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Omega Update Makes This the Best Time Ever to Start Playing No Man’s Sky

Get lost in space this weekend.

screenshot from No Man's Sky Omega expedition
Hello Games
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No Man’s Sky is good. By now, that’s been the case for far longer than it was a failure after its notoriously disastrous 2016 launch. But while its initial comeback is well known at this point, the spacefaring adventure has actually reinvented itself quite a few times since then. Beginning with the aptly named Expeditions update in 2021, No Man’s Sky has featured a series of expeditions — season-long events that let players team up to complete new quests for rewards exclusive to each season. Now, No Man’s Sky is getting a free weekend for the first time in its history to let players experience the Omega expedition, and it’s the perfect introduction (or re-introduction) to the game.

No Man’s Sky is in some ways the very definition of the “forever game.” It features a full galaxy’s worth of planets, each teeming with procedurally generated life to collect, catalog, or blast with lasers. As updates for the game poured in, they introduced in-depth base building, new missions and storylines, and even wilder additions like controllable mechs and living spaceships. Maybe it’s just an issue of patience, but I’ve never been able to keep a campaign going long enough to see all of that.

The Omega expedition changes the way seasonal missions work in No Man’s Sky.

That’s where expeditions come in. Lasting just a month or two each, every expedition has a list of challenges ranging from surveying planets to fighting pirates, which can be completed alone or with a group. Each one features a unique ship to tool around the galaxy in, and completing all of the available missions in the allotted time will net you some pretty sweet cosmetic gear.

They’re also fantastic for new and returning players. Expeditions run you through a sped up version of the game’s introductory loop, getting you to the good stuff much quicker than just starting a new game and following the original storyline.

I’m one of those people who fully bought into the No Man’s Sky hype when it was being pitched before launch. I got the game on release day, quickly poured a dozen hours into mining and exploring — and then, as if rising out of a fugue state, suddenly looked around and realized it was missing tons of promised features and just wasn’t that fun to play. I took advantage of a special Steam policy that lets players return the game even if they’d played more than the standard two-hour limit for returns and swore I’d never touch it again.

The hovering Starborn Runner is one of Omega’s biggest rewards.

Hello Games

But then the first expedition came along. A more guided experience felt like exactly what the game needed, plus its rewards included the Honmatan OQ5, a funky new ship that kind of reminded me of a crouching duck when it was parked. By then, No Man’s Sky had gotten plenty of other updates anyway, so I picked it up on sale and dived in. I was not disappointed. I burned through every mission I could, falling back in love with the game as I did. I even picked up the rainbow jetpack trail offered as a Twitch drop, the perfect accessory for someone who loves crafting the most ostentatious gay pride in-game looks that I can.

I haven’t completed every expedition since then, but I’ve at least dipped my toes into most of them, and I’ve found it to be the perfect way to experience No Man’s Sky. While some players love devoting hours to building their own cities or even roleplaying as space cops throughout the game’s most populated sectors, I’m more of a dabbler.

And expeditions are made for people like me. Spending a few weeks sprinting through each one condenses the experience down to the most joyful bits of kitting out your ship and tasting a bit of everything No Man’s Sky has to offer. To cap it off, you end each one with a handful of cosmetic rewards that can remind you of all the times you’ve hopped back in to spend a month touring the galaxy (even the time you tried to complete one in VR and gave up after making yourself motion sick three nights in a row, if you’re like me).

Attacks on pirate fighters make up part of the Omega expedition.

Hello Games

So while the No Man’s Sky free weekend does limit you to just one game mode, trust me — it’s the way you want to play. This month’s Omega expedition features an incredibly sleek ship with multicolored grills like Daft Punk masks and a very cool hovering effect when it’s parked. The rest of its cosmetics are equally enticing, all themed around the main campaign’s Atlas, and its missions look like a fun batch, too, including taking on a massive pirate dreadnought.

The Omega expedition is explicitly designed with newbies in mind, according to Hello Games founder Sean Murray. Its missions are tailored to show you all the game’s fundamentals, and even the structure of expeditions is changing. Previously, expeditions were their own game mode separate from the main campaign, but now you can start one from an existing save and bring your own gear, making it great for players returning after a break.

You may not be able to complete Omega in a few days, unless you’re more dedicated to it than you are to sleep, but you can at least get a taste of it this weekend. From Feb. 15 to 19, No Man’s Sky is free to play on any platform, but the expedition itself runs for two weeks. It’s the perfect time to finally experience one of the best space games of all time, or to see how much more exciting the galaxy has gotten if you bounced off of it before.

No Man’s Sky is available on Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation, and Xbox.

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