No Man’s Sky, PermaDeath: Skirting The Edge Of Disaster

I’ve lost my taste for exploration, at least for a little while; No Man’s Sky‘s servers seem to be a bit unpredictable.  While not strictly a trophy hunter, I figured I’d take the time to at least attempt a run to the Center of Euclid in the PermaDeath difficulty mode, which is supposedly a little more difficult than Survival … and potentially much more punishing of mistakes.  If I make it to the Center without dying, I get the trophies for doing so on PermaDeath and Survival modes.

Little did I realize, though, that it would change how I recommend players approach any difficulty of the game.

Let’s get the overview of PermaDeath out of the way:  There’s always something trying to kill you.  If it’s not the weather, then it’s pirates or the Sentinels.  Any planet with “normal” weather is going to have aggressive Sentinels.  And if you die in PermaDeath, that’s it – your saves are wiped and you have to start all over again.  The other annoying things about both difficulties: mining usually results in lower yields for materials, and the cost for taking off from somewhere other than one of the accepted launchers is 200 plutonium – a full Launch Thruster.  And plutonium can be harder to find.

Having died twice at the very beginning of my Normal game, and a few times (one resulting in a voluntary restart) in Survival, I didn’t hold my hopes for success up high.  But I’ve been making an attempt at it anyway.

On stream I would have people ask how they should start off the game.  I would (mistakenly, since I’d been playing for a while and was quite established) suggest that they focus on getting the money for a Freighter and use that as a “mobile” base.  Thing is, I forgot just how hard/boring it can be to grind away getting money.  And it’s not as easy on PermaDeath as I thought it would be.

So, I’ve changed my guidelines.

Spadonium planets are “deserts” – considered “dry”.  Thing is, a fair number of these have, most of the time, decent, not-trying-to-kill-you-right-away weather.  They might suffer from light cold spells at night, or the odd heat storm that will burn you to a crisp in barely a minute if you’re not near some kind of shelter, but other than that, they’re not trying to kill you.  And most likely, neither are the Sentinels.

So my advice now for Survival/PermaDeath is to find one (Normal mode players would be fine finding anything with decent weather).  Find a base on one, preferably near a good source of Iron.  Build a few rooms, chase down the specialists.  Do the specialist missions, while fulfilling your milestones and pursuing the Atlas Path.  Hopefully eventually you’ll get to the point where you can start growing a lot of stuff.  Then you can focus on getting yourself fully established with a decent ship or two and a freighter.  But, without a decent farm, it can be problematic to make the money you need to get said Freighter and a couple of ships.

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t have all the answers.  Right now I’m stuck on Rigogen – I need like 100 more than I have for various specialist missions and without all three breathers and a decent multitool to kill the Sentinels with, it’s rough going.  I’ve even tried to build a Roamer Geobay and drive into the water … but my first attempt at doing so still ran afoul of the Sentinels and my second turned out to be near a small reef with very little Rigogen in it.  And the Roamer is very slow under water. I might switch to the Nomad, but being above the surface of the water means I’ll constantly have to run away from the Sentinels while they’re up there, and constantly have to recharge my single Aeration Membrane while under the water …

I remember Rigogen being a pain due to the potential rarity of finding a planet that has it.  Now with all of those planets either having aggressive Sentinels or some weather condition that wants to kill you quickly … it may be time to reevaluate how I approach my path in PermaDeath.

I have figured out, though, how to deal with aggressive Sentinels.  But it can involve a bit of planning, and you need to get into the practice of collecting what you need without stopping your walk.

It’s simply that – keep walking.  Don’t walk backwards and face the Sentinel.  You don’t have to run.  But, don’t stop.  They seem to need at least a few seconds of stillness from you, or you facing them, in order to lock on and start shooting.  So … just keep walking.  Walk to a building or into your ship.  If you get into your ship though, be ready to take off right away.

Is PermaDeath fun?

Well, I enjoy the game to start with, so in that sense, yes.  I do find myself constantly complaining about just how overly difficult everything is in PermaDeath – I almost wonder if I should start a second game of Normal on a second account instead.  But I haven’t gotten that desperate yet.  I don’t know yet if I will be up to the challenge – I haven’t died, but then I’m not totally thrilled being stuck on a particular resource that in many ways is the rarest, most difficult to collect in the game.

So I’ll keep playing … for now.  But I always feel “the end” sneaking around behind me.

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