No Man’s Sky – PathFinder Update! Good, and Bad

A new update to No Man’s Sky has dropped and it includes several new features, apparently fixes several bugs, but as would be not unexpected, introduces a few as well.  In addition, not all of the features are all that great.  For every change, there’s both a good aspect and a bad aspect.  And while a lot of what’s good or bad can be subjective, some of those opinions could be considered objective.

So, in no particular order, here’s a few things to be aware of:

  • The economy has been heavily tweaked
    • Good: Because it kind of needed it.  The emphasis lately has been on farming, which is just another word for grinding.
    • Good: It’s leveled out the prices between items.  There’s no real one farmable item right now that screams “Make Money From Me!”
    • Bad: A lot of people had plans that can’t easily be adjusted because of the changes.
    • Bad: Some places had been catalogued as having certain pricing bonus (IE, Lovecraft originally had the sell price of Albumen Pearls at 99.1% above Galactic Average, meaning you could turn a tidy profit).
    • Both: How percentages above/below Galactic Average are set is a little less “random” in that you can’t just change the pricing by moving a Galactic Trade Terminal around a room.
  • Ground vehicles have been introduced
    • Good: More “missions”, a way to get around a bit faster than walking but not requiring a take off and landing with your ship.  They can be speedy and fun to drive around.  And you can change their name.
    • Bad: Unless it’s your home planet, or you’re visiting someone’s base and there’s a vehicle pad built there, you have no way of getting your vehicles to you.  So exploring an unoccupied planet is still limited to walking or flying.
    • Good: You get them through a new specialist.
    • Bad: His missions have nothing to do with the old specialists, who are (if you’ve completed their missions previously) completely useless for the changes introduced by this update.
  • Changes to ships and freighters
    • Good: The storage space available on a given ship or freighter seems to be related to the actual size of the vehicle, making it a bit more realistic.  There’s also a “class” bonus for space ships, giving some versions of ships bonuses.  You can also rename ships and freighters.
    • Good: You can fly lower!
    • Bad: The “class” bonus appears random and there’s no way to directly “upgrade” a given ship’s class – and two ships of the same style can have two different classes.
    • Bad: There’s less of a predictable way to “upgrade” – you can’t simply buy a new one that’s bigger.  The new ones you come across may actually be much smaller than what you already have.
    • Good: You can actually own more than one space ship.
    • Bad: The only way to do so is to wait inside your freighter and buy the new ship off of the guy who currently owns it.  This is a bit too random and eventually ships stop landing in your freighter.
  • New Base Blueprints are available
    • Good: More options for building your buildings!
    • Bad: The blueprints are not obtained through the existing specialists, but rather a dealer that’s taken up residence in your base’s “base” room.  And all you need to do is buy them.  This makes it less of an update to Foundation and more an “add on” to the game, separate from the previous update.
  • Some bugs are patched!
    • Good: Base rooms/constructs no longer wander – no random walls in freighters!
    • Bad: Some bugs are not – ship AI in particular still appears to be a bit buggy at Trading Posts.  I’ve seen ships hovering in mid-air since the update dropped.
  • New photo mode!
    • Good: It’s a little easier to get into, and gives you plenty of options for camera placement.
    • Bad: It’s never in a totally convenient place so getting into it can be delayed enough to where your “action shot” can be spoiled due to that delay.
  • You can visit other people’s bases!
    • Good: You get to see other people’s designs!  Planets, particularly in the Hub, have more reasons to be visited.
    • Bad: It’s buggy – Lennon, a highly populated system, shows me absolutely no base indicators when I arrive into the system and do a search.
    • Bad: When it does work, people seem to see potentially “dated” versions of the bases.
  • The colors and graphics seem improved and more vibrant
    • Good: Everything seems more vibrant, less muted.
    • Bad: In certain cases, the frame rate of the PS4 goes to shit.

Some other neutral changes are differences in the mechanics involving crashed ships (you have to talk to space station managers to be given the coordinates; the Transmission Towers, aside from a mission from the new Vehicle Specialist, do nothing now), and there’s a blueprint dealer on space stations that sells only for a new resource (“Nanite Clusters”).  Personally, I’ve noticed that a couple of upgrades from Foundation have been removed from my ship, and the “new” version is for sale from the vendor (but collecting the Nanite Clusters, while not impossible, can be time consuming).

My opinion?  It’s nice to see that they’re still continuing to work on the game.  Many of the features are welcome!  However, I question the methods of implementation in several cases – the additions in PathFinder seem to be independent of and “tacked on” to the additions from Foundation, when there could have been a tighter integration between what came before and what was brought in in this update.  I like storage space being relative to the actual size of the ship – but I don’t like that I start with a default “Class C” ship just because I got it before the update.  And it’s nice to see that the economy has been tweaked a little to avoid certain potential abuses, but it did throw my personal plans for a bit of a loop.

We’ll have to see.  If they keep “tacking on” things in updates rather than integrating them with the previous updates, the rooms in my base are going to get really crowded …

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