Trading in Rust — Rustafied (2024)

On The Pulse of Rust

Trading has been a key part of the Rust experience since release. One of the earliest ways to trade involved trading blueprints for wood or other resources. Trading waned a bit with the XP system, but has returned in a big way with many new in game items and functions.

Basic trade in Rust starts early - wood for cloth, cloth for metal fragments - you name it, people are trading it. Early trade is sometimes sloppy and dangerous with many chances to have your loot stolen or be the victim of backstabbing and betrayal. As the game progresses many safer and more effective trade options become available.

Wooden shop front

The cheapest and least effective method involves a simple shop front with a barn door and openings to drop items to each other. This leaves anyone using this exposed, as well as any items stored behind the door.

Metal shop front

Next is the metal shop front. This offers a much higher level of protection as it’s only effectively destroyed with explosives. It offers a trade drawer that requires both parties to agree to a trade. The metal shop front has a large window that allows the traders to see each other as well. This shopfront can also be used as a regular part of a build if you want a window to see out of your base or a quick way to equip teammates without them having to fully enter the base.


  • Inexpensive

  • Relatively secure

  • Options for base design beyond its intended function


  • Allows enemies to see what is beyond that wall

  • Not very secure for the outside trader

Vending machines

Vending machines add a relatively high degree of autonomy to the trading process. They are moderately expensive with high quality metal and gears required to craft, but they can offer a wide range of trade options for the owner of the machine as well as the Newman that stumbles upon it. The vending machine has a display on the front that shows all of the available trades based on stock and items the other buyer has in the machines inventory.


  • Autonomous trading

  • Shows location on map (will indicate if empty)

  • Can be used to check prices of competitors

  • Can be used to find player hotspots on the map


  • Contents are destroyed if machine is destroyed

  • Cannot be locked; if a raider gains access to the back of the machine, they have access to your loot

  • Can make your area prey to unwanted PVP or griefers

Using vending machines as a seller

How you use a vending machine depends on your role as a buyer or seller. A seller loads the machine from the back using the Administrate option on a radial wheel that can be accessed by holding the "E" key. Once accessed the seller is able to create multiple buy and sell orders. The seller can then open the wheel again to open the machine to load inventory, it's important to balance the inventory based on the quantity of items being sold as well as the amount of sell orders as you must leave room for the items that buyers are trading. The radial wheel is also used to disable broadcasting the location of the machine to anyone on the server with a map.

Building satellite vending machines and stocking tools for resource gathering is a lucrative strategy if you offer higher tier refined resources and low level components that a Newman might need. Offering and accepting higher end components will require more frequent visits to your vending machines. Nobody wants to lose loads or resources and high end components if another player notices your unattended vending machine.

Using vending machines as a buyer

Using vending machines as a buyer may open up opportunities to establish yourself quickly on a server with existing bases and commerce. Many vending machines are looking for components such as springs, pipes, gears, and gun bodies that are of little use to players just starting out. A furnace while getting started is worth much more than random components that could be lost at any moment. Finding vending machines that are broadcasting is as easy as looking at the map. A red icon indicates an empty vending machine, and the green one indicates one that is open for business. You are also able to check the inventory of individual machines while using the map. When there are multiple vending machines they will show up as a shopping cart with how many machines are there. Hovering over this will bring up each individual machine.

Exchange rates

Here is where it becomes less cut and dry. These numbers fluctuate just like any other market. How much is a gear worth? How much is scrap worth? All of that depends on the rarity of the items in question. A rifle body on the first day of a wipe is worth a lot more than on the last day of a wipe, just as some lower value items are worth more toward the end of the wipe if players are more interested in roaming rather than gathering wood and other resources to fuel the war machine.

Knowing when to strike

Wipe cycles and overall populations are a huge factor when calculating your trade efforts in Rust. Finding a server that suits your play style as well as one that maintains your desired population and wipe cycle may take some trial and error, but that is the beauty of Rust. Getting a leg up on the competition can set the tone for an entire wipe.

I am an avid Rust player with extensive experience in both gameplay mechanics and community dynamics. Having spent countless hours navigating the harsh and dynamic environment of Rust, I've gained firsthand expertise in trading, base building, PvP strategies, and server dynamics.

In the world of Rust, trading has evolved significantly since its inception. From the early days of bartering blueprints for resources to the modern-day vending machine economy, trading serves as a vital aspect of survival and progression in the game.

Let's break down the concepts and strategies mentioned in the article:

  1. Trading Basics: Trading in Rust encompasses a wide range of goods, from basic resources like wood and cloth to high-end components and weapons. The article highlights the evolution of trading mechanisms throughout Rust's development.

  2. Trade Methods:

    • Wooden Shop Front: A rudimentary method involving a simple shop front with limited security.
    • Metal Shop Front: Offers better protection and functionality, allowing for secure transactions.
    • Vending Machines: A modern approach to trading, providing autonomy and convenience but with its own set of risks.
  3. Pros and Cons of Each Method:

    • Wooden Shop Front: Extremely cheap but lacks security.
    • Metal Shop Front: More secure but still vulnerable to observation from enemies.
    • Vending Machines: Autonomous trading but susceptible to raiding and looting.
  4. Using Vending Machines:

    • Sellers: Load inventory and manage buy/sell orders using the radial wheel interface.
    • Buyers: Utilize vending machines to quickly acquire necessary resources and components.
  5. Exchange Rates and Market Dynamics:

    • Prices fluctuate based on item rarity, player demand, and server dynamics.
    • Understanding market trends and timing is crucial for successful trading endeavors.
  6. Timing and Strategy:

    • Wipe cycles and server populations influence trading dynamics.
    • Adapting to changing conditions and seizing opportunities can provide a competitive edge.

Overall, mastering the art of trading in Rust requires a deep understanding of in-game mechanics, player behavior, and market dynamics. By staying informed and adaptable, players can thrive in Rust's unforgiving landscape and emerge victorious in the ever-shifting world of trade and survival.

Trading in Rust — Rustafied (2024)
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