no man's sky expedition guide

No Man’s Sky Expedition Guide

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Talking about the troubled launch and reception of No Man’s Sky really is low-hanging fruit at this point.

Sure, the developers literally promised us the moon and stars, only providing us with a shell of a game, forcing Steam to begin offering refunds, but that’s all in the past now. 

Today, in the year of our Lord Gabe Newell 2023, No Man’s Sky truly is an entirely different game, harboring a plethora of new updates and features that make the game something truly special and much more akin to the game we were originally promised.

Hello Games have really snatched victory from the jaws of defeat here, and I really do encourage you to give this game another chance. 

On this note, I wanted to talk about what is probably the best new feature added to the game since its 2016 launch – the Expeditions update.

This new way to play the game was introduced as part of the March 2021 update patch (Patch 3.3) and has been a huge hit with players, only growing from strength to strength over the years as developers continue to hit loyal gamers with new content. Think GTA Heists but in space. 

So, with all this in mind, why don’t we take a closer look at these space missions and see what all the fuss is about? Come on, jump in my figurative spaceship, enjoy the ride, and learn everything there is to know about these expeditions. I promise you’ll be home for dinner. 

What are Expeditions? 

Simply put, the Expeditions update added a new gameplay mode wherein the player can, along with some friends (if desired), partake in expansive missions across the solar system.

The developers craft these expeditions and take the players on a journey of discovery complete with quests, objectives, and milestones that you all achieve together in increments. 

While the Expedition system itself is no new, there are still some quality-of-life adaptions that Hello Games could make to have everything work much more seamlessly together.

For right now, though, let’s not focus on the negatives and take a look at everything that’s out there for us to explore.

Suiting Up

no man's sky expeditions

Getting a new expedition up and running is not an easy feat. Just ask Sir Ernest Shackleton. Maybe it is because of these historical difficulties that Hello Games also decided to make this process a good bit harder than necessary. 

You see, expeditions are like timed events that players and their friends can engage in. However, you will need to start a new save profile with your friends to get into this event, requiring everyone to be ready to go on a specific date range.

Of course, this is entirely feasible, but it is just an extra hoop we didn’t have to jump through. 

Other than this, starting your first expedition is pretty easy; simply select it in the menu, get a couple of friends together, and start out. 

Sadly, there is no good way of keeping track of multiple ongoing expeditions, which can make everything a little more complicated when doing missions with separate groups of friends. 

The Working Parts

As these expeditions are separate from the general gameplay of No Man’s Sky, the developers decided to take the opportunity and tweak a few things to make the whole expedition experience feel a little bit more unique. Here is a list of subtle and not-so-subtle changes you may find in your first expedition.

  • Certain mechanics are restricted or disabled to either protect the integrity of the expedition or to ensure higher leveled players do not have an advantage over others. 
  • Blueprints are also restricted for this same reason, limiting players to the same basic set.
  • These missions must be undertaken within a given time period, or they will expire. 
  • You may not use one of your own starships that you have worked on over the course of your solo gameplay. Instead, the players must embark on a new spaceship every time they begin a new expedition. 
  • You progress through expeditions via a series of milestones and achievements, gradually achieving your overall goal in increments.
  • The difficulty of the mission relates to the individual expedition. Some are rated for less experienced players, while others are much more difficult.
  • Once you have completed the expedition, the player can choose whether to continue on with this new save in a normal or survival game mode universe, keeping all of what you earned and built during your expedition.

Expedition Log

no man's sky expedition log

There have been many expeditions that have come and gone since the update was released back in March of 2021.

Each expedition is live for around 15 days, allowing players to get a band of friends together long enough to complete it within this time. Sadly, once the time runs out, there is no going back to play some of these amazing missions. 

With that being said, as this is an expeditions guide, let’s take a look at all the expeditions that players have had the joy of experiencing up until now. 

The Pioneers

  • Start Date: 31 March 2021
  • End Date: 16 May 2021
  • Journey: Sissica – Ippen Omega

This was the first-ever expedition launched in No Man’s Sky. Due to this, the developers wanted to kick things off right by having their players adventure into not one but many star systems in the hope of reaching the galactic cores of each system. 

New Mechanics

  • The ability to find and salvage shipwrecks.
  • Player-to-player trading.
  • The entire system of expeditions was launched with this mission.

Rewards

As thanks for completing the first of their new game mode, developers made a special title for players who stuck with their first mission. Alongside this, you were also gifted with an exclusive ship and upgrades to your multitool. 

Beachhead Expedition

no man's sky beachhead expedition

  • Start Date: 17 May 2021
  • End Date: 31 May 2021
  • Journey: Tibertant Alpha – Puhene 6

This expedition came less than two days after the completion of the first expedition; the Beachhead mission was the clear love child of Hello Games and the one that would make or break the update. 

This expedition lasted for only two weeks and saw No Man’s Sky collaborate with another giant in the space exploration game genre – Mass Effect. This collaboration with Mass Effect made the entire mission feel all the more special. 

New Mechanics

  • The ability to toggle third-person camera mode.
  • Community-hosted weekend mission.

Rewards

In my opinion, the rewards for this expedition are yet to be topped. Along with all the other common items one would expect from a No Man’s Sky mission, players who completed Beachhead were also gifted with an exclusive golden ship and the ability to acquire Normandy, the spaceship from Mass Effect. 

While players can still get their hands on Normandy to this day, at the time, this ship was highly sought after and rare.

Cartographers Expedition

  • Start Date: 8 September 2021
  • End Date: 17 October 2021
  • Journey: Gisto Major 

The Cartographer’s mission was slightly different from the ones that came before it. Unlike the rest, the players would spend all of their time on or around one planet, Gisto Major. 

However, in order to keep the players entertained and to keep that feeling of exploration, the developers decided that Gisto Major would be a toxic planet that the player could not simply traverse.

It also didn’t help that the overall goal of this expedition was to map the entire planet. Although, if English was your strong suit in school, you may have guessed this one from the title alone.

New Mechanics

  • The ability to add notes to maps.
  • Highlight points/places of interest on shared player maps. 

Rewards

  • Exclusive base components and parts.
  • A fertile monstrosity egg that would hatch into a unique companion

Emergence Expedition

no man's sky emergence expedition

  • Start Date: 20 October 2021
  • End Date: 22 November 2021
  • Journey: Wasan 

Once again, the developers decided to ground their intrepid explorers for this one, keeping their feet firmly on the ground as they were sent throughout the planet of Wasan.

In this one, your mission was relatively simple and seemingly open-ended; go out and explore the planet of Wasan and discover its secrets. 

This expedition is easily one of the more unique missions on this list, housing a lot of unique creatures and weather patterns that have yet to be seen in No Man’s Sky.

On top of this, the Emergence expedition was also the first mission added to the game that has a narrative storyline component. 

New Mechanics

  • Multiple choice dialogue to assist with the narrative-driven storyline.
  • A possible creature companion called the ‘Sandwurp Pup.’

Rewards

  • Exclusive base parts.
  • Cosmetic items that can be used throughout the game.

Exobiology Expedition

  • Start Date: 24 February 2022
  • End Date: 4 April 2022
  • Journey: Ecorald Beinus XVⅠⅠ

In this fifth expedition, the developers really started to take this all in their stride, producing a mission that was very well received by the community.

Unlike the previous expedition, the player and their friends will be sent to explore a star system completely devoid of wildlife. 

As this system has no wildlife of its own, the group must gather ingredients in order to bake a cake to impress the local inhabitants. This involves locating some eggs, milk, and a couple of other simple items from other planets/systems. 

New Mechanics

  • The player can now cook with new recipes.
  • Certain animal companions can be ridden by the player. 

Rewards

  • An expansion of base parts
  • More unique cosmetic items but nothing very special. 

The Blighted Expedition

no man's sky the blighted expedition

  • Start Date: 14 April 2022
  • End Date: 22 May 2022
  • Journey: Issh 77/R6 Alph XⅠ

In the sixth piece of additional content launched for No Man’s Sky under this format, the player must follow the path of a pirate faction called ‘The Blight.’

While following this pirate faction, the players must try and retrieve the same booty that the pirates are after while also trying to navigate the inhospitable planet they have set down on. 

New Mechanics

  • The only new thing added to the game in this expedition is the environment and how you have to proceed. 

Rewards

  • Again, nothing very new came out with this expedition except for some base and cosmetic items. 

Leviathan Expedition 

  • Start Date: 25 May 2022
  • End Date: 5 July 2022
  • Journey: Christole Oich Kaok 84/04

In this mission, the player must explore a mysterious freighter that is found drifting in space under no obvious control. Upon entering the vessel, the players will become trapped in a time loop that they must try their best to escape from. 

Due to the time loop mechanic, players likened this expansion to a rogue-like and praised the break from typical gameplay. 

New Mechanics

  • The time loop aspect was new to the game but was not brought into the base game. 
  • The environment required the player to perform different tasks and act differently to avoid the hazardous environment.

Rewards

  • Again, players of this expedition could only expect to receive cosmetic items and base parts as rewards. 

Polestar Expedition

no man's sky polestar expedition

  • Start Date: 27 July 2022
  • End Date: 11 September 2022
  • Journey: Freighter Black hole

The main feature of this expedition was building out and designing your own freighter. The player would serve as the captain and have to marshall the ship and all its inhabitants through various stages and milestones while answering all crew demands.

This included building new starship hangers, gardens, and combat training rooms. 

New Mechanics

  • The ability to modify and build out your own base with new features and controls.
  • You could also command and guide a heavy shipping freighter for the first time. The largest ship you could possibly command to this day. 

Utopia Expedition

  • Start Date: 22 February 2023
  • End Date: 04 April 2023
  • Journey: New Kehille Endil D2

This expedition revolved around the player taking complete ownership and creative control of a single-star system, within which you would build a hub for the Utopia Foundation to help out other space travelers in need.

Outside of designing your hub, the player must also conduct a range of scientific experiments throughout their playthrough while simultaneously gathering supplies from nearby areas to help them discover new technologies. 

New Mechanics

  • You got access to a Research Station for the first time, including all of the new technology discovery mechanics that came with it. 

Rewards

  • Access to new base parts and cosmetic items.
  • The Utopia Speeder starship. 

Singularity Expedition

no man's sky singularity expedition

  • Start Date: 7 June 2023
  • End Date: 12 July 2023
  • Journey: Ahei XV

This most recent expedition is the tenth expansion given to the players via expedition update and is one of the best ones yet.

In this mission, the player must help to rebuild something called a Construct. This machine is an artificial being that was built by some sort of AI genius who has subsequently gone missing. 

New Mechanics

  • Construct customization abilities.
  • Harmonic camps have also been added to the game. 

Rewards

  • Access to exclusive starcraft named the Ship of AI Souls. 
  • New cosmetic and base items have also been added. 

Helpful Tips 

All of these expansions are incredibly different and unique in their own right, involving a great array of gameplay mechanics and loops. Therefore, tips cannot be too wide-ranging.

However, there are some things you should keep in mind in order to achieve success, regardless of which star system you are exploring. Let’s take a look. 

  • Other players leave behind bases and marks of their activity on these planets. You should use these as markers to follow along your own journey. Usually, they will point you in the right direction.
  • To find an expedition, the player will need to either enter through the New Game menu of No Man’s Sky or keep checking the game’s official website. 

FAQs

Question: Is No Man’s Sky Worth Playing non?

Answer: After the disastrous release of the game, many fans still ask whether No Man’s Sky is worth playing in 2023. Well, I am here to tell you yes. The game is completely different from the shell, which was produced in 2016.

While it still does not live up to all the promises made by Hello Games prior to launch, it is a great deal better than what initial players would have experienced.

The incredible amount of updates provided to players for free over the years has made it a standout space exploration title well worth your time.

Question: What Do You Actually Do in No Man’s Sky?

Answer: The focus of this game is split between exploration and quests. The player can spend their time exploring the universe and the many star systems included in the game while also picking up quests from space stations on these planets.

Outside of this, there are many amazing mechanics that allow for a sandbox-like game experience. More recently, the expeditions update has allowed players to link with friends and complete narrative-heavy missions together for the first time.

Question: How Long Does it Take to Complete No Man’s Sky?

Answer: As this game is mostly based on exploration, it is practically impossible to complete and explore everything the game has to offer fully.

However, if you wish to narratively complete the game, you can expect to spend over 100 hours to acquire 100% trophy completion.

No Man’s Sky Expedition Guide: Conclusion

The Expeditions update is easily one of the best things to happen to the game since its troublesome launch way back in 2016.

The amount of new content the developers have managed to throw into the game with these continued updates is staggering and has led to the game feeling completely different from the shell of a product it was back in 2021.

While most of these expeditions are currently offline and possibly gone forever, there seems to be no slowing down on Hello Games’ end in terms of continued expedition content.

Therefore, I hope you learned something valuable from this guide and got what you came here for. With that said, I wish you good luck and hope to see you again at the start of your next journey.

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