As far as Early Access survival games go, Rust is among the most loved. Although Garry Newman isn't currently working on the project, Facepunch continues to chip away at it under the supervision of lead developer Maurino Berry. One of Berry's recent additions was XP, which introduced a little bit of structure (ie, the permanent short term goal of grinding). Although the system was welcomed pre-launch, it appears to be conflicting with the studio's – and the fanbase's – longterm vision for the game.
As spotted by PCGamesN, Berry wrote on reddit recently that, in the future, Rust would not have XP at all. Fans on reddit and in the game's Steam review section have been vocal about how the system doesn't quite work, and Berry has recently offered his own thoughts. Basically, the system appears to mute the chaos that arises from Rust's previously more freeform and less quantitative sense of progress.
"As I’ve said before, the XP system had huge praise until it was released, and then lots of people hated it," Berry wrote in August. "I’m not deaf nor blind to this, and I’m leaning towards the whole thing needing a rethink.
"In some ways the XP system is the antithesis of what Rust was all about: it forces players to do things in a certain order and takes away from the sandbox feeling of the game. We added this because people were bitching about how grindy hitting barrels and hoping for blueprints was, but I neglected to realize that the randomness could actually lead to some interesting situations and forced you to work with what you had."
Berry's suggestion that XP will be removed entirely seems a little informal, and the studio might opt to revamp it instead, but the fact that it's a concern is good news for anyone whose recent falling out with the game is a result of the grind.