Last week, PC Gamer's own Andy Chalk talked about an upcoming patch for Starfield—flagged as the "biggest Starfield update yet", though he rightfully pointed out that it didn't seem all that big.
Well, patch notes for beta testing are here. We're getting visual and lighting upgrades to certain areas, as well as bug fixes to animations, questlines, and some abilities. That's about it—oh, also you won't get a pet rock following your ship anymore. Which sort of feels like a downgrade. Rest in peace, Astie the Asteroid.
If we dip into a response thread on the game's subreddit we can see Bethesda hasn't fixed some lingering bugbears—like an issue that causes a reload speed perk to not function if you have a grenade equipped.
The site reads: "We’re grateful for all the feedback we’ve seen and received and will continue to monitor and track your issues and critiques … if you don’t see your issue addressed below, don’t lose faith! Keep sharing your feedback and issues so we can do our best to prioritise."
I don't want to downplay the hard work that likely went into this. Squashing bugs is gruelling and often thankless work—but it's a little strange to call this the 'biggest update yet' when it's only true by technicality. By that logic, my breakfast is the biggest meal I've had today—factually correct, just not noteworthy. Granted, Bethesda has promised more substantial updates coming in February on a six-week cycle.
It's also likely that a lot of those promised improvements are being worked on, they're just not out of the oven yet. A team can't just allocate more devs to certain projects willy-nilly—they're big, multidisciplinary groups with highly varied skill-sets. How impactful those changes will actually be remains to be seen.
Still, if you had issues with anything regarding the game's core experience—as these Steam reviewers did—this patch doesn't have much to offer. It'll still be the same Starfield you were playing, space warts and all.