In a nutshell: If anything can be said about No Man's Sky, it's that Hello Games has gone above and beyond to pull the game from the dumpster fire that was its release. The title has seen 15 major updates that have added features promised at launch and content never expected. Today, the studio dropped the sixteenth named update called "Expeditions."
No Man's Sky Expeditions (patch 3.3) is an interesting new way to play, focusing on multiplayer coop. Usually, players start on a planet alone. Gameplay is mainly solo unless you invite friends into your session or visit the Nexus and participate in daily multiplayer missions. While there is a multiplayer mode that you can start the game in, many players avoid opening their sessions to the public because of trolls.
What makes Expeditions different is that it is a recurring event that brings the entire community to the same point in the universe. Expeditions are divided into phases and have set goals (milestones) to complete—mostly involving exploration, discovery, and cooperative combat.
"Each Expedition phase is made up of milestones. These challenges, ranging from the simple to the highly challenging, can be completed in any order," reads the patch notes. "Milestones are open-ended, and each one is a chance to explore a different aspect of No Man's Sky. Every completed milestone brings a reward to assist you in your journey."
Each phase has a unique reward with a special bonus for completing the entire quest. Additionally, each milestone has a unique patch awarded on completion, similar to NASA's mission patches.
Another thing Expeditions brings is hub planets. Hubs have been around almost as long as the game itself. Before there was a multiplayer element, hubs were simply planets where the community decided to collectively build bases. While players could not see one another, they could still explore other Travelers' buildings. Of course, introducing multiplayer changed how hubs worked. Players can now build together side-by-side.
The Expeditions update brings hubs into the gameplay via what HG calls "Rendezvous Planets." Players are not required to settle or build on these hubs, but rest assured they will. It creates a user-friendly way to find player-created communities. Previously, hub planets were hard to find and get to without "hitchhiking" with someone in multiplayer who had a base on one. Each expedition will bring players to a rendezvous where they can drop down a base computer, even without building, to come back to it anytime they want.
Hello Games said expeditions will occur "regularly," so it doesn't sound like the mode is always available. Additionally, players do not start the journey with an existing character save. Instead, they begin with a "randomized" character and loadout. This is likely to keep players in balance even though it is not a competitive mode.
The Expeditions update also brings several much welcomed general game enhancements, including an overhaul of space station missions, mission and resource target sweeping, new weekend events, a beautiful graphical overhaul of Explorer class ships, Sentinel combat enhancements, ship switching in the Nexus, a visual overhaul of the HUD, performance and loading optimizations, and more.
Developers also added a slick-looking new jetpack backpack cosmetic item. Players can find it in the rewards both in the Nexus. Additionally, Travelers who complete the maiden expedition, titled "Pioneers," will receive a shiny, gold Alpha Vector fighter ship called "Golden Vector" not available anywhere else in the game once the "season" concludes.
As always, this content update is completely free. Check out the patch notes for full details of all that is included in this massive update.