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Basic Navigation
By bacon
Written for Legacy back in December 2013, may still be of some use with new generated maps. Learn some basic navigation skills that you can apply to rust, then use the tips in the "Find Your Friends" section to meet up with your friends.
Cardinal Directions (North, South, East, and West)
Sun setting over Straddletown.

Sunrise and Sunset are your first indications of navigation, they very easily give you indication of directions; Sunrise comes after night, Sunset leads to night. Remember, the sun rises in the East, and sets in the West.

The very first step in learning to navigate is to learn your Cardinal directions. Cardinal directions are key, these are simply: North, South, East, and West.

Now that we know East and West, how do we determine North and South? The simplest way is to base it off another direction already known. If the sun is rising (in the east), simply placing it on your right shoulder you will be facing North, further placing it on your left shoulder you will be facing south. For sunset simply reverse. An additional way to determine North is a landmark visible from much of the map, I refer to it as "The Mountain" (its the only real mountain on the map), others call it "Everust".

The Mountain as seen from Straddletown.

In addition to cardinal directions, inter-cardinal directions (or ordinal directions) are also useful in navigation. These are NE, SE, SW, NW - that is North-East, South-East, South-West, and North-West. And can be further divided into NNE, ENE, ESE, SSE, etc - for instance NNE = North-North-East... not nearly as useful in Rust. A compass rose displays all of these divisions, and if you wish to attempt to use them it might be helpful to have one pulled up. However I wouldn't reccommend overcomplicating navigation with NNE; your NNE might be slightly different than your friends... so don't even bother.
Out of Game Maps
Many maps are availible online and can be found easily with google searches. Most feature gridlines and names assigned to places by the map author. You may prefer a map that assigns "territory" names such as Portugal and Ballzack Mountain, while they have their use none of the names are standardized.

Eventually you wont have to depend on a map very often as you learn most of the terrain and Non-Player town locations. Avoid using player buildings as markers because they can be gone in a week.

I have attached @brandy_92 's map, it is what I use most often.
@Brandy92 's Rust Map
Distinguishable Locations
We have established cardinal directions, memorize them, use them as much as possible because working with players "Hostile by the tree/rock" isn't descriptive, the game is covered in rocks and trees.

Establishing visual references to areas is key. It all looks fairly similar, but it is different enough to differentiate on terrain, although difficult. Knowing the distinguishable locations can help point you in the right direction for knowing where you are at all times.

Distinguishable Location Names: (@Brandy_92 Map)
M7 Hangar = Hangar
O/P8 Bunkers =
L8/9 Radtown = Southern Smokestacks
K14 Radtown = Northern Smokestacks
P7 Old Radtown = Gas Tanks
Q10 Radtown = Straddletown
Mt. Everust is the Large Mountain usually North.
Topographic Landmarking
WIP Section - May be a while.

Topographic Landmarking relies on the lay of the land, how the topography can be distinguished from another area. This differs from the distinguishable locations because those were focused on the common Non-Player Buildings that are encountered.

Alas with the maps currently availible Topography is harder to "see" on the maps. This section is going to be a struggle, and may not be easily usable.

Here is the basic overlay I've been working on, followed by Brandy92 with the overlay on.

With this we can begin to identify areas, based on topography. Most of the major topographical elements have green topo lines around them. Making the map easier to see the elevation, there are only a few places where the road is squeezed inbetween cliff-sides. Areas of open mostly flat have no green topo lines.

Now you have to look at the terrian ingame and match it up to the terrain on the map, which should tell you where you are at.
Describing Locations
Describing your location is key to finding people, if you're brand new and don't know the map at all, it can be fairly hard. Describing your location by rock formations doesn't help, and single tree's on hills isn't helpful either in most cases (there are several hills with one tree on it). Player towns don't help much because they can change massively.

Be as descriptive as possible, use meaningful names for Non-Player Towns. Apply directions to what you are running on, and be ready to recieve directions of "South of the Gas Tanks". If no buildings are nearby describing that the road is running South East and you have rocks on one side and an open field on the other can tell somebody that you're near P16. More description is better, especially if you're new playing with people that know the map.
Finding Your Friends
The most common question I ever see when playing is "How do I find my friend?", if you read, understand, and applied what was introduced previously you should be able to find each other, however if you're still having trouble this section is for you.

Describing your location is the first thing you need to be able to do, again avoid trying to describe the tree next to the rock near the hill, that doesn't help anyone. If you find a town that your recognize from the names I mentioned earlier use that, make the others run around the map until they find you.

The road and towns are dangerous though, they are the easiest place to find each other because its impossible to get lost on a circular road. A safer way is to stay off the road and away from towns, this doesn't eliminate them from being used as your location though. Instead of meet me at hanger, you might say "I'm West of Hangar next to the ocean". The people running the road, might want to stay in eyesight of the road, but far enough away to be fairly safe.

The world of Rust is never safe, you will die, you will be killed, you will get frusterated and discouraged. All of that is unavoidable. Loss happens. Nowhere is safe. However, the smarter you play, the better off you are.

Keeping the original list just incase it helps anyone.
  • Find a descriptive location and put it out.
  • Stay near and landmark (major location).
  • Don't stay too near towns, players are usually more active at towns.
  • Press F1 (console) and type suicide. This can give you a better spawn.
  • Make single people come to the majority to avoid getting lost and confused.
  • Stay near roads as it runs near all the towns.
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Orion-AP11 Oct 22, 2021 @ 2:14pm 
The aincent scrolls
bacon  [author] Feb 23, 2021 @ 7:13pm 
Not me. ;p
Clxtz Feb 20, 2021 @ 3:20pm 
dang whos here in 2021?
Alirezay75 Jun 24, 2014 @ 3:55am 
thanks!i already knew it though
bacon  [author] May 23, 2014 @ 5:04pm 
Imposter! :p
Un Gato May 20, 2014 @ 8:34pm 
Nice name
bacon  [author] Mar 28, 2014 @ 3:10pm 
For reference, I delete comments advertising servers. Save us both some time and don't bother.
bacon  [author] Mar 10, 2014 @ 6:56pm 
Teleport takes the whole point of the game and throws it out the window. Rust isn't gmod, and when admins are around that play it like that the whole game becomes unfun. I'm sure there are servers that let you TP to each other, I wouldn't know what they are though. Learn the game and you don't need it.
Knight Jon Mar 10, 2014 @ 6:33pm 
This is really helpful but... Are you sure there isn't any easier way like a tp for non admin players?
bacon  [author] Jan 15, 2014 @ 8:35pm 
@Xenophobic I think thats your subconscious seeing dicks in everything.