Naked willy survival game Rust is changing in a big way. It's doing so via a new XP and levelling system, which may sound unremarkable but has a profound effect on how the game is played.
Blueprints are gone - you no longer need to piece together blueprints in order to know how to make things. Instead you acquire and spend XP to unlock item designs, which you still need to gather resources to put together.
XP is earned for doing things in the world, like chopping trees, fishing, hunting, foraging, and so on. There's a list of XP-giving activities in the associated Rust dev blog, and the list will, over time, grow. Note that XP is not earned for player-versus-player fighting or killing.
You can also earn XP through item ownership and sharing, which encourages more collaboration in the world. For instance, if you harvest a load of resources that someone turns into an item, you'll get XP for that. And if it's a hatchet that's made, you'll get experience when the axe is used. Similarly you'll earn XP when someone eats food you've made. It means you can earn XP while you're not playing the game.
There's a new user interface in Rust that handles all of this.
The hope of the XP system is that it will take the randomness and grind out of Rust and reward people for resource gathering, and for sharing with other people. There's a great and informative video on the new system by Phaedo82 below.
Rust is an Early Access game and costs Ł14.99. We wrote a Rust review back in 2014, so it's a little out of date, and we also spoke to the game's creator, Gary Newman, about how he came up with Rust.