players – but you can master it where it benefits you in the long run. At the end of the day, the server will wipe in a week, or a month, and all that loot is just pixels. Control your self, and you will control your destiny!
Mastering Rust PvP / “One Man Army”
If you have watched hJune, or any other very talented Rust player’s videos you may witness them have moments where they are seen unstoppable, almost… untouchable. They wipe out an entire group, or even a zerg, with smaller numbers. Even as a solo, they destroy whole clans in almost impossible outcomes. You wonder: “can I ever be as good as that?” – and the answer is: Yes.
This is what I call a “one man army” – one who has mastered all the great aspects of this glorious game. Through patience, self-control, practice, and positive reinforcement you can improve your Rust PvP skills by extraordinary measures.
At the end of the day, it is solely only you who can make your one self better. Whether it is so you can destroy a clan of those annoying squeakers who border the same square as you, or simply so you can stand up proudly and show a highlight reel of you smacking up a server – it is only you who can achieve this.
Notes and Tips
Here I will leave a few notes, or tips in general that are good to consider:
- Your weapon “hotbar” is a savior – use it to your advantage. Always make sure you have enough meds (syringes/bandages) or food in your hotbar, so you can heal when needed. This is also important for “PvP walls” that you bring with you, which is explained below.
- PvP Walling: This is the idea that you roam with high external walls (stone or wood) in order to immediately place down if you are being shot at and need immediate cover. It is not always required unless you are roaming with a lot of loot and high tier gear – but is always a benefit.
- Snowballing (the domino effect) – is a simple concept of being able to go from “None to Gun”. If you believe in snowballing, and in yourself, you will be able to easily go from a bow, nailgun, DB or even a rock to an AK or LR-300 in some situations.
- Communication: If you are not a solo player, communication is a huge factor in Rust PvP. I do not go over it a lot in this guide because it’s a general PvP guide, but it is always important to be good at. Be concise and straightforward with what you are calling out. Use the top “mini-map” on your HUD to see what direction you are looking at to call out where a player is. Saying in Discord “he is right there!” is not as good as saying “geared player, south-west 140!”. Why? Because it’s straightforward. All they do is look at that top mini-map and aim at south-west 140. Simple.
- Understand how each weapon works. If you are shooting at someone who is 100 meters away with a bow, you don’t aim directly at them; you aim above their head or body to compensate for the drop in velocity of the arrow. Same thing applies for any weapon in Rust. Keep in mind, silencers and other attachments do affect the the bullet drop – however it is easy to compensate through practice for these effects. You can learn this by practicing on PvP or aim-training servers. More information can be found in the “Resources / Credits” section.
Resources / Credits
Here I will put the IP addresses for PvP and aim training servers, as well as videos that go more in-depth and may help you visualize things that I explained a bit better.
A way to get familiar with bullet drop and just about every weapon in Rust is to practice on a PvP server. There are many good PvP servers around, and I’d say the best ones are typically “aim practice” servers that let you shoot any weapon at an NPC target. Here is a list of well-known PvP and aim training servers that may be of use to you:
CombatTag’s PvP / Aim Train Servers:
- CombatTag’s PvP Server | North America – 18.104.22.168:28015
- CombatTag’s PvP Server | Europe – 22.214.171.124:28015
- CombatTag’s PvP Server | Australia – 126.96.36.199:28015
UKN PvP / Aim Train Servers:
- [NA] Rustoria.co – RTG (UKN) Combat Arenas | AimTrain | Targets – 188.8.131.52:28015
- [EU] Rustoria.co – RTG (UKN) Combat Arenas | AimTrain | Targets – 184.108.40.206:28015
- [AU] Rustoria.co – RTG (UKN) Combat Arenas | AimTrain | Targets – 220.127.116.11:28015
Other PvP / Aim Train Servers:
- Perfect Aim Train | Combat Arenas | Targets | Aimbots | FFA – 18.104.22.168:28015
- [US] BekerMelk’s Bow Aim Training Server – 22.214.171.124:28015
- [US] BekerMelk’s Gun Aim Training Server – 126.96.36.199:28020
* – To join the above servers, either search the name provided, or open console with the “~” key and type “client.connect <IP address>”. Replace <IP address> with the address provided above.
Most of these servers also have statistics in real time to tell you what your accuracy is based on the amount of hits and misses you had on targets. Use this to help understand how fast you are improving over time.
If you want to learn how to spray a specific gun better, such as the AK (Assault Rifle) – this is probably one of the best guides out there. It is a hard gun to master, as is many weapons in Rust. Check out this tutorial: