No Man’s Sky is in a much better state today than it was when it first launched in 2016. Developer Hello Games has spent the last three years investing a great amount of time and energy to deliver the kind of game they originally set out to create.
The reception has been overwhelmingly positive, with many lapsed players returning to join the existing NMS community and check out how much the game has improved. Here, we describe in detail what new features and changes players can expect to see in the most recent Beyond Update and why now is the perfect time to jump back into No Man’s Sky.
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The Current State of No Man’s Sky
First, there was the Foundation Update in November 2016, which added base-building along with two new game modes: Survival and Creative. In March 2017, the Path Finder Update added the ability to share bases with other players and craft new Exocraft vehicles. Later that year in August, The Atlas Rises Update would see improvements to the game’s story mode, adding approximately 30 hours of content in addition to new procedurally-generated missions.
Titled Next, the fourth major update was released in July 2018 and went on to be regarded as the most significant update since the game first launched. Included in it was an expanded multiplayer experience that allowed up to four players to team-up, improvements to base-building, and a complete overhaul of the game’s engine.
By this time, it became clear that Hello Games had hit their stride and were actively listening to the community.
In August 2019, Hello Games rolled out their latest update, aptly named Beyond. Centered around three major pillars, Beyond builds upon previous updates while offering a glimpse of the future of NMS that Hello Games has planned.
What’s New in No Man’s Sky Beyond?
Although NMS’ current multiplayer system first debuted in Next, the Beyond Update takes it a step further by introducing the Nexus, a new social space that can be summoned into any system the player is currently in. The hub area serves as a space station where 16-32 players can interact with one another, browse through the shops, take on new missions, and use a teleporter to visit other players’ bases or check out featured creations from the NMS community.
The Nexus might remind you of a social space from another sci-fi game—The Tower from Destiny. Hello Games appears to be taking some cues from Bungie’s space-shooter in order to flesh out NMS’ multiplayer experience and encourage cooperative play.
These changes extend beyond just the Nexus and affect NMS on a fundamental level. Now, if you land on a planet that other players are exploring, you’ll be able to see their full character model and interact, whereas before you’d be completely alone. On console, the maximum player count when exploring has been increased from 4 to 8, with PC supporting up to 32.
A new batch of Nexus missions has been added, including a new mission type called Base Construction. A majority can be completed either solo or with a squad and now include Quicksilver as part of their rewards, which can be used to unlock special customization options and building parts.
Voice and networking features also make it easier than ever to group up with nearby explorers, and PC players can now benefit from an expanded chat interface.
Beyond adds support for virtual reality, allowing you to play the entire game using PSVR, Oculus, Vive, and Index. The VR version of NMS includes a new UI as well as a variety of control schemes to choose from, with the option to travel normally or to teleport between locations.
Additionally, VR players have been granted the ability to grab collectibles with their hands, punch objects to cause damage, physically open cockpits, and pilot starships directly using a VR throttle.
What’s more, every activity from the base game can be achieved in VR without any compromises. This includes allowing VR players to interact with and join non-VR players. This is by far one of the more impressive new features included with Beyond as it provides a new, more immersive way to play the game.
Quality of Life Improvements
- Inventory space has been expanded.
- Animals can now be tamed, allowing you to ride them.
- Missions and tutorials have been updated to teach players new mechanics.
- New story content builds upon previous narrative threads like the Atlas Path, the journey of the Space Anomaly, and the story of Artemis.
- Substances, crafted products, new technologies, and other curiosities are now automatically added to your Catalog upon discovery.
- The Pinning system has been reworked to offer players detailed instructions on finding or building any item in their Catalog.
- Guidance features have been improved to auto-highlight relevant crafting materials.
- Blueprints are now visualized via unlockable technology trees.
- The Blueprint Analyzer has been converted into an advanced Construction Research Unit, allowing players to choose their own research paths.
- Purchasing enhancements for your Exosuit, Starship, Multi-tool, and Exocraft can now be done by visiting the technology specialists aboard the Space Anomaly.
- Freighter and frigate technologies can now be unlocked from the freighter bridge.
- Product recipes can now be learned by visiting specialist research trees in planetary facilities.
- Multiplayer missions now warp players directly to the mission area at the start.
- New NPCs can be found aboard the Space Anomaly and offer a variety of player rewards in exchange for nanites.
- Day/Night cycles are now synced between players within the same group.
- The Analysis Visor has been reworked to prevent automatic scanning.
- Custom Markers placed from the Analysis Visor now drop a physical object at the marker location.
- Base building is much smoother and faster.
- Chairs can now be sat on.
- New wild plants can be found across all biomes.
- Players can now produce different types of food by placing plant and animal products in a Nutrient Processor.
- Coprite has been renamed Faecium.
- The Exosuit torch can now be turned on any time of day.
- An extra slot has been added to the starting Multi-Tool.
- Default ammunition stack size has been increased.
- A new Mining Beam upgrade called the Optical Drill has been added, allowing players to increase the resources gained from mining.
- A new Starship upgrade called the Launch System Recharger has been added, allowing the launch thrusters to recharge over time automatically.
- Several new environmental protection upgrades for the Exosuit have been added.
- Guidance features have been improved to auto-highlight relevant crafting ingredients.
- Sentinels are now less aggressive, giving players more time to mine without being interrupted.
- The Mining Beam’s overheat mechanic has been reworked to reward players for reaching the heat threshold.
- Ship controls and space combat have been rebalanced.
- The Analysis Visor has been reworked to prevent automatic scanning.
- Butterflies and other flying creatures are now much easier to scan with the Analysis Visor.
- Creature markers in the Analysis Visor now display how far away a creature is.
- Throwing bait now attracts a large number of creatures to one location.
- The Mining Beam’s base speed, energy level, and heat capacity have all been increased.
- All Refiner units have had their base speeds increased.
- Rare asteroid frequency has been adjusted.
- Maximum speed while flying in space has been increased.