No Mans Sky is an outstanding experience but a pretty boring video game

I really really like this game. I’ve been playing it for years on and off, returning after every major update to see the state of things, and to explore the new things.

I love the idea of having this massive sandbox shared experience, where coincidentally anybody can stumble upon my little bases I scattered, mines, etc. I also love flying around the stars in my ship, discovering new planets, finding weird animals, plants, geography. However as a game, it is kind of disappointing. Other than coming up with new bases and messing around with game mechanics, there isn’t much to do at this point.

Often I feel like I am simply in a museum, a massive tech demo of sorts, where I can look at things I’m meant to look at, playing with the interactive exhibits, checking out other interlopers creations, but I keep running into barriers. This newest update made me realize how little interactions I actually have with the universe of no mans sky. Settlement management is basically a waiting game, and I guess if I start a new game now, and have the settlement in the background it’s not as bad that I only have a little tiny choice or have to bring materials every few hours, but I just don’t like how the game forces me to wait.

As I mentioned, I love the spaceships in this game, but their differences are basically just cosmetic. It’s nice to have different types of ships, like hauler and fighter, but why bother? Get a massive hauler and put all the tech you ever want into it, even at it’s most basic it will be able to fend off every pirate. I fly a buff A class fighter, but there is just absolutely nothing to hunt that would make me break a sweat. Same with multi-tools and all the weapons mods one can have, the battle is just lackluster, and I do know it is not a fighting focused game, it’s still giving me a feeling of how good it could be.

Most missions, let it be from the space station or from the nexus, are just go here, pick this up/shoot these things, and come back. They are more of a chore than a proper video game mission. I know this is a procedurally generated game, but I’d enjoy some scripted-like battles or multi-tiered missions.

Making your freighter be awesome is also kind of pointless, since as soon as I have a teleporter on deck, I can just zoom back to any base I want, where I can have whatever I could put on the freighter, and more. Okay, calling in your exocraft anywhere is great, but I’d love to fly my freighter for example, or even part take in some missions with them. Same for the missions with your vessels, they are just a waiting game, and bring back basically money, which I need not after becoming a billionaire from activated indium and living glass. Ah, and exocrafts, one of the most useless things in the game unfortunately, while being extremely cool. But again, they are virtually indistinguishable from each other, or have limitations that just makes me not want to use them even when I would like to (I’d love to jump in my mech on a planet with a deadly atmosphere and go around looking for things, but I can’t use my visor from within and have to jump out constantly, and the controls are terribly inaccurate).

Base building is the other topic I feel ambiguous about. There are some great elements and I’ve seen some incredibly creative bases, but again, they are but showpieces for others, others who will never find it on their own due to the vast size of the galaxies. Building is also too limited, why can’t I flip things vertically for example? Barely anything to interact with? Only like, one chair actually usable? Also, why would I want to build any base, if I never have to actually do anything with it? Even others insane builds looks dead and abandoned with no inhabitants and nothing to do in them other than marvel at their construction. Creating a useful base is basically for farms or mines, which quickly become useless after you break a billion credits or set up big enough mines. I am also disappointed with the terraforming, as land can just “grow back” and its inconsistency with other players, etc. I would love to make underground secret bases, but lest I find a cave, good riddance.

I do know there is a central group of players in the HUB, who organize events and stay close together, but maybe I’ve been doing it wrong, or it’s just too much effort to participate, but somehow I miss events and things to do with other players, and I even have some friends who also play NMS, but yet we are hard pressed to find anything to do together.

Expeditions are interesting, but I don’t want to start a new game just to experience them. Abandoned freighter missions are a very good direction the game took, but they are hardly worth it and are imho quite repetitive and easy. I think Hello Games should embrace the players who are past the novelty and excitement of simply existing and discovering the world, or simply want a more extrinsically or socially motivated experience in the game, as the mechanics are there and ready to be utilized. Race tracks with actual player/ghost races, with more customization and useful upgrades to vehicles would make exocrafts more interesting, proper, hello games supported/embraced server-like systems with many players working on common builds, racing, terraforming together could be elevating this game to sandbox exploration games like minecraft, while keeping the experience of the current fanbase and “classic” players as well. Imagine having to defend your base on some hostile planets against raiding vykeen assaults, fending off natural predators or crazed sentinels. Defense buildings and emergency exits. Imagine system-wide multiplanet battles between player factions in a massive game of capture the flag or conquest. Mechs firing away while fighter ships zoom by bombing the land between jetpacking interlopers. Incredible, high speed races on volcanic planets with fauna hungry for players. Common bases belonging to a faction with a multitude of bases inside, etc.

The universe of this game is so big, I’m sure it wouldn’t be disruptive for anyone wanting to keep the current experience, but it could draw in much more people and keep the game interesting for the ones looking for a challenge.

What do you think?

submitted by /u/Jacareadam
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I get the feeling that HG sorta missed the whole point of time gates in game design

There is a time and place for such things in design that goes beyond just wasting people’s time.

Constructive uses for it are either:

a) Short term – make people stick around for a bit, a mandatory mini-break as whatever countdown is ticking down is doing its thing. The first settlement building does that with its <3 minute timer steps. You look around the settlement, take in the scenery, and all that jazz. Given how short it is it usually does not register als negative.

b) Long Term – build anticipation. THIS is where one hour and up timers clock in, but there’s just one massive flaw with the current settlement timers: nothing we have seen so for justfies any sort of anticipation. A market building that has zero mechanical functionality? A house for npcs? As a player I couldn’t give two shits about that. That’s just filler on the side to strech the way to the actually good stuff – which usually is “stuff that allows you to do things that you usually could not do in the game previously”.

There sure is quite some potential to what those “new possibility” buildings can be, from building your own portal to production facilities to (and this now is super wishful thinking for future upgrades) a space hangar for spacecraft building. THAT’s the sort of stuff I’d consider a few hours worth in building the anticipation, even if it is usually unnecessary to have the timer over a hour.

The ONLY other way where high countdowns would be ok would be “overnight projects”. You kick it off before going to bed, and next day you log on happy about your new thing. However, this needs to be stuff one actually looks forward to, instead of “generic random building #324 that increases some internal settlement stat randomy and does nothing for the player”.

Also, having zero interaction with said timer is absolutely stupid if you already set the timers that high. It’s my settlement, let me help by throwing extra resources at it or completing quests (“local wildlife/sentinels is interfering with construction, kill X to speed up process by Y%”)

Time gates have a place in game design, except HG seems to put them in there with the sole and only intent to waste player time. And no, it’s not contributing to the immersion – if it was established for years that you can build a darn LANDING PAD with the click of a button suddenly blocking everything for HOURS is not immersive, it’s just the game giving me the finger. Small timers of a few minutes are immersive. Anything above that is just someone trying to get on my nerves.

submitted by /u/an-academic-weeb
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