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Survival

July 30, 2018 by Tim

So, like many people last week, I reinstalled No Man’s Sky, a game I had not touched since probably August of 2016. I must have deleted my save, so I had to start over, but really that was fine. So much had changed, I hear, that a slow, fresh start would be good to help me learn the ropes.

And then I picked “Survival” mode.

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Survival is a mode they apparently added in a previous update, and next to the menu’s description of Normal mode as a “chill” experience, seemed like it would be a nice change of pace from what I remember of NMS. After all, I like Survival sims!

I froze to death thirty-seconds after the game started.

I’d barely had a moment to admire the beauty of the ice planet they’d started me on before my suit was squawking at me about environmental hazards. As I’d not touched this game in two years AND they’d recently renamed all of the elements, I had no clue what I was doing. In the process of examining my inventory to try to understand my predicament, my little spaceman crumpled over and went gently into that good night.

When I respawned, “Generation 2” as the game called it, I had a little bit more information. My suit required sodium to protect me from the freezing temperatures, and it was critically low. I needed to find sodium, so I started running.

A navigation marker told me my ship was way off in the horizon; it may as well have been on the other side of the planet. But I decided I’d run in that direction anyway. In my haste, I stumbled down a cliff and took some damage. Ferrite and Carbon were plentiful, but none of the planet’s strange rocks or plants seemed to contain sodium. I could just make out my ship in the distance when I collapsed and died from exposure a second time.

Generation 3 was marginally more successful. Running and some clever terrain navigation got me to my ship just as my suit protection expired. I jumped in, hoping it counted as a “safe” enviroment. It did. I sat in the cockpit as my suit recharged, and contemplated the wasteland of icy death that surrounded me. I had to repair my ship in order to get off this planet, but I could barely even keep my suit functioning for more than a minute at a time.

The next thirty minutes was spent hopping out of my ship, running in one direction until my protection was depleted by half, and then turning and running back to my ship. Recharging and then investigating in a different direction. These small exploratory excursions yielded no sodium, and I began to become convinced that I’d spawned on a planet without this particular resource.

Finally, after deciding to travel further out, past the point where I could safely make it back to my ship, I found my first sodium plant. It glowed yellow, and now I knew what I was looking for. I recharged my protection, and breathed a sigh of relief. I’d taken my first step towards surviving this shitty planet.

And then my life support started beeping.

No Man’s Sky was always a fascinating project; the idea of running around on procedurally generated planets, discovering stuff no one else might ever see… even once you started to see the seams beneath the code, and the illusion wavered a bit, it was still an increcible experience. But it also never really felt like a game, before. Rather, it was just that: an experience. Something you did for a little bit, and then grew bored of.

And I’m not saying they’ve fixed everything with the game; they’ve made a lot of improvements, but there are still some underlying problems. However now they’re problems that are at least somewhat tolerable thanks to the additions since launch. Survival was, to me, the most “game-like” that No Man’s Sky has ever felt.

Whereas the only drive in the game at launch was “what’s over the next hill?”, Survival keeps that sense of exploration while also forcing you to make decisions and prioritize, presenting challenges to overcome and be mindful of. Normal mode is still probably great if you just want to relax and hang out, but I think Survival mode is the only real way to play NMS now. The first ten minutes are brutal if you’re not sure what you’re doing, but there is an exhileration associated with conquering your shitty starting planet.

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DannyboyO1
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DannyboyO1

I have friends who play survival games with permadeath. This is, to me, insanity. I mean, Dark Souls? You lose so little when you die, and these same friends avoid it because it’s “hard”. I mean, this game, particularly… because it’s such a grind to get anywhere if you don’t know “the magic way of This Thing”. Like, I take on a down ship. Now they come with crap in all the slots… and you need to fix them with more crap. Some things that you get from fighting sentinels. Some things that you get from refining iron… and you… Read more »

Casra
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Casra

Why waste time fixing it? Just use it to trade up for a new unbroken ship! It’s a stepping stone.

BotFodder
Guest

There is a downside to Survival/Permadeath on NMS: You will *never* come across a planet where something is not trying to kill you, if it’s still how they originally implemented it.

Any planet with a decent atmosphere will have aggressive sentinels.

The closest I ever came was a desert planet that had the rare storm. The temperature during normal times was not bad enough to cause any threat, but the storms would kill you fairly quick.

So, outside of a station, there’s no where you’ll be able to relax.

Tim van der Meij
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Tim van der Meij

They’ve rebalanced the world generation since then; there are less amounts of planets with hazards, and you can Scan them in your ship from orbit to figure out what biome they are. Doesn’t mean there aren’t death planets tough; yesterday I came across a planet with a constant weather type that was described as “boiling monsoon”.

Goldeneye
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Goldeneye

Thankfully, planets with aggressive sentinels are much rarer now, and only exist on planets with rare resources on them. I found a planet with a large planet-wide ocean, minimal sentinels, and good resources (one of them being the ultra-rare ones, but the sentinels aren’t really a large issue.) I later found myself incorrect about the ocean when I landed and found it to be blue grass. Sky-blue grass.

Eldest Gruff
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Eldest Gruff

No Man’s Sky is an interesting game; the promise of it reminded me a lot of the promise of what Spore was supposed to be: Travel through the stars, encountering planets and species and civilizations completely unique and interesting and infinitely varied. And just like Spore, it seemed like once you got there, there was just nothing interesting to do, and all the things that you found and encountered were pointless.. I really, really wanted Spore to do well, but unfortunately it had EA behind it. I’m glad that Hello Games is keeping with their promise and providing updates. But… Read more »

Pulse
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Pulse

I had a similar experience when i first place Space Engineers. My buddy bought me it to play with him and I spent 90% of my time playing it dieing to running out of energy trying to find a recharge station. then they added oxygen and more…I dont know if i wanna give it another shot or write it off.

D00d
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D00d

After the video yoi posted I went and got NMS. It was on sale anyway at STEAM so it worked out. I have never played it before, but I am enjoying the game so far, I do see how how this can get old though. I found a crashed ship that I think was bigger then my starting ship, but you cannot rob parts, you can only gather a zillion resources to get this ship in the air again. The base building is a nice touch too, like Fallout 4. It does seem like the entire point of the game… Read more »

DannyboyO1
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DannyboyO1

You can trade-in that broken-down found ship for a less-broke one. Fuck those chromatic ore numbers.

Alex
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Alex

After reading all the press about the Next update, I finally decided to pick it up on the Steam sale a few days ago. It’s a little grindy, but I have thoroughly enjoyed it for the ten hours or so I’ve played it. I don’t see myself getting to “end-game” with an S-class ship worth a trillion credits or whatever, but I don’t see myself quitting it any time soon. It’s very relaxing, honestly, to have a game where I just sorta turn my brain off and mine some minerals without worrying about every other thing trying to kill me… Read more »

KevinJ
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KevinJ

I don’t normally comment but this comic perfectly reminded me of my start of the game last night.

The changes, plus what I’d been seeing on various sites piqued my curiosity into trying something I had always considered trying before.

I died on normal mode within ten minutes because I couldn’t figure out where to start. May not be as bad as survival, but the lack of guidance when you were starting was horrifying!

Brett
Guest
Brett

Just got this game for my Xbox One and that scenario above happened to me right away. Too freaking funny.

Joystick
Member
Joystick

… This is possible to beat?
Play normal mode first, then go to survival so have SOME experience.

Scrysis
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Scrysis

This comic is too appropriate. I definitely got a good laugh out of “He fondled the ferrite! Kill him!” line.

Even the “chill” normal mode has gotten more aggressive. I plan on finishing normal mode a bit more before going back to survival mode.

Scortch
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Scortch

When NMS was first shown, I was very apprehensive after several games that over promised and under delivered. I had such a strong feeling this was just the next game in a line to that ultimate game I crave. When it came out, I soon saw that yes unfortunately I was right about it, and at $60 the price was way too high. However I’ve been watching the articles about the updates, and how the designers have listened to the feedback, and this game has become very much playable now, and doesn’t look like it’s done. I have some friends… Read more »

FITCamaro
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FITCamaro

This made me laugh a lot.

Grumbler
Guest
Grumbler

I must admit, I was extremely skeptical when you made the previous comic, given that NMS was now implimenting features they straight up lied about before. But a little bit of research and some youtube has me believing this is worth buying this time.

It still doesn’t make releasing a shitstorm of broken promises any less upsetting, but hey, we’re gamers. We’re easy to please and we forgive easy.

Brendan J Keating
Guest
Brendan J Keating

So I encountered literally this (minus cold, plus radioactive), and I thought my bad luck was legendary. Then I amusedly listened over voice chat while my buddy went through almost the same experience… almost… EXACTLY… the same experience. When he encountered his first storm event while leaving his ship for the first time… exactly when I encountered my storm… and I *didn’t* have a storm despite being on the same world, was when the lightbulb finally wheezed to life, and I went “Heeeeeeey… wait a fucking minute….” So I did the opening tutorial four times. I did it on normal… Read more »

Joystick
Member
Joystick

I want the game. My friend tells me NO, ITS TERRIBLE. I don’t care. I want it but I only have 6GB of RAM. It needs 8. What can I do to increase the installed RAM?

Alex
Guest
Alex

Since RAM is physical, the only way to increase it is to buy more and install it. I would have assumed you’d be able to run it with 6, but a cursory Google search says that people have tried, and it pretty much does have a hard requirement of 8GB to run.

As long as you aren’t especially picky about brand or speed, you could get a replacement 8GB stick or add on a 4GB stick for relatively cheap from Amazon or Newegg or wherever.

Goldeneye
Guest
Goldeneye

Oh gosh. On Xbox, there is no “survival” mode, only normal and hard, (if my memory serves, which it most likely doesn’t) so I just picked normal. Yes, I did die to the sentinel because I was an idiot, but in normal you can pick your stuff up off your corpse, so I just recovered the much-needed ferrite and got the sodium with only about ten minutes of stressing out over whether I was going to die. Funny Thing: I didn’t know sitting in your ship would help recover you hazardous protection unit, so I just found the sodium on… Read more »

J Man
Guest
J Man

God the secound I saw this comic I was like Damn he’s good cause that’s exactly what happen to me accept I made it to my ship instead of running to the death cave. Thou the next planet I landed on I ran in to the death cave. :'(