Starting Out In Rust For Noobs...
The first thing you need to know about gathering resources is... your tools make all the differance. There are 3 differant tiers of tools you can harvest resources with. Stone Hatchet and Pick axe are the first, Metal hatchet and pick axe are second, and the best tools are Salvaged axe and salvaged pick axe. With Salvaged tools you get the most yield per hit. Less Hits means less noise you have to make, Noise can get you killed.
The main resources you will be harvesting are trees and rocks (nodes). Trees are every where, as for nodes, you have to look around for these. There are 3 differant types of nodes that give more of a resource then others. Light grey gives you mostly stone. Dark grey gives you nice chunk of metal ore. Goldish tint gives you more sulfur then any other node. You basically want to grab every node you see so you can build a base.
You can also find small resource pick-ups on the ground that require no tools. These pick-ups will give you 50 of whichever resource they represent and can be found all over the map.
You also can gather cloth out in the wild. To do this you can find hemp plants or you can harvest cactus like a tree. Hemp plants tend to grow the most in green areas. They don't grow in the desert or snow unless you plant them yourself. When you harvest a wild hemp plany you will also get a seed. You can use this seed to grow more hemp in the comfort of your own home. If you live in the desert, you can go around and find some cactus. Take your hatchet and hit the cactus from a distance to gather cloth.
Crafting is a huge part of this game so it is a good thing to understand early off. To craft anything at all you will need to open the crafting menu. Default key is "Q". Once open you will see a list of categories on the left. Clicking each one of these categories will change the items available for crafting. You can also click on any item to see what is required to craft it. If you own any skins for any items this is also where you will see them and get the option to craft them. Get yourself familiar with the location of all these items, you will be crafting alot of them.
There is also a quick craft menu. When you open your inventory, default key is "TAB", you will see a quick craft menu on the right side of the screen. This will show you the most common items you can craft with the materials you have in your inventory. If you do not have any resources in your inventory, it will appear to be blank. If you have an inventory full of resources, it will show you the most common items you can craft first. Clicking an item in the quickcraft menu will craft 1 of that item per click.