What is Rust and Why is everyone on Twitch Playing it Again?

Rust is a game some of us never heard of before— at least not until its recent Twitch traction much like the sudden popularity of social deduction game Among Us.

Although it was initially released in 2013, it wasn’t until 2020 that this online multiplayer game reached great popularity after Twitch streamers picked up the game and used it to collaborate with one other.

It’s because of this that Rust broke its previous record player count and even surpassed the $1 million mark twice in one week.

The trend is making those who had already bought the game before to make a return, at the same time attracting new players to purchase the title and hop into the brutal PvP world of Rust.

What is Rust?

Rust is a multiplayer survival video game developed by Facepunch Studios, which was first released in December 2013. The game was initially created as a clone of DayZ, a popular mod for ARMA 2, with crafting elements similar to Minecraft.

The objective of Rust is to survive in the wild through the use of gathered or stolen materials. To avoid the risk of dying, players must successfully overcome their hunger, thirst, and health.

Since the game is multiplayer, other players remain to be a primary threat despite the presence of hostile animals like wolves and bears. Combat can be done through the use of firearms and weapons such as bows.

The “Crafting” element

Akin to those in Minecraft, Rust also features crafting elements. Although, it is initially made limited until the player discovers specific items in the game’s open world.

A player only has a rock and a torch at the beginning of the game, the rock can cut down trees and break apart stones. Meanwhile, cloth and food can be gathered by killing animals. Mining provides stone, metal ore, and sulfur ore. Lastly, chopping down trees provides wood.

To survive in the harsh, open world environment, players must gather resources to craft tools, combat weapons, and other gear needed for survival.

Crafting items need a sufficient amount of all required materials, but some advanced items need more obscure components scattered around the map.

Do note that there are limitations on the amount of craftable items. Blueprints help you create some more advanced items.

$1 million gross on Steam

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Thanks to its increased popularity, the chaotic multiplayer gather, loot, and build title managed to reach $1 Million daily haul. Garry Newman, Rust/Garry’s Mod creator, reveals in a tweet:

“We made over $1m on Steam on two days this week.”

Rust sold 530,000 copies in 2020 and grossed $43 million for the year. However, making $1 million in a day is truly a different story.

The game’s current success primarily boils down to a controversial, high-profile Streamer drama. When streamer/influencer group OfflineTV created a private Rust server, a number of popular streamers went to play concurrently on it. Naturally, it has started endless drama and hot “tea” points in the celebrity streamer world.

In particular, controversial streamer Felix ‘xQc’ Lengyel blatantly accused fellow Twitch streamer Ali ‘Myth’ Kabbani of stream sniping— after getting killed in a secluded area of the map.

Some players then quit, with their loyal fans jumping in a fight to their defense. Thanks to all the chaos, Rust became the most streamed Twitch game at some point with 1.365 million simultaneous watchers.

A Big Streamer Crossover Event

It’s not the first time for a game to skyrocket to popularity because of streamer collaborations. You can think of it as a streamer cinematic universe, akin to the mainstream Marvel one.

In particular, Rust’s success revolves around popular streamers (like Pokimane, xQc, and more) who are a part of creator-exclusive servers. These servers continue to exist, regardless of whether the A-list streamers are logged on or not.

This notable exclusivity strays away from potential problems such as stream sniping, where fans and viewers try to sabotage select streamers. Offline TV’s famous server began late last year, which was initially designed as a sort of large-scale social experiment. However, it was temporarily closed after a series of lawlessness and drama.

As of January 2021, OTV now has two servers, with one focused on PVP and another for role-playing and light, character-driven PVP.

One thing is certain, though: Rust wouldn’t have skyrocketed to mainstream popularity if it wasn’t for OfflineTV’s server and its chaos back in December.

On a regular server, it’s pretty difficult to know where you stand with other players. However, on the OTV server, it’s more focused on role-playing, collaboration, and fun, lighthearted rivalries between famous groups. That makes for compelling viewing.

The appeal of the trend

In case you’re confused as to what the hype is all about, Fawzi Itani explained it best in a tweet: “Feels like Offline TV (with their Rust/Minecraft servers) and [Minecraft roleplay server] Dream SMP are the equivalents of “digital hype houses.”

Notably, hype/collab houses are real-life streamer hangout spots.

He believes the trend is a hit because “Most interactions happen digitally vs IRL; Primarily in gaming; Each creator uplevels the rest of the group (Dream SMP is crazy successful in this regard); synchronous viewing for a variety of creators; same game different factions; Lore and storytelling.”

An online multiplayer environment, which is a bit freeform and can be customized, is exactly the reason why Rust is gaining traction again. It’s the same trend seen in Among Us, a social deduction game we’re pretty sure everyone played over the quarantine.

It’s not all about the gameplay, but more about social interactions and hilarious occurrences.

Notable Rust Moments

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Dubbed as the human aimbot, Shroud has long since proved his FPS skills where he effortlessly takes down opponents with near-perfect speed and precision. However, it’s an entirely different story when his opponents on Rust are other popular streamers who’ve decided to haphazardly take over a player-made police station.

At the end of the day, Shroud has overwhelmed the entire squad with his deadly in-game precision.

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Sykunno and Mendo are among the rising Twitch streamers as of late, hence it’s no surprise to see them actively take part in all the Rust madness.

In a particular clip, watch them go hysterical on Rust after a fellow streamer dodged a spear but then immediately impaled themselves on a spiked wooden barricade afterwards. This caused them to collapse akin to a bundle of rope.

Rust never runs out of hysterical moments like these somehow.

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While playing Rust, streamer Poke relayed a seemingly harmless “message” to Poki from Team Rocket. After her anticipation, however, she was only met with the phrase “Goodbye” as the former attempted to shoot her.

Luckily, he missed his shots as Poki swung her mace and attempted to get back for the failed attempt. She soon found cover and healed herself pretty well, before managing to shoot Poke in a revenge act as he was seen running away on a horse.

It seems like Pokimane has some decent FPS aim too! Unfortunately, Poki recently revealed she was not having a good time playing Rust anymore and thus vowed never to return to the game anytime soon.

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xQc is arguably the root of all this high-profile Rust streamer drama, which isn’t a surprise considering his controversial history.

Lengyel was the one who started to stir up conflict with just about anyone on the OTV server, often having PVP conflicts where he took advantage of his skills as a former professional Overwatch player.

He even formed an in-game squad named Team Rocket around this. His notorious competitive approach included raids on other streamers’ compounds and dirty accusations.

In particular, there’s this classic moment where he attempted to storm a boat by dropping in from a military chopper together with his Team Rocket mates, only to miss the boat somehow.

He might have been branded as the villain of the entire Rust saga, but he’s been uniquely comical and inherently goofy.

A Content Gold Mine

Since OTV released two Rust roleplaying PVP servers for the biggest names on Twitch, it has since then turned into a content gold mine.

Every stream features hysterical, goofy moments and collaborative storytelling. Even on moments where nobody’s shooting at another, Rust streams remain chaotic— since players tend to talk over each other and fight for the spotlight.

Tuning in to Rust livestreams means viewers don’t exactly know what they’re going to witness every time, since the title gives a new spin on online storytelling and content creation.


As of writing, Rust still remains near the top of Twitch’s charts. The game’s total concurrent viewer count on Twitch has even recently surpassed the 1 million mark multiple times.

But just like every other Twitch trend, it will eventually run its course at some point. What’s important to know about the rise of Rust is how it allows streamers to coexist— whether in peace or in goofy chaos.

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