No Man’s Sky is an almost perfect game. Almost. Boring repeatable quests aside, the biggest problem with the game is that it’s just too easy, even in “Survival Mode”. Consequently, I have spent a fair amount of time trying to find ways to challenge myself within the game.
In the past I have made new characters and ignored the quest line, just wondering off into the distance to see how well I could survive. I’ve never died doing this. Indeed, I decided to do it again the other day and after walking about an hour away…
I ended up with an S-Class scanner upgrade, an S-Class underwater protection upgrade, and this other stuff,
Yup that’s 127K Units without even finding a location to sell anything. If you think that’s impressive, I also had 450K worth of salvaged data modules in my cargo that I found literally floating in the air at several locations.
I love the game, but it’s too damned easy! And after as long as I have played it (on my main GOG saves alone), it’s lost any sense of excitement and achievement.
Normally this is the point where I would start a new character, but in my experiencing starting over is both confusing and a huge, boring grind. With the story being exactly the same each time and all of the worlds looking so similar, it really is mind bending trying to remember what you did in one game or another. And after unlocking everything at least 3 different times, I just don’t feel like doing it again – it’s not an accomplishment, just a massive time sink.
So with that in mind, I decided that I would reset my GOG Survival Mode game. I accomplished this by,
1. Deleting all my stuff.
2. Deleting all but two of my bases. I kept my castle and my house, neither of which serve any purpose other than to make me happy.
3. Trading my freighter for a crummy C-Class one and deleting my fleet.
4. Trading my Multi-tool for one similar to the starter one.
5. Deleting all my ships, except little C-Class 16/3 fighter that I liked the look of and never upgraded.
6. Using the NMS Save Editor to disable most of my inventory/cargo upgrades and to delete my Units and Nanites. Based on my previous tests, 31 inventory and 8 Cargo is the best balance.
7. Pairing down my already minimal Exosuit upgrades to these:
8. Purposely resetting my game play experience by restarting in a new galaxy.
Unfortunately step 8 didn’t work out as planned. I incorrectly thought that I could go back to the Atlas station and pick up from where I left off on the quest that ends with allowing the player to travel to a different galaxy. As it turns out, that quest was a one time deal and when I completed it last year, I chose to stay in the starting galaxy. So much for Plan A…
On to Plan B, I guess! After a bit of thought, I figured it would be good enough to travel through a local black hole and then intentionally crash on a planet in the new system.
Have I mentioned that the game is easy? It’s almost impossible to destroy your ship in combat, let alone by ramming it into the ground. Indeed, I had to intentionally hump this building for over a minute just to get the shields down…
And then when I finally died, the game crashed. 😐
setting me back to a point before I even went to the Atlas station. Silly me forgot to make a new save point. *sigh*
On to Plan C, which was to go back through that portal, land on the planet with extreme sentinels, agro some sentinels by stealing a glowy blossom thing, and then flying into space, picking up aggressive sentinel ships, then flying back to surface to have said ships kill me.
After about an hour of prodding, this finally worked, but the game crashed and I was reset to before I died. Yay…
Plan D worked. I flew up to the local space station and shot at it until 8 sentinels ships appeared and killed me. It’s tremendously pathetic that it took almost two minutes for them to destroy my stationary, “worse than the default”, ship. Game… too… easy… Finally, I ended up on a planet with a broken ship!
And then I fell through the world when I spawned in and died again! lol… This is precisely why I say it’s not worth playing perma-death – you absolutely WILL be killed by bugs in this game.
And just like that, it was kinda sorta like I started all over again. My ship was damaged…
And thanks to the bug, the scanner and analysis visor on my multi-tool were also broken. Weehee, challenges!!!
It took less than 5 minutes to scrounge the immediate area to find everything I needed to make my repairs and be on my way. With that done, I flew over the planet a little while, landed, and logged out to do some other stuff.
Sitting here now a while later, I contemplating the possibility of flying over to the moon with aggressive sentinels, landing somewhere remote, logging out, and then using the NMS Save Editor to delete my ship. Can your only ship be deleted? I don’t know! Let me check… Nope. It says I can’t delete the only ship I have. Bummer.
I guess I could pretend that my ship is broken beyond repair (breaking your ship isn’t an option in NMSE). Then I could wonder away from it, in search of a new ship to buy and the valuables required to pay for it… Yeah, that sounds reasonable… that’s what I’ll do!
The things I’ll do to find some challenge in No Man’s Sky, eh? 🙂
Here are my personal guidelines for trying to maintain some semblance of challenge in the game. You may notice the absence of any “game mods“; The game is updated so frequently that “mods” are more trouble than they’re worth, especially if I’m the one maintaining them.
– My normal mindset is not to use exploits, bugs, or easily exploited content (such as buying and scrapping ships every ship that enters a space station, because using this method to collect inventory augmentations is at least 10x cheaper than directly paying for inventory slot upgrades).
– No farming, because it completely and easily negates the need to explore! A few decorative plants are fine though.
– Can only use ship storage space when “space truck’n”. This just makes sense to me!
– No grinding expensive items that can be easily found, such as salvaged data or “pirating” in space with absolutely 0 chance of failure/danger.
– Can only craft expensive items based on the components I loot or earn through frigate missions.
– 31 Inventory
– 8 Cargo
– 14 Technology
– No shield upgrades
– Only the two quest granted health upgrades
– Environmental Protection: Only underwater, because fun!
– Use two small, modest ones rather than a single uber amazing one…
– Utility (Max 10 slots):
– Analysis Visor
– Survey Device
– Terrain Manipulator
– S-Class Scanner Upgrade
– Mining Beam
– Advanced Mining Laser
– Optical Drill
– Pulse Spitter
– Ricochet Module
– Combat (Max 8 slots):
– Analysis Visor
– Personal Force Field
– Scatter Blaster
– Shell Greaser
– Blaze Javelin
– Mass Accelerator
– Plasma Launcher (how many times can I blow myself up??)
– Roamer and Sub keep with engine/boost upgrades, because fun!
– All others reset to default
– No mining lasers. They suck anyway.
– No scanners, because they remove the purpose of navigation data…
– No cannons, except for on the Mech
Rambling Side Note:
I don’t really like using the Mech. It’s a pain to navigate and not its movement in general is annoying. To add insult to injury, exocraft don’t have their own health and shield, so the only way to make the Mech able to stand up against sentinel walkers is to load up my character itself with shield and health mods. Yeah, no. I’m going to make the whole game easier just to shooty-shooty-pew-pew with the mech, thanks.
– No matter beam, because it’s just too easy. Imagine if you could always have the answer to any problem you encounter, the very instant you encounter it. *yawn*
– Start with C-Class only. I’ve done this on every character actually. It’s neat to watch them upgrade over time!
– Purposely hire frigates with poor fuel economy, because there aren’t enough “credit sinks” in this game.
– Buy C-Class only. This is a bummer, but it helps to keep the combat stats as low as possible.
– Default shield, no upgrades.
– Default pulse cannon, no upgrades.
– Can only scrap ships that I legitimately no longer want or that I found crashed on a planet. This means I will have to spend more Units on ship upgrades, which is great, because there really isn’t anything else of note to spend Units on!
I walked away from my “broken” starship, on this wintery planet, for maybe an hour in real world time tonight. There weren’t any storms and apart from when I shot up a depot, the journey was rather prosaic. I probably should have “crashed” on the moon with aggressive sentinels and worse weather.
Anyway, I encountered a waypoint tower that pointed me towards a minor settlement a mere 10 hour walk into the distance. Not having anywhere else better to go, I set out towards it. Luckily I stumbled upon another minor settlement only 20 minutes or so later. Now I have a place to sell my junk, rest my legs, and maybe buy a ship if one ever happens to land here.
Pretty crazy haul for simply walking in a mostly straight line, picking up and harvesting what I came across along the way. Now imagine being able to build giant mining operations that pump out tens of thousands of resources every hour, for free, even when the game isn’t running. And so many other ways one can generate currency and resources with little to no effort. Maybe some folks find the “cornucopia of gaming” fun, but to me it sucks all of the fun out of the experience. By no means do not I like punishing games, especially games that are full of obnoxious “gotcha” gimmicks. I just feel there is a happy medium between “enjoyable effort” and “feels like work” that Hello Games is far from reaching with the current state of No Man’s Sky.