SquEnix Woes

Matsuda is “leaving” his position as CEO. I’m amazed it took this long given the stunning trail of disaster these past few years. The only reason that this company is still around is FF14, and by the grace of some deity, they haven’t milked it to death. Yoshida must have pictures of someone to build that wall.

SquareEnix has gone to some rather impressive lengths to self-detonate for western gaming. The Avengers is a poster child for an idea that lacked time to gestate, on an IP that was/is overpriced. (Side note, Suicide Squad is being delayed… but will still tank for similar reasons.) Outriders is an amazing piece of gaming that outshone Avengers on nearly every level, yet had no real support. Guardians of the Galaxy is a great game, just not one that will sell 4 million copies.

And Forspoken didn’t meet sales expectations. I’m not sure if people have paid any attention to, you know, the world-state, but if you’re going to sell something at a premium price, it better be premium quality.

$94 is a price point that simply doesn’t exist in my mind. It’s like saying a bajillion dollars.

The real kicker here is that they still believe that NFT are the future. So much so that they sold their current IPs (Tomb Raider, Deus Ex) to fund the activity.

The shining light here is that there doesn’t appear to be news on HR/harassment, which is refreshing. This just seems to be boardroom decisions for investment that were poorly placed. Perhaps with new leadership at the helm, they can refocus and get one victory, which will certainly help with morale. Fingers crossed.

FF14 Update

My larger goal here was to get every class to at least 50, then slowly move up the others. Mission accomplished. I’ll readily admit I got distracted and took way longer to get the last one up there (Monk). I have at least 1 of every role at 90, all crafters at 90, and a should have all my healers at 90 pretty soon. Also have acquired about 15m gil through a combination of venture sales and PotD cosmetic sales. No idea what I’ll do with it though.

The distractions are rather substantial.

My private island is now at level 12, and I’ve collected everything I could from there. I think it’s rather zen, though could use with a tool/buff to improve the amount of a given item you can harvest in the wild. At ~80 Laver required per week, it feels burdensome to collect them 1 at a time. Still, it’s a neat distraction.

I’ve collected mounts from all but the Vanu beast tribes now, which is an interesting grind. I think beast tribes are a great microcosm of the development improvements over the years. Earlier quests are all over the place, with multiple pickups, tons of travel, and multiple steps. Later quests are beelines to the goal, a single step, and honestly better experience. A Vanu (50-60) quest may give me 5% of a level. Arkasodara (80-90) give about 15% per quest.

Tails of Wonder is a weekly event where you complete 9 tasks to get about 3/4 of a level. Useful in the 80 level range, especially when it comes to 2.0 content (raid and trials) which are easily soloed by a level 90 tank. My challenge here was that I didn’t have all that content unlocked, which is gated behind multiple quests. Getting to phase 3 of the Alexander raids requires 8 different raid be completed first. Heavensward raids are doable too, though twice as long. Stormblood raids are not generally soloable.

The Duty Roulette has 3 main venues for experience. Leveling dungeons (I’m missing maybe 1 or 2) are simple enough, but gear levels can make them hard if there’s no sync (e.g. you are 68, with lvl 60 gear and put in a 67 dungeon). MSQ duties are slightly less boring than they were before 6.1, but barely. Alliance Raids are what I enjoy the most, if only because you get really easy runs, then runs where you wipe multiple times with new players. I spent some time unlocking all of the potential raids here, to add some variety. Shadowbringer raids… those are never easy.

All of this content generates a LOT of Tomes of Poetics, which gives access to 50/60/70/80 gear sets. These gear sets are enough to get you through the next 10 levels, as long as you are not tanking in an non-synched dungeon. I’ve got all the level 50 gear and weapons now, staring to collect level 60.

I will say that the rate of acquisitions of tomes is slower than the rate of leveling for a given role… so far. The issue I foresee is how the melee DPS gear works. See, Healers, Ranged Physical, Ranged Magic, and Tanks all use the same gear within their roles. For healers, that means 4 jobs with the same gear. Nice! For Melee Physical though… Dragoon/Reaper has a set, Ninja has as set, and Monk/Samurai share a set. That effectively means that this role will be the last one that I level, in order to collect the necessary gear. (Yes, I could buy the gear with the millions of Gil I have. Call me Scrooge.)

Patch 6.35

Today we’ll see 6.35 launch, which brings Lopporit Beast Quests (crafting) and the newest Deepest Dungeon (rogue-like) for leveling 81-90. Up until now, Bozja was the best bet for that range, which is also used for 71-80. There are other bits added, as glamours for crafting classes.

Next Steps

I should be able to finish up the Astrologian pretty quick, which would close the chapter on my healing roles. Next up is Ranged Physical (Bard + Machinist). I am conscious that the roulette queues for these will be longer than my healer roles… so let’s see how that goes.

I know there won’t be an expansion in 2023, so I am in no rush to get anyone to 90. FF14 is hitting the 10 year mark, which most likely means a pile of cosmetics instead. Plus there is a rather substantial pile of quests to unlock content I’ve yet to give a shot.

I’m still finding it quite zen as compared to RL work, what with 2022 having a rather large dearth of games to play. There are other games that seem interesting, but it would seem that most are launching with debilitating PC issues, effectively making them open betas at a full price tag. I’ve got my Steam wishlist set up to advise me of sales, and I’ll pick up a few in the summer I bet. Probably end up with a Steam Deck by that point as well… my library is overfull and the Switch is showing its limits.


I like Metroidvanias. I enjoy their puzzle like construction, the incremental power, the build variety, and the rewards for precision. Hollow Knight is right at the top of my list, just an all around amazing game from end to end. Bloodstained, Ori, and Blasphemous are up there too. Metroid Dread is good. Even the indie versions, like Gatto are a decent play as they focus on a specific aspect and go from there.

F.I.S.T. is a game from a smaller gaming developer, using Unreal Engine to try and capture the Metroidvania spirit. You play an anthropomorphic rabbit with a large metal hand attached to your back, on a McGuffin quest. I say smaller because while the game does look good (Unreal will do that) there are some polish pieces missing. I picked this up for free from EGS during the holiday event.

There is a substantial amount of detail in every screen

I’ll go over the items I think are essential to the genre:

Puzzles: There are secrets here, lots of backtracking based on new skills/abilities, and new movement abilities. Backtracking / shortcut doors are quite common. I’ve yet to unlock any type of fast travel, but given the size of the map I have to assume it’s there. On that, the map is very large and windy. While you unlock a dash very early, traversal feels laborious.

Incremental Power: You have a skill tree that improves your weapon combos. You don’t actually hit harder exactly, you just unlock new button press combos for say an extra swing or such. This does mean that even the starting enemies still take the same amount of hits later on. For shorter games, I don’t mind. The weapons themselves you unlock have different aspects… one is pure melee, another AE, another for mid-distance attacks.

Build variety: This is a tougher one, because I enjoy multiple playstyles. Metroid Dread doesn’t have this and it’s a major annoyance to me. F.I.S.T. ‘s variety is based on the 3 weapon types and your preference. The skill combo unlocks are only based on damage. It sort of works here.

Precision gameplay: After you play through the White Tower in Hollow Knight, you will understand why this is important… and this is where F.I.S.T. generally disappoints. The world in general feels “floaty”, where gravity doesn’t really exist unless it needs to. Hitboxes are oddly designed and not related to what you see on screen. All attacks have an AE component and your lack of mid-air controls makes its very hard to be precise. Staggering appears to be random, and there are no i-frames or cancel-out abilities. You press a button and you have committed to that movement occurring – the enemy too, meaning that either you hit first and they die, or you take damage. For normal enemies this is an annoyance… for bosses, this means death. You can certainly complete most bosses with zero damage, the mechanics are simple enough. But there are no rewards for playing accurately, which is quite fascinating to me.

F.I.S.T. is an interesting game, with some interesting choices. The map in particular is simply too large with too much filler. The precision puzzles lack the controls to feel rewarding rather than simply lucking out. Combat feels slow and random, with the same enemy types throughout. If you can get this for like $5-10, it’s an interesting distraction. It will also remind you that there are much better Metroidvanias out there, for the same price.

Cascade Failures

I’ve been pushing a tad more in IXION, and I keep hitting walls – literally in some cases. When you truly start the game, it boldly announces that you have a 6% chance of survival. Quite true.

This is a game where you’re consistently managing failures, but the tools to manage them are scarce. Resources are limited, but the goals of the game require a rather substantial amount of balance to keep the ship going forward.

For example, in order to complete the first act (not the tutorial), you need to collect 500 cryo pods. These are containers with frozen people in them. You don’t need to thaw them, just hold them. You start this act with around 100 people on board, and in a broad sense, the resources to feed/house twice as many. These people also have continual request from you, such as constructing a new building, or repairing an item. These tasks rarely have any strategic benefit… building a 3rd of a building will keep you off balance.

Completing this task in time gives trust, failing to do so lowers it. As long as you are balancing resources (not tasks), you should be gaining positive trust. If you fail to balance, you lower trust. 0 trust, game over. Ignoring the task has zero consequences – so you learn very quickly to ignore tasks. The reward for the task (a temporary boost) does not at all compensate for the loss of overall economy balance. In the case where you actually need to gain a boost of trust, your population is probably half on strike, you’re low on resources, and it’s nearly impossible to complete the task at all, making it a double negative. It’s unfortunate because this could be an interesting part of the game, but as it stands, the risks exponentially outweigh the gains.

Back to the cryo pods. Now, if you have too many people and not enough work (the only item you can overproduce is food, everything else is restricted), trust goes down. It’s simply not possible to have enough work for everyone. For every person you have, you need to house them. The basic building houses 15… so the math isn’t in your favor here to house 500. Not enough housing, trust goes down. If you have more cryo pods than you have people, trust goes down.

I should add that the space limitations are managed through opening new zones. Each zone you do open though, increases the stress on the hull, increasing your need for resources to repair it. You can open 1 extra zone in the first act and get through. Open a 2nd and you will be on very thin ice, with limited tools to balance the next failure.

Access to better buildings and housing is behind research. The housing requires level 2, which can only be acquired after you have collected the 500 pods due to an in-game event. What this effectively means is that you are forced into a failure state, and given a very limited set of options to proceed. A set of options that you are not aware of until the failure occurs.

You can construct specific buildings (which take space and resources) to boost trust. You don’t need these buildings if things are going well, and space/resources are scarce enough that it’s frankly seen as wasteful. Like buying a snow shovel in a city that has snow once a year… you can get through that day.

You will likely reach the point in act 1 where collecting these cryo pods works, and things are balanced. You will also reach a phase where there are too many cryo pods and you lose trust. Then a point where you have too many people and not enough food/housing. Then not enough resources to build new housing, or the necessary research unlocked to build the thing that fixes the problem. Then trust will dip. Then they will go on strike and stop producing the things you need (like food, which *blows mind* is so dumb). In 10 minutes you’ll go from a super content and balanced population to a cascade failure that you just aren’t equipped to get out of.

And then you’ll get a task requesting thawing more people.

I am super into games where there is an optimal way to play… I am less into games where there is only one way to play. IXION without doubt has an optimal way to play, but it also has a very narrow window of successful options. I am sure I can get into the right mindset to crack this nut, bu holy macaroni is it not today.

The Carry

A tale as old as time, and one that can be hilarious or frustrating. All multiplayer games have this, even board games. There are those that have a passion for the meta and those that are checked out. When success is determined by the whole, then this can lead to friction.

In challenging content, the group enters with an understanding that each member needs to bring something to the table. Top-end raiders need the best gear, potions and strategies. Many games avoid any random group generation for this, as the skill levels are next to impossible to figure out… or if they do, then MMR is the way to do so (with accompanied gripes.)

In non-challenging content, the group rarely has any understanding and there are opportunities to simply check out. Especially if the content is repetitive and seen as “filler”. Maw runs from WoW/Legion were a good example. FF14 MSQ (pre 6.1) was the same, where cutscenes were 3x as long as the actual content. The interesting bit is when randomness is applied to the challenge.

FF14 has a random group finder for raids. Raids that are scaled down to a given level. Some raids are extremely under-tuned so that you really don’t have to pay attention to anything. Others have 1 shot mechanics that require group coordination. Access to these events is gated through the main quest, so it is entirely possible to have a first time player surrounded by veterans.

While not a challenge to spot the AFK players, it can be hard to tell the difference between a new player or a troll. The sprout icon (indicating less than 168 hours, or not having completed Stormblood) is sometimes an indicator, but unreliable. Hell, there are times where you simply forget the mechanics because there’s just so much frigging content to begin with! There are 13 Alliance Raids, and over 30 Leveling dungeons…that’s a very absurd amount of content to remember.

FF14 doesn’t support mods like other MMOs do, and it doesn’t have meters either, giving a much more cooperative approach to content. Mythic+ runs simply do not exist, which is a glorious thing for the social glue of the game. In the 10 years I’ve played, I’ve seen less than 10 vote kicks total. Lucky if I saw less than 10 in a week while playing WoW.

Now, that’s not to say that I didn’t need to adjust my own expectations here. Moving from the go-go-go mindset into a more relaxed approach was jarring. I had to re-evaluate why I was playing, so that the journey was as valuable as the goal. That a 5 minute delay (if that) doesn’t matter. That if the tank did go LD/AFK, that the group honestly could still progress rather than fully stall. This mindset doesn’t apply so much to the end game crowd exactly, as the purpose of the game when all your classes are 90 is way different, but for the core game it slows it down just the right amount. Enough so that people generally have ample patience with “slower” players, where info is shared and bad puns.

And when the stress levels drop and you have more opportunities to chat with players, it tends to make for a much more pleasant environment. I’ve got enough stress in my day to day life, no reason for gaming to be one of them.


Frostpunk may be my all-time favorite city builder. It provides you with a limited set of tools, a near constant set of cascade failures, really tough choices to make, and the tiniest spark of hope throughout. That balance between the edge of control and the edge of failure is what makes the game superb. And it’s success certainly pushed for imitators.

IXION is such a game. The story is simple enough, the future of humanity is focused on an ark of sorts, that is on a space journey. The challenges are also cascading, with balance a constant battle. The tools are your disposal take a while to uncover, and some decisions can massively hamper your progress… to the point where save scumming is a running thought.

The start of phase 3

Space to construct is limited, and each building has a specific set of location needs. Build enough of a type of building and the sector (of 6) becomes specialized, providing a bonus. As with most games of this genre, small percentages have large impacts, so you are likely going to want to specialize.

Resources are scarce. You can find more people in frozen capsules – which feels really weird when you population quadruples somehow. These people need food, shelter, work… and if they don’t, then you start to lose trust, which causes a mutiny and game over.

The ship you are in is in continual decay, and each mission makes the damage greater and harder to repair. This means a constant drain on resources, and intelligent use of time as there are periods where you have to stop repairs to improve power generation, or move the ship. Oh, and each sector you unlock also adds to decay.

Research is both hidden in layers, and difficult to progress. Each “zone” has a limited amount of research points to collect, effectively giving you a soft-wall of progress and forcing you to move, and therefore increase difficulty.

Combined, as is the genre, you can be going along smoothly, only to encounter a massive cascade of failures because one small piece stopped working. Like collecting iron… which repairs the ship and helps construction, which generates housing, which causes trust and decay to increase, and that’s the end of that run.

I do enjoy the logistical challenge of keeping resources balanced between sectors, and overseeing the various needs of the population. That said, I also think there are some balance passes required in how they interact and how they are set at default. Logically, the system should default to complete balance between the storage in each sector… but it doesn’t. Food created in one sector won’t move to another unless you set up that swap… which caught me off guard and caused a rather negative event.

I also enjoy the compounding complexity of various decision points, where you can have a general idea of how something will help you in the future. Some of those decisions are very obtuse… like research for items you won’t be able to use for a very long time. Given the scarcity of some resources, it makes it so that there’s an order of priority that simply is not evident on your first playthrough, and little grace for those types of mistakes. I will point that each chapter requires a very long process to complete, which not only feels like padding, but is likely to generate additional challenges. Like how collecting 500 cryo pods creates discontent as its faster to collect than thaw… Discontent that increases accidents and deaths, making it spiral.

I’ll also point that the pace of the game is rather odd, with random acts of sabotage that you can do absolutely nothing to prevent, and that can hobble you substantially if you’re in a balancing act. They act as time padding, preventing progress for the sake of making the game longer. The rate of accidents increases substantially as happiness decreases, which happens when there are accidents.

I will point out that some decisions you will make can have dramatic consequences down the road, to the point where you won’t realize it until it’s too late. Some mission options have catastrophic consequences, so that you’re better to save scum that hobble through. Some sector construction layouts (in particular around things requiring external walls) can be disastrous… to the point where it’s better to revert to a save an hour+ ago than to rebuild. In a “normal” city builder, you are not continually facing failure, just delays. In here, to a stronger degree than I was expecting, a single bad decision can be enough for a game over.

These are quality gripes, and I can only see them because I’ve been fortunate enough to play Frostpunk. If you’re coming from something like Surviving Mars, then you may not notice these smaller bits. The pace and impact of decisions, in particular hitting massive milestones that alter the gameplay, are key to these types of games. If it’s just continual fire fighting, then that loses appeal quickly as you run into the next fire before the last is put out. IXION straddles that line, and doesn’t always have that work out. For a game that’s been out a month or so, this is super normal and balance passes are part of the deal. I’d still recommend the game in its current state, but can only imagine how amazing this game will be with a few small tweaks. All the pieces are here.

Scaling and Multiplication

Over many years, I have written a lot about power curves. Most games have a logarithmic scale, which climbs quickly at the start and then slowly increases near the end. At least in the context of the “main game”. Some RPGs provide god-tier weapons, but those are also meant for god-tier challenges.

MMOs also follow this curve, yet this is most often within the constraints of an expansion or a major patch. The major patches add minor increments to the end of a curve, while expansions write out an entirely new curve. This to the point where it normally invalidates a large amount of the previous curve, so that “fresh” players don’t have to grind through content at the end of one expansion to access the next. Some games really abuse this model, where the top tier gear from one expansion is replaced by starter gear of the next expansion – thankfully this is much less common today (WotLK was notable).

Base logarithmic curve

The power curve is related to the challenge curve. Depending on where those two are, you either need to perform better or can blindly plow through. If you are on the right side of the curve (high power) and are facing the basic enemies at the start of content (low challenge), you can faceroll most of it.

Power vs Challenge

In most games, this relationship is static. Picking on WoW for a minute here, these were initially hard-coded, making the item/level squish activities very complicated. Changing the value of a Challenge isn’t easy, less so when it hasn’t been looked at for 8+ years.

FF14 has a similar structure in overworld content, and explicit group content (un-synched). You can, if you want, plow through low level content with a high level character (in fact, its the best way to do Wonderous Tails). However, the game has had scaling applied since ARR came out. The Duty Roulette (LFG tool) automatically scales your power relevant to the content, if too high. The net effect is that you can ignore a few mechanics, but not all. FATES also have a sync feature if you want to extract any rewards.

Now, where things really start getting wonky is how games apply bonuses to power. Scaling only applies to the base elements of the power curve, and temporary bonus to apply throws that scale out of whack. Temporary (or borrowed) power is not an issue with FF14 – the bonuses are usually in the 10-20% range and very limited in sources (food, some temporary buffs). You may see 6 buffs total on a character. WoW has had issues here for years, where the temporary boosts are measured well over 100%, if not bursts of 1,000%, from dozens of sources. It’s meme-worthy to have a couple dozen buffs active at any given time, let alone seeing how they interact as they can compound. It makes it next to impossible to balance or scale… hence why borrowed power simply does not work in Timewalking content (scaled). It’s also why some content tuning feels impossible until you get the right RNG, then it becomes trivial.

In general, I enjoy content that has some level of challenge, and where progression is noticeable without being god-like. If there was no challenge, then just turn on some streaming service instead. FF14 is able to make nearly all of the content relevant and challenging (to a degree) so that I do need to pay attention. One key issue with WoW was that the challenge was focused on 2 areas – raiding and Mythic+ – content that built less-than-pleasant social constraints. There was no middle ground left.

I could go on about how Monster Hunter applies this model… though in super simple terms it moved from near-assured death to this is fun. Way different model.

Forspoken – And Why You Should Not Pre-Order

I’ll say this, no one ever plans to do a bad job. Especially in a creative field. Everyone wants to do the best they can, and depending on how complex things become, it can be insanely hard to make all the pieces fit together. A great leader is one who can find all these good ideas, and make them sing together in harmony. And in today’s age, those leaders have bosses, who may not have harmony in mind.

On to Square Enix. I have no idea what’s going on in this place, aside from the fact that the number crunchers are on some serious meds. Aside from FF14 and FF7 remake, they have struggled to get anything out the door that made a lick of sense (Babylon’s Fall) or remotely within sales expectations (Outriders). Marvel Avengers has to be a painful realization on top of it all. There’s a meme somewhere in here that as a publisher, it just can’t get it right.

Forspoken had a really weird vibe in terms of generating buzz. Amy Hennig (from Uncharted fame) was a big name involved here, so there was some confusion in what was being presented vs what people had come to expect. A game with good writing can be undone with gameplay, and vice versa after all.

The real kicker here was that it appeared few media outlets (IGN is the only one I can find) were provided any release codes to the game, meaning that they’d get their hands on it when the public did. This is no different than movie reviews, where if critics aren’t allowed to see it, then that’s usually a very bad sign. And well..

Back to my first point. I am convinced that everyone involved here had the best of intentions and wanted to knock this out of the park. The end result is a good reminder that even the best of intentions do not make a great result, and further re-inforce the need to not pre-order until the game is actually out.

Been a really, really long time since a game before release actually ended up being impressive. Maybe Fallen Jedi? There’s just dozen more examples on the other side of the coin.

Hopefully, Square Enix can learn something here and find some new groove where they can release games that people are interested in playing. There’s only so long you can just give away money…

Living Ships

The whole Twitter stuff is enough distraction. I disabled my account yesterday and I’m moving on.

No Man’s Sky doesn’t have many timegated systems, 2 that are quite obvious – Frigate missions and Settlement Upgrades. The latter doesn’t have any real impact on gameplay today, and feels more like the seed of an idea. A sort of ant farm really. The former is a very weird (for this game) system that allows you to send smaller ships on missions, where they can return with various items. With two exceptions, these items can be found through other means, so this activity acts as a more passive gameplay than much else.

Obviously, I am not considering mining operations as timegated.

In 2020, the Living Ships update was added. This is a quest that starts in the Anomaly, requiring 3200 Quicksilver (a unique quest currency, takes less than a week to collect this much). Using the Void Egg, you embark on a quest that spans a few systems with relatively simple steps. Each quest then has a 24hr timer, so it ends up taking about 5 days to get to the final part, where you unlock a new starship. Living Ships are starships in a practical sense, all S class, and cannot take any normal upgrades. Selecting your ship is dependent on the system in which you unlock it… so some save scumming is advised to get a look you want. All told, about 2 weeks or so to get one. Now, aside from looking cool, in nearly every other regard it’s worse than any exotic ship due to the upgrade issue. Less cargo slots, slower speed, less damage…

One of many, many designs

In July 2022 the Endurance update added an upgrade path for Living Ships. You need Psychonic Eggs, which only come from Frigate Missions, and then only from missions where there is an Organic Frigate. To get the first Organic Frigate, you need a Dream Aerial, which is a random reward from a normal frigate mission. Getting more Organic Frigates pretty much requires Anomaly Detectors (found in asteroid fields), and then pulse driving until you get the proper encounter (could take 20 mins). Frankly, that is a ton of RNG and timegating to get something that does look cool, but is a real struggle to actually improve. I’ve got my ship, 10 Organic Frigates (that was not fun), and 3 upgrades. Now it’s just a matter of sending them on mission and hoping for RNGesus.

A view of some of the organic frigates

I do get that none of this actually matters in the larger scale, and it’s truly more of an end-game customization thing. The real joy in NMS comes from the discovery and building phase, and then slowly drifts off as the new-car-smell fades away. That joy lasts for way longer than I had expected. There’s a true sense of achievement when you finally reach one of your goals – be it automated mining, a cool base, or a new ship. The fact that you’re not pigeon-holed into a single activity in order to find progress is amazing.

I know I’m in the long tail now. I could reset the universe (crazy typing that out), build an underwater base, or complete a full farm setup for every remaining element (there are only 4 I don’t mine currently). Regardless of where this goes in the next few days/weeks, this ride has been absolutely amazing.

NMS – Stasis Device

No Man’s Sky has is an open ended game, where the goals are mostly self-driven. There are certainly crumbs along the path, to give you an indication that something exists to chase, but the decision to do so is mostly yours to make. Now, compared to most MMOs today where the systems are not at all connected (or just dumped at the next expansion), most of the systems in NMS are interconnected. Derelict Freighters, Frigate Missions, Nexus Quests, and Mission Boards all get you to a similar goal – improving your own freighter.

One of the challenges of these open games is that the initial breadcrumbs often lead to a massive gulf of content, before you can find footing for the actual goals. Examples are things like Factorio or Sim City, where you will likely reach a point where you need to undo a lot of what was built in order to move to the next step, as you didn’t fully understand the logistical implications of earlier choices. Minecraft sort of has this, where you have “starter homes” before you get the idea of the larger/complex systems. NMS is more like this, where development is almost always forward. It’s certainly possible to make bad choices, but they are clearly bad choices when made, and you can recover from them quickly. Even your starter base isn’t a bad thing, because you unlock more blueprints, see how the various systems interwork, and rather simply grow it to something larger (though likely, you will want a base on another planet for reasons…)

Along this path is the RNG of loot. There’s a ton of it, and all of it has some use. Either you craft with it, eat it, upgrade with it, or sell it. Some of these items are of a rarer quality than others and are therefore worth more. When you find your first item that’s worth 500,000 credits, you’re going to be extremely happy. On the 5th time, you’ll start wondering how you can more readily acquire said item, and if there’s something beyond. Well, there is a path for both.

NMS Crafting Tree

Currently, there are two “ultimate” crafts – Statis Devices and Fusion Igniters. Each is worth approximately 15m credits. The top row of that image is the base material required to start. With the exception of Mordite, each one can be farmed in raw form, though the pre-requisites to do so varies a tad. The metal & gas items have to be mined, while the plants need to be harvested.

The harvesting part isn’t too bad, you need glass Bio-Domes to harvest 16 plants. You need seeds and some elements to get started, so it will take a few days to get it all sorted out at a single base. No power required, just the glass to build it all (which ideally is bought).

The mining part is less obvious. You need a Survey Device in the multi-tool in order to find gas/mineral hot spots. It’s a hot/cold game to find them, and then fingers crosses it’s the actual material you want. Finding Paraffinium took me way too long. Once you have those 2 elements, then you need to find a power hotspot, giving you 3 points of interest. Finding the center of those, you build a Base Computer, a Portal, and then some Supply Depots. You then branch out from this base, back to the points of interest and build various collectors (harvester, miner, generator) and then connect all that back to the base you built. Repeat for all the base materials you need (3 to 4 bases). Building each base like this also has a cost, mostly in Metal Plates. You’ll also learn how to “extend” your base past the 300u limit up to the 1000u limit (this really feels like there’s a bug preventing the true size).

The table above gives you an idea of the materials required to make 10 Stasis Devices. The first 2 items listed are actually a combination of Oxygen + Carbon/Cobalt. In most of the scenarios, you can expect to wait 24 hours between collection timeframes, assuming you have 50 or so of each plant, 2 harvesters of the elements, and 5 supply depots along with it. Getting the entire production chain ready is a good 10+hours of effort, with a fair chunk of shopping ahead of time to stock up on construction material (metal plates, ferrite dust, chromatic metal and glass most notably).

Once it’s up and running, it’s a rather simple affair to collect the material (<5 mins), process the Carbon/Cobalt (2 mins), and the craft the materials (2 mins). If you time it right, you can queue the processing for the next day, making it even faster. That’s a nice 150m in your pocket per day.

Scaling to MORE than this is a tad more painful, mostly due to the fact that items only stack to 9,999 and you will run out of inventory space. Plus, with perhaps 1 or 2 exceptions, there is no object in the game that costs more than 150m credits. Being a billionaire is more status symbol than much else. Though perhaps it can help seed a massive gold mining farm…