Rust Vending Machine Guide

Vending machines allow you to safely sell items to other players. With these handy devices, you can trade without making direct contact, minimizing your risk when bartering with strangers. They are essential to any shop, and if used effectively can establish a resource empire.

vending machine placed somewhere by itself

The Basics

  • Vending machines are craftable items that require 20 High Quality Metal and 3 Gears. To craft a vending machine, you will first need a Workbench Level 1 (500 Wood, 100 Metal Fragments, 50 Scrap).
  • You can place a vending machine anywhere. However, they are specifically designed to snap into doorframes.
  • Once placed, a vending machine is accessible from both the front and the back.
  • The front of the vending machine (the side with the screen), is the access point for purchasing. Pressing ‘E’ will open the shop text. Items for sale and their price will be listed here. If you have the required fee in your inventory, you will be able to click the “Buy” icon and the goods will be sent to your inventory. The fee is deposited directly into the vending machine.

The back of a vending machine

  • The back of the vending machine is the seller access point. Pressing ‘E’ will open the vending machine inventory. From this screen you can place items in the vending machine and collect items that have been deposited by buyers. Holding ‘E’ will allow you to access the vending machine administration screen. From this screen you can set trade parameters.
  • There is a maximum of seven sell orders per machine.
  • A vending machine is durable but not indestructible. It can be destroyed by 1 C4 or 3 Rockets.
  • If a vending machine is destroyed, its contents are destroyed along with it.

The map with a cursor hovering over a vending machine location

  • Vending machine locations appear as green shopping carts on the map. When a vending machine is empty, it will appear as a red shopping cart. If you hover the cursor over a vending machine location on the map, it will display the available trades. To hide or show your vending machine’s location on the map, toggle the “broadcast location” option in the configuration settings (accessed by standing in front of your vending machine and holding ‘E’).

Sales Tips

A vending machine is designed to be set down and left alone. The obvious advantage to this is protection. You don’t have to worry about interacting with dangerous players who will shoot you in the face and rob your corpse. Conversely, other people will be more willing to trade with you knowing that they don’t need to approach a potential face-shooting lunatic. The downside to this is that without direct interaction, you don’t know what your customer wants nor what they have to offer. The solution is to anticipate their needs and what they’re willing to trade. There aren’t hard-and-fast rules, and the value of different items will fluctuate across servers, depending on the play styles of the community. Generally, vending machines work best when offering components and items in exchange for materials (whichever you most don’t feel like gathering yourself), as materials are the item you can expect any player to either already have or be able to gather. In addition to this basic rule, there are two major factors to consider when setting up a vending machine: wipe cycle and customer level.

Wipe Cycle

The value of certain resources and tools fluctuates based on when the next wipe will occur. Generally, components for higher-level weapons, such as a gun bodies, are more valuable just after a wipe has occurred. Towards the end of a wipe cycle, basic but already assembled items tend to gain value as people are less willing to spend time harvesting the necessary resources themselves.

Customer Level

A player that has recently spawned will have different needs than one who is already geared to the teeth. Each will also value his or her own resources differently.

  • Newly Spawned Players – New players are most likely to be found on the shore and away from cold areas that require warm clothing. The items most useful to fresh spawns are lower-level components and crafting items. Metals tools or a Furnace are good bets on what to offer. Newly spawned players may have higher-level components or materials that they are unable to use at this stage (such as springs, pipes, Gears, and gun bodies). You could also sell less-valuable materials that newly-spawned players need such as Stone in exchange for rarer materials that aren’t yet useful to them such as Metal Ore and Sulfur Ore. Asking for these items is a good way to leverage a new spawn’s more desperate situation.
  • Mid-Tier Geared Players – Players that are already geared and have moved on from the shorelines won’t have much need for simple tools. These players are likely looking for higher quality weapons that they haven’t been able to craft themselves. As vending machines allow for up to seven orders, you can offer a range of weapons. Try selling these players Semi-Automatic Pistols or Assault Rifles. From these players you can ask for useful materials that low-level players won’t have, such as fuel and Sulfur.
  • High-Level Geared Players – The higher-level geared players aren’t going to trade away rare resources for items they might just as easily make themselves. But there are a couple items that all geared players always need: Syringes and food.

Other Sales Strategies

  • Resource Conversion – Trade one resource for another (such as Stone for Wood, Metal Fragments for Stone, etc.). Obviously, make these trades to your benefit, but don’t make them too outrageous. People will use these machines even if they are trading at a (small) loss so long as they value the time such conversion saves them.
  • Recycler Plus – Set up a machine that trades Metal Fragments for Gears and Pipes at a slightly better rate than a recycler and place it near a recycler. Any player coming to use the recycler might as well use your machine instead.
  • Fashion Boutique – Sell clothing items of non-standard colors and skins. Later in a wipe cycle, once players and clans have established their bases, many will be more interested in customizing their look than finding a weapon. If you are able to collect and store these items early on, they are likely to appreciate later in the wipe.
  • Don’t Overcharge– Whatever you are selling, don’t be greedy. You certainly want to offer trades that are advantageous to you, but if you overcharge it, nobody is going to use your shop. Often you can make more by charging less, as lower prices will produce more sales. Tinker with your prices and discover what works best on your server.

Crouching in bushes looking at a vending machine

  • Bait – Who says a vending machine has to be used for sales? Set up a vending machine with a good trade (but not too good, or other players might be suspicious), and lie in wait to ambush your unsuspecting victim. Or don’t build a vending machine at all. Find another player’s vending machine that has something you want and wait for another player to buy it, then kill them and loot their corpse.

Protecting Your Vending Machine

A vending machine placed behind an armored door with the hatch open.

When a vending machine is destroyed, its contents are destroyed as well. This means it isn’t likely someone will go blowing up your unattended store willy-nilly for the fun of it (depending on your server). However, anyone that has access to the back of a vending machine is able to access its contents. Here are a few basic tips for keeping your goods safe:

  1. Doorframes – As mentioned above, vending machines are designed to snap into doorframes. Placing the vending machine so that the back is only accessible through a fortified building will prevent unwanted persons from jacking your stash.
  2. Code Lock – Place a Code Lock (100 Metal Fragments) on the back of your vending machine.
  3. Armored Door – While blowing up vending machines isn’t profitable, that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun. If you want some added protection for your vending machine, place it behind an Armored Door (20 High Quality Metal and 5 Gears). Holding ‘E’ on the armored door allows you to toggle the door hatch. If the hatch is open, other players can access your vending machine through the opening. Of course, the armored door can be destroyed, but it at least means your would-be vandal needs two C4 instead of just the one.
  4. Contents – As with anything in Rust, it is impossible to make your vending machine 100% safe. Anticipate that a certain amount of the vending machines you place are destined for destruction. With this in mind, you can mitigate your losses by making sure you don’t have too many valuable items in one vending machine at one time. Visit your vending machines frequently to collect payments and never offer a lot of high-quality gear in a single vending machine. It may even be worthwhile to build multiple vending machines in the same location, each stocked with only one valuable item.

Buying from Vending Machines

The smartest players will set up vending machines that are mutually beneficial to both buyer and the seller, offering the goods players need at prices they can afford. If you find a vending machine that offers a trade which suits your needs, use it. Soon after a server wipe, there aren’t likely to be many around, but if you find them they can be incredibly useful, especially just after spawning. That said, be careful when approaching a vending machine. Other players may be lurking nearby, especially if the vending machine’s location is advertised on the map. Approach with caution and leave the area quickly.

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