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No Man’s Sky: What has changed? (updated)

March 30, 2019 by DW Game Updates
No Man’s Sky: What has changed? (updated)

Updated: August 2019, added details for Beyond – a substantial game update.


It’s no secret, No Man’s Sky had a rocky release resulting in early adopters to shelve the game, and potential players from buying at all. Since the games original launch in August 2016 a common question from these people is: What has changed?

If you are one of these people then you’ve probably seen numerous articles about No Man’s Sky over the last few years, reigniting your interest in the game, but with a level of caution. The great news: a lot has changed. We’ll get you up to speed with the most exciting changes to the game right here.

During the last few years the Hello Games team have released SIX large, named updates as well as a ton of smaller patches. In a time where it’s common for studios to charge for downloadable content or micro-transactions Hello Games has delivered all their updates at no cost for players. If you purchased the game early on, all of the features highlighted in this guide (plus many more) are totally free for you to enjoy.

Below is a summary of each of the named updates. These summaries only highlight the most interesting changes to gameplay & mechanics. View the official release logs for full details.

1.1 – The foundation update

Release: November 2016 // full release log here

  • Three new game modes: normal, creative & survival
  • Base building, storage containers & teleporters
  • Farming
  • Deployable equipment (inc. automated harvesters, communications beacons)
  • Customisable freighters with recruitable NPCs
  • New biome specific resources and advanced mining technologies
  • Added quick access menus

1.2 – Path Finder

Release: March 2017 // full release log here

  • New game mode: permadeath
  • Online base sharing
  • Ability to own multiple ships
  • Starship specialisations (fighter, shuttle, hauler & explorer)
  • PS4 Pro optimisations (4k support, better visuals)
  • New land-base vehicles (nomad, roamer & colossus)
  • Exocraft racecourse building
  • New shops and traders added to space stations
  • New base building parts and customisations
  • Multi-tool specialisations & classes (pistol, rifle, experimental & alien)
  • New weapon modes
  • Photo mode

1.3 – Atlas Rises

Release: August 2017 // full release log here

  • 30 hours of new story content
  • Galactic map overhaul
  • Wealth, economy & conflict added to star systems
  • New planetary biomes and variation including rare new exotic planet types
  • Crashed freighters
  • Missions system & NPC guilds
  • Improved interstellar trading & economy
  • New analysis visor
  • Terrain editing
  • Working portals with glyph system
  • Improved space combat, manoeuvrability & low flight
  • Joint exploration (a very basic implementation with floating orbs and voice chat)
  • New ship designs

1.5 – NEXT

Release: July 2018 // full release log here

  • True multiplayer:
    • Team up with friends, explorer together, engage in space battles, prey on others, build bases, farms and racetracks
    • Multiplayer missions system
    • Text chat (PC)
  • Community events with rewards and customisations
  • Game available to buy for Xbox
  • Improved base building with hundreds of new parts and freedom to build anywhere on a planet
  • Ability to own multiple bases
  • Third person view
  • Character customisation
  • Expressive gestures
  • Freighter enhancements and the option to own an entire fleet. Command your frigates from the bridge of your freighter
  • Real-time fleet missions
  • Completely reworked core substances and resources
  • Overhauled crafting with the addition of buildable refiners
  • Procedural tech upgrades
  • Ability to add way-points using analysis visor
  • Expanded missions
  • Improved planet generation, improved bodies of water and new dynamic volumetric clouds 
  • Planetary rings of asteroids and improved space visuals
  • All new space station design with marketplaces
  • Find and excavate buried ruins to unearth locked ancient treasures
  • Locate buried technology modules to unlock new blueprint using the new Blueprint Analyser
  • More intelligent creatures and creature movement
  • Feed creatures
  • New hazardous flora and fauna
  • Updated sentinel behaviours, animations and AI

1.7 – The Abyss

Release: October 2018 // full release log here

  • Added unique underwater creatures, predatory fish and abyssal horrors
  • Aquatic missions
  • Submerged buildings and sunken wrecks
  • Find and repair rare crashed starships from the seabed
  • Investigate sunken ruins and find ancient treasures
  • New diving helmets accessible from the character customisation screen
  • New underwater biomes (adding 5x more variety)
  • New Exocraft (the Nautilon) for underwater exploration
  • Submersible building modules
  • Overhauled swimming controls
  • New substances, goods and products
  • New vehicle merchant on space stations

1.75 – Visions

Release: November 2018 // full release log here

  • New planetary biomes, including anomalous planets
  • New bizarre creatures
  • Vastly improved water variation
  • Atmospherics and skies have been improved and conditions can now produce rainbows
  • Claim exotic artifacts to show in your base
  • Archeology – uncover rare, valuable ancient bones
  • Unearth salvageable parts
  • Better variation in hazardous fauna
  • Improved variation in crashed freighters

2.0 Beyond

Release: August 2019 // full release log here

No Man’s Sky Beyond released with THREE large elements, s

  • VR
    • Full VR support with seamless switching to standard gameplay
    • Added VR specific menus and interactions
  • Online
    • Completely redesigned space anomaly to act as a hub for the new online elements
    • New multiplayer missions accessible from ‘The Nexus’ on the space anomaly
    • New story content for Nada and Polo
    • Removed orbs from the game and replaced them with fully simulated other players, met ambiently as you explore
    • Player cap increased to between 8 and 32 depending on platform
    • Day/night cycles are now synced between players
    • New teleporter aboard the space anomaly lets you explore features or nearby players bases
    • Technolgy specialists aboard the space anomaly let you browse and upgrade your equipment
  • 2.0 / other
    • Reworked tutorials
    • New tech-tree system with various new technologies
    • Vastly improved base building system
      • Base building camera mode
      • Added new base parts
      • New power and locic system and items
    • Redesigned discovery screens
    • Overhauled galaxy map
    • Added creature harvesting, riding & taming
    • Added cooking system with many recipes
    • New NPCs
    • NPCs can now walk around their environements
    • Players can now sit on chairs
    • Reworked language system
    • Technologies can now be moved around your exosuit, ship & multi-tools
    • Many areas of the game including presense of sentinels, combat, mining, ship controls have been rebalanced
    • Inventory limitations have been relaxed
    • Added planetary charts, available to purchase from the vendor at space stations

Non game-play changes

In additional to the above there have also been a huge number of changes and additions that improve the in-game UI, graphics and stability of the game. Here are some of the highlights:

  • User interface overhaul
  • Added motion blur option
  • Introduced TAA (temporal anti aliasing)
  • High and ultra resolution textures
  • More accurate ambient lighting
  • Horizon Based ambient occlusion
  • Improved post-processing
  • Improved draw distance
  • HDR mode for compatible monitors and televisions
  • Added more variety in sounds and music
  • Significantly more detail added to ship, NPC, and building textures

What’s next?

With the release of Beyond Hello Games have promised we’ll see even more updates in the future, and with the addition of the new online elements we might get updates more frequently. We’ll keep this article updated with any new additions!

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