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A No Man’s Sky galaxy is embroiled in an ongoing war

Fighting among the stars

No Man’s Sky - a player ship arcs over a blue and pink planet Image: Hello Games via Polygon
Cass Marshall is a news writer focusing on gaming and culture coverage, taking a particular interest in the human stories of the wild world of online games.

While much of No Man’s Sky space is a peaceful place to explore, one galaxy has declared an intergalactic war. Now, role-players are choosing sides and preparing to contest the systems in an isolated corner of the map, known as galaxy 150, in a giant showdown that may last months.

No Man’s Sky gives players a few destructive tools, like blasters for ground combat and rockets for starships. Mostly, players use these weapons against Sentinels or aggressive predators. But if players meet in the world, they can attack each other as well, and claim the inventory of fallen foes.

Players take up the roles of the three main in-game factions. Some are the Vy’keen, militaristic aliens whose culture focuses on honor and glory in battle. Others are the industrious and capitalist Gek. And some players take up the role of the machine intelligence known as the Korvax, who roam the galaxy in robot bodies. While PvP is a common experience in certain modes, this fan-led event allows players to engage in large-scale battles.

It’s still the opening days for this campaign, so there have been few major battles thus far. Some players are staying on a settled planet to build critical infrastructure, while others are taking to the skies to scout and claim territory. As the war develops, factions may have to defend their territory against other players. No one is truly safe from the chaos.

The Korvax already have pilots carefully patrolling their borders. One member of the Vy’keen made the mistake of warping into Korvax space, only to be shot down. If he wanted to survive, he would have needed to radio ahead and ask for permission to enter the area.

The Vy’keen are building vast battle arenas on their homeworlds. Members of this warrior culture can climb the ranks and win glory by engaging in one-on-one combat with opponents. Diplomats from every faction in the region are signing tentative treaties and trying to maintain a fragile peace.

No Man’s Sky - a player base, which could serve as a point of conflict Image: Hello Games via Polygon

There are multiple ways in which players can prepare for war. Some people are starship pilots, focusing on drills so they can shoot down enemy ships. Other people roam planets, looking for the biggest possible beasts to use as mounts in war. Even the most inexperienced player can contribute to combat by becoming a foot soldier. It’s a hostile environment, and players new to the campaign enter a galaxy where it’s all smiles above the table, but hidden knives are kept ready beneath for the eventual all-out war.

While the three main factions wage war, smaller groups build up their power. A destructive group of biological raiders known as the Horde are slowly stretching out, creating a base of operations that will allow them to scour the galaxy. The long-standing White Noise criminal syndicate has also joined the fray, along with its powerful military, trained assassins, and resources — and they’re available for hire. Some players are independent traders, coming to the war-torn galaxy so they can sell high-value goods to desperate buyers, like huge amounts of raw minerals or high-end combat modules for ships.

Players use the campaign’s Discord to brag about their in-game exploits, work out trading deals with other groups, and joke about enemy factions. A leader might show off the verdant fields of their homeworld, or a new stronghold they’ve built. As time passes, and each group’s reach grows further and further over the 150 systems in the galaxy, large-scale conflict will become inevitable.

It’s an ambitious approach to playing No Man’s Sky, and it makes the game much more like an Eve Online-type experience where social skills and politicking are just as important as flying a ship and shooting a blaster. As players find their feet, everyone is waiting with bated breath to see when things become truly heated.