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Is Rust Free? An In-Depth Guide to Getting Started in Rust

No, Rust is not a free game. Rust is a popular survival multiplayer game developed by Facepunch Studios that as of 2023 can only be downloaded and played by purchasing it on Steam for $39.99. There is no option for a free trial or demo to let you test it out before buying.

While Rust costs money upfront, it provides an incredibly deep and engaging survival experience that has amassed a huge player base willing to pay the price. This guide will cover whether Rust is worth the investment for new players, tips to get started, and the ins and outs of obtaining the game through discounts or giveaways.

The Rust Phenomenon – Why So Popular?

Since its initial release in 2013 and subsequent overhaul in 2018, Rust has rapidly grown into one of the most popular survival games on the market. According to Facepunch Studios, as of March 2022 Rust had sold over 12.5 million copies, grossing over $415 million in revenue. At its peak in 2021, it had over 200,000 concurrent players on Steam.

The recent surge in Rust‘s popularity is thanks in large part to big Twitch streamers and YouTubers picking up the game. According to StreamCharts, Rust streams increased a whopping 277% in viewership hours from December 2020 to January 2021, when major streamers began playing it more regularly.

But what exactly is it about Rust that keeps so many players coming back? Here are some of the standout qualities that make Rust worth the price of admission for millions of gamers worldwide:

  • Hardcore survival mechanics – Hunger, thirst, radiation, temperatures, and more deadly hazards continuously pressure you.
  • High stakes PvP – Raiding and open world combat where you risk losing everything.
  • In-depth crafting system – Over 500 items to collect resources for and craft.
  • Dedicated multiplayer focus – Designed as a shared-world competitive experience.
  • Frequent new content – Rust gets fresh updates every month.
  • Engaging progression system – Unlocking new blueprints and gear tiers feels rewarding.
  • Massive customization – Thousands of player-made mods and community servers.

Rust offers an addictive gameplay loop of high risk encounters where you must constantly collect, craft, fight, and build to survive and progress against others. This provides unlimited emergent gameplay anecdotes and stories, which viewers love to watch.

Breaking Down Rust‘s Monetization

As mentioned, Rust is not free-to-play and currently costs $39.99 on Steam, its only platform. Facepunch Studios has opted to use a premium paid model for Rust rather than being free with microtransactions. Here‘s a breakdown of how Rust makes money despite no F2P option:

Upfront Payment

  • $39.99 base purchase price
  • Sold 12.5+ million copies since 2013 launch
  • Over $415 million in gross revenue from sales

Seasonal Battle Pass

  • $14.99 quarterly battle pass with cosmetic rewards
  • Additional revenue stream beyond base game sales

Downloadable Content

  • Sells "skin" DLC packs for character customization
  • Special monthly skin packs and items

In-Game Store

  • Rotating daily/weekly cosmetic items
  • New items and skins tested and sold directly

This combination of paid entry point and ongoing cosmetics sustains Rust‘s development and profits without needing microtransactions or pay-to-win mechanics.

Is Rust Worth $40? Key Considerations

Rust‘s $39.99 asking price is on the higher end for multiplayer survival games. Is it worth investing that much money into? Here are the key factors to consider:

You want competitive, high stakes PvP gameplay – Rust is focused on open world PvP, raiding, and contested resources. If you prefer more cooperative PvE experiences, it may not be the right fit.

You enjoy complex crafting and building – Rust features one of the deepest crafting systems in survival games, so if that appeals to you, the vast array of items and structures to create makes it very replayable.

You have friends to team up with – Solo play is extremely challenging in Rust. Joining with even one friend makes the experience far more enjoyable and survivable.

You won‘t get discouraged by loss – Death is constant and you can lose everything in an instant. If permadeath and losing your items/base is demoralizing, Rust can be frustrating.

You appreciate frequent new content – The monthly updates and active development ensure there‘s always something new to explore.

You want to try modding – Rust has one of the largest modding communities, with extensive customization possible.

You have a strong PC – Rust demands high CPU/GPU power. Weaker rigs will struggle. You need at least 8GB RAM and a decent graphics card.

If the above sounds appealing and you meet the hardware requirements, Rust can potentially offer hundreds or thousands of hours of survival gameplayLoop for the $40 base price.

Getting Rust for Free or Cheap

Okay, so Rust itself isn‘t free. But are there any ways to get it at no cost or at least for a major discount? Here are some options:


  • Follow Rust developers/streamers for occasional giveaway copies

  • Enter third-party promotions and contests

  • Check DealAggregator sites for Rust giveaways

Localized Pricing Discounts

  • Change your Steam region to countries with lower pricing

  • Be aware this can violate Steam Terms of Service

Third Party Key Sites

  • Sites like G2A, CDKeys, etc. sell discounted game keys
  • Risk of scams/banned keys – use at your own discretion

Steam Sales

  • Watch for Rust during major seasonal Steam sales
  • Has historically gone 50% off around $20

Twitch Drops

  • Link Steam and watch select Rust streams
  • Earn free in-game skins and items (not full game)

In-Game Item Stores

  • Some modded servers offer in-game currency
  • Can spend earned currency on Steam game codes

While Rust won‘t suddenly become a free download, paying close attention to discounts and giveaways provides chances to get it at little or no cost. Be wary of unauthorized key resellers with potential scam risks though.

Optimizing Your First 10 Hours in Rust as a New Player

If you do take the plunge into Rust for $40 or manage to find it cheaper, the first few hours can be overwhelming. You will die. You will lose everything you‘ve scrambled to collect and craft. Here are some beginner tips for surviving your first days in Rust:

Find a modded/community server

  • Vanilla servers are ultra competitive – pick something more new player friendly

Team up if possible

  • Solo is hard mode – duo or trio is ideal

Prioritize essential tools

  • Stone hatchet, pickaxe, bow, building plan, locks, bags

Build a starter base ASAP

  • Even a small 2×2 base with airlock helps secure yourself

Move inland away from beaches

  • Beach spawns are high traffic PvP areas

Learn valuable blueprints

  • Farm scrap and learn critical blueprints like guns, building parts, armor, ammo

Only engage in necessary PvP

  • Avoid fights until you have gear and weapons to defend yourself

Manage hunger and radiation

  • Consume calories, hunt animals, avoid toxins, don‘t starve!

Deposit spare loot frequently

  • Don‘t carry everything at once in case you die

The first hour of Rust is the hardest. But being deliberate with these steps will help you secure a starter base, essential tools/weapons, and the resources to progress further. Perfecting the survival basics early on makes loss and setbacks less punishing.

Advanced Players Can Stream Rust for Profit

Once you‘ve mastered Rust‘s survival mechanics and become more experienced, playing and streaming Rust for an audience can become a source of income for some. According to popular Rust streamer CoconutB, he can make up to $1,000 in a single day streaming Rust.

But becoming a full-time Rust streamer takes dedication. Here are some tips from top Rust streamers on finding success broadcasting Rust:

  • Build a clan for constant group content – Big groups and raids are exciting to watch.

  • Specialize in high skill play – Whether PvP, building, or speedrunning – be exceptional at something.

  • Interact constantly with your audience – Respond to chat, polls, comments.

  • Create storylines and drama – Ongoing feuds and plots keep viewers engaged.

  • Collaborate with other streamers – Cross promote and create larger events.

  • Upload stream highlights to YouTube – Export your best moments to expand reach.

While becoming a popular Rust streamer requires strong skills and personality, the opportunity is there to profit from your gameplay for those dedicated to putting in the work.

The Addictive Nature of Competitive Survival Games

Rust and similar competitive survival games often expose the darker, addictive side of human psychology. According to Dr. Oliva, a psychiatrist studying gaming addiction, games like Rust exploit our instinctual biological drives:

“The desire for survival, risk/reward, tribalism, fear of missing out, variable ratio reinforcement through random loot drops – these primal drives are precisely what keep players hooked into the endless grind of games like Rust and make them so hard to put down."

The combination of always imminent threats to your survival with the dopamine rush of defeating enemies, acquiring loot, and growing stronger feeds into the sameparts of the brain targeted by addictive gambling and activities.

While millions enjoy Rust in moderation, be aware of your own tendencies toward addictive behavior. Set limits on playtime, take breaks, and remember real life priorities. Don‘t let the endless treadmill of survival games dominate your time and thoughts completely.


Rust provides one of the most in-depth competitive survival experiences available in gaming today. While not free, its $39.99 price delivers a deep crafting system, endless high stakes PvP encounters, and hundreds of hours of addictive gameplay for players who enjoy multiplayer survival mechanics. Take advantage of discounts or giveaways when possible, but the standard cost is worthwhile for fans of the genre. New players should team up with others, master the basics early on, and find friendly community servers to get the most enjoyment out of the harsh and chaotic world of Rust.



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.