I have beaten the No Man’s Sky Foundation Update, as much as you can “beat” anything in No Man’s Sky.
I have done every single quest for my four alien employees/indentured servants, unlocking every available blueprint for base-building.
I have built even the most ludicrously involved pieces of my base from landing pads to commerce portals.
I have bought what I imagine is the coolest looking freighter I’m going to find, the Imperial Star Destroyer behemoth seen above.
I have nothing more to really do at this point other than save up millions for freighters and ships with more slots, but honestly, I love how both look so much I don’t really care to replace them. So I’m just continuing to expand my space skyscraper base and grow my Gravino Ball farming operation into a worldwide empire.
So I guess it’s time to talk about what’s next. How does Hello Games take the building blocks it’s put in place in this Foundation Update, and add even more to the game? The entire pitch of this patch was that it was a smaller updated heralding larger things to come, so, where does the game go from here? You’ll notice I’m skipping all the trademark negativity that comes with talking about NMS for the sake of expediency, but also because against all odds, I still enjoy playing this game and this update was actually fun. I’m excited to see where NMS goes from here, and have a few ideas about what should be done next.
We’ll start with freighters, because they’re both the coolest addition to the game in the Foundation Update, but also the most shallow once you understand how they work.
Freighters essentially operate as big storage bins, and nothing else. You can hold a decent amount of materials there with stacks of a thousand, but honestly, building storage at your home base is probably easier to maintain and access. Right now there’s no way to warp materials to and from your freighter directly. You have to go to space, summon your freighter, walk upstairs to the captain, and open the transfer window. If something’s only purpose is to serve as storage, it should at least be a useful way to hold materials that are readily accessible, not a prison for them where you have to pass five checkpoints to get them in and out. This has to change.
But past this, freighters need to be expanded dramatically in many ways. They should operate like ships, with their own defense, weapon and tech upgrades, and obviously you should be able to pilot them and fight with them. Or at least allow them to be useful while you’re away, taking out pirate ships or mining asteroids.
There needs to be more diversity in freighters’ appearance as well. I think there are maybe, six or seven major types with only minor variations, though I did just see my Star Destroyer for the first time out of about 50 other freighters, so maybe more secret ones are lurking out there. It’s good start, but it’s not enough of a selection.
And, now that we have freighters, it would be awesome to actually use your hangar for a collection of ships that you own, rather than having a bunch of random aliens flying in and out of there all the time. The ability to switch ships in a freighter would be fantastic, and assembling a collection of the most badass ones in the galaxy would be a solid goal for players to work toward, more than anything else the game has to offer at the moment.
Switching to base-building, I think that it’s in a pretty good place right now, although obviously the ability to build multiple bases across other planets/systems would be nice. The general structural elements are pretty solid right now, but I think there need to be a lot more decorations in order to make your rooms feel more tailored to you specifically rather than being like every Gek or Korvax outpost you’ve ever come across.
Farming is a good idea, but there need to be more active activities that have to do with base-building. They could take a page from Fallout’s book where you can set up defenses to fend off periodic attacks from Sentinels, or something like that, which would earn you cash and prizes.
Navigation needs work when it comes to base-building. I’m picturing a readout that shows you where you have multiple bases scattered throughout the galaxy, and you can warp to and from any of them at a whim. Right now the current system that lets you return back to the last three or four space stations you visited with their gobblygook names and no distinguishing information is horrible, even if the concept of the teleporter itself is great.
I’ve heard that the game is going to get some sort of “moon buggy” system where you can have a rover to roll around planets. I worry about how the physics of that is going to work, but I am definitely intrigued by the idea, and I would love it if a rover was another type of vehicle to upgrade and expand.
Moving past the two major additions in the Foundation Update, there are still a zillion little things wrong with No Man’s Sky that need fixing before anything else is actually added. Among them:
- The God. Damn. Letterboxing. I swear this is the one thing that literally every person on earth hates about No Man’s Sky, and how it survived this update, I have no idea. It was “cinematic” the first few times, but the game making everything inaccessible for 5-10 seconds every time you teleport, warp, see an alien or achieve something is just insane.
- Better stacking for resources is good, but the fact that you can’t stack green items in your exosuit inventory is really stupid. Fine, keep materials stack size lower, but let us stack five Gravino Balls at a time, please, my farming operation begs you.
- Ship controls are still bad. Ships needs the ability to strafe up/down/left/right, not just go forward and backward. That may not be the most technical of explanations, but as I struggled for twenty minutes to get the right angle for a photo of my freighter for this post, that’s what I’ve decided ships need more than anything
- The elemental system needs to be rebalanced, as it’s been screwed up to some degree in this recent update. Plutonium is now absurdly scarce on many planets, and I’m ready to just say that “launch thrusters” should not be a thing, as all it does is discourage exploration. Zinc is also in short supply now, found on every planet, perhaps, but always in one plant 50 miles away from any other plants. Also, I’m not sure if ultra-rare elements like Omeglon even exist anymore, as I haven’t seen any of the old exotics since the update, despite the fact that they’re still required for some suit/gun/ship upgrades. Oh, and I also just spent two hours looking for the rare mineral that only spawns in water planets, yet the first 11 water planets I found didn’t have a single bit of it.
- Planet and biome diversity still needs a lot of work. Allegedly there were changes to it in the patch, but all I’ve noticed are these new “uninhabited planets” that may logically make sense, but are devoid of anything interesting whatsoever. We still need planets that have mountains and lakes, swamps and icy plains. We need those huge, amazing creatures. We need animals that don’t all just run around in goofy mish-mash groups making the same four noises over and over.
I could go on, but that’s enough for the minor stuff. Longer term, big picture, No Man’s Sky still lacks…any real point to it. I really would love for there to be a reason to warp to the center of the galaxy, but knowing that you just start over at a new, identical galaxy makes the idea pointless, and I haven’t jumped through a black hole in ages now. I guess if the game just wants us to stay and chill in a single galaxy, that’s can work, but I really would love for there to be the kind of mysterious endgame that everyone hoped there would be at launch. But I don’t want to lose all my stuff pursuing it, however.
I think what Hello Games is doing with No Man’s Sky is pretty exciting. I know I have pretty specific tastes, but issues aside, NMS has always been a game that’s been up my alley. I do not agree with how Sean Murry and Hello Games handled pre-launch press or post-launch press (aka zero press), but I’m energized that this really might be a game I end up playing for the long haul, if they can continue to give me reasons to come back.
Foundation is just that, a good foundation, and I think it creates the potential for some really worthwhile new content in the future.
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