There have been some changes to how No Man's Sky multiplayer works as part of the Beyond update. We’re talking about the ability to embark on new types of missions, and the fact that you can now enjoy a shared social space with your mates, if that’s the kind of thing you want to do in No Man's Sky (opens in new tab). Here are some key things that you’ll need to keep in mind if you’re hitting up No Man's Sky multiplayer and jumping into space adventures with a group.
1. Objectives are still locked to each player
Annoyingly, you aren’t able to complete objectives together in No Man’s Sky, even if you’re in the same party. If every player is tasked with building a base as part of the main story campaign, for example, you’ll all have to build your own separate base for the game to register it as fulfilled for each member.
This slows down the progress of story missions, side quests, and other activities, and might come as a surprise to those who were hoping to complete No Man’s Sky’s campaign together. Basically, don’t think you can coast off of someone else’s efforts in No Man’s Sky multiplayer; to make your way in this brave new world, you’re going to have to chip in as much as everybody else.
2. Tagging objects is the next best thing to a minimap
No Man’s Sky’s new solar system map is a bit rubbish for trying to navigate the infinite swathes of space, but there’s a far more effective way to orientate yourself in multiplayer mode. See something in the distance worth investigating, and want to bring it to the attention of your team? Fire up your visor, aim directly at its location, and hold the “Tag” button to pinpoint it on the radar at the top of the screen.
This will register across every other player’s radar, so you won’t need to faff around trying to describe its exact position on the planet. This works, by the way, for objective markers, space stations, entire planets, and other players too, and in a world as gargantuan as this one, it helps to let everyone know exactly where you’re headed.
3. Photo mode works in real time
Of course No Man’s Sky has a photo mode. It’s certainly deserving of it, with all the mind-blowing vistas and randomised sci-fi scenery. What’s more, in multiplayer, this feature takes on a new lease of life, as time doesn’t come to a standstill whenever you whip out the camera, but lets you essentially play the part of unofficial cameraman while everything around you continues as normal.
In essence, it’s a great way to grab some neat action shots of your friends exploring the world, or just tail them without their knowledge, and Hello Games has added a whole suite of customisation tools so you’ll never be lost for new ways to snap your buddies.
4. Weather conditions are shared
Weather conditions are shared between players on the same planet and in the same location. If you’re planet-side with a friend, then you can both enjoy the same, beautiful sunset as each other if the mood strikes. There are still a few hiccups in terms of weather conditions being slightly delayed from player to player on the same planet, but you’ll be experiencing rain and shine together in almost every instance.
5. Try not to die if you want to stick together
No Man’s Sky is a big, big place, and there’s currently no ability to teleport, on command, to other comrades within the game. What’s more, when you die, there’s a very strong likelihood that you’re not going to spawn back next to your team, but literally on the other side of the world, depending on the mood of Hello Games’ unpredictable formula.
We learnt this the hard way, after one of us bit the bullet before respawning thousands of miles away on the planet we’d been exploring. It wasn’t the end of the world (though it certainly felt like they’d reappeared at the end of the world), but it was a pain when reaching each other required leaving the stratosphere and pulse jumping just to reacquaint within a matter of minutes rather than hours. Learn from our failures; try not to die.
6. Trading with each other is possible, but there’s limits
As a game all about having the right chemicals for the right job, No Man’s Sky’s survival gameplay is made a lot easier now that you can trade almost any of your inventory items with party members. No longer will you have to desperately scrounge a planet’s surface for the right resource to keep your exosuit up and running, but simply ask a nearby buddy for the required mats (should they have any spare), and they can wire it over to your inventory within a matter of seconds.
To give something to another player, all you need to do is enter your inventory, hit “Transfer”, but make sure you separate out the exact number you’re wishing to part with beforehand, otherwise you’ll give them your entire stockpile, and they might not be willing to ever give it back. One thing to note; you have to be in close proximity (basically next to each other) in order to make a trade, so it’s not going to work if the donor or recipient decides to run off mid-transaction. Keep that in mind when the going gets tough during No Man’s Sky’s tougher excursions.
7. Friendly fire can now be turned on and off
Previously, we would have recommended extreme caution when it comes to brandishing your multitool at people in the area, since this would generally be a matter of your phasers being set to “kicking your mates’ asses” mode. However, you can turn friendly fire off in No Man’s Sky if you’re wanting a session that’s more about team bonding and custard creams than every astronaut out for themselves. That way, you don’t have to worry about someone shanking you in the back.
The way you do that is by adjusting your Network Settings. Navigate to that part of the menu and make sure that the “Can damage players” option is set to No one. After that’s done, just pan back to your game with the updated settings and voila! You won’t be able to take a chunk out of someone else by accident anymore, despite your best efforts. You can still, however, cause a minor geological incident that results in a mate being buried underground; you just can’t hurt them directly!
8. You can play together with any save file, provided you’re in the same mode
Multiplayer doesn’t work in the traditional sense in No Man’s Sky, as no one’s ever really a host. Instead, think of it like Destiny, where explorers of the single, shared universe are simply teaming up to play the same game together. That means that someone who’s been playing for 100 hours can join a player who’s only just begun their No Man’s Sky journey, though there are a few strings attached.
For example, to really appreciate the extent of the multiplayer, you’ll need to all be playing in the same game mode of No Man’s Sky, either Normal, Survival, Permadeath or Creative mode. Any player who joins a crew but isn’t playing in the same mode as the leader will be considered a “guest”, and won’t have access to all the features they might be familiar with. Otherwise, any progress you make in multiplayer will transfer over to single-player, and vice versa, so you don’t have to worry about missing out on anything for the most part.
9. Anyone can board your freighter, but starships are off limits
Once you’ve earned enough credits to purchase a freighter in No Man’s Sky, any other player can join you aboard to check out the feng shui, customise their character, and enlist on new multiplayer missions. Your starship, however, is still very much your own thing.
Other team members are unable to pilot it (so you won’t need to worry about any prank hijackings), and there’s sadly no multi-mannable starships for co-op dogfighting, as they’re still strictly one seaters only. Perhaps in future, Hello Games will let us share the sweaty confines of our ships as co-pilots, Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime style, but today is not that day.
10. Multiplayer missions don’t necessarily require multiple players
The aforementioned multiplayer missions are newly designed challenges that, like much of No Man’s Sky, are fairly simple, story-lite objectives which make use of the game’s exploration focus. You might be asked to scan a certain number of creatures, or take out a certain number of enemy starships, but don’t expect MMO style raids or epic story quests, even anything on the same level as No Man’s Sky’s story mode missions. What’s more, these multiplayer missions aren’t actually exclusive to multiplayer, but any solo spacefarer is able to take them on in solo mode, or perhaps as part of a multitasking effort while the rest of crew gets on with something else.
11. You can just Space Anomaly and chill
With the introduction of the Space Anomaly (which you can now summon at will), there’s essentially a shared social space for Travellers to hang out. You can now choose to travel to the Space Anomaly whenever and experience chilling with up to 32 other players who are in the same instance as you if you’re playing on PC.
Once you make your way to the Space Anomaly, you’ll note that the giant expanded station is now home to players from, well, everywhere. And unlike before, when multiplayer communication was limited to emoting, you can communicate via text chat and really make yourself known. There’s no distinction between players who are playing in VR and those who are just playing regularly, so if you see someone fondly stroking another Traveller’s dome while they’re just idly standing by, well, the former is probably just having a fun time with their Oculus.
12. Nexus missions are there if your team gets bored
You can queue up for team missions in The Nexus. The game will spit out a bunch of Nexus missions that swap out on a rotating basis, and you can queue up for these for up to 3 other Travellers. Think of them like strikes in Destiny 2. If you want to initiate them, you just rock up to the holographic looking sentinel sitting in the center of the proceedings and you’ll be greeted with a menu of Nexus missions to choose from.
Navigate to whichever catches your fancy, whether it’s raiding an outpost or chasing off some spacefaring bandits, and press Initiate Mission when prompted. The game will then display the number of people in your party who have initiated the mission and are ready for it, and once everyone is ready to go, you can all embark on your chosen Nexus Mission. You’ll be rewarded with a variety of things, but these will be indicated on the Mission Select screen before you pick what you’re going to throw your team into this journey.
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