Everything You Need to Know About No Man's Sky's New Settlements (2024)

No Man's Sky's unprecedented recovery from launch has become a blueprint within the gaming industry. Since it was released in 2016, Hello Games has consistently dropped major updates that expand and introduce new gameplay mechanics. Be it visual overhauls or an entirely new narrative story, No Man's Sky is showing no signs of slowing down or running out of ideas. Among these updates was the fan-favorite base building mechanic added through Foundations. Unlike the most recent release which added a new game mode, Expeditions, all of the changes in Frontiers are present within the base sandbox game mode. However, within the patch notes, it was also confirmed that the third Expedition will be starting soon.

The seventeenth update in No Man's Sky's continued comeback, Frontiers, is releasing today, September 1st, 2021. As is now customary with these updates, the patch notes contain many major and minor changes to the game state. The main feature of No Man's Sky Frontiers is the ability for players to find and claim various procedurally generated alien settlements on planets. Once claimed, players can become the overseer and manage the day-to-day operations of those settlements. There is also a major change to the general base-building systems and UI. Smaller changes include visual overhauls to make the night sky even more appealing as well as quality of life enhancements such as more save slots.

RELATED: No Man's Sky: 10 Mistakes To Avoid When Building A Base

The First Settlement in No Man's Sky

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The first thing many players will likely want to do after downloading Frontiers is experience this brand-new content. As mentioned earlier, everything in Frontiers is seamlessly integrated into the massive universe of No Man's Sky so that new and old players alike will be able to stumble across it in their space-faring adventures. Thankfully, Hello Games has made it very easy to jump into the largest content offering in Frontiers with guided missions and tutorials so that the player is never really lost. Furthermore, the player can reread any previous tutorials within the Guide menu so that returning players don't have to relearn everything from scratch.

Once the player has left the orbit of their planet, or a space station, they will receive a pre-recorded emergency broadcast on their starship communicator. The alien will explain in their language that their settlement needs help against a Sentinel attack and that there is no overseer. Gamers will then gain coordinates to a local procedurally generated settlement on a planet with aggressive Sentinels. The player should also get a secondary mission titled A Planet In Distress that is viewable in the Log. They simply need to follow the marker to either the planet or the nearby system to get things started.

RELATED: 8 Ways to Earn a Lot of Units in No Man's Sky

The Overseer's Duties

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After saving the remaining settlers from a Sentinel attack, the player can begin to free roam across the struggling settlement. Here, players can manage just about every aspect of the settlement as it goes from indebted to flourishing. A number of specific actions and building constructions will aid in this goal. Players will need to balance population, happiness, maintenance costs, and Sentinel activity in order to turn a profit. This is a far cry from what players typically do with No Man's Sky bases. There are also settlement unique characteristics that can affect these factors, such as the 'Signal blackspot' feature lowering the citizens' overall productivity, or the 'Robot butlers' feature that increases their happiness.

The player must reduce the debt of a settlement through the managing of these many factors. They can construct certain buildings that will add different Settlement Features, increase the happiness of settlers, or add to the population. There can also be disputes between settlers that fall to the Overseer to resolve. Kind-hearted judgments will often result in more positive effects on the settlement, while harsh rulings are sure to lower happiness and productivity. This RPG choice-based system is a welcome change to the ever-expanding No Man's Sky. There is also the looming threat of Sentinel attacks in which the player will need to return to the settlement and protect its inhabitants from being killed which can lower population, happiness, and productivity. However, as the settlement improves, Sentinel attacks become more likely as well.

RELATED: Starfield Should Borrow From No Man's Sky's Promises

Base-Building Changes

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The other largest change within the Frontiers update is with the Base-Building system and UI. Accessing the buildable and placeable units now pauses the game to pull up a grid-like list where everything is neatly organized into categories. Once a building piece has been selected, the game resumes and the player is free to place the chosen technology wherever they want. A new addition before placing a part is that there is a toggle camera and toggle wiring button. The former allows the player to roam in free cam when building while the latter highlights or removes any wiring for technology.

There is also the ability to cycle forward within the chosen list so the builder doesn't have to deselect and reopen the menu after changing their mind. This UI revamp allows quick access to all parts that the player knows how to build without having to cycle through several menus. The final large change is that many parts can be placed free form without being predicated on something else. For example, players can now place a decoration in the air so that it is floating. Given how impressive the No Man's Sky bases are currently, this is sure to open up things for even more stunning creations.

There are also a lot of new base parts, so the player will have even more options when either building a personal base or expanding a frontier settlement. Hopefully, this means that each settlement will have a unique feel. Given that the game teaches the player these systems on a harsh planet, the first settlement will at the very least be memorable. This should prevent the problem that No Man's Sky had at launch, which was that everything felt very much the same. Based on this update, Hello Games has once again proven itself to be devoted to making No Man's Sky the best game it can be.

No Man's Sky is available for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.

MORE: Five Years Later is the Best Time to Give No Man's Sky a Chance

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