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Editor's take: I don't usually report on No Man's Sky expeditions because they typically don't add any significant new content other than a few cosmetic items. Unlike major updates, expeditions are primarily a set of missions and rewards that force players into the same region of the universe resulting in more multiplayer experiences.
However, Hello Games dropped an expedition on Wednesday, somewhat breaking that mold. It offers a twist on gameplay that makes it somewhat Roguelike while also offering a unique reward for your frigate fleet.
Expedition Seven: Leviathan plays much differently than in previous expeditions. It still has a lore-filled story to follow and the hunt-and-fetch missions that we're used to but turns the difficulty up to survival mode settings. You will die, and when you do, you have to start over from scratch with a new randomized loadout.
Warning: Minor spoilers for the single-player campaign follow. Skip the following paragraph to avoid them.
The plotline is that players are trapped in a time loop, which is not outside of No Man's Sky canon considering the main quest is about the universe repeatedly resetting itself. Relatively, early on in the game, you begin to realize that some starship wrecks are merely past iterations of yourself. Later you find that the universe is nothing more than a computer simulation on repeat. There's more to it than that, but that's the general gist.
As players explore Leviathan, they will find "Memory Fragments" from previous loops. These fragments grant the player technology upgrades that may help them survive a bit longer in their current loop. The goal is to break out of the time loop, but this requires cooperation from the entire community.
Travelers can only break the cycle by conducting research for the Anomaly's Specialist Polo. Like other expeditions, players can work their way through solo. However, if you have undertaken research missions in the vanilla game enough, you might have figured out that they are easier and quicker to complete in groups.
Whether you go it alone or in a group, HG says, "The more Travellers that participate in the research, the stronger the Memory Fragments become, manifesting in better upgrades, more inventory space, and stronger Multi-Tools and starships."
Getting powerful equipment upgrades allows players to last longer in the loop.
Of course, there is an entire lore narrative that plays out while exploring. It is revealed and unwound as you "follow the trail of your previous iterations." It ultimately leads you to the expedition's grand prize, which is more than cosmetic. Players completing Leviathan will receive a colossal space creature that they can add to their capital ship's fleet of frigates.
Leviathan is only the second expedition that has offered a unique frigate. Last May, the Mass Effect crossover, Beachhead, awarded players with the SSV Normandy to add to their fleet. In addition to the big prize, players can win avatar and base cosmetics by reaching milestones as usual, including a baby Leviathan for their bases.
Expedition Seven: Leviathan starts today and continues for the next six weeks.