On No Man’s Sky – Multiplayer Expectations

I’ll be honest, I feel like I had some other topic in mind yesterday but it’s 6:30am and I can’t remember it now. So today I’ll be briefly talking about No Man’s Sky some more, which is funny since I won’t be able to play it until tomorrow.

So yesterday I saw a couple videos and an article or two talking about how people were upset that there wasn’t any multiplayer or cooperative gameplay. The thing is that, at least to my understanding, is that the game wasn’t designed that way. If you look at the steam store page you’ll see that it is not listed as multiplayer or co-op but as a single player game. From everything that they’ve said the likelihood of running in to another player should be next to impossible*. I was initially disapointed by this cause I thought it would be fun to cruise around and explore with my friends, but as I learned more about the game and having now seen videos I can say I get that they wanted that to be an uncommon experience. You’re supposed to be the lone explorer charting the unknowns of space.

Now, I put an asterisks next to that bit cause from what I heard yesterday two streamers found each other on stream but when they tried to meet up they couldn’t see each other. The story that I heard was that one of these two streamers found himself on a planet that had been recently discovered by another player. I guess you can see the name of the person who named the planet because somehow he was able to contact that player to try to meet up on that planet. The player who discovered it flew back and landed at some agreed upon coordinate/structure on the planet but when they went looking they couldn’t see the other person. There’s an image over at Kotaku that was taken from both players streams that is supposedly showing them at the same location and not being able to see the other person.

Now I kind of feel a few things about this. The first thing is I feel that them not being able to see each other could be a bug that just got through. Maybe they were supposed to be able to see each other and some kind of phasing made this not possible. If you’re familiar with MMO’s in general you may have come across a little thing called “phasing”. World of Warcraft implemented this a couple expansions ago that if you hadn’t completed a certain quest you couldn’t interact with player who had while in that area. Since No Man’s Sky is supposed to have branching paths now that give players different experiences my thought is that it put these two players out of phase with each other. Maybe that wasn’t intentional, but there’s more to this.

The other thing that has been pointed out is that looking at the views from the two different players you can see that the planets are at different points in it’s day/night cycle and have different weather going on. I think that even if the players were in the same “phase” there are other factors that might have prevented them from seeing each other. My main thought is that the day/night cycle is based on the players location/time zone. So if these two players were on opposite ends of the country/world their system clocks would be different. If that affects the day/night cycle in any way that could have caused them to have this issue. Now I would think the day/night cycle is based on the server clock, not the players system clock and it may well be. I’m going at this looking from the developer standpoint trying to analyze a bug.

Either way, I think if it supposed to be technically possible however unlikely that you can meet another player I would think you should still be able to see each other. I do think that they were supposed to be able to, so this is probably just some bug. Maybe it’s a console issue and has something to do with how they’re interacting with the Playstation network. I do intend to eventually try to meet with my friends on the PC version after it’s been out for a while and I figure out the navigation system.

Most of all, it needs to be Friday. I really want to download and play this game. So I guess to the original title about multiplayer expectations I don’t have many. I don’t expect to run in to another player or to have a multiplayer experience because I understand that’s not what the game is about.

Here’s a reddit thread from one of the players (I only skimmed it)