Rust, the open world, sandbox survival, craft genre title that has never really settled on an overall vision, is still in development more than four years on from its original Early Access debut, and it's more popular than ever. The latest patch added hot air balloons and surface to air missiles to the game and players love it so much they've come back in droves.
Over the weekend, more than 71,000 people were playing at one time, as per PCGamer. That made it temporarily the fifth most popular game on Steam, sitting behind the monsters of PUBG, DotA, CS:GO, and Rainbow Six: Siege. At the time of writing it's still in the top 10, with a peak today of some 67,000 -- a big uptick over its typical few tens of thousands of players.
These are record numbers for Rust, which has remained competitive with some of the biggest games over the years thanks to the love from streamers and an ongoing development process which keeps the game fresh, although it's still a hardcore PvP experience at the best of times.
The baloons themselves are able to take on 4-5 passengers, a small inventory of items, and can be manually controlled via their on-board engines. Height can be adjusted, but direction is largely determined by the wind, which you can monitor within the baloon using its little wind sock.
SAM sites will automatically target any baloons that come near, so don't expect to hover over a base endlessly, but they do look like a fun way to rain death on opponents and their bases before a raid.