no mans sky orbital update vast space station
Image via Hello Games

No Man’s Sky Orbital Update brings ship customization and new colossal space stations

Finally, we can make obscene starships.

As is tradition, Hello Games’ Sean Murray dropped the news and trailer for the No Man’s Sky Orbital Update, having posted emojis for the past few days to tease it to fans.

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I feel as though I say this with every update, but the Orbital Update for No Man’s Sky really is one of the biggest overhauls the game has seen in terms of scope and changing areas that players see the most. It’s also the update that probably addresses the most-requested feature from fans since before the game’s release: Starship customization.

No Man’s Sky Orbital Update patch notes highlights

The No Man’s Sky Orbital Update brings not only new features but also bug fixes and stability improvements. Below, I’ve highlighted what I believe are the most important pieces of information from the patch notes so you don’t get too bogged down in the minutiae. I encourage everyone who wants to read about every fix and polish to read through the official patch notes if you have a spare couple of hours.

Space Stations have been overhauled

no mans sky orbital update space station exterior
Image via Hello Games

You might think you know what Space Stations look like in No Man’s Sky, but that’s all changed now. These megastructures have seen an external and internal overhaul that makes them look fresh and stand out as complex artworks as you fly to and from them. There are some truly terrifying external designs, but what all of them have benefitted from is additional shadows that really make them feel like they’re part of the world.

Inside, every Space Station now feels gigantic—as if you’re walking through a Space Station from The Expanse. Everything has been designed to be more efficient and intuitive. I’ve always hated entering Space Stations and just guessing where the vendors are in each system, so the visual redesign that makes them more obvious is going to really help me out.

Within these interiors, each Guild will offer better rewards than before. There’s now a selection of great free items to pick up as you increase your rank. It’s a good excuse to engage with that system more and adds a new layer of progression that’s been missing from guilds. You can speed this up by donating to Guild Envoys in exchange for reputation. I think this is the only way I’ll ever get anywhere with them.

You can also purchase Space Station and Frigate Base Parts on Space Stations from the Construction Research Station on the Anomaly. These are some of the most interesting Base Parts I’ve seen in a long time and will allow those master builders of No Man’s Sky to take their creations to a new plane of existence.

Hello Games has confirmed Space Stations are now also procedurally generated, right down to their atmosphere. This means you could have one very clean and futuristic Space Station in one system, and a dark and moody one in another. I’m more of a fan of the latter, but I appreciate the clean look from time to time.

Some Space Stations take this a step further. Each alien race imprints its design ethos and culture into its Space Stations, meaning you could encounter unique Space Stations when traveling through certain systems. These may or may not contain powerful weaponry each race stores in case of war, so you’ll have to investigate for yourselves to find out.

Economy variety

vendor discounts no mans sky orbital update
Image via Hello Games

While exploring each Space Station, you’ll now notice you get discounts based on your reputation with each faction. This means that if you’re working hard to please the Gek, that’ll pay off when you need to purchase essential technology.

If, like me, you just want to make as much profit as possible regardless of who it’s from, then the new Market Surges feature will help you out. While traveling between systems, you can now use the Economy Scanner to locate Market Surges, where you can sell scarce items for a better price. They’re time-limited, though, so must be acted on promptly.

Customize your Starship

customizing starship in no mans sky orbital update
Image via Hello Games

It’s been a long time coming, and I mean since August 9, 2016, a long time coming. At last, we can customize our Starships. I don’t think I need to explain much more about this, though there are some new features this adds that will make the game more interesting if you just steal and trade Starships. You can authenticate or dismantle Starships to get them to sell for a higher price or use them as scrap to build your ultimate ride.

In a merciful move from Hello Games, we can now also swap Starships in a Space Station. This has always been a mechanic that’s confused me, even though I generally just use one ship and upgrade it. Being able to see and use all of your Starships in No Man’s Sky will definitely make for a more streamlined experience, one that really brings the spacefaring fantasy to life.

Fight for your fleet

defending fleet in no mans sky orbital update
Image via Hello Games

Fleet Missions in No Man’s Sky have always felt like a bit of a minigame you can set up and forget about. Your Frigates move across space in real time and will complete whatever mission is assigned to them. However, the Orbital Update adds a new feature that allows your fleet to call for guidance or direct assistance.

This means that if your fleet needs help with strange phenomena, its objective, or its crew, you’ll need to give an additional command remotely. If that’s not enough, and your fleet’s being attacked, you’ll be called upon to warp to it and defend it from whoever fancies stealing from you.

Sadly, there’s no news on the next Expedition for No Man’s Sky. Most of the game’s updates over the past two years have included one, though not all. I was rather hoping to have a new one to hop into this week, but Hello Games might be saving the next Expedition for a future update or sometime over the next few weeks once this update has settled.


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Author
Jamie Moorcroft-Sharp
Jamie is a Staff Writer on Destructoid who has been playing video games for the better part of the last three decades. He adores indie titles with unique and interesting mechanics and stories, but is also a sucker for big name franchises, especially if they happen to lean into the horror genre.