At the end of March, Hello Games released the No Man’s Sky Expeditions (v3.3) update which brought a new, periodic, community-focused play mode to the game. I published posts and videos about my experiences with first two community Expeditions, Pioneers and Beachhead, as I completed them, here at NMSspot. A several month hiatus from Hello Games followed but, happily, Expedition Three: Cartographers finally landed — and on the heels of the major Frontiers (v3.6) update that brought the all new Settlements dynamic, allowing players to basically run their own little Mos Eisley, as well as a massive overhaul to the base building system and the base parts to choose from. (And I must, here, mention that in the aforelinked release notes to Cartographers, I was humbled by Hello Games’ kind nod to a piece of my in-game photography, a pursuit I most enjoy while exploring within No Man’s Sky.)
Cartographers placed players on a toxic world with extreme geography and a disabled explorer ship. The ship in question was of a highly unusual configuration making the task of repairing it and getting off the planet a rather long and laborious one, far more involved than that of a traditional starship. Once repaired, the player was able to escape the planet and seek out the various rendezvous points in systems across the galaxy and complete the remainder of the Expedition.
Given that I would clearly be spending a considerable length of time on that starter planet, I built a base near my downed starship, trying my hand for the first time at construction using the aforementioned new base parts. And that was a learning experience; many of the parts were quite unfamiliar and in the days and weeks after the Frontiers release, a series of patches arrived addressing various kinks in the entirely new building dynamic. (Things have since smoothed out nicely.)
Building that initial base was good practice and by the time I was able to make my way to space, I was ready to give it another go on the final rendezvous world, the Expedition’s end planet (or moon, as the case turned out to be).
This morning No Man’s Sky Expedition #2: Beachhead drew to a close after its two-week mission clock timed out. As with the Expedition before it, I found it to be a great deal of fun seeing players zipping about the various systems along the mission route and visiting some of the many bases they left behind.
Having been a rather more basic set of missions than the initial, two-month expedition, I managed to finish the expedition after about a week of play and then set about constructing a base in the system hosting the fifth and final player rendezvous point. Within the final system I found a planet characterized by gigantic spires of rock and frequent storms bringing “walls of flame.” At the very top of a particularly tall spire I began constructing a concrete base in the shape of a ring that is positioned such that it is being impaled by the tip of said spire.
Doing what’s needed in-game to acquire blueprints for items with which to build the base and fill the new space (make it “home”) — gathering Salvaged Data, Quicksilver, and Tainted Metal — takes time…and, as such, I spent a total of about 20 hours play-time on this expedition, where the core missions were completed in around 12.
As I type this post, the on-screen timer counting down the end of No Man’s Sky Expedition #1: The Pioneers reads 1 hour, 31 minutes left. After that, the mission will end and players’ Expedition save will convert to a Normal mode game save. Anyone who hasn’t completed all of the goals in the five phases of this first, two-month mission will find themselves bereft of victory.
On Wednesday, March 31, Hello Games released No Man’s Sky Expeditions (v3.3) which brought a new community focused play mode, Expedition, to the game. Expeditions involve a multi-stage mission along a preset path through the galaxy that must be completed within a set period of time (two months for Expedition #1), at which point the current Expedition will conclude and a new one set out by Hello Games will begin. Everyone embarking on the active Expedition starts off on the same planet, with a limited set of technologies, and will need to make their way many lightyears to the final destination point, fulfilling achievements along the way to progress through the mission’s various stages and on to full completion. Helpful awards are granted along the way as achievements are met and stages completed. Those who emerge victorious will be granted major awards, such as the Golden Alpha Vector fighter, which is the chief award for completing Expedition #1.
As a player fond of base building, I wanted to take advantage of the huge community aspect of Expeditions as an opportunity for a few bases of my construction to be visited by other players. (Unlike any of the other play modes, online players are everywhere in Expeditions, working their way, system-to-system, through the mission at their own pace.) As such, I took my time and built up my player by acquiring the many construction and technology blueprints necessary to build the bases that I felt would be a fitting mark to leave on this social undertaking within the No Man’s Sky universe.