This article was originally published in October 2016.
I'm almost glad there's no first-person knocking animation in Early Access survival crafting game Rust—if there were, I'd be sick of watching it by now and my virtual knuckles would be bloody and full of splinters. I've been knocking on player forts all night, dozens of them, in an attempt to go trick-or-treating for Halloween. It's not going well.
It began well, though! The admin for the Rusty Moose servers was kind enough to help me with a request: a way to spawn with a mask. Cognizant of the fact that I might die repeatedly, I didn't want to have to do any harvesting or crafting for my costume, so she was nice enough to place a few shacks around the servers, link me to the sleeping bags within, and fill a crate inside the shack with pumpkins. This meant I could spawn in the shacks, put a pumpkin on my head, and get right to work. Sure, I was completely naked otherwise, but a costume is a costume.
Time for trick-or-treating! Dressed as a nude man with a pumpkin on his head and nothing else on his anything, I leave the shack and head for the nearest visible fort, making almost fifteen feet before I encounter another player. This is a popular server without about 150 people on it, and not all of them ask questions first and open fire later.
I'm dropped so quickly I almost don't realize what has happened, though luckily I got a replay the next time I spawn. And the next. And the next. At least I can see the inside of my mask each time I'm killed, which makes the adventure a bit more festive.
I pick a different shack to spawn in, and finally get the chance to actually knock on a few doors. There's no answer on any of them, but all this running around lets me admire and critique some player forts. A common design theme seems to be It's A Big Box, but I also see a few It's A Small Box, several It's a Box With Another Box On Top, and more than one It's Part of a Box.
Also, in keeping with election season: It's A Wall.
At any rate, the amount of forts is impressive. The server was completely wiped not long ago, and I was a little worried there wouldn't be any forts at all. I was wrong: there are tons of them. Rust players certainly know how to build. They also know how to shoot you, stab you, and bludgeon you. It's a multi-talented community.
I knock on some more doors, but no one answers. I run into a player, the first I've encountered who doesn't actually murder me, and we chat for a moment. A few minutes later another goes hopping by, his dong flapping in the breeze. Gunfire echoes in a nearby valley. I see a deer and a horse and a boar. I knock on more doors, even yelling "Trick-or-treat!" a few times. Still, no one answers.
I run and knock on more doors. It begins to rain. A bald naked woman assaults me with an unlit torch, and chases me for a while before giving up. The complete lack of treats I've received means I'm beginning to starve, and soon, I'm dying from lack of food. Two heavily armed players run by, and one helpfully saves me from starvation by shooting me in the face.
I hop onto the other Rusty Moose server hoping to find less bloodshed and more snacks. I visit more forts, including one that looks like two Box forts climbed into a teleporter together and were spliced together to form a BrundleBox. I see a few wooden skyscrapers, at least one Octagon, and a homeless shelter (I presume for players who haven't built their own Boxes yet.) Still, no one is answering when I knock or yell "Trick-or-treat!"
I'm living longer—there aren't as many hostiles here—but that just means I begin starving again. At one point, I eat my pumpkin mask just to stay alive, but running around without it means I'm not a trick-or-treater, I'm just a naked idiot. I leap from a tall structure to kill myself, but wind up just severely wounding myself, and after I writhe around screaming for a while, I respawn, put on another pumpkin, and head out for one last pass.
After a long night of running around with a torch knocking on another few dozen empty forts, I see a wonderful sight. It's a fort, and someone's home: I can see a figure on the roof, outlined against the sky. Excitedly, I rush up to the door and knock. There's no answer. I peer up at the roof, then knock again. Still nothing. I look up at the roof again, just in time to see the fort's owner jumping off it to the ground, where he beats me to death with a rock.
Before he finishes me off, I hear him munching on something. In a night spent trick-or-treating in Rust, it's the closest I ever get to a treat. Happy Halloween.