No Man’s Sky One Year Later: The Disappointment Engine

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Sep 19, 2017

Filed under: Retrospectives 144 comments

There is a very distinct rhythm to playing No Man’s Sky. It’s been a part of the game since launch, and even after an entire year of updates it still holds true: No Man’s Sky is a disappointment engine. I don’t just mean the game was a disappointment when it came out. I mean the game seems to have been designed to create a series of frustrating let-downs as you adventure across the galaxy.

Problem: Find some shortcoming or annoyance in the game. Usually, but not always, this annoyance stems from the inventory system.

Solution: Maybe you think of it on your own, or maybe you check the wiki, but you find a possible solution for the problem. You realize that the solution is going to be a long, frustrating, unrewarding grind. But you do it anyway, in the hopes that you’ll be able to have more fun once the task is over.

Disappointment: Once you’ve completed your goal, you realize the reward is incredibly underwhelming, not worth the effort, and doesn’t even fix the original problem.

There are a lot of these moments in the game. I can’t enumerate them all. But let’s look at a few that really got to me…

Black Holes

If it wasn't for disappointment, I wouldn't have any appointments. - TMBG
If it wasn't for disappointment, I wouldn't have any appointments. - TMBG

Problem: So you’re done with the main story and now you want to fly to the galactic core, which is the “real” ending inasmuch as that’s when the credits roll. You figure it would be neat to reach the point where so many players have converged, visited systems, named planets, and so on. However, you notice you’re more than 600,000 light years from the core. You can cover about 2,500 in a single jump, which means 240 individual jumps. Each jump consumes 1 warp fuel.

Let’s say you want to do this the optimal way and just grind for fuel. (For the purposes of this discussion, “grind” in this case means doing the same task for a long time with no intermediate rewards like level-ups, gear upgrades, costume unlocks, major scenery changes, new enemy types, story beats, companion romances, new Bat-gadgets, or whatever it is your other games give out to keep you interested.) If you’re looking to do this in bulk then:

  1. You land on a relatively calm planet and round up all the nearby Carbon, Plutonium, Heridium, Zinc, and Thaumium9 you can find. (Thaumium9 will probably be the limiting factor here.)
  2. Once your inventory and cargo hold are full, get back to the ship and start crafting stacks of warp fuel. Because the interface was designed by a madman, you can’t just craft them directly. You have to craft a suspension fluid, then craft that into electron vapor, then craft that into antimatter, then craft that into warp fuel.
  3. Now you’ve got a few stacks of warp fuel and some free inventory. Go back out and do it again and again until you have about 48 stacks of warp fuel.

Remember that while all of this is going on you’re still fighting off sentinels, fending off wildlife, spending some of the gathered resources to charge your suit, taking shelter from storms, and otherwise doing what you need to do to get by. I’m going to make a ballpark guess and say that under these optimal batch-processing circumstances, the total time it takes to gather the materials, craft the fuel, and plot a single jump on the galaxy mapIt takes 3 seconds to scroll the map 1,000 light years, so during your journey you’ll spend half an hour just scrolling the map! is five minutesDON’T use the in-game course plotting. It will suggest jumps far shorter than what you can do, which will double or triple your costs. You need to manually navigate through the map and find the furthest star you can reach.. So to do our 240 jumps will take twenty solid hours of uninterrupted travel. Maybe I’m off by a factor of two in either direction, but you get the idea.

That’s a long task. You’ll probably start looking for a shortcut.

Just a little closer and we can begin the hurting.
Just a little closer and we can begin the hurting.

Solution: Find a black hole. Nada can direct you to one. Or you can find them yourself after completing the Atlas quest. A single trip through a black hole can fling you 300,000 light years!

Disappointment: It flings you 300,000 light years, but not 300,000 light years towards your goal. Most of the travel is lateral. You only move a tiny bit closer to the center. For my most recent playthrough I did four different black holes, and they consistently moved me about 10,000 towards the center of the galaxy. That saves me about five jumps worth of progress.

But five jumps is still a shortcut, right?

Not even close. Going through a black hole breaks your ship. Several parts (chosen supposedly at random but it always seems to target my super-expensive drive system) will break. It will require exotic resources to repair the parts. The more upgraded your ship, the more the repairs will cost you.

Sure, it might take five minutes to gather up a small pile of common resources for a single jump. But how long will it take to gather a large pile of several different resources, all of which are exotic, and which incidentally will all come from different planetsFrost Crystals only come from snowy worlds, Solanium only comes from inferno planets, etc.? And of course planets with exotic resources are generally more difficult than the paradise playgrounds where you might gather warp fuel.

A black hole might save you a few jumps, but depending on how the dice treat you it could incur hours of opportunity cost. It’s not remotely worth it. Instead, it feels like a cruel prank from a game designer who wants to punish you for attempting to circumvent the grind.

Landing Pad

On the right is MY ship, stuck halfway through a wall and blocking my main entrance. On the left is a rando alien, and his ship is blocking my secondary entrance.
On the right is MY ship, stuck halfway through a wall and blocking my main entrance. On the left is a rando alien, and his ship is blocking my secondary entrance.

I’ve built my base, which is a new thing you can do now. The building interface is pretty good. The bits snap in place and the game always seems to know where I’m trying to put something. It compares very favorably to Bethesda’s unwieldy, unpredictable, and unhelpful base-building interface.

Problem: When you teleport back to your base from a space station, the game brings your spaceship with you. However, it doesn’t know where to park your ship. So it just guesses at where would be a good spot. In my experiments I’ve had a total of five different basesI built a few bases in normal, once in creative, and another in survival.. All of them used different layouts in different locations, and without fail the game has always placed my ship somewhere obnoxious. It usually ends up parked behind my base, stuck halfway through a wall so the wing reaches inside and blocks an important corridor.

So whenever I get back home, I always have to walk outside and manually re-position my ship. Aside from being annoying and inconvenient, it costs resources to do this. So sometimes I get home from adventuring and have to run around outside to gather up resources so I can move my ship so I can walk around inside my base.

Solution: It turns out you can build a landing pad! Wonderful. Obviously the game will park my ship on the landing pad once I’ve constructed it. Not only will it be out of my way, but it should also look cool. The downside is that the landing pad is stupidly expensive. It requires some exotic resources and it takes me a couple of hours to track them all down.

Disappointment: The moment I build my landing pad, an alien craft swoops down from the sky and parks in my spot. I just spent two hours building this parking spot for myself, only to have a useless NPC steal it. I should add that this NPC has no business at my base. There’s no reason for an alien to land here. This is my private base and not a trading hub. I assume this is just the default behavior of the game: If an NPC flies over a landing pad, it will land there and hang around for two minutes. That’s good for making a starport look busy, but I don’t need my base to look like a busy starport. I need to get my spaceship out of the wall.

I can’t boot the guy, either. I just have to wait for him to leave. Once he clears out, I move my ship to the pad before someone else steals my parking spot again.

Then I teleport away. The next time I teleport home, my ship is once again parked in the weeds and an alien is in my expensive parking spot.

Storage Container

I tried to color-code the containers to make organization easier. But there are more than five of some colored items and less than five of others, so it didn't really work.
I tried to color-code the containers to make organization easier. But there are more than five of some colored items and less than five of others, so it didn't really work.

Problem: Inventory Space is way too tight. My pockets are always full. I’ve got six units of some obscure resource taking up an entire slot. Should I dump it? Will I wish I had it later? I’m sick of Alt-Tabbing away from the game to check the stupid wikiWhich is often vague, and is now pretty far out of date. every time my pockets are full just to see if I can afford to throw something out.

Solution: Along with base building, the game has added storage containers. You’ve got to do quite a bit of messing around before you’re allowed to build a container. You’ve got to recruit people, do their quests, and gather resources, even if all you want is a stupid box to put your shit in.

Disappointment: You know how in Fallout 4, you could walk up to your workbench and instantly unload the materials you’d collected and get back to the adventure? And you know how the building interface could automatically draw from storage while you were building? No Man’s Sky doesn’t do this. Instead, the entire storage system has been designed for maximum hassle. Each eight-meter cubic vault holds a measly five items. You can build ten vaults. You need to HOLD a button for a couple of seconds to open a vault.

You can’t hold very much in your pockets, and building consumes a lot of resources, so you’re constantly shuffling back and forth, putting things away and getting them out again.

I wanted these containers so I could do LESS inventory juggling, you obnoxious ass of a game.

Extra Bonus Disappointment: Ten storage containers times fives slots equals fifty unique items. There are a lot more than fifty different items and materials in this game. So you’re still going to have items you can’t store, particularly once you get into the late-game planets and their new resources.


On a planet, where exotic plants are free for the taking.
On a planet, where exotic plants are free for the taking.

Problem: It’s really hard to make money. The next meaningful upgrade to my ship is astronomically expensive. I’m seeing ships for $300 million, and after 25+ hours of gameplay I have about $30 million. I should add that income in this game doesn’t climb on an ever-increasing curve like in an RPG. Despite my steadfast greed, my income has remained pretty linear. Which means if I want ten times as much money I’d need to play ten times as long. Maybe I’m being unreasonable, but I don’t think 250 hours of mindless grinding is a fair cost to alleviate the sodding interface headaches and give myself some space.

There are some tips online for how to speed up making money. One person suggests setting up a farm to grow certain rare materials, and then using those materials to craft a rare resourceThe “super valuable resource” itself is lubricant, which you make using “Gamma Root” and (basically) animal dung. Hello Games, did you look up “lubricant” in the dictionary before you made the game? You probably should have. Look, I’m not objecting to the crafting itself, just don’t call it “lubricant”. Give it some technobabble name..

Solution: In the new version you can recruit a farmer to your base. This is a game mechanic that allows you to grow resources in your base instead of going out and hunting them down. So I recruit a farmer. He gives me a series of quests. Each quest teaches you how to grow a particular plant that yields a particular resource. The resource itself is an ingredient in the plant, so you can’t grow something until you find it in the wild. I’m kind of wondering what I need the farmer for if I’m just re-growing stuff I’ve already found. Maybe growing it in your base is really really fast?

Disappointment: So he’ll send you out to gather Frost Crystals. Once you find some, you can plant a Frost Crystal plant. Now, if you’ve found some that means you’ve been to a planet with Frost Crystals all over the place. If you really need Frost Crystals then the most efficient way to get them is to run around on this planet and gather them yourself. But instead you must sink some of your already-gathered resource into planting. Then you wait for the plant to mature. This can take anywhere from 20 minutes to two and a half hours of real time depending on the plant. Once the plant matures, you return to the farmer and give him your first harvest as proof that you grew the plant.

Dude, you're not a farmer. I'M the farmer. You're just a freeloader.
Dude, you're not a farmer. I'M the farmer. You're just a freeloader.

Which means the farmer is worse than useless. He doesn’t help you get more Frost Crystals. He simply creates a short-term drain on them. It will take a couple of hours for your farm to simply yield enough to replace what you spent doing the quest, and longer still to turn a “profit”.

Worse, your farm needs supervision. Once a plant matures, it stops producing until you come by to harvest it.

Also, the high-tech space-planter needs to periodically be re-poweredOr maybe I’m adding “fertilizer”? I dunno. The game plays really fast-and-loose with this sort of thing and it doesn’t really matter what it’s called. with generic energy resources because I guess in my hi-tech space base I can’t plug the stupid thing into a wall outlet? The harvesting and power-ups happen at different intervals, so you need to return to your base often to fiddle with your plants so they can continue to dribble out their pathetic yield. I can’t help but wonder if someone at Hello Games had to run outside every hour and put change in the parking meter. After a couple of days they started thinking, “This is so fun! I should add this experience to my videogame!”

He doesn’t plant crops. He doesn’t harvest crops. He doesn’t take care of crops. So what is this idiot farmer for?

The game won’t let you build this farming stuff without him, but he doesn’t actually do anything! He sits at this desk all day, literally staring at your plants and not taking care of them. He can’t pick a few Frost Crystals and dump them in a bin for me? I can’t give him a tub of carbon to shove into the machine once an hour to keep it running?

Just to keep it awful, his quests appear in a particular order. So if you’re just really eager to grow some Gamma Root, then you have to put in the hours and hours required to obtain, grow, and harvest all of the plants that come before Gamma Root in the quest chain, whether you care about them or not. Since this is an open-universe sandbox game where you can’t be guaranteed to encounter stuff in a particular order, it means your entire farming questline can end up bottlenecked by one elusive resource. And in the meantime you’ll probably be stockpiling all the plants you suspect you’ll need later. Yeah. Have fun speculating and storing even more inventory.

Extra Bonus Disappointment: This actually doesn’t really solve the money problem. People claim it does. “Once you have the entire farm up and running, you can make a million credits every 15 minutes!” The problem is that it takes many hours to get your farm to such a high level of production, and “A million dollars every fifteen minutes” isn’t all that fast when you’re trying to save a hundred million. And besides, hanging around your base gathering carbon and shoving it into your planters is mind-numbing. This is a game about exploring 18 quintillion planets where this supposed optimal money-making technique isn’t finding rare treasure on alien worlds, but staying home and clicking on machines like you’re playing Farmville.

I haven’t clocked it, but even a fully-expanded farm can’t be much faster than running around on a planet and picking the plants yourself. And it would need to be significantly faster to justify the long setup time and steep opportunity cost.

Trade Interface

*CLICK CLICK CLICK* Just skip the fancy interface animations and scrolling text and take me to the shop!
*CLICK CLICK CLICK* Just skip the fancy interface animations and scrolling text and take me to the shop!

Problem: As I’m building my base, I sometimes need to make a run into the wilderness for more building resources. As a byproduct, I end up with my pockets full of vendor trash that I need to sell. Also, some things in the base require specialty parts. So sometimes I need to make a run to a shop in a space station to unload, and other times I need to make a trip for specialty parts. Making a run to the store requires going through a long loading screen (the teleporter) then hiking from one end of the space station to the other, doing my business, then hiking back and sitting through another load screen. It’s a real killjoy to have to keep doing this while building.

Again, this dumb timesink would be less of a problem if inventory space wasn’t so tight. I know I keep bringing this up, but that’s because this problem infects every aspect of the game.

Solution: It turns out you can build a trade interface inside your base. You can’t do it until you’ve completed the quests for all of your personnel, which means you can’t make it until you’re long finished with your base and you’ve already endured the shopping headaches for hours. Still, better late than never.

As you probably expected, the trade interface is stupid expensive and represents at least an hour of resource-gathering.

Disappointment: The trade interface only allows you to sell items from your personal space, not your ship, which results in the interface shuffle I ranted about last week. Also, this trade interface doesn’t sell the specialty parts I needA Dynamic Resonator., so I still have to make trips to the space station for those.

A New Ship

At launch, finding wrecked ships was a good way to get upgrades. Now they're VERY hard to find, VERY unlikely to be an upgrade, and VERY expensive to restore. Some people say it's worth it, but since changing ships is such a monumental pain in the ass I've become very risk-averse.
At launch, finding wrecked ships was a good way to get upgrades. Now they're VERY hard to find, VERY unlikely to be an upgrade, and VERY expensive to restore. Some people say it's worth it, but since changing ships is such a monumental pain in the ass I've become very risk-averse.

Problem: Inventory space is tight. I’d love to have a ship that can carry more. Also, the ship I’m using now looks like someone welded some quasi-aerodynamic fins to a toaster oven. Sideways. The ship I owned before this one looked like a pair of D Batteries glued to a trackball mouse. Ideally, I’d like to be able to haul more stuff in my ship, and I’d like it to look sleek rather than silly.

Solution: Getting a new ship takes a ton of grinding for money. But worse than that is the silly way you go “shopping” for ships. You have to hang around in the hangar bay of a space station. When a new ship lands, there’s no indicator of what class it is, how much it can haul, or how much it costs. To find out you have to physically walk up to the ship, initiate a conversation with the owner, click through three useless boxes of identical flavor textThe first of which is always gibberish because the “learn alien language” gameplay is now broken., and then click on “offer to buy ship”. Then you can see what you’re buying and what they’re asking. And if the ship isn’t what you’re looking for? Exit the dialog and stand around in the starport with nothing to do for 20 seconds until another ship rolls in and you can try again.

I guess they don’t have Craigslist in space? No used car lots? The only way to shop for ships is to hang out in the parking lot and chat people up, clicking through the same 3 dialog boxes again and again?

Like Grand Theft Auto, the game is more likely to generate ships in the style of the one you already own. This means if you hate your current ship it will be even harder to find an attractive replacement.
Like Grand Theft Auto, the game is more likely to generate ships in the style of the one you already own. This means if you hate your current ship it will be even harder to find an attractive replacement.

This would be sort of tolerable if you were supposed to jump from ship to ship on a whim when you see something cool-looking, but this game is really punishing about changing ships. You lose a ton of value and all your upgrades during the trade-in process, so you’ll want to change ships as rarely as possible. Which means you want to buy the best ship you possibly can for your money. Given the way ships ramp up in price, you’re looking for something in a very specific point on the price range.

This would be outrageous enough if the ships were all random, but about half of them are useless starter ships. So now you’re playing a fishing game where half of the fish are useless duds. Of the other half, some will be smaller, some will be far too expensive, and a very small minority will be in the right price range.

The ships are generated by putting together random parts. This means the vast majority of them are lumpy misfits, a minority of them are acceptable, and a tiny sliver of them look cool. Given what an amazing pain in the ass it is just to find something suitable, it would take astronomically longer to find something suitable and stylish.

If 1 in 20 ships is the right size / price and 1 in 20 ships looks cool, then your odds of finding a ship that is both suitable and stylish is 1 in 400. If ships arrive every 20 seconds then you’re going to wait an average of two hours to find your perfect ship.

Disappointment: Assuming you didn’t spend two hours shopping for ships, you’ve probably got an upgrade that looks like another flying shoebox. That’s a pretty sad outcome after spending so much time and all your money. And just to rub salt in the wound, aliens evidently fly around with all of their energy systems empty. Have fun gathering up new warp fuel, fuel for the launch thruster, and fuel for the mining beam. That stuff ain’t cheap.

Extra Bonus Disappointment: Like I said, you can’t take your upgrades with you. That upgraded warp drive? The super lasers? The shield made of ultra-rare exotic resources? Gone. You can disassemble them before the trade and get half the resources back.

So now after spending all your money you’ve got a ship that’s broken, empty, and still ugly. And now you’ve got to spend an hour tracking down more of those rare resources to rebuild everything. This isn’t so much a “disappointment” as “infuriating”. Basically, you’ve paid this ridiculous price in money, fuel, and opportunity cost so you can have a slightly larger inventory space. Because EVERYTHING in this game revolves around the inventory system.

And So On

My base. I'm kinda happy with how it turned out. Too bad about literally everything else.
My base. I'm kinda happy with how it turned out. Too bad about literally everything else.

The game tantalizes you with locked doors for dozens of hours with no clue how to open them. Then eventually Polo gives you the key and you discover the rooms are filled with completely mundane loot, and often contain no loot at all.

The game tantalizes you with the mysterious blue star systems, but then Polo gives up the warp drive and you realize all you really got was a bunch of additional crap to store.

You make a pilgrimage to the end of the Atlas path and voyage through the mystery of a black hole, and the only reward is that a bunch of expensive equipment on your ship gets broken and you need to track down the rare resources to fix it.

You work for hours to unlock the exocraft only to find out they’re really inconvenient and expensive to deploy, they’re difficult to use on uneven terrain, their cargo capacity is minuscule, they’re impractical to use on planets where their fuel isn’t plentiful, and their mining laser is slower than the upgraded multi-tool you’ve been using.

Everything is like this. You’re constantly chasing one mirage after another, always hoping that on the next world you’ll find the magic upgrade or unlock the gizmo that unshackles you from the annoyances the game keeps throwing at you. But each reward is itself just a new way to annoy you.

Yes, eventually you do escape the inventory blues and alleviate some of the interface headaches. But by that time you’ve basically completed the game. The disappointment in this game isn’t the graphical downgrade people complained about. It’s not the bugs, the threadbare quasi-story, or the simplistic combat mechanics. The disappointment in this game is built into its DNA.

Hello Games needs an intervention. They need someone on their team (or maybe multiple someones?) that can design a set of mechanics to compliment their planetary / lifeform procgen engine.

Shamus, if this game sucks so bad then why are you still playing it?

I’ll answer that next week, as well as go over a few things that I like about the updates.



[1] It takes 3 seconds to scroll the map 1,000 light years, so during your journey you’ll spend half an hour just scrolling the map!

[2] DON’T use the in-game course plotting. It will suggest jumps far shorter than what you can do, which will double or triple your costs. You need to manually navigate through the map and find the furthest star you can reach.

[3] Frost Crystals only come from snowy worlds, Solanium only comes from inferno planets, etc.

[4] I built a few bases in normal, once in creative, and another in survival.

[5] Which is often vague, and is now pretty far out of date.

[6] The “super valuable resource” itself is lubricant, which you make using “Gamma Root” and (basically) animal dung. Hello Games, did you look up “lubricant” in the dictionary before you made the game? You probably should have. Look, I’m not objecting to the crafting itself, just don’t call it “lubricant”. Give it some technobabble name.

[7] Or maybe I’m adding “fertilizer”? I dunno. The game plays really fast-and-loose with this sort of thing and it doesn’t really matter what it’s called.

[8] A Dynamic Resonator.

[9] The first of which is always gibberish because the “learn alien language” gameplay is now broken.

From The Archives:

144 thoughts on “No Man’s Sky One Year Later: The Disappointment Engine

  1. Daemian Lucifer says:

    You have to craft a suspension fluid


    then craft that into electron vapor


    then craft that into antimatter


    then craft that into warp fuel.

    But……but that doesnt even….I….what???Da fuq more are you doing with anttimater,presumably already contained somehow,to turn it into fuel?Refine it more????Contain it once again?????Turn it into uber matter???????Why the hell is this step even there????????

    Thats like saying that before you can pour gasoline in your car you have to pour it into a different tank first.Because why the fuck not.

    1. Droid says:

      That’s exactly what I was thinking when I read that paragraph. Like, why, just why?!

      1. Veylon says:

        I don’t know why, but the same nonsense is present in many of the Minecraft mods. There are a bunch of intermediaries for a particular thing that exist for no other reason than to make crafting the particular thing take more steps.

        1. Droid says:

          It might be necessary sometimes when you really, absolutely, have to make the recipe expensive, and do not have the right amount in already implemented expensive blocks (say, you need 4 of every metal bar, or something). Then, crafting that something is not going to be possible in a 3×3 grid without intermediaries.

          Most of the time, it’s indefensible, though. “I had fun making these recipes” is not a good reason for them being there, even in a free mod.

          That said, I pretty much only played Agrarian Skies.

        2. GloatingSwine says:

          There’s a persistent myth in the gaming community that complexity is depth.

          This usually manifests in adding lots of fiddling steps to a simple process or having lots and lots of almost identical options.

        3. PoignardAzur says:

          Like GloatingSwine, people often think complexity is depth.

          You see this *a lot* with amateur game designers. Basically, it’s a result of a baseline game/mod development process. First you design your game and its rules, then you implement then, then you test them. When implementing the rules, you have a small “incentive” to go “Hmm, I cold add this and this”; every time you invent a component or a new step the player has to go through, you feel like you’ve added something to your game, some small amount of quality that might make all the difference.

          Since there’s often a long gap between designing the rules and testing them, and by the point you start testing you’re pretty familiar with the rules and pretty attached to them, it’s really easy to miss the downside of feature creep and imagine you’ve made an interesting system.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Its not even real complexity.The additional steps just increase the time of the task without actually making it any more complex.

          2. Ragathol says:

            FortressCraft: Evolved really suffers from this in the higher tiers. I like the game, but it really makes a thing out of being more and more painful the further you get. You can technically automate the process, but setting up a factory for just one thing you need several of will take hours of grinding (or waiting) for the required resources, then designing and building the very complex chain that will get all the resources to the right place, and it will likely demand a lot of energy too.

    2. Daimbert says:

      Turn it into a fuel rod, maybe?

    3. Pete_Volmen says:

      Maybe it’s like with printer cartridges? You’re not really paying for the ink, but for the.DRM system in the cartridge .Like a power bank, it’s not just a battery, it has regulator stuff on it so you don’t draw too much at once.

    4. DwarfWarden says:

      Who doesn’t love monotonous crafting fractals that are necessary to continue playing the game interrupting gameplay every 20 minutes or so?

  2. Daimbert says:

    The moment I build my landing pad, an alien craft swoops down from the sky and parks in my spot. I just spent two hours building this parking spot for myself, only to have a useless NPC steal it.

    To paraphrase AC/DC:

    “Hey, hello, how ya doin’ Mr NPC alien? Oh, yeah … get your ******* spaceship outta my spaceport!”

    1. FelBlood says:

      So, is the landing pad supposed to be for shopping for ships from the comfort of your own base?

      I guess grinding credits while shopping to spend them might alleviate the worst parts of both activities, but it doesn’t seem like this is something the game actually wants you to do, so much as something that just happens.

    2. Rane2k says:

      You know, I think this is how wars are started. (Or at least neighborhood feuds.)

  3. PPX14 says:

    Haha particularly at the end there it sounds like this game is an analogy for the struggles of life!

    Yes, eventually you do escape the inventory blues and alleviate some of the interface headaches. But by that time you've basically completed the game.

    1. Tizzy says:

      So far, aging has only deepened my inventory blues. I dread retirement! And don’t get me started on interface headaches… ;-)

  4. Zekiel says:

    Well, on the plus side, listening to you rant about poorly-thought-through gameplay systems pretty much never gets old.

    It really is baffling that they haven’t fixed at least some of these problems generated by the inventory, given that they’re still updating the game. I’m playing through Witcher 3 at the moment and I’m still constantly impressed by how many of the painful problems with the crafting interface from Witcher 2 have been fixed by this game. It’s not perfect, but its so much less irritating than the dialogue-tree-hopping memory game that was crafting in its predecessor.

    1. djw says:

      Judging from Shamus description of the game I think the developers might be psychologically incapable of actually fixing the inventory problem.

  5. Joshua says:

    There’s no… for all of this hassle/grind is there? It looks like the F2P/store model along with its attached grind has infected game design enough that even games without a purchasable opt-out include tedious grind as a game mechanic.

    It looks like we’re regressing in game mechanics. Remember the old RPGs from the 80s where you did little but get into random combats for dozens of hours to level up enough just to work on the main quests (Ultima/Bard’s Tale/Dragon Warrior). Then remember how game designers realized that pointless busywork was soon becoming an annoyance and found out new ways to fill the game time while still allowing players to progress and enjoy the game? Let’s erase those last 20-30 years or so.

    1. BlueHorus says:

      This system as described by Shamus has Fee-To-Pay written all over it:
      It’s technically possible to do everything, but really annoying – unless you pay Sony/Hello Games extra money to alleviate it.
      That’s the only explanation that makes sense to me (beyond speculating about the mental state of the game designers).

      But then again, if there WAS an in-game store, surely we’d know by now. There would be negative reviews and angry articles and no end of trouble online.

      1. ElementalAlchemist says:

        I have to wonder if the original intent was to make it, if not F2P then at least pretty cheap, supported by lots of microtransactions. Then Sony entered the picture and hyped it up, so they decided to sell it as a full price game. I guess the fact that it doesn’t have microtransactions is at least something to be thankful for (if it was a typical studio-based AAA game from the likes of EA, Activision, etc. it probably would have both the $60 price tag and the microtransactions).

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          My guess is that someone on the team actually liked early f2p game mechanics.Which,admittedly werent as awful as current ones,but still arent that satisfying.

          And its not like you cant make a good game actually using those,as stardew valley and slime rancher have shown.Though neither of those is 60 schmeckles.

          1. Nimrandir says:

            I got really confused about this for a minute and started trying to figure out where Stardew Valley was hiding its microtransactions. Then I realized it was the mechanics you were describing.

            My bad.

        2. Droid says:

          Is “does not have microtransactions” really a positive in this regard, though? I always thought that the problem was the kind of game loop that comes naturally to f2p models with microtransactions: Making progress very, very repetitive, slow and boring, to incentivize people to give you money. NMS now has the very, very repetitive, slow and boring mechanics, but without any way to skip them! You have all the bad consequences, and not even any benefit to anyone from it.

          1. ElementalAlchemist says:

            Is “does not have microtransactions” really a positive in this regard, though?

            Positive in the same manner as “I stepped on a landmine and lost all my limbs, and now I shit into a bag strapped to my chest. But at least I’m still alive, right?”. Just depends on how much of a bright side you see in things.

        3. guy says:

          I feel like they were planning that with Dragon Age Inquisition’s War Table.

          1. ElementalAlchemist says:

            Inquisition was originally intended to be some sort of multiplayer thing, like a fantasy Battlefield. That’s why it has a bunch of maps full of nothing, is crammed with inane filler FedEx/collection sidequests, and features a terrible and half-assed narrative. So microtransactions were probably intended, although I suspect the war table table thing was more just another cheap and easy way of padding out the content after they tried to turn it into a single player game.

  6. Daemian Lucifer says:

    DON'T use the in-game course plotting. It will suggest jumps far shorter than what you can do, which will double or triple your costs. You need to manually navigate through the map and find the furthest star you can reach.


    The moment I build my landing pad, an alien craft swoops down from the sky and parks in my spot.

    Ah,so the game simulates dick neighbors.

    You can build ten vaults.


    You need to HOLD a button for a couple of seconds to open a vault.

    Yeah,I dont get why games are doing this.It has its uses,like when you are sneaking and want to choke out someone carefully,or when you are in a hurry and want to open a door,or something tense like that,when time is precious.But why do you have to hold button to initiate a conversation in a safe place?To do shit in your inventory?To confirm a dialogue box?Its one of the most baffling conventions of modern games.


    Ah,the classic f(r)ee to pay mechanic.Only without paying.Is that better or worse?

    Just to keep it awful, his quests appear in a particular order.

    This seems to be the tradition in this game.But havent we moved away from this practice some 10 years ago?

    1. Bloodsquirrel says:

      Yeah,I dont get why games are doing this.It has its uses,like when you are sneaking and want to choke out someone carefully,or when you are in a hurry and want to open a door,or something tense like that,when time is precious.But why do you have to hold button to initiate a conversation in a safe place?To do shit in your inventory?To confirm a dialogue box?Its one of the most baffling conventions of modern games.

      It makes sense for context-sensitive actions when accidentally performing the action would incur a cost. For example, sometimes conversations take a long time to enter and leave. Or if that dialog box could have been accidentally clicked through and missed, or confirms something that the player might not want. Destiny uses it for doing irreversible actions in the inventory (like disassembling weapons). It’s a godsend when it stops you from entering a zone, then immediately leaving it because the game positioned the camera such that you wind up running straight out of the zone as soon as you load it if you’re got the stick pushed forward.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        All of those have been solved,and better,by doing other things.Lengthy conversation intros and stuff like that?Shorten it,or make them skippable.Selling off valuable inventory stuff?Rebuy option.Entering a new zone or permanently destroying a thing?A confirmation dialogue.Although this is maaaybe the only place where holding the use button for a bit can replace such a thing.

      2. KarmaTheAlligator says:

        That’s really no excuse to use the thing. How about designing the game properly so you don’t face the exit when spawning? Or confirmation dialogues for irreversible stuff? Also you can’t tell me opening a vault/storage is such an important thing that it would need that kind of interaction.

        There’s also the fact those ‘hold to do X’ can get very painful for some people. The Long Dark has everything done that way, too, except it includes an option to have that changed to a single click instead of click and hold (you still need to wait for the circle to fill up, which takes a second or two, but you only need to click once, and it works fine).

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          The long dark at least has the excuse that time is precious,and while you are fiddling with the inventory,your temperature is still dropping while your hunger and thirst are rising.Some games and some interactions do justify click and hold,but to apply it to everything just because some other games are doing it is poorly thought out and lazy.

          The same goes for crafting,skill progressions,inventory limits,and every other mechanic.If it doesnt enhance the game you are designing,you should not put it in.

        2. Jonathan says:

          The problem with confirmation boxes, is that barely anybody reads what they say and just clicks through them. Do you read every confirmation box that pops up in computer interfaces in full? If the answer is no, then that is unfortunately not a very good solution if a developer really wants someone to know what they’re doing.

          The ‘holding a button method’ actually helps deal with that problem from what my colleagues tell me as people can’t easily do it accidentally. Sure, call it a user error if they ignore a confirmation box, but that doesn’t mean people don’t get angry and annoyed and come with guns blazing at the developers.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            You dont need to read it.Its there for the split second “Shit,I didnt want to do that” decisions where youd just click no.But unlike holding the button,the mere appearance of the confirmation dialogue can snap you out of the mindless clicking you were doing and gives you a better opportunity to back out.

      3. default_ex says:

        I have yet to really see it used for context sensitive actions though.

        Honestly the hold button mechanic feels more like developers trying to tackle the problem of having too many actions. Instead of tackling the problem by either reducing the amount of actions, concatenating similar actions onto the same bindings or allowing us to bind the multiple actions onto a single key.

        The first time I found myself exposed to holding a button does something different than pressing it was X3. That game is was needed to double the amount of keys you have available because you really did need that many keys to control a fleet. The first time I found myself genuinely annoyed by it was Fallout 4, specifically the flashlight. It doesn’t even take me that long to turn on the flashlight on my cell phone; my cell phone requires waking it, sliding down the lock screen menu and tapping the flashlight icon. If it took me that long to turn on the light on my cell phone, I would still carry a key chain LED flashlight.

        There’s really no excuses on a keyboard. Hold to action for anything more than dramatic effect is ignoring how expansive your control devices are.

        1. Droid says:

          You played Albion Prelude with a controller? How was it?

        2. Nimrandir says:

          The first time I found myself genuinely annoyed by it was Fallout 4, specifically the flashlight.

          I always presumed that was a concession to console controllers. I’m playing Fallout on a PS4, and I literally do not have a button free for the flashlight. It might have been nice to have it on the touchpad instead of a button hold, but I don’t think the Xbone has that extra button.

          Working from the assumption that the PC version does the same thing — Bethesda gonna be Bethesda?

  7. Bloodsquirrel says:

    The downside is that the landing pad is stupidly expensive.

    Wait, what? It’s a landing pad. You make those out of concrete. If your ship can land in the grass, what could the landing pad possibly need exotic resources for?

    1. Syal says:

      The landing pads offer complimentary shoe shine. Considering the enormous range of what counts as shoes in the universe, the shoeshine machine is remarkably complex.

      That’s also why aliens keep parking on his landing pad for a couple of minutes; they’re cleaning their shoes.

      1. MelTorefas says:

        It is a testament to everything I have read about this game on this website that I legitimately do not know if you are joking here.

        (Though I *suspect* you are. xD)

        1. TheJungerLudendorff says:

          I refuse to believe that this game let’s you have anything for free.
          Either that shoeshine is made of the most expensive resources in the galaxy, and need a regular refill, or everyone BUT you can get their footwear spiffed up. In which case it will be free of charge and have infinite supply.

    2. KarmaTheAlligator says:

      Did you look at that landing pad? It has er, er, lights, maybe? A little extra space to store some crates? Of course all of that luxury is going to be stupidly expensive.

      1. TheJungerLudendorff says:

        Do you have any idea how expensive all that empty air is nowadays? You only have a whole planet of free space, of course it will get expensive quickly!

  8. Ani-kun says:

    The game tantalizes you with locked doors for dozens of hours with no clue how to open them. Then eventually Polo gives you the key and you discover the rooms are filled with completely mundane loot, and often contain no loot at all.

    Insert pithy comparison to Fallout 4 once again. So few games do loot right :(

  9. Galad says:

    “I just spent two hours building this parking spot for myself, only to have a useless NPC steal it.”

    My actual real life reaction: Woooooooow O_O

    There’s no way this wasn’t intentional trolling for whatever reason. Man, if I’d bought this game for anything more than 1 euro, I’d have been FURIOUS at this kind of shit. I’d have probably written a useless steam forum post with a lot of asterisks and hearts (censored words) that’d get me banned from this game’s forums :D

    1. Mintskittle says:

      What gets me about this is that when Shamus finally got his ship parked on the pad, he teleported away, and when he returned, the ship was not on the pad where he left it, and an NPC ship was parked there again. As far as I can tell, the pad serves no useful purpose. Hell, it looks like every new addition since launch doesn’t serve any useful purpose. Seriously, has anyone at Hello Games actually ever played a game before, because NMS seems built only to frustrate the player.

      1. KarmaTheAlligator says:

        The only way this makes sense to me is if they have a plan for everything (obviously very flawed) and they’re just going ahead with that plan, no matter what, while ignoring the feedback.

  10. MarsLineman says:

    Shamus, while I certainly agree that there are many small frustrations built into the experience of NMS, I think some of your frustrations come from your role as a time-compressed reviewer. If you play the game the way it seems the developers intended (as a relaxed exploration simulator), a lot of these headaches disappear.

    For example, you mention the resource costs to build warp cells. And if you want to reach the center of the galaxy as quickly as possible, you’re absolutely right that the resource cost is prohibitive.

    But if you wander freely about the surface of planets, instead of driving straight ahead with the goal of covering distance, you’ll find that electron vapor and antimatter are strewn about (in atlas v.1 containers) at almost every point of interest. I come across these materials so frequently that I currently have an entire storage unit holding nothing but spare warp cells, antimatter, and electron vapor (enough surplus to make roughly 30 warps in a row, if I desired).

    Likewise, the farming is decidedly frustrating if your goal is to make money as quickly as possible. But if you hop back to base each time you need to drop off materials between bouts of exploration, you’ll find that a well-organized biodome can yield a quick harvest worth millions of crafted materials with each visit. Interspersed loosely with exploring, it adds up quickly. (They’ve also patched in high $ rewards for scanning flora/fauna via exploring- hundreds of thousands of units per single animal/ plant now (with the appropriate multi-tool upgrades)).

    Same thing goes with finding new ships- if you set a specific goal of finding a new ship, it becomes a frustrating endeavor. But if instead you accept that every ship you encounter is purchasable (including the one currently taking your parking spot at base), and that crashed ships are strewn about loosely on the surface of many planets, you may find that the opportunity for new ships comes your way very frequently. It’s also worth noting that with the purchase of a freighter, you can purchase new ships without getting rid of your old one, storing up to 6-8 different ships aboard the freighter (I currently have 5).

    Basically, this game is about going with the flow (as decided by the game designers), and taking your time exploring new and beautiful worlds. Setting distinct time-sensitive goals for yourself is a very good way to become frustrated with the game, and seems to be anathema to the game’s central philosophy. Which is that nothing matters, so just relax and enjoy the view.

    This is why NMS is really a niche game. If you approach it like a conventional game with distinct goals, you end up frustrated. But if instead you treat it like a relaxed exploration simulator, the game finds ways to reward your actions.

    1. BlueHorus says:

      Silly old Shamus, thinking he payed $60 to play a game he bought the way he wanted to.
      Should have been playing it the way the devs wanted him to from the start!

      …this sounds more confrontational than I actually feel. It sounds like you’re enjoying NMS, so more power to you.

      Personally, I’d find endlessly wandering around a RNG-created universe pointless and would be in the same boat as Shamus.
      ‘Where’s the story? How do I move on? What’s the point?
      Why is it so annoying?’

    2. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      I go back and forth on these reviews. Some of this actually sounds very similar to the way I will play Skyrim when I’m ignoring the quests -“hmm, the house overlooking Windhelm really needs some new light fixtures. I think I’ll head into town and pick up some glass. While I’m at it, I might wander over to the forest to hunt some dear…”

      If I was trying to “build a house” or “complete the game” I’d probably find it very frustrating, but in those moments of “simulated Skyrim citizen,” I don’t mind.

      On the flip side -the reason I’ve stopped playing Skyrim is because it really is a pain in the neck to complete the game while also building the house and running the homestead. And the inventory system there is a big part of the problem, too (stone and clay are heavy, and you need a lot of random junk raw materials).

      I got Skyrim as part of the Anthology. So figure I really spent $20 on it. When No Man’s Sky hits that figure, I might consider it.

    3. Genericide says:

      From what it seems like though, Shamus isn’t against relaxed play or taking in the sights. After all, the game has been out for quite a while and he’s racked up many hours. These constant interruptions are keeping him from the flow the developers supposedly intend. The obnoxious inventory troubles sound like they’d give me more stress than relaxation. Why not fix all those annoying intermediary steps and just make the goals take longer? Also, I can understand there’s a certain joy to be found in random events, but things like ship customization seem the wrong place to do that. The personalization is a big part of the fun.

    4. Hector says:

      I was going to echo the other posters in response, but I decided against repeating them.

      Instead, I will ask a question: So what?

      Let’s assume that everything MarsLineman writes here is 100%, irrefutably, objectively true. Now, let’s ask a further question: Does that actually matter? Would this be a defence of the game’s quality even if it were true?

      I don’t exactly accept that you need to zone into some kind of braindead state of mindless acceptance to enjoy any game. At that point, what does it matter what game you’re playing? Would it even be worth it to play a game, as opposed to just having a kind of interactive screensaver that generates a nifty planet? If this isn’t a game, why, exactly, does it have goals, objectives, accomplishments, and measurements of your progress?

      One line I often hear from people defending bad multiplayer titles is that it was fun when they played it with their friends. To which the obvious response is, “Yeah. So?” Lots of things are fun with your friends but not that enjoyable otherwise. Bad games can be a blast when played together, but that says nothing at all about the game and a great deal about the people. Defending NMS on the grounds that it’s really fun if you completely turn your brain off (so that you can ignore the numerous shockingly bad mechanics and poor design choices) is exactly the same kind of deal. You’re being asked to ignore the question of quality of design in favor of a much different question, applicable only to a very narrow set of circumstances.

      Also, honestly, it’s still asking you to ignore the terrible mechanics that actively get in the way of that for the majority of gamers, judging by the reviews on Steam. And it’s still $60, which is sort of insulting.

      1. MarsLineman says:

        Check out the recent reviews on Steam- since the 1.3 patch, the reviews are “mostly positive” (over 1000 reviews). They’ve made tremendous strides in adding material to the game, and in cleaning up many of the mechanics. Even since Shamus started writing this series, many of his complaints have been addressed- inventory management has been streamlined, long clicks in menus have been reduced, flight navigation via mouse has been improved, crafting mechanics have been greatly improved, and exploration has been made much more lucrative.

        The devs obviously made a lot of mistakes along the way, but they’ve been working very hard to address the mechanical issues and to flesh out their original concept. And for someone like me, who enjoyed the game at launch despite its many faults, it’s become my favorite, most-played game in many years.

        1. MarsLineman says:

          I’ll just add that NMS is basically the gaming equivalent of taking a long hike. You don’t accomplish anything by hiking, and if you set out with specific goals in mind (I’ll walk x number of steps, I’ll climb the top of this mountain, I’ll lose weight, etc) you might find the experience frustrating. And while the experience is certainly meaningless- you’re not accomplishing or building anything- I wouldn’t call it mindless. Rather it’s about allowing yourself to simply take in the environment, without goals, and without ego.

          If you’re the sort of person who enjoys taking long hikes (without concrete goals in mind), you may genuinely enjoy NMS. But if taking a nature walk sounds pointless and boring to you, you’ll probably find NMS similarly pointless and boring. Personally, as someone who enjoys taking hikes more than almost anything, NMS scratches that particular itch like no other game I’ve played.

          1. Paul Spooner says:

            Sure, if you don’t have any goals and just want to look at scenery in an unhurried way, then the sandbox mode could be really fulfilling. But that’s not what Shamus is addressing, and if that’s the only thing NMS is good at, then they sure cluttered up the game with a bunch of completely worthless mechanics, didn’t they?

            If it was just a hiking around game, why have inventory and crafting? People don’t build stuff while hiking! In fact, you are expressly forbid from taking stuff on most hiking trails! So why is there this sprawling inventory, trade, and crafting system?
            When you get on a bus to take you closer to the spot you want to go hiking, you know where the bus is going to go, and it doesn’t take you to some random bus stop where you fall down the steps, knock out some teeth on the sidewalk, and the bus driver drives off with your luggage. So why is the black hole system so punitive?
            You don’t do farming while on a hike. Your backpack holds enough food for you to live for days while you’re on a hike. And most notable of all, the scenery changes while you’re on a hike, without having to travel to a completely different planet!

            If you like the game, that’s fine. I’ve never played it, so I wouldn’t know. But the justifications you are offering aren’t convincing to me. For an experience like the one you described, I would lean more toward a game like Proteus that isn’t proposing to do anything else.

            1. MarsLineman says:

              I think maybe we have different definitions of a “long hike”. To me, a long hike (meaning more than one day) certainly does involve some amount of “crafting” and “building”- you need to build a campsite, craft a fire, cook your food, find/boil/ filter your water. If you have the skills and your park allows, you can forage for plants/ mushrooms/ berries, and maybe do some hunting/ fishing. Any of these activities could be considered to have goals, but they remain secondary to the main purpose of hiking, which (to me) is exploration.

              Likewise, hiking certainly involves obstacles- hunger, thirst, exhaustion, bugs, inclement weather. I’ve had a dog attack a porcupine (with predictable results), had a bear visit my tent at night, had my sister come down with a kidney infection. I’ve followed the wrong river for several miles and gotten severely lost in a torrential downpour. Exploration, even in today’s world, is laced with obstacles and difficulties.

              To me, the secondary systems in NMS (building, crafting, farming) remain in service to the main purpose of the game, much like the secondary activities during hiking (camping, cooking, foraging, hunting) remain in service to the main purpose of hiking- which in both cases is exploration. And like the obstacles you encounter while hiking, NMS throws in a few difficulties to keep things interesting.

              Many people hate hiking, and I certainly don’t begrudge them their opinion. There are many ways to become frustrated, and there are many difficulties along the way. Similarly, NMS puts many possible frustrations/ obstacles in the path of the player, and I’m not surprised that many people dislike the game. But for people like me, who enjoy exploration more than almost anything, NMS offers a unique experience, with the closest facsimile of exploration I’ve found in any game. Which is why it’s become my favorite game in many years.

          2. Hypatia says:

            I like going on walks. I do not like having a ton of busy work for no reason on walks. If I turn over a log, I am doing it because I want to see what is under the log rather than because I need to upgrade my backpack and the log might have the resource needed to craft the upgrade under it.

            Eurotruck Simulator is a great example of a relaxation game because there is so little busy work you need to keep track of and much of the little that you need to keep track of can be turned off like sleeping.

          3. Hector says:

            While I might, again, have echoed other commenters, I’m instead going to focus on the one group that definitely does not seem to agree with you: the developers.

            Hello Games does not appear to share your opinion, because far from concentrating on an unhurried exploration sandbox, they have actively doubled-down on adding more grinding, busywork, and goals. In fact, NMS was always about the goals. Hello Games went to considerable trouble to push players into always making progress towards them, and even put in multiple major overlapping goals so the player can basically not avoid them. If the games were about purely experiencing the fun and exploration elements, then all – not some, but all – of the games fundamental mechanics are broken at a basic level. And what Hello Games has been doing is in the exact opposite direction of what you describe.

            Further, pointing to reviews only goes so far, because so few players are actually engaging now, which means those who are, and are leaving reviews, are a very self-selecting bunch at this point. It’s had a couple good bumps, but the game as a whole dropped a cliff almost immediately and has not attracted an audience.

            Finally, however, I’m honestly glad that you enjoy the game. I even completely understand why the game appeals to some people. But there’s nothing wrong with liking a game that isn’t really very good, and it doens’t mean you have to defend the indefensible. And no man can improve a game, or critique a game, if unwilling to look honestly at the flaws.

            1. MarsLineman says:

              “Hello Games does not appear to share your opinion, because far from concentrating on an unhurried exploration sandbox, they have actively doubled-down on adding more grinding, busywork, and goals.”

              In the latest updates, Hello Games significantly reduced the grind associated with exploring- hazard protection now lasts much longer and needs to be recharged much less often, scanning new plants/ animal species now pays mega-bucks etc. Exploration has been made far less busy, and far more lucrative. I’m not sure where you’re getting your info.

              On a larger level, I’m simply expressing my opinion of the game, and explaining why I enjoy it. You’re telling me that my opinion is wrong, and that the game I (and apparently many other Steam users) find enjoyable is “bad”.

              I specifically called NMS a niche game, that only appeals to a certain kind of person. This doesn’t change the fact that the game has a unique appeal, which I personally find very enjoyable. And I’m not sure you can call over 1000 “mostly positive” recent reviews on Steam (which is every review since the Atlas Rises update put NMS back in the news, and back on the Steam best-seller list) a small self-selecting bunch. Clearly I’m not alone in enjoying the updated NMS.

              1. MarsLineman says:

                My mistake- “recent reviews” on Steam only goes back one month. If you extend the date range to include all the reviews since Atlas Rises (which dropped on 8/11), you get 2,742 “Very Positive” reviews.

    5. Idonteveknow says:

      Except Shamus isn’t a “time-compressed reviewer”. He’s coming back to talk about this game a year after launch, playing the game at his own pace, on a site where he doesn’t even really review games as they come out.

      Case in point: He’s doing a Borderlands retrospective, on a series of games that have been out for the better part of a decade. He did a short review on the three Diablo titles, the first of which released over twenty years ago, and the last of which released over three years ago.

      His grievances have nothing to do with being short on time and feeling like he needs to meet some sort of deadline. Rather, his grievances are about the way the game wastes your time, no matter who you are.

      1. MarsLineman says:

        In last week’s column, Shamus specifically mentioned (in the comments) that he hadn’t played NMS in a week and a half. Which means that he hasn’t played the game since several major patches were issued, which have addressed many of the shortcomings he’s been writing about. Everything from crafting to ship handling to inventory management to money-making has been overhauled since Shamus began this series.

        It also means that Shamus played the game for many hours in a relatively short period of a few weeks. In my experience, this game is best enjoyed in short spurts (a few hours at a time), spaced out in a relaxed manner over many weeks.

        Shamus’s two series on NMS were written at arguably the worst two times to be playing the game- immediately after launch when the game was in an unstable, un-optimized state. And then immediately after the 1.3 update, which massively changed/ expanded the game while introducing a number of new bugs/ issues (that were later ironed out in patches after Shamus stopped playing).

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Which means that he hasn't played the game since several major patches were issued, which have addressed many of the shortcomings he's been writing about.

          The same thing has been said about the last year of patches and his earlier complaints.Are you telling me that a full year of patches and upgrading did next to nothing to fix the things he complained about,making some things even worse even,yet a single week did?

          1. Paul Spooner says:

            Yeah, that seemed implausible to me, but the last two patches were both in September, and they purport to address several interface concerns, as well as improving ship purchasing.

            Of course, no mention of improving black hole functionality, landing pads, or the ever-obnoxious minuscule inventory size.

            1. MarsLineman says:

              It does seem strange that Hello Games waited over a year to address many of the complaints that have been leveled since launch. But since each previous update drastically changed/ expanded the game, I’m guessing they decided to make completing the feature-set their first priority. And now that the game is relatively feature-complete, they’ve turned towards addressing mechanical/ interface shortcomings with each patch since 1.3 hit in August.

        2. Paul Spooner says:

          I guess we’ll see if Shamus goes back and checks after the latest patch. Maybe we’ll get more info in next week’s post.
          To me, the largest offense is that each planet has only a single biome. WTF.
          Also just baffling, this note on the very latest patch (1.37) “Added “Upload All” button on the discovery page” How has it taken them this long to add such completely obvious functionality?

  11. Paul Spooner says:

    Got to hand it to you, now I’m really fascinated to know why you’re still playing this apparently miserable game. Thanks for doing it so we don’t have to!

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      He spent 60 Schmeckles on it,and by god he is going to wring every last ounce of content out of it.

      1. Droid says:

        That reminds me: Could the Sunk Cost Fallacy have been a goal in their game design?

        1. Paul Spooner says:

          Well, sure. You can back your way into any motivation with enough effort.

          1. TheJungerLudendorff says:

            I think this game was designed by Crowley the demon from Good Omens.

            1. Nah. NMS sounds like the kind of experience that would cause Crowley to marvel at humankind’s amazing capacity to inventively grief itself. Probably it’d have him writing a memo to Hell to that effect.

  12. Hal says:

    I think I’m missing something fundamental here. This is a game about wandering a vast, nearly infinite void of space and exploring the endless planets across that cosmic span, right?

    So why can you build a base? That implies you’re limiting yourself to a particular area. Which is the exact opposite of what the game is about.

    I don’t get it.

    1. Randy M says:

      Doubly so a farm!

      1. MarsLineman says:

        You can teleport to your base from any space-station in the galaxy

        1. Hal says:

          Ah, so we’re making it a JJ Abrams/nuTrek problem.

          I mean, if you have teleportation technology that has no limit in terms of the distance it can cover, space travel is obsolete. But then, I’m guessing the game wouldn’t let you teleport between space stations that way. Because reasons.

          1. MarsLineman says:

            You can teleport between systems/ space-stations. And there’s an in-game reason for this- the universe is a simulation

            1. Hal says:

              I’m going to guess you can only teleport between space stations you’ve visited already?

              1. MarsLineman says:


                1. Hal says:

                  Figures. As good a mechanic as it is that you can teleport back and forth between systems you’ve already visited, it really does come off as very “gamey.” It’s no longer about technology, it’s just a game mechanic at that point.

                  1. MarsLineman says:

                    Definitely agree. And the spoiler I posted above reinforces the meaninglessness of the whole experience. It’s really about just relaxing, going along for the ride, and seeing some pretty sights- if that goes against your personality/ preferences, you probably won’t like the game.

    2. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      Can the base be relocated at any time?

      1. Stu Friedberg says:

        Can the base be relocated at any time?

        Yes. There’s a convenient resource-lossy way, and a less convenient resource-preserving way. But essentially, you find another base site (can only build a base at specific base sites) and claim it. Done.

  13. Randy M says:

    The ship trading sounds like a prisoners dilemma devolved to defect/ defect. You don’t trust the seller to have any upgrades, so you sell all yours at a loss before trading. Presumably the npc does the same (looking at it from an in world perspective). So you both lose, and he doesn’t even bother filling up the gas tank for you.

  14. Somniorum says:

    It’s possible they’ve changed this since release (but probably not), but… if they haven’t…

    Another annoying thing, related to buying ships, is that the ships they generate are always within a specific range COMPARABLE TO YOUR SHIP. So, you could go around grinding for more and more money till you’re ridiculously rich with the goal of buying the best ship out there, but you won’t be able to because the game only generates ships that are a bit worse or a bit better than yours.

    So you buy one that’s a bit better, with the goal of being able to buy something better than THAT later… but this ultimately costs a lot more money, since you buy multiple ships that you didn’t want at all. It’s like if you wanted a really nice car, and you worked hard to get enough money to buy a Jaguar or something, but you go to the dealership and they decide you’re not ready for it and you need to buy six or so cars, ramping up in price and quality, before they’ll give you the opportunity to buy that Jag.

    1. MarsLineman says:

      They changed this. Now, the ships in each system are determined by the system’s economy type/ wealth (and the economy type/ wealth can be scanned from the galaxy map with the an economy scanner- wealthier systems have more expensive ships, mining economies have more haulers, etc).

      1. Somniorum says:

        Cool! Well, at least this was made better : )

  15. Syal says:

    In the farming section, “can’t get plug the stupid thing”.

  16. MadTinkerer says:

    I’ve been playing HuniePop recently, and what you’re describing sounds to me like the polar opposite of HuniePop.

    In HuniePop, not only is each individual activity satisfying because success leads to short-term gains and audio and visual stimulation, but each short-term success (like a match or correct answer) leads to progress in another part of the game, and success at the immediate goals leads to easing the difficulty curve in another part of the game. So even if you fail a date, you still get a resource to spend on the conversation meta-minigame. Then, even if you fail a question, you still get some hunie towards increasing your stats and making dates easier.

    Tactical success (match 3) leads to easing the difficulty of strategy (what do I spend my munie and hunie on) which leads to easing the difficulty of logistics (buying enough stuff to talk long enough to find out what they want), which leads to easing the difficulty of tactics. As soon as you learn to get good at one part, the game mechanically incentivizes you to also get good at the other parts.

    You can slowly “grind” through HuniePop by not learning everything about the girls, the strategies for optimization, or bothering to match tokens in a way that leads to more matched tokens and better combos. But you progress a lot faster by planning your moves ahead, learning about the girls, figuring out what they want, and optimizing your resources to get the upgrades you need and the special abilities that fit your play style. My brother compares it to Puzzle Quest with dating instead of fighting monsters, but even in Puzzle Quest both halves of “match 3” and “outside match-3” were not quite as well integrated.

    If No Man’s Sky was like HuniePop, then every one of these systems would positively feed back into at least one other system, instead of each one adding more grind.

    1. TMC_Sherpa says:

      My only real problem with HunniePop is the match game for sexy times. The game has very interesting mechanics for creating a match (and setting up your next match) but throws it all away for a stupid timed puzzle section.

    2. Dev Null says:

      You can slowly “grind” through HuniePop

      You are, objectively and demonstrably, a bad person.

      1. MadTinkerer says:

        I have nine character witnesses who would disagree with you. ;)

  17. Daemian Lucifer says:

    From all of the things you listed,it seems to me that the game was designed by someone stuck in the outdated design of ui.Practicaly everything you have described has been done better by at least one(but often many)game in the past decade or so.So it looks like once these guys started making their game they stopped keeping up with what others have been doing.

  18. AReasonWhy says:

    When it comes to money I funnily ran into a game breaking thing back when I got to play this (which was near release so theres a high chance this was patched out by now). There’s a specific poisonous plant of which you can take produce of. This produce doesn’t stack so it fills up your inventory hard, but selling it to the trader always yielded me ridicilous ammounts of money, way more than mining any of the rare resources.
    It was a weird conundrum. I could mine away for 10 minutes of a couple of gold(or other mat) pillars and come out with a meager profit OR I could jump five to ten times until I find a rare poisonous planet which had this plant, fill my inventory with plant produce in 2 minutes and go sell it on the next station for amazing cash.
    I really wasn’t sure if it was a bug or if I found a profitable way of earning cash, but this poisonous plant allowed me to grind myself up to the biggest ships in the game in under 6 hours, which is obviously way less time required than having to grind millions of cash every 15 minutes until you had the money required. If people recommend this for getting money that plant must have been changed at this point I presume.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      When it comes to money I funnily ran into a game fixing thing back when I got to play this


  19. Mephane says:

    Shamus, stop ruining my plan of buying it for 5 bucks in the eventual Steam sale. The more you talk about, the I get convinced this game isn’t even worth playing for free. The entire issue with ship buying, losing equipment and upgrades, and stats (inventory space) vs looks (most ships looking like crap) is already a massive turn-off for me.

    The saddest aspect, for me, is that Elite Dangerous is in dire need of a strong competitor. NMS could have been that but failed miserably (and continues to fail), while Star Citizen, apart from all the other issues with it (and the ever-moving release date), has already disqualified itself by diving deep into P2W theory and catering to the whales.

    1. Echo Tango says:

      There’s so many *good* games on Steam, GOG, and elsewhere, that even pretty-good games have a tough chance of getting purchased and played, let alone frustrating games like No Man’s Sky.

  20. Rutskarn says:

    Then I teleport away. The next time I teleport home, my ship is once again parked in the weeds and an alien is in my expensive parking spot.

    Congratulations! You built Space Los Angeles.

    1. Phill says:

      Los Angeles has *teleporters*?

      1. djw says:

        Space Los Angeles does, but nobody uses them because they don’t want to lose their parking spot.

    2. Fade2Gray says:

      I was going to say something about big-boned aliens from L.A., but I got self conscious and figured people wouldn’t get the reference.

  21. Brandon says:

    I now possess, in excruciating detail, knowledge of exactly how much and why No Man’s Sky sucks.

    I think I’m happy about this?

    1. Droid says:

      Small correction: Since Shamus made a point of stating that these are not all the problems with the game, you now have a good lower bound for how much NMS sucks.

  22. TMC_Sherpa says:

    Why does the galactic trade thingy know my language?
    Why can’t I pull an alien over to the magic eyeball and have them point to the thing they want?

    Why do they know how many animals are on a planet but not what the animals are or where they are found?
    A dude is living here, why can’t I ask them?

    Why am I taking notes about planets if intergalactic trade is so common piracy has become viable?

    What kind of an idiot makes a map (kinda) but can’t easily go back to a previous point?

    If the Atlas is so smart, why did they pick me when literally anyone else in the universe would have been a better choice.

    Yes the inventory situation is a huge mess but for me the major problem is my interaction with the universe makes no frick’n sense.
    Also the fact that everything is a unit bothers me. Use meters and credits like a normal person.

    1. Fade2Gray says:

      The game plays VERY loose with the language issue. You can’t understand anything anyone is saying, and yet you almost always somehow know what they’re talking about and are able to formulate some sort of response. And, when you’re playing through any of the quest lines (Atlas, Artemis, base building), suddenly you can perfectly understand everyone involved in the quest because… reasons.

      Also the fact that everything is a unit bothers me. Use meters and credits like a normal person.

      This is double confusing because temperature is measured in both Celsius and Fahrenheit.

      1. Droid says:

        Also the fact that everything is a unit bothers me. Use meters and credits like a normal person.

        This is double confusing because temperature is measured in both Celsius and Fahrenheit.

        Okay, no; there is just no way the devs of NMS aren’t just straight-up evil!

        1. Shamus says:

          For the record: The game defaults to Celsius, but I switched it to F because I got tried of doing the conversions in my head to figure out how preposterous the current temp was. (As in: Raining at 50 below freezing and such.)

          The game will stick with whichever system you prefer, but it’s nonsense on both scales.

          1. Fade2Gray says:

            Yeah, sorry. I probably should have been a little clearer. I was just trying to point out how bizarre it is that you have the option of not just one but two real world measurements for temperature, but made up nonsense units of measure almost everywhere else.

          2. SharpeRifle says:

            Heh watch the assumptions there…it’s only absurd if you assume its water.

            1. djw says:

              If its methane rain then thats way to warm…

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                It could be ammonia.Also,pressure plays a significant role in the temperature/phase state equation.

          3. Blue_Pie_Ninja says:

            but celcius is so easy! 0 for freezing, anything beneath that is very cold and falling water is probably snowing, and over 100 is boiling.

            1. Shamus says:

              Fahrenheit is also easy! 0 is coldest winter, and 100 is hottest summer. I’m usually not looking to answer the question “is this thing boiling?” I’m usually trying to figure out, “Does this feel hot or cold?” And I can never remember where room temperature or chilly fall days appear on Celsius.

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                Fahrenheit is also easy! 0 is coldest winter, and 100 is hottest summer.

                Maybe in your youth,but due to climate being out of whack,both in the last year and the one before,I experienced temperatures from negative fahrenheits to over 100.Not that temperatures like that did not happen in the last century,but usually they were a few years apart.

                As for celsius,its not that hard to remember,you just go in increments of 10.Below 0 is freezing,wear fur,mitts,etc.0-10 is cold,usually with rain,wear a jacket.10-20 is chilly,wear long sleeves and light jackets.20-30 is nice,short sleeves are recommended.This is also room temperature for most people.Above 30 is hot,stay inside and turn on the ac.

                1. Falcon02 says:

                  I think we can all agree Celsius (and more so Kelvin for that matter) are best for science, engineering, and math. Side note even Fahrenheit has it’s own absolute temperature equivalent called Rankine, though I think I’ve only used it once because I was forced to when it was first introduced to me.

                  The math using imperial units get too complex and strange… good luck converting between inches, feet, and yards quickly when parsing through a bunch of data. And does anybody know how many

                  However, as an American raised on Fahrenheit, I must agree with Shamus. Sure if you’re raised in a place that only uses Celsius you adjust your understanding to it, but Fahrenheit has a higher resolution for that ten degree scale. To me, 20 C is close to room temperature, but on the chilly side, while 29 C is quite warm, but not too bad.

                  (Granted the below will vary based on individual tolerances… are you used to Florida or Alaska temperatures?)

                  -40F – (-40)C – Go Back inside! and what are you doing in Antarctica?

                  0-10 F – (-18)-(-12)C – Pretty much don’t go outside at all
                  10-20 F – (-12)-(-6)C – Avoid going outside but doable with a heavy coat and additional layers and keep your head/ears/hands well covered
                  20-30 F – (-6)-(-1)C – Heavy coat and long sleeves, should cover your head and hands if you plan to stay out for a while, but should be fine for short periods. (In short, below freezing but tolerable)
                  30-40F – (-1)-(+4)C – Heavy to medium coat, long sleeves advised
                  40-50F – 4-10C – Medium to Light Jacket
                  50-60F – 10-16C – Light jacket recommended
                  60-70F – 16-21C – Chilly but not uncomfortable, light jacket or long sleeves optional
                  70-80F – 21-27C – Generally comfortable(Room Temperature)
                  80-90F – 27-32C – Outside is Warm but not uncomfortable, shorts and/or short sleeves recommended
                  90-100F – 32-38C – Uncomfortably warm/Hot, but can be tolerable (especially with a pool and/or ice cold drinks)
                  100-110F – 38C – 43C – Way too hot, don’t venture outside at all and stay in the A/C if at all possible

                  In the end, for understanding “how could is this thing or environment relative to my direct experience?” the best system is the one you have the most direct experience with. I feel most familiar with and like the way the Fahrenheit system breaks down. But it might feel too broken up for someone familiar with Celsius (or could retort, just break it down by 5’s upper and lower 20’s for example), and thus Celsius would seem more simplistic and easier to them.

                  Now I’ll just calculate what the internal pressure (PSI) is of a cubic yard container is with 10 slugs of water at 760 Rankine… *shudders at the thought*

                  1. Kerethos says:

                    Maybe I’m an exception, maybe it’s because I live in Sweden, or maybe I just like the cold.

                    Either way 25+ on the Celsius scale is “Oh my god I’m having a heat stroke and melting into a puddle someone save me from this horrible sweaty heat!”. I am not made for that kind of heat. I literally become erratic and aggressive, just trying to get away from the hell that is consuming me when it’s that hot.

                    The best solution I’ve found (besides dunking my head in a bathroom sink full of cold water and using the cold wet hair as a heat sink) is to wrap a towel around some cooling blocks of ice and sit on it in front of a fan.

                    I like it around 18-20 ºC (64.4-68 ºF), but I’ll walk around in undies and a t-shit down to 15 ºC (59 ºF). Right now it’s about 13.8 ºC (56.84 ºF) outside and I’m sitting comfortably in the draft wearing a worn t-shirt and undies.

                    I’m probably just weirdly warm… :P

              2. Blackbird71 says:

                I’ve always found these to be useful benchmarks for understanding the Celsius scale:

                Standard accepted room temperature for purposes of engineering/scientific experiments is 25 degrees Celsius.

                Human body temperature is 37 degrees Celsius.

                Granted, I’m only familiar with these because I’ve spent way too much of my life in laboratories.

          4. Blackbird71 says:

            Are you sure that “rain” was water?

            Common Freezing and Melting Points

  23. Fade2Gray says:

    I don’t know if this is still the case, but when I was playing a little over a month ago there was a bug that meant farming was basically broken. Whenever you used a teleporter (which is basically any time you visit or leave your base) about half of your hydroponics-planter-things would instantly use up most (if not all) of their fuel. The end result was that farming was both more expensive than it should have been (due to constantly refilling planters that should still have plenty of fuel) and less rewarding than it should have been (due to planters constantly stalling when out of fuel).

  24. Philadelphus says:

    *sees picture of trade interface*

    Oh, so that’s where Wheatley ended up after Portal 2! Good to see he’s doing alright for himself.


    You land on a relatively calm planet and round up all the nearby Carbon, Plutonium, Heridium, Zinc, and Thaumium9 you can find.

    Not having played the game, are “Heridium” and “Thaumium9” (gag) actual resources in the game? Not content with making a mockery of the laws of chemistry and physics by having chunks of plutonium littering the landscape, have they also decided to do the cliché thing of making up their own poorly-named fictional elements? Not that I had any intention of getting the game before, but still…

    Have I ranted about this before? I’m getting a weird sense of déjà  vu.

    1. KarmaTheAlligator says:

      Oh, so that's where Wheatley ended up after Portal 2! Good to see he's doing alright for himself.

      Ah, thought the exact same thing!

      1. Nimrandir says:

        I’ll bet he had more fun in Lego Dimensions.

    2. Adrian Burt says:

      Half of the elements in the game are real and the other half aren’t. It’s very strange.

  25. Cubic says:

    If nothing else, this game seems excellent for practicing one’s stoic self-control.

  26. adam says:

    Having played the game extensively at launch and now with the new update, it’s clear to me that Hello Games honestly have no idea how to do proper game design from a practical or philosophical point of view. They’re just driving forward adding stuff to the game without regard for how any of it fits into the existing systems nor for the technical debt they’ve already incurred by recklessly adding all these new features. Instead of carefully considering how each system or mechanic works in the context of the game as an experience, they just think up new stuff and then go and put it in the game.

    Which kind of makes sense, given Sean Murray’s tendency to say “yes” about every feature he’s ever asked about being in the game.

    Like Shamus said, they need an intervention. They need someone to rein in this blind feature enthusiasm and start tightening things up. It’s honestly probably a bit late for that now, though. Maybe instead they should just license the engine to someone with the design chops to make something amazing from it.

  27. SoranMBane says:

    Reading this just makes me think of the ways in which Starbound does all of this better:

    -Fuel: To fuel your ship, you just visit a moon to gather a single resource, and avoid getting killed by the monster that chases you there. When you’ve got enough of the resource, you simply dump it directly in your fuel tank and you’re good to go.

    -The landing pads: You don’t land your ship. You just set a flag or teleporter down on a planet and your ship’s teleporter puts you right where you want to be.

    -The storage: Not only do you have decent personal inventory space, but the storage on your ship is limited only by the amount of physical space available and how many containers you’re willing to clutter your ship with. And that’s not getting into the amount of storage you can have on your base; you can stack crates all the way to space of you want, Starbound don’t give no fucks.

    -Farming: Farming is very simple, and you can do it pretty much from the word go; all you need is seeds, a hoe, and a water bucket (or, alternatively, you can just dump water over your crops directly from your inventory). It’s also not really integral to making money, because you chiefly get money by, y’know, adventuring. If you’re playing above casual difficulty, you pretty much just need to farm enough crops to feed yourself; if you’re playing on casual, the food you farm is just used for buffs and healing.

    -Shops: Visiting the outpost to sell stuff is really fast and easy. If you want a shopkeeper on your ship or base, it’s as easy as inviting a merchant tenant to live with you. Colony deeds don’t cost very much, and all you need to attract a merchant is to put decent storage space in their new house.

    -Buying ships: You don’t buy new ships. You have one perfectly serviceable ship that you upgrade linearly through the whole game.

    1. FelBlood says:

      Yeah, but the exploration mechanics in Starbound were an exercise in disappointment instead.

      Having followed the game since early in the closed beta, I found the version of the game that made it out as 1.0 to be the least exciting to just go places and see what was there, because all planets of a given type are basically the same now.

      I understand that they were afraid that the influx of newbies might review the game badly and kill the launch, if they didn’t have a simple, straightforward road-map to progression, when the game went to 1.0, but I think this was excessive.

      I’ve never met an open world game that was quite so linear. It felt more like a guided tour of a MMO world than exploring a sandbox universe.

      Special planets aren’t so special, when every other planet on their difficulty level has blotches of their dominant biome, to ensure that all players get to see all the content, no matter which planet type they pick at each tier.

  28. Dreadjaws says:

    Man, every new article of yours I read about this game has made my opinion change from “At some point on a sale” to “Maybe if the price is really, really good, and I mean 90% discount at least” to “I’m not touching this thing even if I’m paid”.

    I mean, I don’t know about you, but I play games to have fun. As soon as one thing starts get frustrating, I stop having fun. Sometimes I put up with it because I know the reward will be worth it. But when several different things start getting frustrating at the same time and the rewards don’t show any sign to be worth the hassle, then that’s a game I simply don’t play anymore.

    I mean, I can put up with a bit of grinding in an RPG if I know I’ll be able to buy/craft a great piece of equipment, weapon or ability, particularly if the gameplay is fun enough on its own. But when the reward for an annoying process of tedium is something that doesn’t even contribute to making other chores less bothersome, then I just can’t go through with it.

    1. Nimrandir says:

      I have to admit that I’m anxious for next week’s post on this, because something must have kept Shamus going through this slow-motion train wreck.

      1. KarmaTheAlligator says:

        He’s doing that to give us something to read.

        On a more serious note, I, too, would love to know the reason.

        1. BlueHorus says:

          Gotta put something on the website; man’s got three kids to feed!

          But yeah, I’m also curious. I’m not sure I’ve heard anything positve about NMS from him; I’m guessing that comes next week.

  29. Jamey Johnston says:

    My guess as to why Shamus is still playing: Because his ranting about the game is hilariously entertaining for us, and he’s willing to go the extra mile so we don’t have to!

  30. Hargrimm says:

    Is it possible to speed up this mind-numbing grind with Cheat Engine? Because that’s what I would do. Give myself a bajillion credits to buy best ship with the biggest cargo hold and freeze stacks of frequently used resources in my inventory.

    That way the exploration might even be enjoyable.

    1. Droid says:

      It’s a shame, really. I sometimes do the same, just trying to suck a bit of fun out of that bare bone … I mean, game. It never quite works though. It’s providing me with more fun than I would have otherwise had, sure, but it never helps so much that investing my time into that game would become worthwhile.

      And from what I know about NMS’s developers, they would probably shuffle around the inventory in the game’s memory every minute for no other reason than to spite you… With a crash for every time you freeze an entry, of course, because the freed space where the inventory was just a second ago is immediately filled with volatile, critical memory.

  31. Adrian Burt says:

    Do the people at Hello Games even play games? I have to ask because it sounds like (I have no experience with the game) Hello Games have no idea what they’re doing. How do you fuck up an inventory system this badly, and then double-down on it and continue to have a fractally broken system even after fixing it? Or is it a case where they feel like they’d be doing a naughty by copying systems from other games so they feel like they have to reinvent the wheel, the axle, the gear shift, the internal combustion engine, and wind up with a car where you need to use a separate left handed stick to go into reverse and explodes when you go over 30 mph. Guys it’s okay to steal from other games. Everyone does it. No one is going to sue you.

  32. GeneralKayoss says:

    I love how 90% of the people commenting and hating on NMS, HAVE NEVER EVEN PLAYED THE GAME!!!!

    I put around 50-60 hours in when it was first released. I just recently picked it back up and the game has done a complete 180 IMO.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      I love how 90% of the people commenting and hating on NMS, HAVE NEVER EVEN PLAYED THE GAME!!!!

      I have also never eaten shit,but I know it tastes foul.Should I eat shit before i say that its foul?

      You dont need a first hand experience with something if the description of it you got is accurate.So unless you are saying that 90% of the stuff Shamus is describing are incorrect,those people are not wrong.

    2. Nimrandir says:

      Folks may not have played No Man’s Sky, but they have a detailed account (painfully so, in some cases) of someone else’s experience with the game. Presumably they value and trust this person’s perspective, and that vantage has been . . . less than glorious.

      Personally, I’ve considered picking up a copy of the game on the cheap, and if what Shamus has to say about what kept him going jibes with my personal tastes, I may yet do so. MarsLineman’s posts have brought up some points that make me think I could adjust to the issues that have vexed Shamus during his time with No Man’s Sky.

      For one thing, everyone I know already chides me about being ‘Mr. Inventory Screen,’ so putzing about an inventory as a core game structure might be up my alley.

  33. Reach says:

    Then I teleport away. The next time I teleport home, my ship is once again parked in the weeds and an alien is in my expensive parking spot.

    I experienced a physical reaction to this. This sort of thing speaks volumes for a dev’s actual degree of appreciation for what they have created.

    1. Khaosbringer says:

      The main use of landing pads is that you can call your ship to it and take off from it without using fuel. Taking off 1 time takes 25% of your fuel. When it takes an obscene amount of one resource just till fill up the tank, are reaource that is also used to grow your crops, refill your gun and mining tool, and make warp fuel,quickly develop at least a passing apreciation for landing pads. But the positives are definitely minor when set next to how long it takes to build one. I almost never use my ship on my home planet. Whole point of my base is farming crops, i dont really have a reason to be on planet other then that.

  34. Khaosbringer says:

    The biggest frustration for me stems from the large amount of time spent farming even basic materials. I’ve found a pretty decent method for making units. When you sell an item in a star system, it reduces how much that item is worth in that star system. This can be exploited a bit. You can stock up in one system, then jump to the next to offload your haul

    . When you sell all the items at once, it usually comes close to, or fully breaks the economy of the new system, allowing you to just buy back all the resources you just sold at a greatly discounted rate. This is well documented.

    A lot of folks just stock up on dynamic resonators since they are available in pretty much any system. Hope to the next system and sell your hall for 25-30k each, then buy them all back for around 6k each. With a 48 slot hauler you can usually make about 6mil per jump, but you’ll need to spend about 1.5 mil rebuying your stock.

    I’m sure it wasn’t intentional, and is still very tedious, but it feels like the only time efficient want to make any tangible progress.

    Sadly this is also really, really boring. All the items that are needed to make warp fuel can be bought on the space stations except thorium 9, which can be mined from asteroids. Its a very monotonous process since the asteroids are more likely then not just going to drop iron. When the do drop thorium, the only drop 10.

    It takes 100 just to make 1 fuel cell. I spent around 3 hours one day just farming thorium to get it stocked up so i wouldn’t have to bother with it for awhile. I got enought make right around 100 warp cells.

    The alternative is to farm it on planet, but this also has drawbacks. It takes longer since the plants are kinda rare and not always visible to the eye. You can use the scanner built into yoir multi tool to scan for them, but your scanner has a prett long cool down.

    Added to this is the fact that your lifes support also runs off of thorium, and is always draining while moving on a planet. Sprinting and jumping greatly increase this drain. Often times you’ll end up not finding enough to do more than keep the life support going, and those rare times you do find yourself with a suplus, you still end up losing the vaste majority of it during your farming.

    Its way more convient to just farm astroids. This sucks though. I’ve recently been trying to upgrade my freighter to a higher quality one. I wanted to get an s class with a better warp drive and more storage. Due to the pricing, all i’ve done for days is farm thorium for jumps and trade. Managed to get a 31 slot freighter by luck. Jumped into a warzone with battle going on. The freighter under siege was a pretty just happene.d to be affordable at the time (if you consider 303million units affordable)

    I was thinking about trying to keep searching till i could get my handa on a s class freighter with a decent warp engine and then building it up and putting in a trade terminal so i could cut down some of my travel time. I always warp using my exotic fighter since it has better shields and armor just in case i come out of warp during a war or immediately get attacked by pirates. I then call my freight (after i find a spot with enough room to fit the big bastard.) Then i switch to my hauler and fly over to the space station to sell my goods.

    The time calling the freighter, switching ships, flying to the station, selling my goods, flying back to my freighter, then switching ships again, and finally warping to the next station (not including when i have to stop all this and farm more warp fuel) just adds even more of a timesink when all i want to do is feel like i’m making some progress.

    Now i guess i missread the wiki, but it seems even trying to add a terminal to my freighter doesnt really help like i thought it would, since from what the article is saying, you can’t even sell to the terminal directly from the ship. Because of the economics in the game, thr first sale of an item in a system is the most profitable. Thats why you want to sell all your items in bulk during the first transaction for the most profit. Your suit only holds around 40 complex items ( items that arent raw resources.) when maxed out. My 48 slot freighter can transport around 215 of the same items.

    I would have to sell the first 40 or so, decreasing the next sales profits, transfer items from my ship, and rinse and repeat, making less and less profit each time.

    My only reason to keep playing was that i was stubborn and set a goal for myself to get myself an s class freightor with max slots to finally remove some of the storage limitations and annoyance that comes from trying to make units. The extra storage would come in handy, but the rest of the plan kinda followings exactly what he was saying about building up towards disappointment. Even when you set a goal, putting in the effort, the reward always has a string attached.

    Spent all this time and effort, to the point i havent even landed on a planet in days, and now i learn my end goal isnt even achievable.

  35. Seed of Bismuth says:

    But Shamus the RNG blessed me to get all this done in the first 20 hours therefore your just a whiner who whines /sarcasm.

    but on a more serious note I do think one of the under rated things that helped minecraft success is the ability to know your seed, to start a new seed/game easily and to compare seeds within the fandom. Which is not to say that much of these No Man Sky problems would go away but they would at least be mitigated if you could control what planet system you start on.

  36. DGersi says:

    More than 350 hours in and totally agree with MarsLineman. Hiking is also my favorite real world activity so no surprise. You just start down that path and take it as it comes. It’s the journey not the destination.

  37. Rhestael says:

    You know its so funny the way you put the game like that. I played the game alot too. Yes obviously there are problems in the game sure. First thing to say would be if you dont like it then dont play it and stop complaining but since we get in details; first of all game is one of the best space game ever created but didnt evolve enough to go massive multiplayer or atleast multiplayer. In every aspects everry discovery/space kinda games are grindy and you keep farming to death. All the problems you talk about is miner issues that you force yourself to find here. I mean putting ship on a landing pad or not. Or farming resources. I mean lets say you dont farm for resources you dont build base but sit on built one. everything set and ready no need to farm for any ship / any credit anything. What are you gunna do then. In every game you grind. thats the heart of the games. There is almost no game ever created to come close to this. different faunas areas systems planets tilesets tempretures radiation toxin. In many aspects game is extremely detailed and detailed stuff never work perfectly. You can complain about anygame like you do in your so called article. Thats so stupid how every person convinced that game is bullshit. The only thing that you can complain about is that the game is way to expensive for the work it represents and thats pretty much it. In games first and most important thing is optimization. 9/10 optimized game. Almost no fps issue. No lag spikes. Extremely detailed space journey with lots of quests and living universe and you here talk about little stuff. Also you can build trading interface to your base and farming is easier if you know what to do. you should really consider back what makes the game bad.

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