We, along with everyone else, were unhappy with the state of the game in terms of how easy it was to get top end gear and how little reason to stick around and play there was after you were killed. This has all been changed. The very first iteration of the return of blueprints is now in game.
I'd like to start off by saying that this is in no way feature complete. It's probably completely unbalanced, and there may be certain oversights that have completely broken the game and will require patches over the weekend. Anything you see is not set in stone, especially if it is obviously screwed up, so please don't say we're such morons for making item X cost 90,000 scrap: it's probably a bug or oversight.
We're going to get through this together. Lots will change. Don't be surprised if there is a BP wipe in a month or two, once we get everything straightened out and finalized. With all that said, here's what to expect:
You'll begin the game with some default blueprints, like campfires, furnaces, workbenches and storage (in fact, there are about 50 default BPs which is insane - we need to unlock them slowly from doing simple stuff, like crafting sub-items, but that is another story).
Looting works the same as it did before, except now there is a decent chance that anything you loot (or barrels you break) will drop a full item, such as a weapon or a tool. You will notice that found weapons have very low condition, making their usefulness somewhat limited. The main purpose here is to introduce a source item for you to research.
Once you have an item you wish to learn how to craft, you must take it to a research bench (found in the world, or crafted) and create a blueprint from the item. The cost of doing so is Scrap. There isn't any % chance of success of fail or anything like that anymore. Just a straight up cost to research. Once you have researched the item you can study it and permanently
learn how to craft it. Or you can trade it with other players.
Another element to this progression system is the introduction of workbenches.
They come in three tiers, and they require significant amounts of scrap to produce. They also require the previous tier workbench to craft the next one. So you can't just craft a level three one if you saved up: you have to go 1->2->3. No skipping ahead.
After you place one, stand near it and look for the Workbench status symbol on your HUD. When this is active, you can craft anything requiring that tier and below it. You'll also craft items much faster so long as your workbench tier is greater than what the item requires.
Components can be researched, but they require scrap to produce - in fact they require the same amount of scrap as they used to require when you could create them at the old research tables. They also require a Tier three workbench. I've also reduced the amount of HQM given from components by about 75-80%. This was completely out of whack and I think quarries might be a little more valuable now.
One other change you'll notice is that you can only repair items if you have the blueprint for them. The exception being for items you cannot know, in which case you get a pass. I hope this will prevent people from stockpiling weapons from radtowns and not bothering to crafting them.
I'll be listening everywhere I can for feedback, and I'll be playing the hell out of it myself. I would expect many changes over the next few days/weeks. I really hope this is at least the foundation of what we were all looking for. Progression has been an issue in Rust for about a year and I would really like to get it finalized so we can move on to other more fun and exciting things.