Hey, I just had a few ideas I’d like to throw around. Not necessarily amazing, but might make decent additions to the game in the future.
Player Traits: Currently, all we have is skin tone/“race”. I think it would be interesting if there was a bit more to this kind of thing later in development; things that you can’t change about your character that are always inherently there based on your Steam ID. Natural talents such as “Doctor”, “Farmer”, “Shepherd”,“Gunsmith”, etc. that would give you maybe a small boost (like, 5-10%) to crafting speed, or starting blueprints (Perhaps a doctor would start with the blueprints for the medical syringe, farmers would have starting blueprints for farming tools, slightly easier time getting seeds to start, etc.). Not enough to the point that if you wanted to play differently, you’d just be screwed, but enough to affect early game play, and cause players to want to join together to get a slight advantage by adding people from different talents to their group. Maybe “races” could have certain ups/downs and increased chances for things as well, such as darker skin toned players would spawn in the south every time, have a harder time dealing with cold, could move slightly faster, etc., while more fair tones would have easier times walking up slopes, more resistant to cold (less to heat), etc. Again, not so severe that if you wanted to play differently and go up North, you wouldn’t be totally screwed, but it would make it slightly more difficult.
Disease: Undercooked meat, poor water, bites from animals/insects, etc. could give you a disease based on what it was. Maybe even to go with how goofy Rust is, add rabies to things such as wolves, and it makes your player uncontrollable (uses AI for brief periods of time), incurable, makes your player spread it by biting, etc. I feel like this could add not only more depth and challenge, but could add potentially hilarious situations in which people run around trolling with rabies, intentionally spreading diseases to towns that aren’t paying attention, etc. This would give more ups and downs to playing alone, such as having a lesser chance of catching infectious diseases, but you also have little help if you are hurt/sick and need a cure. While you could suicide just to cure it, possibly a way that an area has to be cleansed/burned in order to eliminate it.
Crops and Animal Husbandry: We all know farming will eventually be in the game, but I feel like it would be potentially interesting to add a type of genetics system into play. Such as finding plants and animals with certain genes and breeding them, you could breed for specific traits, such as increased seeds, faster growth, resistance to climate and lack of water, better production, and so on. Perhaps some bad genes that you have to watch out for, such as in animals, add under and overbites, which not only add a bit of the silly look to them, but they have a slower growth. This would also encourage behaviors in players such as trading for better plants/livestock, add somewhat a form of currency for trading for other items, and possibly goofier activities such as: letting another players animals free, stealing/replacing livestock, taking animals with horrible genes and sabotaging another players herd/flock by allowing them to breed with their females, cow tipping, and so on, adding another dynamic way for players to interact and compete with one another. I would also like to add that yes, I would like to see rideable animals in the future, such as horses, donkeys, as well as potentially goofy or neat animals such as bears, stags, etc. This would give a solo player a much easier way to get better transportation than walking, if vehicles are ever added by having a faster way to be transported across the map, because they wouldn’t have to farm and try to keep up with groups of 10+ in order to get fuel, metal parts, and attempting to craft all of the parts on their own, giving them a way to get started, and potentially trade for parts later. Likewise, they would be at the mercy of how well-bred they were, easily killed, and having to stop and eat/drink every so often. Tamable animals such as wolves could be used as: a base defense, a way to alert players online if somebody is there, maybe if they aren’t on Rust, a notification could pop up when an animal detects movement inside of a certain radius set by the player letting them know they are in danger (kind of like hearing a noise sleeping or something). Perhaps they could have traits that could be slowly bred for, such as other colours and features, and they could be bred more like dogs, such as having sub-classes that help move animals faster, deal more damage in combat, alert the player of threats faster, carry more weight in a pack, and so on. I don’t know, I just really feel tamable animals would have a neat place in a game like Rust, especially for solo players that could really use some sort of companion to help them out, and would help groups finish tasks faster.
Medicine: The last thing I want to talk about kind of ties in with the last. Along with the crops and animals, medicine could be used to cure disease, heal more health, poison players, put players to sleep for a certain amount of time etc. This has been talked about, but tied in with genetics and more crops, I feel it could be expanded on a bit more. Plants that are specially bred for potency would have increased effects on medicine/poisons, and different combinations could cause certain things. For instance (as far as poison goes), if you found something like Death Camas in the wild, you could farm it, hone it’s potency, then poison food to help paralyze/kill creatures/players. While something like Aloe could be used to help treat burns from flame-based weapons and campfires. Maybe plants could also have different potencies that affect it’s overall effect, the effects duration (for poison/healing over time), and so on.
I know that none of these ideas are exactly new, but I just kind of wanted to add to them and see if anybody found small parts of them interesting, or maybe too over the top for kind of a goofy survival game like Rust. I personally feel like some of these would add to the fun, help specialize players to increase the chances of groups wanting to either have players help them willingly (or take them prisoner to make them work) and change the early game up a bit, and so on.