Look, here’s a formula for you to memorize if you visit Levelcapped.com:
Statement of Reluctance + Blog Post = Fuck it
Of course I’m talking about No Man’s Sky, which I ended up picking up yesterday. I didn’t get to it until later at night due to canine medical issues, so I haven’t had a lot of time to Speak Authoritatively about it (not that there’s much I really can speak authoritatively about in general), but gaming culture is all about First Impressions, right? That’s the vibe I get.
First time I loaded into the game, it crashed. Second time I loaded in it worked, and then proceeded to stress me the hell out. You start on a random world somewhere in one of the quintillion systems that make up the universe of the game. I suck at screenshots, and the PS4 sucks at sharing screenshots to a place where I can get access to them anyway, so you’ll need to close your eyes and imagine this: my ship had crashed, and I had been thrown clear. Upon waking up I find a strange device in the semi-wreckage that talks about the Atlas, some kind of 2001: A Space Odyssey monolith type, presented via text written by some community college Kafka. The first order of business, according to my HUD, is to repair my ship and get the hell off this planet.
In order to repair anything, you need resources. Almost everything in NMS is a resource. Ergo, everything can help you repair your ship and your gear. I had to collect carbon, iron, plutonium, zinc, and other wacky elements in order to create the materials needed to patch up Ol’ Bessy and get her spaceward again. I also had to repair my scanner, which allowed me to nail down more specific resource locations, and my visor, which allowed me to scan and categorize items and creatures in a non-destructive manner to send back to HQ for payment. I’m like an interstellar Peter Parker, without the acne, wall-crawling ability, and about a quadzillion miles from civilization.
The stress part came from the incessant nagging of my space suit, which is a sentence that I don’t think has ever been written in all of human history. I have shields, suit integrity, and a mf jetpack, y’all!. I also have a ray-gun that can kill and harvest, so all the video game tropes are covered. I accidentally killed one of the Sentinel drones because the stupid thing flew in between me and the tree I was harvesting. The planet I crashed on was slightly inhospitable, being a tad bit colder than I prefer, which was depleting the protective nature of the suit. When the integrity reached a low point of 75%, the automated voice started in with the doom and gloom: “You’re going to die out here. You know you’re going to die on this cold, lifeless planet, far away from your family and coffee machine and Netflix subscription.” Something like that. So my priorities were to collect the resources needed to fix the ship and my gear, but also to figure out how to power my gear. You do this by feeding each part a different kind of resource, whether it’s carbon or “an isotope”. At least in the future they’ve gotten over the specificity of elemental requirements, so there’s that.
The goal of NMS is to explore. Each planet and system is “procedurally generated”, a term used so often for so many conditions that it’s become pretty much useless these days, except to let you know that no, gamer, no one placed all of the huptzillion planets and star systems manually. That’s actually a good thing, though, because although the planets themselves aren’t actually “to scale”, there’s a hell of a lot of ground to cover. The area around my crash zone fell away into a crevasse, and along the walls of that canyon were caves whose openings were ringed by red viney plants. I wanted to get down there and explore, but I was afraid I’d never be able to get back to the ship, and since my suit liked to nag me as if I’d put a ring on it, I was afraid to venture too far from base camp, lest I never get to finish Stranger Things with a hot cup of coffee at my disposal.
As soon as I was done fixing what needed fixing, I followed the prompts and left the planet. Now I’d done it: there was a cannister at base camp that required some kind of Atlas Key, which I didn’t have but assume I will have at some point. Will I be able to find that location again? Or did I just screw myself in some way? Ah, sandboxes. On the bright side, I did find an outpost on the same planet, learned an alien word for “rare” (so I can now order alien steaks cooked just how I like them), met an alien and was confused. browsed the shop, and then left the planet. My last effort of the night was to focus on a beacon in space, land on the planet and activate the beacon, and was shown some kind of alien refuge icon on the map as if I had dropped into the mf’n Well of Souls or something. I didn’t get to track down said refuge, so that’s first on my list of things to do next time.
I don’t know if this is how the game is meant to be played. I feel massively bad about just jumping in the cockpit and yelling “later, losers!” to my adopted home world before I could wander around, catalog stuff, and see the sights. I did figure out how to name things, so if you ever see Scopique’s World in the Levelcapped.com system, you’ll know I’ve been there.
I am one of about three World of Warcraft players who didn’t make a demon hunter last night. No time. Not even sure if I want to, because of re-doing content and all that, and now I’m spread between two different servers — dead, legacy server, and hoppin’, new server — and don’t know where to make a character. Someone said that you need at least one level 70 character on a server in order to make a DH, so I guess if that’s the case, dead, legacy server it’ll have to be.