I still can’t decide if I like No Man’s Sky. There’s so much I don’t like about it, like how ship/spacesuit upgrades take away from storage space, and yet I’m still compelled to continue playing it. On the whole, I’m enjoying hopping from procedurally generated world to procedurally generated world, having a gander at the weird creatures and landscapes and then popping off to see what other wonders I can find.
At least I was enjoying it, until a certain series of events left me stranded on a planet, turning my joyous adventuring into a terrifying slog of uncertainty.
Let’s start at the beginning: I’d landed on a planet I had decided to name “Thyngourrrrrrrr” because it was the stupidest name I could come up with after “Laboobaloob” was vetoed by the game’s profanity filter. Thyngourrrrrrrr is a planet engulfed in constant toxic rain and has these beautiful floating rock formations; giant plateaus suspended in the sky as though by magic.
Seriously, they’re pretty stunning, so I thought it might be cool to fly my spaceship up there and land on one. So I did, and the view was lovely but there wasn’t a whole lot else to find, so really it had been a wasted trip. I hopped back into my spaceship to leave, and I discovered my first mistake: my launch thrusters were out of plutonium fuel, so it wasn’t going anywhere until I topped them back up.
Things got worse when I realised I had no plutonium on me, and there was none to be found on the plateau. This left me with only one option: I had to leave the ship where it was and go find some plutonium to bring back. It wasn’t until I hopped off the plateau that I realised my second mistake: since the plateau was suspended in the air, I now couldn’t get back to my ship.
To rub salt in the wound, there was plenty of plutonium down on the ground, but with no means to actually get in the ship and fly away, I was well a truly stuffed.
And so I had to learn No Man’s Sky’s horrendously cruel solution to such a scenario the hard way. That solution being “go find a beacon so it will hopefully locate a crashed ship you can repair.” Since No Man’s Sky is procedurally generated, I was now completely at its mercy hoping it placed one nearby.
So I looked around for the nearest landmark, designated by a question mark symbol, and set off to see what it was. After a couple of minutes trekking, I saw what looked like a little tower in the distance and my heart leaped at the thought this would be over this easily.
I rushed over there, only to hit a slight snag: there was a chasm between the beacon and myself.
Fortunately it was fairly easy to hop down there and find a way to climb up. Unfortunately, however, it was not the kind of beacon I was looking for. This was one of the smaller beacons that detected a single, random landmark, not one that could specifically look for crashed ships. Still, it was worth a shot.
I fired it up, and it quickly detected an “advanced lifeform” in a shelter nearby. OK, I say “nearby”, really it was 15 minutes walk away.
15 minutes on foot is a fair trek in No Man’s Sky, especially because you’re supposed to have your spaceship on hand to make such journeys a lot shorter. But since there was no alternate way to get out of this mess other than to make the journey and pray to whatever god oversees this hellhole that it was the kind of beacon I’m looking for, I had to suck it up and walk.
So off I went. Not much happened along the way as Thyngourrrrrrrr has little in the way of flora or fauna, although it certainly has a sense of humour given the plentiful amounts of plutonium I kept stumbling past.
But after a while I spotted another question mark that was closer than the shelter, and since I had no guarantees the shelter would be what I was after I figured it was worth a look.
As was to be expected, given my luck so far, the new landmark wasn’t a beacon but a knowledge stone, these giant totems that teach you a single word in an alien language. And the word it taught me was the Vy’Keen word for “Vy’Keen”. Gee, thanks.
So I continued on to the shelter. After another 10 or so minutes of walking (thanks for nothing, knowledge stone), I finally arrived and found the beacon I was looking for.
Now, to find a crashed ship using one of these beacons apparently required me to tell it to locate nearby “transmissions”. So I did that, and it promptly located another beacon ANOTHER 10 minutes walk away.
And if you think that’s funny, then you’ll love the fact that I walked there, found out it was another one of the smaller beacons from earlier, turned it on and it detected yet another “advanced lifeform shelter” that was 30 FUCKING MINUTES WALK AWAY. In that moment I said things that will surely count against me come Judgement Day.
But then I turned around and, lo and behold, over the ridge I spotted my savior: a goddamn trading post.
It may not have been a crashed ship for me to repair like I planned, but a trading post meant I could cash in some of my materials and maybe buy a new spaceship if one came along.
I got down there and immediately ran to the terminal next to the launch pad, hoping it would serve me up with a bunch of ships I could buy. But instead I was greeted by something better: it was going to allow me to teleport my old ship from its stranded location over to here. Finally, a logical, player friendly solution to this nightmarish situation!
But upon pressing the summon button, nothing happened. Confused, I pressed it again. Still nothing. One more time. Zip.
Confused, I looked around from the terminal to see what was wrong, and discovered some dipshit had parked on the landing platform, preventing the teleportation process.
I couldn’t make the guy leave, and I certainly couldn’t afford his ship, so I had no actual way of fixing this situation. Thankfully, after walking away and selling stuff on the Galactic Trade, he took off and I was able to finally, son of a goddamn fucking finally, summon my ship.
And you can bet your ass I blasted the hell off planet.
And so my long, arduous journey to recovering my spaceship had ended. If I never see Thyngourrrrrrrr again, it’ll be too goddamn soon.