Which version had the best opening?

Thought I’d bring this up because just about everyone on here is a veteran player; and it’s been a very long time since many of us have played the game for the first time. And I worry that NEXT has a very rough opening for a “chill exploration game”.

NMS has gone thru several large updates, and with each one the beginning of the game has changed.

So, which version had your favourite beginning? And which version had the best opening for someone playing the game for the first time?

For me, I think they hit the sweet spot with Atlas Rises, because (I think it was Atlas Rises) you started next to a random building, usually a shelter. But with NEXT, you’re thrown into some of the worst environments with no idea what to do… and the clock is ticking.

This article from Rock Paper Shotgun is a good read on the topic:


I do not entirely agree. Yes. It is difficult at the start of a new game. I sincerely hope I never have to start again. But, it really just sounds like this guy needed a tutorial. Some people aren’t very good at figuring things out on their own. :smile:


I was playing with @Mad-Hatter and he’d mentioned the intro was once again reworked for the abyss update, some dialogue changes, additions etc. Really makes me wanna start another new save.

Having played the intro for vanilla, foundation, atlas rises and NEXT, I must say NEXT was the best intro so far (that I’ve experienced) but naturally my most memorable will be the first taste so vanilla would only make the top for that reason alone.

I only skimmed the article but it would seem it comes down to taste. They seemed eager to get away from starter planet system but I like that initial feeling of being stranded and techless, let’s me get into full on “Enemy Mine” mode and live out my life long dream of being Dennis Quaid; so heres hoping the next update has a talking dragon with a Scottish accent I can befriend.

(edit: had time to have a proper read on my break)

Already being a very familiar player, I knew to just wearily restart the game three times until I got a planet that wasn’t outrageously toxic with Sentinels that attacked on sight.

Case in point, my idea of a fun starting planet is their idea of a horrible starting experience. I also do not like the logic displayed in the below quote

If it were free-to-play shenanigans, where you could pay money to skip these timers or something, at least there’d be an apparent rationale for their inclusion.

Someone’s been brainwashed by the worst practices in free to play games it seems, these are never acceptable in my eyes and would never excuse the timers for refining. In fact using their logic on timers and free to play, if nms did go free to play the refining times would go from minutes to hours.


@toddumptious The argument the author was making about the refiner times is something I don’t agree with either, he mentions there’s nothing to do but wait and I’ve always found other stuff to do. But I’ve been readiing his articles for a few years now and he is dead set against “free to play shenanigans.” He was using that as an example to explain why the refiner has timers at all.
But plenty of other games do the same thing and it doessn’t seem to be much of an issue.

This is the point the author was trying to make; the game has a very rough opening and there’s next to no tutorial. He states in his article that No Man’s Sky is being made for people who already play No Man’s Sky. And unless you already know what to do, you’ll likely die several times before you can really get past the opening. For more casual players, this could be a huge barrier they’ll never cross.


Ever since NEXT came out and I died a couple times at the start I, being a player who played from the very beginning, wondered how new players would fare and how HG could balance difficulty in the seemingly inevitable future updates. I thought NEXT opening was fine. I did die a couple times and it was a little hectic at start but I don’t know how I would have done if I was new to the game.


Actually I wasn’t sure but I thought it seemed different. I couldn’t remember how much hand-holding the initial stages gave you after NEXT but there seemed to be more guiding than I remembered…

I’ll fire up a new save and have a look :eyes:


New game. Icey World, Normal Mode, PS4.
Playing noob style so I do nothing without prompts.

Right from initialisation told to find Sodium and then told how to fix multitool scanner.
Then advised of the starship signal and set off to investigate.
During this period I’m told how to sprint and how to jetpack. (Which will burn suit power so I did both a lot). Also told to use the scanner to find key resourses (R3 on the PS4)
Once at the ship, I’m told it’s broken & how to fix it. You are guided through the process.

This goes into the Hermetic Seal fetch quest…
You are told what to do from start to finish for the construction of the Signal Booster.
During the Hermetic Seal fetch quest there is a storm.
You are told to find shelter in caves or buildings and again reminded to scan for Sodium.
At this point I noticed I haven’t been prompted to locate oxygen and my suit is getting low from sprinting and jetpacking recklessly. I have however passed Oxygen rich plants but not taken them because I’m playing dumb noob…
I located a shelter on my way to Hermetic Seal coordinates and took shelter from the storm. I had a look around as any player would, before continuing.
Red boxes gave me some Sodium and Dyhydrogen. A prompt advised me of the use of Dyhydrogen in starship launch fuel.
Interaction with resident Gek gives a small unit reward. I move on to the location for the Hermetic Seal.
Knowing I need Sodium for shielding, I grab more along the way.
I come across some more Oxygen rich plants and this time I grab one because I presume even a noob gamer would note that oxygen is probably useful. I move on.
I find a cave and my suit shield regenerates.
At the Hermetic Seal destination, I’m advised that the starship can"t be located and to use the Analysis Visor (L2 on PS4). Prompted through the entire instalation and then told what it does and have to test it by scanning something.
Prompted to return to the ship to continue repairs.
While doing the repairs and harvesting materials, I deliberately run out of mining laser. I am prompted what to do to recharge it. At this point its pretty obvious the suit will need charging but since I’m playing dumb, I do nothing and continue on.
I fix the ship and am ready to launch… the survival sequence is complete.

I decide that an inexperienced player, unsure of what to expect, might want to grab more materials so I collect the makings of Launch Fuel.
Along the way, I locate Condensed Carbon Crystals, which I soon discover are a fuel for my laser.
I continually pass Oxygen plants but don’t pick them and am still trying to exhaust the suit. By now a noob would have grabbed some.
I discover dangerous fauna and get stung twice, (on purpose), dropping my health to about half.
I move on.
Have noticed a destinct absence of both dangerous animals and Sentinels…
Found a Courious Deposit so set off with very low shields and suit levels.
Shortly before my suit is completely empty, I’m prompted to use Oxygen or Fabricate Life Support Gel. I’m advised to use the scanner to find Oxygen.
I do not have the tiny amounts of Carbon or Dyhydrogen Jelly to make the gel so I scan for Oxygen. There is none.
I head back towards my ship about 500U away.
A cluster of Dyhydrogen Crystals and a tree provide the ingredients to make a Life Support Gel.
I make it but don’t use it.
I find 2 Oxygen plants. I pick them but don’t use them.
I still have a fraction of suit power left. When it expires, I lose a third of my life.
I continue on. About 30 seconds later my health drops another third.
Scanning still finds no oxygen plants.
I run back towards my ship.
Once my life suport becomes critical, I relent and use the gel I made. It gives me half suit power and about 20 seconds later my health returns to normal.

Time to stop.

I consider the icey planets the hardest to start on due to the Ferrite Dust rocks sometimes being hard to find. I lasted nearly 40 minutes without charging the suit.
If I was to fault the start, I would suggest that at the very begining, when told about the Sodium maybe some info about the suit needing Oxygen could be mentioned and maybe more attention brought to the crafting of Life Suport Gel.
I think its pretty straight forward really… Easy in fact.
I’m going to do it again :grin:


I recall the trouble I had to survive when I started my fresh save when NEXT arrived. I started on an Icy planet, quite a long way from my ship. Even though I had played plenty during Atlas Rises, it had been quite some time since I had last played. I had to get used to the controls again and somewhat figuring out what was most important. With all the new changes to resources, I felt somewhat lost. The terrain did not have any caves and there were no buildings near either. Not being a total newbie helped me to soon figure out what I needed to survive.

I do not really recall how much info was given, although I am sure, once critical, the needed info was there. I did make it to my ship and was happy to finally have this shelter. It had been close several times, even though familiar with the main mechanics, I did struggle to survive. This new start, compared to Atlas Rises where you started at your ship, was great. I had never before felt death chasing me and this was a welcome experience. However, this feeling was gone once I reached my ship, to never make a return either. From then on, life turned easy …

As I only got NMS shortly before Atlas Rises, I would have to say I enjoyed this start in NEXT most, as I can not compare to earlier releases.


I think the feeling stranded, confused and not sure what to do first start up was an excellent way to drop a new player into the immersion of the giant universe of NMS. It’s good to find out you are very small and vulnerable. If you didnt initially survive, at least you learned something that made the next attempt more likely to be a success.

…unless of course you decide to take on a pack of monstrosities with minimal upgrades.
That’s scary :grin:


Yes, my curiosity turned into a pretty scary but exciting moment. I did actually survive that ordeal, not having any upgrades at the time. My reaction was to run away, then turn backwards while shooting. I could kill many before they got close enough to hurt me. I ran out of bullets and switched to mining beam instead. I just couldn’t keep up, while trying to keep enough distance, so I ran for the safety of my ship, just in time. I never collected eggs since, … well, maybe a few, the cheaty reload way (research). I soon decided it was not worth the trouble, nor the guilty feeling to cheat, with better alternatives to make some units. It was a great moment though, one I still remember well.


I recall my first 3 starts after NEXT. I felt lost and confused and I thought that was fitting. My only issue was that the first 2 planets were so toxic I was dying fast. The first cave I ducked into was full of the poison sac things and that was worse than the toxic storm outside. Then my ship was on the other side of a high and slippery slope that I could not climb and I slid back down it right into a Snappie patch. That finished off what little life I had. Dead.
I do not remember being confused on what to do though. My son has had several friends begin NMS for the first time and none of them complained about anything being too hard.
As for refiners having timers…well, it is a refiner. Having a timer is realistic. Instant refinement would just be weird. I don’t understand the issue he has with that, except that we live in a world where people want things now . No patience.
My only issue with the NMS since NEXT is that the base-building missions require so much mining and refining and I was working with a limited suit capacity and ship capacity and I still had no storage containers. I found that part of the missions to be very tiring. Once I got through it all, the whole game lightened up and became very enjoyable.
So yes, the game does throw you into a deadly situation and force you to learn on the run but, that is how many games begin these days. I have never really heard anyone complain about it before.


I took the bait, read the article, feel like the author completely missed the point of last year’s start, and like many non-fans, didn’t appreciate the pace of the game. His big hang up is that it takes too long to do everything. Again, point missed.

My gaming IQ is pretty low, and I’m like a sloth when it comes to progressing. I might spend an entire play session, exploring a planet and gathering an ingredient or two, and at the end of the night, I drop what I find in a refiner and log out. I sometimes forget that I started refining something because I couldn’t resist exploring a cave, or I went about some other business like ship maintenance, or some random task for a new found alien friend, or I decided to make dinner or vacuum some rugs. My goals aren’t very lofty when I play, and if it takes a few days or weeks of exploring to gather what I need to craft an item or to earn enough units to buy a part, then that’s a few weeks worth of entertainment for me. Repairing a single part on my starter ship might as well be a game all on it’s own. I’m not in any rush to see the center of the galaxy, or buy an exotic ship, or to finish… anything really. In NMS, there is nothing to beat, nothing to win, no epic uber world destroying blaster +32 that must be acquired before defeating the next boss. The point is the very definition of play.

The beginning of the game was relatively tame at release. I struggled a bit but I enjoyed it. Same with Atlas Rises. However, NEXT was a harrowing heart pounding exceptionally challenging survival experience that I simply didn’t expect. Might have been luck of the draw, but it was definitely more challenging than chill. I blame Sony for caving to the masses that misunderstood the original.

I do agree with the OP in that the game can be… unnecessarily challenging in the beginning, NEXT especially. I also understand the article author’s point of view in the age of run fast, kill everything, get loot. NMS is a first person puzzle game that evolves into a chill way to pass the time. Some assembly required. Imagination not included. It’s definitely not for everyone.


If Sony ever had any creative input on the game (which I doubt), it’s long gone. Sony wasn’t even mentioned in the credits of the first PC release, suggesting that beyond marketing, testing and distributing physical copies of the PS4 version they had absolutely no stakes in the games development.


I think dying a lot early on is an intended part of the intro, it seems very intentional to just drop you in and let you figure things out trial and error. New players are going to die, a lot. But they’ll also learn a lot. That’s how the games I grew up on played. And that’s how life generally is. So I quite like it.

The game actually has an incredible tutorial if you compare it to vanilla or what came in between, it’s better than its been previously. I thought it was maybe a little too hand-holdy with NEXT but that is all down to taste in preference. For those who can persevere there’s a rewarding experience waiting for them and it weens out the dude bro gamers :smirk:

I had this typed yesterday but forgot to hit reply :person_facepalming:

Really enjoyed reading your adventure as a faux noob, Mad-Hatter :slight_smile:


Difficult to say. Really difficult to say.

I remember buying the game on the psn at day 1 because I couldn’t wait the day after to go and buy it at the store. The Vanilla intro, in addition of playing the game for the first time, was, (in my own history of video games) the best experience I never had. I didn’t know what to do, what to mine, how to repair that ship where I spawn just next to, and all those messages that I was reading, that didn’t make sense to me. What the hell I was supposed to do? help or go? At a time where there wasn’t any community, no buddies to talk to, no help at all… this intro was the most perfect intro I never had. Just me, my problems and 14 billions planets. Which intro could be better than this one guys? I was discovering all at once! The mecanics, 65dos, the blueprints, the Atlas… after almost 2 years waiting and salivating, so allow me not to share how I felt when I finally took of for the first time… :fire:
Than I took a break. At least, let’s say that I didn’t start new saves for the next 3 extension (foundation etc…).
Than came the super hyper high kick with Atlas Rises. The ARG, Emily, the birth of the community and… the new graphics, the new display, the portals… the LORE. Everything completely, and when I say completely, is because everything completely changed. I am sure everyone remembers it, we really had a new game at the time! While travelling in space, new blueprints, cargos, S-class ships etc. I had to re-learn everything, but this time it was with our community as well as my irl friends that I almost forced trying No Man’s Sky (at least for 2hours). And it was a complete success. I wasn’t the one who was talking all the time about No Man’s Sky anymore, but instead of that, when I woke up in the morning, I had messages from my friends asking me how to do this and that haha.
Than came Next. And again, complete MEGA high kick in my travellers chin.
If I add the end of the most epic ARG i never had the chance to play, (got strangely sad when Emily died for Toby)…, Third person view, different Lore, and complete new materials, mining, new blueprints, and so much more.
I started a new game again, because this time it was almost mandatory to do it. Died, died, died and… died again. Fun. Perfect. At last the game got really difficult this time.
I didn’t have the chance to play The Abyss yet, I don’t have the spare parts, I still don’t have my Nautilus. And if I am so slow doing all these things (still didn’t complete the Atlas Quest :scream:, neither the base, farm and technician quests) it is because I love that game so much, that I don’t want to reach a point where I am going to ask myself, ok what will I do now? I did it all already.
But I am not scared anymore, No Man’s Sky got so complete and there’s sooo many things to do out there, that I gonna keep myself busy for at least the next 2 years (counting on Hello Games not stopping to add more content). Do you know any other game, in game history that gives you a total different experience just by turning the music of? …
Still happy to be able to play that impressive game, everytime discovering new things, and still thrilled about what is coming next for all of us.


I think you’re confusing the meanings of “never” and “ever”… :smile:


Thanks Mad-Hatter, this was a great read and answers a lot of questions!

After re-watching some youtubers play Next for the first time, and comparing it to your story, it looks like HG fixed up the opening to be more accessible.

Sounds like it’s still tough, but far less punishing.


haha probably yes! Sorry sometimes my english is not as good as yours guys, but I am always trying my best :wink: