No Man’s Sky’s new multiplayer hub, the Space Anomaly, is beautiful. It opens up new opportunities for players who want to work together in space. It’s also pretty buggy.
Multiplayer in No Man’s Sky has been a journey. Although players believed (due to some vague and never-quite-explained comments from director Sean Murray) that they would be able to play with each other at launch, that did not turn out to be true.
A year later, we got rudimentary multiplayer in the form of seeing other players as balls of light, and then No Man’s Sky got true multiplayer with the Next update in 2018.
Now there’s a social hub for No Man’s Sky players, which Murray compared to Destiny’s hub Tower when he spoke to Kotaku last week. Yesterday, I wasn’t able to visit it because I couldn’t get into my old save. Twenty-four hours and a hot fix later, I was able to check it out. I’m excited for the opportunities it will bring, but it could still use a patch or two.
While I was in the Anomaly, I did see another player. We both ran back towards each other, doing a double take. It’s still startling to see any other players in No Man’s Sky, especially strangers. As he was leaving the Anomaly, he used the gestures system to wave at me, then blinked out of existence.
Unfortunately, there’s not a lot to do in the Anomaly without other players around. I have been hoping to use the Nexus to do a multiplayer mission, which sends you and up to three other players to another planet to do a specific task, like taming animals or destroying pirates. No one else came onto the Anomaly while I was there, however. It’s not clear whether this was due to the game’s overall bugginess or a lack of players.
One thing that was clearly due to bugginess, however, was the mission I couldn’t actually complete. The game wouldn’t let me speak to Nada or Polo, the two NPCs required to finish the new Anomaly mission. Some of the other NPCs were also bugged in the Anomaly.
Other players have experienced this bug as well, even before last night’s patch. Although turning off multiplayer in my settings, as some players suggested, resolved the issue, when I turned it back on, I couldn’t talk to Nada, Polo, or other NPCs again. Not being able to have multiplayer on while in the Space Anomaly kind of defeats the purpose.
I remember logging into No Man’s Sky right after Next launched in 2018 and running into a host of similar problems. The game crashed, quest lines were bugged, and the game was even erasing people’s saves. It was frustrating — I wanted to like the update, but the bugs were getting in the way. Developer Hello Games then released smaller patches to fix those bugs, first two days after the update, then the day after that, for a total of fifteen patches. All the issues I had been having went away.
Thursday, Murray told Kotaku that he and his team had already started fixing the issues that are plaguing players, and I can only hope their prolific patching continues for Beyond. What I can see of the update is wonderful, until it just doesn’t work.