If you dig the idea of carving out a life on a post-apocalyptic island but are less keen on repeatedly getting your bare arse shot off by kitted-out marauders, you might be interested in Rust's new 'Softcore' mode. The survival sandbox game has introduced servers with friendlier changes including letting players spawn in NPC-controlled safe zones and not losing all their items when they die. The game's had a huge surge of new players lately, so it's good to finally see this.
"A major part of Rust has always been its hardcore, ruthless PvP and will continue to be," Facepunch's Maurino Berry said in Thursday's blog post. "But we're aware that some players want a less brutal experience (sometimes, anyway)."
So! Starting on 10 servers, Softcore offers a friendlier version of Rust. When you die, you can reclaim half of your inventory either from the spot where you die or a terminal in Bandit Town or the outpost. You can also choose to spawn in either of these safe zones, provided you're not flagged as hostile. Also, you can only view the contents of a wounded player. And the maximum team size is four players (including authorisation for autoturrets and tool cupboards), so gangs can wield less influence.
Still plenty of murderous potential, but less miserable and dickheadish. It's a good option to offer to those who want it.
"We believe this is a good starting place for a more casual mode of Rust and we will continue to iterate and improve on it moving forward," Berry noted.
Speaking of the Bandit Camp and Outpost, the February update also updates those locations with marketplaces. These terminals let you order items from vending machines all over the island, and have them delivered to you by drone. And no, other players can't shoot down drones. "The overall goal of the marketplace is to make trading safer and encourage more trading in general," Berry said.
The blog post also blasted a lot of a numbers affirming that yep, Rust really has popped off on Twitch and YouTube. Though the game is seven years old and had fallen into relatively steady playercounts, in January it almost doubled its previous record for concurrent players, hitting a huge 244,394. The game recently made a big push for streamers, adding cosmetic items inspired by big names and handing them out to viewers as Twitch Drops.
Popularity has come at a price, mind. Facepunch note that Anticheat kinda burst, and the sheer quanity of servers overwhelmed the server browser so many wouldn't appear. "We're currently working on and exploring solutions so please bear with us," they said.