There’s a ton of changes in today’s “Foundation Update” for No man’s Sky. These include the groundwork for base-building, several different game modes, and a harvester who can gather resources for you while you’re away.
But by far the most important change is also a very small one, and one that should have been in the game from the very beginning: The addition of waypoints.
“Waypoints can be placed and colour-coded to allow explorers to return to discoveries,” Hello Games notes in their surprisingly in-depth patch notes.
It was the lack of waypoints that really soured me to No Man’s Sky. Sure, the game had tons of other issues, but this was the one that made me stop playing.
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The first time I found a clue which led me to a downed ship, I was pretty excited. Ships cost a lot of money and I didn’t have much and I was stoked to get an upgrade basically free of charge. More inventory space sounded pretty nice at that point.
Well, it turned out that the ship was in need of repairs and I didn’t have all the stuff I needed to fix it. So I left the new ship and went off to find those resources, hoping they were on the planet and not too far off.
Pretty soon I’d wandered quite a ways. I’d found the necessary resources, but the search had taken me far afield. I tried to retrace my steps—or, rather, my flight—and soon discovered that it would be impossible. I realized that finding a tiny hunk of metal on a planet built to scale was a fool’s errand.
And I wondered why on earth there was no option to set a waypoint of some sort. After all, I found the ship based on a clue which attached a waypoint to it in the first place.
Soon after that I began to notice the myriad other flaws in the game.
I don’t know if the Foundation Update will be enough to get me back into the game for the long-haul, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction. Merely adding waypoints will make quality of life so much better. Other additions, like auto-harvesting, will also improve quality of life.
The thing I still worry about is whether the game will actually be fun even with all these updates and fixes. It’s one thing to have basic game design elements included (such as waypoints) and another to actually be engaging as a game.
One thing is more certain: I will be playing No Man’s Sky again in the near future. That’s something I didn’t expect, and that’s a win for Hello Games. I suspect that many others will be playing again as well.
This is also the first positive press the game and developer have gotten in a very long time, which is another win for Hello Games. Of course, they could have changed the conversation around No Man’s Sky ages ago simply by talking to fans and the press and letting us know what they were working on.
Sean Murray’s tweet today has a tinge of self-pity to it that’s a bit off-putting given how avoidable so much of this controversy was.
Oh well. Better late than never. I remain deeply skeptical about all of this, but even so…I sense a small glimmer of hope somewhere out there in the void of my doubts.
What do you think of the new update? Will you be planet-hopping through procedurally generated worlds in the near future? Or is you slate simply too full?