Is it worth playing the massive new ‘Starfield’ patch?

After months of complaining that Starfield hasn’t had any really major patches since its launch in September, there’s finally one that I’d classify as major enough. That would be the May update that just went live and it touches many aspects of the game, especially for newer players, but there are a few for veterans that might make them want to return.

It’s a big update. There are no new missions or weapons or anything like that, but there is a lot to do. This is my opinion on what is or isn’t worth it, but that may depend on what you prioritize.

Difficulty/Survival Options – This is probably the change that interests me the most, at least in terms of combat difficulty. Now that I have a character above level 100, I can simply roll over anything in the game, even on Very Hard difficulty. Now you can increase the difficulty to a new ‘Extreme’ setting. But I… still don’t think that much will change. Sure, it’s a little harder, but I have so many skill points and so much legendary gear that I still can’t help but keep crushing everything. So without any new content I’m still farming the same kind of pirate/space bases in the high level systems. Not that convincing

The survival thing is a little different. You can change everything Here you can earn bonus XP for making things more difficult. This ranges from making you hungry, to more prone to injury or illness, to random things like not being able to deposit stuff into your ship until you’re in it (or conversely, making it easier so you can deposit anywhere). The cruelest setting is reducing your capacity for bonus XP, but the opposite is also true: you can increase it dramatically without mods if you want, removing one of the game’s annoyances. It’s a very interesting divide between those who want tougher survival aspects and those who want to erase things they find annoying.

New ship/base modification – The ability to customize the interior of your ship to make it a ‘home’, so to speak, will undoubtedly interest a lot of people, because I know that in these games there is always a crowd that is deep into building bases deepened, and here that now extends to ship decorations. It’s a far cry from the absurd system where if you switched or changed ships they would literally throw everything into storage. Not anymore, and it can be yours. Plus, there are a few dozen brand new items to use in ships or bases.

Cards – I thought this was a bit ridiculous at first as the new cards didn’t look great in photos. But they’re… actually very good, and I understand why they took so long to develop. The city maps rely on showing the intricate layers and ins and outs of the cities, and they now let you fast travel to virtually any landmark within, which is very useful.

In the open world, there’s a lot of empty space, but you can see everything from the exact structure of nearby bases, to ships that have landed nearby, to individual parts of your base. It’s really well done, but this is definitely a ‘this should have been in the game from the start’ and not something you’d return for.

Change properties in the unit – While this is better than nothing, I will never stop hating the Unity concept, which erases all your equipment, ships, and bases for literally no reason other than a handful of dialogue changes and a new ship and suit. So yes, you change your attributes, but it’s still not worth going through Unity more than once, and the full skill point spec, which is what many players want, is still not available.

Dialogue camera – I really like this one, which allows you to stay zoomed out when talking to NPCs in third person, removing the “Bethesda stare” dialogue option with everyone directly in front of you. I find it more immersive and it’s a good addition.

Performance improvements – Since I don’t play on Xbox I haven’t tested this one, but from everything I see it is indeed a significant improvement over launch with the toggle between performance and visuals. That could change things for many players.

I don’t know if there’s much for me, a 170 hour Starfield player, to come back for, because I’m not really into survival gear or decoration. I’m really waiting for new story content or missions or at least new gear to find. But these are all good changes that will definitely happen new playing experiences better. It’s a good band-aid.

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