Rust players really like hot air balloons, apparently: since they were added this week, along with surface-to-air missiles that can shoot them down, the player count for the survival game has inflated to an all-time high.
Today, more than 71,000 people were playing at a time, according to Steam's official stats page (opens in new tab), and as I write this it's Steam's fifth-highest game by concurrent player count, beaten only by Dota 2 (opens in new tab), CS:GO (opens in new tab), PUBG (opens in new tab) and Rainbow Six Siege (opens in new tab).
Looking at data from Steam Charts (opens in new tab), you can see a definite spike around the time of the release of the latest update. You can also see that this is the first time it's pulled in more than 70,000 players at a time: its previous peak was around 68,000 in February, when it left Early Access (here's Luke's review (opens in new tab)).
I've never played Rust, but jumping in a hot air balloon with some friends to glide calmly over an enemy's base at the start of a raid sounds like fun. The SAM missiles sound like they'd be a pain, though—they just automatically fire on any balloon that comes near. Surely everyone can just stick one on their base, completely negating the balloons? I know they cost resources, but I assume anyone with a base worth robbing will be able to afford them.
Is that the case? If you've had a go with them, let me know in the comments below.