ByMichael Mitchell, writer at Creators.co
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 has been getting even more attention ever since a player purchased the game off of eBay well before it should have been available. A big reason for this is because the player himself reportedly "beat" the game in 30 hours, which caused an uproar. More recently, fans have heard that reviewers won't be getting pre-release copies for review until very close to the game's release, which caused even more concern.

Thankfully, any concerns caused by the above can be remedied by the newly announced day-one Update 1.03 patch coming to No Man's Sky.

What is a day-1 patch and why does it even happen?

Trust me, I'm fully aware you probably want to skip ahead to the notes themselves (and I'm not technically stopping you) but it's important to understand what a day-one patch means for the game.

Thankfully, Rami Ismail (a game developer) gave some very detailed insight into the "seal of approval" process and why No Man's Sky was given the golden seal back in July if it's going to need a patch right away. It's definitely worth a read in full but here are the salient details:

  • A day-one patch is not a bad thing — in fact, it happens frequently.
  • To get your game a seal of approval, it must (essentially) check off all the boxes on a list that specifically tests functionality.
  • To even attempt to be approved, developers must do so well in advance. This often leaves several months of time between being approved and actual release.
  • Developers can either sit around and do nothing after approval, or they can work on making the game they feel satisfied with releasing. Most choose the latter, which leads to a different "approved" game compared to the released game.

All of this is to say that the day-one patch for No Man's Sky is, in all likelihood, the version Hello Games always planned to release. Any pre-release footage or feedback was from a game submitted months ago for technical approval and did not fully represent the game players will be getting. Sure, some changes may be a result of feedback, but certainly most of these changes have been in the works for a while now.

Hence, players are getting the following day-one patch for No Man's Sky. And, oh boy, it's a big 'un. Let's go over some of the major changes — oh, and before you ask, yes, servers will be wiped on both Sunday and Monday before launch and anyone who somehow received a copy early will need to start a new file for any of these updates to affect them.

"Paths" have been added which will determine your overall experience

There are now going to be three "paths" that players choose early on. While not much has been said about these, Sean does say "early choices have significant impact on what you see later in the game, and the overall experience." Oh, and to see these, you need to start a new save if you, y'know, somehow had the game already.

I'm definitely looking forward to these, as it seems like they'll add even more depth and, amazingly, replayability. Keep in mind, these paths are not the same as the four pillars (previewed in the video above) that the game revolves around, but in all likelihood will enhance these pillars.

The blog post does not indicate whether or not you can change paths mid-game, though the indication seems to be that you get one path per save file. If that's the case, anyone worried about "only" having 30 hours of gameplay probably won't have to worry anymore (and that would be assuming the other changes here weren't coming).

Everything about the universe and the planets in that universe is changing

Okay, the most excited one for me here is the fact that the universe will use a new algorithm that allows for greater galactic variety and galaxies that are up to 10x larger. Holy crap.

On top of that, planets will have more diverse life, more details such as dead moons, and even extreme hazards such as blizzards and dust storms. Plus, caves have gotten a bit of a makeover and sound terrifyingly awesome. Maybe "Survive" is going to be a more important pillar after all.

As someone playing the game primarily for the "Explore" pillar, however, this change has me pumped. Yes, it definitely emphasizes surviving more than before, but the idea of more diverse planets means more to discover and good lord, the thought of that makes me happy.

I love that Hello Games was willing to adjust its algorithm just to make sure exploring felt even more unique.

Lots of quality-of-life changes have been made

One of the bigger issues players noticed in pre-release streams has been inventory issues. The day-one 1.03 update will fix that by giving 5x more resources per slot in your ship's inventory and 2.5 times more in your suit's inventory. Plus, Sean notes, this will probably be increased in the future.

Additionally, ships will be more diverse, trading will be deeper (and rebalanced!), and you can even feed creatures to encourage them to become your pet. If a creature becomes your pet, it can defend you. Or poop for you. They can do that, too.

Really, it's hard to see a downside to these quality-of-line changes. Probably because there isn't one. While I'm sure many of these have been in the works for a while, there's no doubt that some of them exist as a result of initial, pre-release feedback (such as the inventory issues). This shows that Hello Games is absolutely listening to the players, and that is never a bad thing.

Plus way more changes that all sound incredibly positive

The patch is also going to address and improve several other issues that have been of concern for players (or people watching other players). For instance, warp-cell exploits and rare-goods-trading exploits have both been removed, which will definitely assuage several people's concerns over the 30 hours it allegedly took to "beat" the game.

In terms of changes that particularly stuck out to me, writing has been adjusted: "The Atlas path has been rewritten by James Swallow (writer on Deus Ex) and me. I think it speaks to the over-arching theme of player freedom more clearly now. Early mission text has been rewritten to allow for multiple endings." Never under-estimate the value of solid writing!

Again, the notes are far more extensive than everything here, so be sure to check them out. In the meantime, this sounds like the day-one patch everyone had been hoping for and I honestly cannot wait until No Man's Sky is out to get my hands on it.

Oh, and if you wanted even more good news, the blog ends with a teaser for even more in the future.

The ability to build bases and own giant space freighters is being worked on for a future patch.

"Next up we’re adding the ability to build bases and own giant space freighters. Temporal AA and my new cloud rendering tech should be coming soon too. It will really change the game again, and enhance it visually."

Yup. Bases and giant space freighters. I think I've said enough.

What do you think of the day-one patch notes for 'No Man's Sky'?