No Man’s Sky has proven to be a fascinating and polarizing game. The graphics and breadth of the game are truly massive and impressive, but the superficial and limited gameplay has turned a lot of gamers off. More than anything, gamers seem to be very disappointed with the lack of cooperative play in the game. No Man’s Sky is a study in loneliness; the game keeps you away from other gamers even if you’re standing at the same spot at the same time. It’s not surprising that a game with such a big universe would de-emphasize the opportunity to interact with other gamers; it is probably both technically difficult and inconsistent with the game’s philosophy. If coop is impossible, however, there have to be other ways that this game could become more social. Here are four ideas for making No Man’s Sky more social (if it can’t be coop).
Let Us Plant Some Beacons
As much fun as it would be to have a cooperative experience on a planet, I get that this may be beyond the abilities of the servers. I would like to share some locations with my friends, though. There’s nothing worse than finding a particularly interesting climate or bizarre alien and having to settle with a photo or Shareplay to show it off to your friends. If we can’t visit that planet simultaneously, it would be nice if we could at least point it out to another player. This could be done with a beacon that the player could place on a planet to draw other players to those particular coordinates. Naturally, you wouldn’t be actually able to see the other player but at least they could see whatever world you found or monster who is chasing you. Sure, it might pull players out of their part of the universe, but that would be worth it to us to see some cool spots.
Make a Hub World
It’s funny, I never appreciated Destiny’s hub world until I played No Man’s Sky. The hub world gives you a chance to see other gamers and what trophies they’ve found and interact (superficially) with gamers and NPCs. Usually, I got back to questing as quickly as I could, but visiting the hubworld there lets you feel like you’re part of a larger community. No Man’s Sky desperately needs this. A good model, actually, may be The Division. There you encounter players who are dashing in between missions and off again into their own version of your universe. It’s a nice, brief reminder that you aren’t alone. If we can’t quest with someone else, it would be nice to at least have some social space where we could share findings, show off pictures, and – yeah – maybe do a little dancing.
Let Us Leave Our Mark
It may be a bit opposed to the nature of the game (and may set a terrible for travelling in nature), but it would be cool if I could at least leave some evidence that I’d been on a world I’d visited. Maybe I could build a structure or leave a message of some kind for other gamers to find like Dark Souls allows you to do. Better yet, it would be terrific if we had a wider variety of objects and could leave objects for other gamers to use. Actually seeing and talking to others might not be possible in this universe, but the ability to help and guide others would add a lot to the game. We always enjoyed and appreciated the helpful messages we got in Dark Souls and it would be cool to be able to leave little ones here too.
If We Can’t Join Them, Can We Haunt Them?
Without cooperative play, we’ve been relying on Shareplay quite a lot. Shareplay is an interesting experience; it lets you imagine you’re receiving a live feed of the action and are able to provide suggestions to the gamer over the PSN. This got us thinking, though, that maybe the game could let us travel a little beyond the player’s line of sight. If we can’t be there as another character, is there a way we could exist outside of the player as a disembodied ghostly character. A good model for this might, again, be the Dark Souls franchise which lets you invade others worlds and explore around, assisting or impeding the gamer depending on your mood. Here, we could appear also as a ghostly presence but with the ability to explore the world on our own. The gamer would still be the only one to fly the ship or mine the resources, but at least we’d get a chance to roam around.