From zombie survival to weird naked cave-jerk game to hot air balloons and anti-air missiles, the evolution of Rust has been a strange one to behold. Facepunch's previous few updates to the sandbox survival craft n' shooter have focused on new and expanded NPC factions and their territory, but the latest has its head in the clouds. Scattered around Rust's plains are pre-assembled hot air balloons, ready to fly if you can fuel them up. They can hold items and a handful of passengers, but perhaps aren't the best weapon of war yet, as you can see in the amusing clip below.
While not quite as sweeping as the scientist or bandit town updates, the hot air balloons feel like a push in an interesting direction for the game. Now it feels there's more at stake than just smashing rocks, working your way up to rivals and shooting each other. Plus, I'm just tickled by the idea of buying plans for an improvised anti-air missile battery from the scientist faction, and popping some balloons. The patch notes do warn that the anti-air system is automated and indiscriminate, so you might want to unload it if you're planning on taking a flight yourself.
As captured by YouTube channel "Puddy's Place", there's still a few kinks to be worked out regarding balloons. Their physics don't quite seem to gel with thrown items yet. In short, if you're in the sky, then some days it's just hard to get rid of a bomb. This update has also smoothed over some exploits and fixes some oversights. The cool tactical gloves comically removed all aim-sway - it's been reduced to a (still powerful, but less overpowered) 80% steadying effect. Pumpkins should no longer breed out of control and radiation should now penetrate clothes and wetsuits better.
Facepunch have also upgraded the cargo ship run by the scientist faction. Now it's full of loot and goodies that respawn in waves, but all guarded by (presumably also respawning) heavily armed scientist NPCs. A naked lunatic with an axe is going to die, but an organised squad with decent rifles might be able to raid it - possibly repeatedly over the course of a multi-day game. As Rust is expanding out to the sky and sea, they've made the water more realistic too, and waves can buffet you around. It's another big, tangible patch, and you can check the full notes out here.