17 tips and tricks to get you started in No Man’s Sky
No Man’s Sky, the open space exploration game which launched last week, is one of the most intriguing and vast games ever created. In this procedurally generated universe, there are over 18 quintillion planets to explore with unique lifeforms and flora on each. The goal is to survive and make it to the galactic core.
The problem with that is, from the beginning, you’re on your own with very little guidance. There are no tutorials and very few instructions at all. It’s up to you to figure everything out on your own. For diehards, this might be a welcomed change of pace. For the rest of you, we’re here to help you get off the first planet and navigate space like a veteran.
Here are 17 tips to get you started.
Everything you can do in No Man’s Sky
Take your time, it’s not a race
- 1 Take your time, it’s not a race
- 2 Mind the storage space
- 3 Upgrade your gear whenever possible
- 4 Look for crashed ships
- 5 Install new technologies for efficiency
- 6 Log everything
- 7 Mine for fast money
- 8 Scan to find what you need faster
- 9 Save often
- 10 Feed animals for their help
- 11 Trade with other ships at Space Stations
- 12 Make friends with the locals
- 13 Sentinels will wreck you
- 14 Underwater and underground have secrets, too
- 15 Flying is easier than walking, always
- 16 Save your Atlas Stones
- 17 Your Jetpack packs some neat tricks
While some people have already “finished” No Man’s Sky, the game can go on forever. It would take several lifetimes to visit every planet in the game.
While you’re likely to grow tired of the repetition long before that ever happens, No Man’s Sky isn’t meant to be a sprint to the galactic core. The point is to explore and discover things no one else has. So take your time, breathe in the air of as many planets in a system as you want and move forward when you’re ready. There is literally no rush.
Mind the storage space
One of the scarcest resources in No Man’s Sky is storage space. From the very beginning of the game, you’ve got to dedicate quite a bit of effort to inventory management.
First, keep the essentials in stock. You need plenty of Carbon, Plutonium and Thamium9 to keep your gear and ship fueled and powered.
- Carbon is plentiful in almost every place you will visit, so you’ll rarely need to take up more than one slot in your suit’s inventory for Carbon.
- Plutonium is scarce on some planets, and without it, you’ll have a hard time getting your ship off the ground (unless you find a landing pad). Keep one or two slots of your ship inventory designated to Plutonium.
- Thamium9 is hard to come by on the surface of some planets, but it’s plentiful in open space. Most of the asteroids you see are made entirely of Thamium9. Shoot them with your Photon Cannon to harvest the Thamium9 to fuel your Pulse Engine to travel long distances within a system more quickly.
Secondary resources you’ll want for open-space exploration are Oxides, such as Titanium and Iron. These can recharge your Photon Cannon or Deflector Shield, which will definitely come in handy when you’re inevitably raided by some bandits for your loot.
The rest of your storage space in your suit and ship should be reserved for valuables like Gold or Emeril, resources for crafting or technology upgrades.
Upgrade your gear whenever possible
Your tight storage space can be increased rather quickly in-game by finding or purchasing suit and ship upgrades.
Suit upgrades can be found on the surface of planets in special buildings near Outposts or at Space Stations, locked behind doors which require the Atlas Pass v1. The first upgrade is free, but additional storage slots will soon cost you 10,000 units a pop. These upgrades are well worth the investment.
Purchasing a new ship, however, is a tougher pill to swallow, ranging anywhere from 200,000 units to upwards of 3 million units. When you can afford it, it’s best to invest that money you’ve earned. After all, what else are you going to spend your cash on? And more storage slots means more room for loot, which you can sell for more units. Wash, rinse, repeat.
You can also upgrade your Multi-Tool along the way at random outposts — also a sound investment. It allows you to install more technology upgrades to your Multi-Tool, such as a Boltcaster for combat or coolant systems and beam intensifiers.
Look for crashed ships
If you don’t have the cash to upgrade your ship, you can always be on the lookout for crash sites. You’ll have to search around for the materials to make some repairs, but you can claim abandoned, crashed ships as your own, leaving your current ship behind. Just remember to transfer your stash over to the new ship before confirming the swap.
Install new technologies for efficiency
Technology upgrades are a trade-off. They make your ship’s Photon Cannon more powerful, help your Jetpack fly longer or make your Mining Beam last longer without overheating. However, each technology you add will take up a storage slot for that device.
As you gain more storage space, this is easier to deal with, but some of the technology upgrades are worthwhile early on, such as Stamina Enhancement, which helps you sprint for longer distances.
An easy way to make some spending money in No Man’s Sky is to use the Analysis Visor to log new discoveries. Animals, plants, planets and new planet systems can all be logged. But simply logging these items doesn’t earn a large paycheck — just a few hundred units per item. To earn more, open the settings menu and upload each of your discoveries to receive some units in return.
Before you upload your findings, however, don’t forget to give them each a special name.
Mine for fast money
A faster way to earn money is to mine for different elements, such as Gold or Emeril. If you come across a planet flush with valuable resources, it’s wise to use that to your advantage and get ahead financially in the game. Empty all the unnecessary items from your inventory, mine all you can and make a trip to the nearest Space Station to sell your loot and make a fortune.
I mined Gold for a few hours over the weekend and amassed over 2 million units. This allowed me to upgrade my ship, repeat the process and make even more money on the next run.
Just beware the bandits. If they detect you have valuable possessions on your ship, they will attack, so be ready to fight to keep your hoard.
Scan to find what you need faster
If you need to repair your ship or gather resources for crafting or new technology, use the Scanner. It scans your nearby surroundings and will show you where resources and other items are nearby. It will display the icon for Oxides, Isotopes, Silicates, Neutrals or Precious elements, not which specific elements there are. Scanning will also reveal the location of nearby Knowledge Stones and cargo drops.
Using this, you can more quickly find the resources you need, rather than wandering aimlessly in search of something specific.
Be it bandits, a sour encounter with an alien or a massive glitch that sets you back, plenty can go wrong in No Man’s Sky. As such it’s wise to save often. You can do this by discovering new outposts and activating the waypoints.
Arguably, a better and easier way to save is by entering and exiting your ship. Each time you exit the ship, the game saves.
If for any reason you need to reload one of the previous two saves, open the settings menu and navigate to the Options tab. Your most recent and the previous saves are there and you can load either one by clicking and holding on it.
Feed animals for their help
Most of the wildlife you encounter in No Man’s Sky are friendly. They’re skittish, but if you can get close to a non-aggressive species and you have the right resources on hand, you can feed the animal. This can sometimes encourage them to show you the location of special resources, mine resources for you or even defend you from a threat.
Trade with other ships at Space Stations
When you visit Space Stations, you may see other travelers come and go from the landing strip. If you approach those ships, you can actually trade with other aliens or make an offer on their ship.
You can often get a better (and sometimes worse) deal by selling valuables to travelers rather than traders or the Galactic Trade Network. You can also make a quick buck playing the middle man between two travelers at the same Space Station if you see one is paying above the average price for a resource another traveler is selling.
Make friends with the locals
You will often find three main races in your journey across the universe: Gek, Kvorax and Vy’keen. Getting on their good sides can afford you several perks, such as Vy’keen warriors giving you a new Multi-Tool. Keeping each race happy isn’t very difficult once you get the swing of things — but don’t be surprised when one race pits you against the other.
Sentinels will wreck you
Sentinels are basically the police of space. Normally, they’re harmless and passive (depending on the planet). But if you’re mining too many resources, killing animals or trying to break into abandoned buildings, they will attack.
Think of this situation as a wanted level, sort of like from Grand Theft Auto. If you don’t stop after they attack the first time, an Elite Sentinel (a four-legged walking robot) will be dispatched. Early on in the game, this is difficult to defend yourself against, so it’s best to flee the area. Simply fleeing doesn’t always work, however. Sentinels may attack wherever you land next.
Underwater and underground have secrets, too
Some planets in No Man’s Sky have large bodies of water, some of which are toxic. It’s easy to forget to look underwater, and it’s also easy to avoid deep caverns, as they can quickly turn into a maze you can’t find your way out of.
But if you brave the depths of water and caves, you can find loot that you may not find roaming the open world.
Flying is easier than walking, always
The first four or five hours of No Man’s Sky, I was afraid to fly, worried that resources for powering the ship were in short supply. Turns out, I was just on a barren planet and if I had taken to the sky sooner, I would have found a plentiful patch of Plutonium and Thamium9 asteroids just outside the planet’s atmosphere.
After learning this, I’ve become much more accustomed to jumping in my ship to travel short distances on a planet, rather than hoofing it for 3 minutes to a nearby ruin. Just make sure to grab Plutonium when you can, and you won’t get stuck on a planet. You can almost always find Thamium9 as soon as you leave it.
Save your Atlas Stones
Along the Atlas Path, you will come across Atlas Stones. Without spoiling anything, you’re going to want to make room in your inventory for them and resist the urge to sell them. You’ll find out why when you make it to the center of the universe.
Your Jetpack packs some neat tricks
If you find yourself needing to climb out of a cave but it looks too tall, walk up to the wall and activate your Jetpack. As long as you’re against a wall, it will not deplete your Jetpack.
Also, if you want to move more quickly without sprinting, press the melee button while activating the Jetpack to spring forward. Then pulse the Jetpack (rather than holding it) while moving forward to travel on foot much faster.