Posted by Michael Mitchell @MitchFizzl
Gamer, writer, occasional pedant. Mitch lives up to all these adjectives and more by writing for Now Loading and Blizzard Watch. @Fizzl_CTR.
Michael Mitchell

No Man's Sky is an impressive game. It has 18 quintillion planets and is essentially a whole universe shared by players. But with the immense hype the game is generating and the massive amount of people who will no doubt be rushing to play at launch — especially since computer specs won't stop many people from being able to play.

Many people have wondered if there's a way to avoid the less-desired online components of the game. Good news, the answer is yes!

But this confirmation leads to one more big question:

What exactly is the difference between online and offline play in No Man's Sky?

Well, outside of the obvious inability to run into other players — albeit, that's a rare occurrence anyway — offline play means that you won't be able to upload your discoveries into the online version of Atlas.

Atlas, for those unaware, is the game's compendium for, well, everything. A version of it does exist offline, however — after all, the game wouldn't delete your discoveries every time you stop playing. What this means is, you can go on discovering planets as you please and naming everything whatever you want.

Of course, naming everything whatever you want is perhaps not always a bad thing. Let's be real, gamers tend to have an obsession with naming things after, well, genitals.

Reddit, in its infinite wisdom, managed to sum up the online/offline situation pretty well.

"You can also play offline if you don't want to stumble across a series of planets all named 'penis' by someone else, but then nobody else will see YOUR series of planets all named 'penis'"

If you want to play offline, no one else will see what you name your discoveries (and vise versa). Depending on your affinity for genital-related jokes, this could be a good thing or a bad thing.

And while this appears to be the only difference between online and offline play, it has caused everyone to wonder the same thing.

What happens if you discover something offline that someone else has already discovered online?

Okay, take this with a small grain of salt because there doesn't appear to be an official, totally confirmed answer yet: but all signs point to the first person who uploads to the online Atlas taking priority. It's first come, first serve based on connecting to Atlas.

In other words, if you play offline for the first month of the game and name Planet A "Kanto," but someone else has been online since day 1 and named Planet A "Johto," then when you go online, Planet A will be Johto and not Kanto.

Again, we'll have to wait to see how this works for sure, but as one Redditor points out, we've seen signs of this sort of system in the upload interface:

"We've already seen the UI for uploads and how they work online. It says something along the lines of: '4 discoveries uploaded - 4 approved / 0 rejected.'"

So the game definitely has some sort of accept/reject system and the logical conclusion is that it would reject uploads that conflict with existing names. Maybe, just maybe, that approval system will stop some of the planets named after gamers' junk.

Will you be playing 'No Man's Sky' primarily online or offline?