Maybe Valheim would be a slightly better comparison as, although it's hard, coop play sits at the heart of what has kept the community coming back. If you and your squad are looking for the time you can get stuck into all Rust has to offer, we have you covered.
Before going into the release day, it's important to note that there's a fractured release schedule for the game itself. Some players will start playing on May 18, where others will start three days later on May 21.
This is due to the fact that players who bought the deluxe or ultimate editions of the game get early access while those who bought the standard edition play on its release date, on May 21.
We don't have an official say across the board on this one, but the Microsoft store has the terms so it seems fairly accurate. Those who purchase the deluxe or ultimate edition can begin playing at 1 am on May 18, regardless of their time zone.
Servers seem to have gone live ahead of release and the staggered release date serves a few central purposes.
Firstly, it allows a perk for those who buy or preorder the more expensive version of the game. Secondly, it allows the team to stress test the servers as not all the player base will be in at one time. They're planning a more stable launch day.