For its one year anniversary, Hello Games has released the third free update to the game, with the largest amount of new content to date.
If you spot unusual floating orbs on a planet (like the ones above) they're actually other players. This left players to create their own stories and make a lot of effort into their exploration of other planets as well as mapping out parts of the galaxy that they were going to explore.
You'll need to be in exactly the right places for this to happen however, so don't expect just to bump into people on the fly. Significant new elements include a preliminary implementation of multiplayer features, 30 hours of story content alongside a revamped quest system, the ability to edit terrain, and an overhauled galactic economy.
New lore and interactions have been added too, fleshing out the truth behind the original mysteries including the Abandoned Building logs, the World of Glass, the Sentinels, the Redemption of the Gek and the meaning of 16. Judging from the description, the entire game is getting an overhaul, with new trading systems and a new story.
Say what you will about the state No Man's Sky launched in, and what the developers had said about it before it launched, but there's no denying that Hello Games has been surprisingly committed to the game.
When No Man's Sky first released, I wasn't really sure what it was, or what it was trying to be, but I found a way to have fun with it. On that trip, you'll also find new "exotic plant types" on some planets, with Hello Games saying that the look and variety of biomes have been improved.
Space stations now have a Mission Agent who provides you with "unique and rewarding new tasks". Multiplayer was not in the final game. In addition a new ship weapon, the rocket launcher, is being introduced. It's been re-calibrated to give you more info and better rewards for scanning everything you see.
Transform the ground beneath your feet using the new terrain editing Multi-Tool enhancement. The monoliths have their own hieroglyphics, though, and you'll have to figure out the language to master portal-based travel. The limits of procedural generation are what led to this tedium as most of the planets feel the same along with the creatures. Most exciting among them are a new mission board with randomly generated missions, changes to dog fighting, and-finally-"joint exploration".