No Man's Sky's vast universe was part of its initial appeal. You would go from planet to planet, completely alone, discovering and naming things along the way. For some players, that was too desolate, so they banded together to make the Galactic Hub, a portion of No Man's Sky that acted as a home base. After the most recent update, those established trade routes, farms and bases became unrecognisable. So, the community leaders of the Galactic Hub had to find a new home for their adventures.
The Hub That Was
According to player 7101334, the founder of the Galactic Hub, it was supposed to be a place where No Man's Sky players could settle into an organised community. The goals of the project were to create a place in the enormity of No Man's Sky where players would have familiar landmarks, so they could get started with a bit more of a guide. Scott, also known by his handle UniDestiny, said over the phone that the first thing every player would see when they got to the hub was the Lennon star system, which is the designated entry point into the Hub for all players. "Everybody posts a pic of getting there, and going down on the planet," he said. "For some of us, it took a long time to get there."
"Near" and "far" are relative terms in a game like No Man's Sky. Some players might spawn very close to Lennon, while other spawn very far from it. No matter the distance, however, joining the hub was an active choice, and required some legwork to get there. Warping into Lennon and then visiting the capital planet, Drogradur, was a right of passage for players who grinded their way to the hub.
Rembuk Flats on Drogradur, pre 1.3. Source: No Man's Sky Wiki
When you made it there, what you'd find was an organised, helpful community to welcome you. Against all odds, the Hub managed to cultivate over 5000 passionate players who located and marked useful items for incoming players, such as multitools and ships, and even set up community farms that everyone could tend, harvest, and use for trade. If you decided to jump into Lennon and join the hub, you would know that you were joining a real, working civilisation that could net you not just good tools and a lot of credits, but people who would show you the ropes and maybe even become your friends. Then 1.3 came, and things changed.
What They Lost
The 1.3 update, also known as Atlas Rising, was mainly a story overhaul. It gave players a lot of things they wanted — better steering on ships, working portals, and overhauled graphics. 1.3 also made changes to the biomes of planets, as well as how animals were generated, which meant that planets could change overnight. The members of the Hub were faced with utterly different planets and systems post-update. AndyKrycek6, a moderator at the Galactic Hub subreddit, said that the farms he used to visit are now inaccessible. Every day, he used to be able to visit four farms made by other players and harvest their Nip Nip, which is basically just "a smelly plant," he says. Each trading post, found in Space Stations or randomly generated spots on planet, has a different economy where resources are worth different amounts of in-game units. For a long time, selling Nip Nip to NPCs was very profitable. "Travelling to these systems on a daily basis provided me with the wealth I have today in NMS," he said. "They no longer exist as either the [player] has moved on or the update ruined their bases."
The reliable landmarks of the Hub have now also changed, as well as the flora and fauna. "Our capital planet, Drogradur… turned into a frozen wasteland after a long time as a tropical beauty," 7101334 said.
Drogradur's Portal, post 1.3. Source: A_Imma
7101334, who is also the leading expert on animals in the Galactic hub, or the Lead Exozoologist, also said, "We think the mighty Caesarus, largest fauna species ever discovered in No Man's Sky, has gone extinct." Planets that were were scanned prior to the update will still list those plants and animals as living there if you check the in-game discovered species, but 7101334 and other members of the hub simply have not seen a Caesarus since the update hit.
The now extinct Caesarus. Source: No Man's Sky Wiki
Post update, the Hub was just unrecognisable. "My base sat within shouting distance of two trading posts, a portal, different kinds of cool rock formations. I thought it was a great place and I was excited to continue into 1.3 from there," Scott said. "The reset turned it into a barren planet with completely different geography. That was the most disappointing thing, just seeing that this place I had gotten to know very well was just gone." But rather than dwell on the things they'd lost, Scott, 7101334 and their compatriots decided to make a bold move into the future.
The Galactic Council
In response to those changes, 7101334 formed a Galactic Council. Scott, also known as UniDestiny, told Kotaku over the phone that, "It's just a fancy name for a group of people that have been in the hub for a while and know the direction it's going, and where it's been." Finding a new region wasn't the hard part for them. "We mostly looked for a nearby region which resembled our home region the… Rentocnii Conflux," 7101334 said. AndyKrycek6 called what they were looking for a "Tree" shaped galaxy. "The old Hubs' stars formed what looked like a huge tree-like structure, which made it very distinct in the galaxy," he said. "If you start from the bottom of the 'trunk' and work your way up it narrowed and bloomed into a cloud of stars, like the leaves/branches of a tree... As so many [players] were used to this structure we decided to find a similar, if not exact, set up." Here's the Rentocnii Conflux, with the tree shape loosely outlined:
Source: No Man's Sky Wiki
Very quickly, council members got attached to a region called the Shungka Void. From there, a few members of the council scouted out systems and planets and sent pictures back to the rest of the council, who were all head down in the logistical work of preparing new systems and databases for a community of several thousand people.
In speaking to the members of the Galactic Council, you might feel like you're talking to a futuristic space government. Logistically, the move took a lot of work, especially in terms of creating a new wiki for the Hub from the ground up. The Wiki was a valuable resource for players, obsessively catalogued with every discovery. In order to move, they'd have to update this resource for the Shungka Void. The people who came together to do that included Scott, a No Man's Sky cartographer who made maps of the stars to help players navigate space; Seamonkey420, who wrote a script to help players fill out wiki pages, as the wiki would have to be entirely rebuilt; pahefu, who has made an app to convert glyphs into planet coordinates; and of course Hub founder 7101334. There are 19 people in the Council, and they spent a week together reworking old systems and preparing the community for the move. It was a fast moving, passionate Discord group. "It would take about 5 mins to catch up if you went away for an hour," Seamonkey420 said. Scott told me that between the council and his full time job, he wasn't sleeping much.
Because No Man's Sky is a game that's still in flux, the council tried to create systems that would grow as the game continued to be updated. It wasn't conflict free — there were disagreements over how new planets should be named — but the council was able to complete the move six days faster than expected by working together, according to 7101334.
Over this past weekend, the Galactic Hub had a party to say goodbye to the old Hub, which they now refer to as the Legacy Hub. Players would journey to the former capital planet of Dragradur, leave messages for other players, and use the portal there to jump to the new system. They encouraged streamers and YouTubers to come to the event, and in these videos you can see that the area is flooded with messages from other players:
Scott described this as bittersweet. "We really enjoyed the stuff that we'd done in the old hub, but we're excited to start things in the new place," he said. "A lot of this was sort of experimental, to get an idea for what we were doing and now we can do it really right the second time." The conversation felt a little like talking about graduating from university. "The best part of the last update was the photo mode… I've got this huge album of everything I've explored and everything I've done," he said. "The way we cope with it is approaching it from that point of view. Yeah we did that, but it's gone now. Now we get to do it again, in this new place."
More than sadness or nostalgia, these council members are very excited to see their new systems in action, find new flora and fauna, and make new bases. 7101334 hopes that this move will help the Galactic Hub community flourish into a kind of Renaissance, where the Galactic Hub can have a stronger sense of identity.
"I want the Galactic Hub's to develop more of a culture, for the [players] and the regions and the systems to have more specific identities." he said. "An extension of the class system will be themes for each region. For example, since I'm the Lead Exozoologist and Chancellor of Shungka Void, Shungka Void is 'The Fauna Region'. Since 57Dynasty is the Lead Economist and Chancellor of Marmor Spur, Marmor Spur is 'The Prosperous Region'." In rebuilding the Galactic Hub, he hopes that it's easier to understand for newcomers, who will flock to regions that suit their playstyle best.
By now, all players from the Legacy Hub should have moved to the Shungka Void. There's a lot of work to do, including finding and voting on a new capital planet where new Hub members will land when they first join up (AndyKrycek6 says that Diplos, the fan favourite long necked animals similar to the dinosaur Diplodocus that also inhabited the old Capital of Drogradur, "are a must"). The council members are confident that the move was worth it. "Change has come and I'm mostly just excited to change the Hub with it," 7101334 said. "It was a lot to coordinate and intimidating initially, but now that the framework is set it's mostly just exciting to see the entire civilisation rebuild itself, better than ever before."