A Practical Beginner’s Guide to No Man’s Sky

Page

IMG_4234.JPG

Before you begin reading it’s helpful to note that this isn’t a step-by-step guide to surviving the first few hours of the game or repairing your first ship so you can finally explore other planets. Rather, this is more of a collection of notes, a practical and general guide, that I’ve made for myself, as much as anyone else. Eventually, if you play long enough, many of these struggles will be far behind you and you’ll have so many resources and units on hand that you won’t even think twice about paying exorbitant rates at Trade Terminals in order to save a few minutes, or hours, collecting resources. Many of these tips may help a new player, though it’s possible that veteran players may find them useful as well.

IMG_4194.JPG

My experience with No Man’s Sky began with the NEXT update, so everything I’m familiar with is from NEXT or later updates. I’ve been playing on both the Windows/Steam edition as well as the Xbox One version. When playing on Windows I used a standard Xbox One controller via a USB cable though later I purchased an Xbox One controller with Bluetooth support, which I can use with Windows or the Xbox One.

Before I get into offering these tips, several of which I probably found in other resources, rather than discovered, over the year, here’s a list of several good resources that can help you on your journey. Note that the No Man’s Sky Wiki hosted at Gamepedia is an excellent resource, especially for information about crafting items.

Mistakes to Avoid

Selling a rare item or element and then discovering that you need it to craft something essential.

Yep. This happens frequently. It’s more often a problem when you’re first setting out in the game because you won’t have many storage slots in your suit, so you have to make guesses about the items that you need the least. Though not easy to do, at first, you can gain additional storage by acquiring more ships (even crashed ships), building the nine storage containers or even using Exocraft to store items in.

Using a Trade Terminal and not realizing that you are in Sell mode.

This one has bitten me more than once and even after several hundred hours of gaming across both platforms. Every now and then it’s easy to select the wrong mode at a Trade Terminal or to accidentally hit the button to change modes and not realize it right away. More than once, I’d have a moment of surprise when I think I’ve discovered an awesome Trade Terminal with many rare elements only to suddenly realize that I just sold my full inventory of Chromatic Metal and Ionized Cobalt.

Wasting Navigation Data on previously discovered Drop Pods.

This doesn’t happen every time, but I have run into situations in which I acquired suit slots from two nearby Drop Pods and when I scanned for another, I ended up getting sent back to a Drop Pod I’ve already used. On one occasion this happened multiple times. These days, after I’ve used a couple of nearby Drop Pods, I’ll usually get in the ship and fly some distance, sometimes even exiting the atmosphere and then dropping back down to add more distance, before trying to scan for another one.

Raiding Manufacturing Facilities only to get nothing.

This is very easy to do. If you guess wrong on the Terminal question, you’ve probably just wasted time and resources. While I generally prefer to experience a game as it was intended, I think it’s a better use of time to simply use the spreadsheet to find the correct answer each time.

Starting a new base on a new planet only to discover that you don’t like it.

This has happened more than once and for different reasons. Perhaps I found a Paradise Planet that I liked, but after a little while I discovered it had far more hot rainstorms than I’d prefer. Or sometimes it has annoying little creatures that will attack you frequently, making scanning or other activities difficult unless you can stand on a ship or Exocraft to get out of their reach.

Reasons can be rather subtle. For example, sometimes your eyes just get tired of seeing red grass everywhere.

I recall one planet that I was happy with. On this planet I decided to start building underground but after digging into the hill/mountain I quickly learned that the impenetrable rock floor also rose, along with the mountain, ruining my plans.

My advice is to hang around for a while before you start to expend resources and if you’re planning to dig underground, start digging to find out if the terrain will work in your favor. Sometimes you’ll discover odd issues like suddenly being shoved down into an underwater cavern while already underground and using the Terrain Manipulator.

Wasting Nanite Clusters on technology modules too early.

You had just enough nanites to buy a C class module, so you do. It’s better to wait for the S class module, instead. If you’re planning to purchase a new kind of ship soon, hold off on purchasing any upgrades for the ship that you’ll replace it with. Yes, you can get some resources from dismantling upgrades, but you don’t get the nanite clusters back.

Don’t forget your stuff after you’ve died.

Fortunately, I have not actually made this mistake but I did get sidetracked and almost lost it. When you’re killed, at least in the normal game mode, all of your items are lost but still available for retrieval. Do this as soon as you come back so you don’t forget. Otherwise, all of those resources that you’ve collected may get lost.

Cool Tricks and Useful Tips

Using Pulse Engine In-Atmosphere

You can actually jump into space using the Pulse Engine from within the atmosphere. You just need to get the ship angled properly for it to work or you’ll see the proximity message.

I do this trick every time I’m leaving the planet and it’s much faster than the normal launch. Hopefully, it’s not a bug that will be fixed.

Killing Sentinels, or Mining Resources, from Relative Safety

I’ve used this trick more often when completing Mission Agent missions where I need to destroy a certain number of Sentinels. I’ll land at a Trading Post and try to find Sentinels that I can attack while still on the Trading Post.

A Mining Bean can get their attention if they’re a long way off. It’s even possible to mine the dropped canisters if the terrain doesn’t cause then to roll where you can’t reach them from the Trading Post. Some of the larger Sentinels will be able to attack you with lasers, but they’re ground-based and easy to avoid by putting structural elements of the Trading Post between yourself and the Sentinels.

The standard Sentinels will fly over and scan you, but won’t actually attack. The additional benefit to doing this from a Trading Post is that you can stay within the area (or at least easily go back into) where the hazardous weather won’t affect you.

This works on landing platforms at small outposts, to a degree, though the Sentinels will probably attack you, if you attack them. But I have been able to mine resources from there and watch the Sentinels appear to be confused. It also seems to depend on where you’re standing. The outpost was better for mining resources, without being pestered, but if you want to attack Sentinels, I’d recommend the Trading Post.

Get Help from a Rich Friend

By rich, I’m referring to someone that has hundreds of hours in the game completed. A generous friend that is well advanced in the game can rapidly bootstrap you past a hundred hours of gameplay simply by providing you with resources, including upgrade modules they don’t need. For example, just receiving an Atlas Pass 3 can make a big difference, early on.

Your friend may be able to give you crafted items worth millions, without thinking twice about it. In fact, this is probably the most rapid method available for advancement.

Use a Base Itself as a Storage Bank

Too much Pure Ferrite to store anywhere? Build a base. The base itself can be the storage bank. Then, when you decide to build your primary base elsewhere, just teleport back and tear it down until you have very little left except the Base Computer, Teleport Terminal and maybe a room for shelter.

Exosuit

Upgrade, upgrade, upgrade.

IMG_4229.JPG

Focus on S-class technology upgrades. Minimally, try to get one each for the various environments you’ll encounter so you’re not constantly recharging your suit or having to go underground whenever a storm appears.

Initially, purchasing slot upgrades from the space stations is a fast way to add slots, if you have the units, but they’ll rapidly increase in cost. Drop Pod Coordinate Data is a great way to find more slots, especially the Cargo Slots, but there is a resource requirement for unlocking each one. Expand your suit slots as quickly as you can or you’ll find yourself having to drop essential items in favor for other ones.

The Basic Base

Whenever I’ve decided that I’d like to have a base on a planet, in order to fast-travel to it, I usually follow a very set formula for the initial base though sometimes I’ll use an existing outpost, Trading Post or Observatory to build a quick-and-dirty base, instead of building a structure for shelter.

  • Base Computer (required before you can actually establish a base
  • Foundation (this helps prevent plants and other outside elements from intruding)
  • Square Room (offers more area for placing devices)
  • Door
  • Save Point
  • Trade Terminal
  • Base Teleport Module

The Trade Terminal and Base Teleport Module will make additional crafting far simpler. For example, need a Metal Plate? Don’t mine Ferrite Dust if you don’t need to; just purchase the Metal Plate.

Sometimes I will leave a Portable Refiner in this kind of base, but they are easy enough to craft and can be carried in a storage slot, so if I think I’m likely to need to do a lot of refining I’ll usually do something else…

I may add an additional Foundation and Square Room (with a corridor connecting them) and then drop a Large Refiner in the middle of the second room, build a Landing Pad and also an Exocraft Summoning Station.

I often avoid the use of ramps because they will frequently cause the doors themselves to not spawn. If you build metal ramps, try to have at least one door without them.

When I decide that I really like a planet or system I’ll settle in and build a much larger base.

Chromatic Metal

It seems like every time that you try to craft a new piece of essential technology, it requires Chromatic Metal. It can easily be refined from Copper but mining it requires using Ferrite products to fuel the Terrain Manipulator. There’s also the Carbon expense for the Portable Refiner but having access to a Medium or Large Refiner in a base can cut down on the resources cost.

If you have crafted the Indium, Emeril or Cadmium drives, which is a serial progression of crafting to have all three, I highly recommend stocking up on those elements for creating Chromatic Metal, instead of Copper. It takes two units of Copper to refine one unit of Chromatic Metal. The others have a 1-to-1 or better conversion ratio.

IMG_4236

When you start accumulating enough units you’ll find that it’s much simpler to simply buy Chromatic Metal in large amounts from a space station.

Ships

Your first ship is usually nothing fancy. Work on upgrading it, but don’t run out to buy the first C-class of anything that you see. Ideally, you’d go straight to an S-class but those are rather expensive so I’d suggest trying to attain an A-class, quickly. Perhaps an Explorer, for flexibility. Early on, I preferred to have one good Explorer class ship and one good Fighter class ship, though later I found that an Explorer with decent shields and a Cyclotron Ballista was quite flexible and effective.

I recommend prioritizing the purchase of S-class Haulers above a new Freighter. These Haulers provide more slots than nearly anything else, especially for the cost.

IMG_4324.JPG

Looking to purchase a new ship when you still have an open slot in your six-ship inventory? Find a crashed ship and repair it just enough to be able to use it. Don’t worry about the rest of the busted slots. Use it as a trade-in. Granted, it won’t be worth much but the units it is worth might be enough to close the sale.

Remember that you can only trade-in the ship that you last flew in. If you’re ready to get rid of a junker, make sure that you brought the ship that you want to get rid of.

When I was playing on Windows I had at least four Haulers, some of which were S-class. I often called all of them down to the surface just to move things around in their storage.

Accumulating Units

Those of us that play these kinds of games are always looking for a way to quickly accumulate “money” in any game that has its own economy, and No Man’s Sky is not an exception. The best methods for accomplishing this will vary depending on how far you’ve made you’re way into the game. Early on, some of these tips will be helpful but later, as you’ve accumulated greater abilities, skills and resources you can easily surpass the earnings of one method by simply quickly combining resources that you have.

Upgrade Your Scanner

IMG_4226.JPG

Your scanner provides units for every new discovery and the more powerful it is, the more units you’ll earn per scan. The scanner, like most technologies, can have three additional mods added to it. Don’t waste your nanites on anything below an S class scanner, if you have a choice. A combination of three S class scanner modules should easily net you around 200,000 units for each large animal and a fair amount for each plant.

Even later in the game, when units are less of a problem for you, you can continue to trickle in additional funds to help cover the cost of large purchases that you didn’t even flinch at.

Gravitino Hosts Farming

IMG_6241

You can setup a small farm of Gravitino Hosts, which can be sold for a fair amount of units, once you have the agricultural blueprints, which you can acquire from the Farmer. They take time to grow, but a small cluster of around twelve plants may net you around 200,000 units per harvest. It’s not a very fast method, but it can add up over time and can work as a small reserve you can access later, especially if you have them growing in your Freighter or back at a base.

IMG_4243.JPG

Biological Horror Farming

This has a good return, even for an advanced player, and requires very few resources though it’s also a bit risky. You’ll need to find an Abandoned Building with clusters of alien eggs growing around it. I recommend doing this on a planet that has mild weather because once you start harvesting you may be caught outside for a while. I also recommend setting up a base with a Base Teleport Module so you can come back and repeat the process after the eggs respawn.

Biological Horrors aren’t fun to fight, so make sure you have everything setup before you try to harvest the first Whispering Egg. A good haul of several eggs in one run can easily net you anywhere from about one to two million units at the Trade Terminal.

First, setup four walls around each nest of eggs, without any gaps. I’ve found that wood, which only uses Carbon, works just fine. Place these walls around all of the nests that you can. To be safe, I spend most of my time on top of the building itself.

Once you’ve laid down the walls make sure you’re on top of the building and then use the Mining Laser to release a Whispering Egg, though do this on one that isn’t within the walls, that you would intend to collect, if possible. This gets the Biological Horrors to dig up, out of the ground. Give them a moment to get their walking/attack patterns going. They can hit you with acid but they can’t attack you directly. Don’t be too concerned if you see one of them walking right through you’re walls. Even if they continue to do this, they usually can’t attack you inside the walls, as long as the area is no wider than a single wall piece.

The next step is to jet over to one of the enclosed areas and start mining the eggs. Do them one at a time because they can quickly roll away. In fact, the instant an egg is loose just keep holding down the button to pick it up, even if you don’t have it in your sights yet, so you’ll start to grab it the moment it passes close enough.

You will lose some. Sometimes they just roll out of the room-like area. Other times they seem to just go down into the ground, where you can’t reach them. Grab what you can and move on.

When you’re done with one area use the jetpack to get back up to the top of the building, let your jetpack recharge and then select the next nest area to continue collecting Whispering Eggs from.

Once you’ve collected all that you can, either wait for the Biological Horrors to go back underground (subside) or, if you have a base close enough, you can try to jet over to it and quickly get inside. My “farm” has a one-room base with a Trade Terminal where I can quickly sell the Whispering Eggs without leaving the planet or flying around looking for a Trade Terminal.

Note that it does seem to take a while for the eggs to respawn; it may be a combination of distance and time because they do not return after simply teleporting somewhere else and back again.

Before I tried this method I first tried fencing off one side of the Abandoned Building and started mining an egg on the other to draw them out on the opposite side.

But this usually didn’t work as they’d often appear on both sides and could easily attack me.

Craft Superconductors and Cryo Pumps

IMG_4218.JPG

There are a number of things that you can craft for a profit but I’ve felt like Superconductors weren’t a bad investment of resources and time, However, for it to be effective you’ll need to have various crafting recipes unlocked, such as Enriched Carbon, and the item itself that you want to craft and sell.

As a shortcut, I had one base at a small outpost that sold Semiconductors, so I could skip part of the crafting phase and still make a good profit.

IMG_4224.JPG

Accumulating Nanite Clusters

There are a number of ways to accumulate Nanite Clusters. You can get them by reporting discoveries, interacting with characters, completing missions and repairing Damaged Machinery. You’ll also find some in various structures, and Space Stations, that you can simply pickup.

Accumulating them quickly is a little more difficult. Over time, I found two methods that seemed to work well.

Refine Platinum into Nanite Clusters

It’s a bit tedious but increases Nanite Clusters at a predictable rate. Simply purchase large amounts of Platinum and refine them. For these purposes, I’d have at least three Large Refiners lined up and doing nothing but refining Platinum until I run out of it. Once they’ve been refined, just move them from the Refiner and into your Exosuit. They won’t actually take up a storage slot and will automatically be added to your Nanite Clusters balance.

Attack Waves of Sentinels

This is a highly effective method as well, though it starts out slow. The first few waves of Sentinels won’t contribute as many Nanite Clusters, but as you progress, and end up fighting waves of Sentinel Walkers, you’ll find the Nanite Clusters rewarded are more substantial. It still can be a bit tedious, but not a bad way to accumulate them.

For this purpose, I’ll usually have a base on a world with Frenzied/High Sentinel activity. My weapon of choice is the Plasma Launcher as it usually kills most Sentinels, especially with S-Class upgrades, in a single hit, except for the Walkers. But it can also make short work of a Walker by taking out the leg armor, chest armor and then finally the head itself.

Make sure to mine the dropped items, which can wait until you’re between waves of Sentinels. Even when they don’t offer Nanite Clusters they are often worth a fair number of units when sold.

I recommend having a base so you can rapidly travel to it, whenever you’re ready to start a fight. I also prefer to have a Save Point that I can use often and a Trade Terminal for purchasing more ammo (Unstable Plasma) and quickly selling any items gained from the fights.

Freighters

IMG_4216.JPG

I recommend holding off on building much in a freighter, unless you don’t yet have a base with all of the terminals in it. The reason for this is that at some point you’re probably going to want to go out and hunt down an A or S class freighter to replace the first C class that you probably received.

IMG_4197.JPG

If you’re hunting for a freighter you’ll automatically find yourself in a battle that you can join after several jumps between stars. But unlike your first freighter, you’ll have to pay to keep these. If you’re ready to buy a new freighter, make sure to first tear down any base elements you’ve built in the freighter; they won’t be returned to you if you buy a new one.

I’m not against using a Freighter as a full-fledged base, but I do recommend waiting to do this until you have bought your final Freighter so you won’t have spent a lot of time building in a Freighter only to exchange it for another one.

In fact, having a built-out base within a Freighter is a great resource once you decide to warp across the galaxy or even between galaxies. Once I’m ready to do this I’ll build all nine of the Storage Containers and I often have a large number of plants growing for later harvest. Keep in mind that you have a good bit of flexibility when building within the Freighter and can actually build multiple levels. In one freighter base, I had a large number of crops and devices downstairs and then my Storage Containers were upstairs, accessible via a ramp.

If you just want something small enough to be useful, I’d suggest adding a Trade Terminal and a few Large Refiners. For a while, I was using four Large Refiners but I kept running into problems with glitches (lost resources and other strangeness) and after removing one of the four the other three seemed to work fine.

Farming

Farming can be a bit of a tedious process but when it’s time to harvest, it can pay off and save you a lot of units and resources. There are a couple of different ways to farm.

The less resource-intensive method is to simply grow plants outside, near a base, on a world where those plants would naturally grow. The advantage to this is that it doesn’t require any resources to plant them except the plant materials and corresponding resource – no resources are needed to craft the hydroponics for growing them. This also means that they don’t need to be refueled with Carbon or Condensed Carbon.

If you’re looking to grow a large number of certain type of plant, this is a great way to do it. For example, simply plant Frostwort on a Frozen World. Just try to make sure that you plant them with enough space, so you don’t make it difficult to harvest the rows if you have a large number of plants.

You can also increase production by establishing a base next to an existing growth of these types of plants. For example, find a growth of Gamma Weed, establish a base, and then also plant your own Gamma Weed next to it.

This is one method, but growing plants within a Base or Freighter also has its advantages as you don’t need to be out in the elements to harvest them and it can make transporting the new resources for storage, refining or selling much easier.

Traveling to a New Galaxy

If you’re ever asked to “reset the simulation” then know that if you do this you’ll find yourself with a crashed ship in a new galaxy. If you do this in the first galaxy, Euclid, I think you’ll be transported to the seventh galaxy (I’ve read that this is what happens but I’m not certain that’s always where you’ll end up).

You can travel “the old fashioned way”, which involves simply jumping from system to system until you reach the core of the galaxy. Jumping to the core will push you into the next galaxy. You can also use what I call “skipping” to jump as far as you can to the next black hole, swap into a less important ship before entering the black hole, and then riding the black hole to the next, random but closer destination. Then, jump to the next farthest black hole and continue repeating the process.

I’ve done this exactly one time, and despite using black holes, it still took a very long time (several evenings, a couple of hours at a time, of doing nothing but this). Each trip through a black hole will show that you traveled some crazy distance such as 1 million light years, but you didn’t travel straight toward the center, though you do always travel closer to it. Each galaxy is about 700,000 light years across.

Before setting out on this path I highly recommend acquiring an S-class Explorer ship and fully upgrading its Hyperdrive and Pulse Engines with S-class modules. Even by skipping across the galaxy, it’s still going to require a lot of Warp Fuel.

And don’t forget to stop and smell the roses. And by “smell the roses” I mean scan each planet in as many systems as possible. These discoveries will add up to a fair amount of Nanite Clusters, over the course of a long journey.

If you plan to go to another galaxy you should know that, like swapping freighters, you’ll lose what you’ve left behind if you haven’t stored everything in advance. Keep in mind that you won’t lose access to previous bases until you actually make the last jump to the galactic core, so you can wait until the last minute to retrieve and store everything, thus taking advantage of your bases until you’re ready to leave. You can craft and use a Base Salvage Capsule, which should recover 50% of the resources you had in those bases, but the bases themselves are gone. You’ll lose access to the teleport terminals, as well, once you’re in a new galaxy. The only way to go to a previous galaxy is to join a friend’s game, if they’re still there. I don’t remember if Portals can be used to travel to any galaxy but they can’t be used to stay there, even if that’s possible. Perhaps this will change in later game updates.

It is possible to use a Portal to get very close to the center of a galaxy, regardless of your location. You will be able to use your ship, and you can launch from the surface and explore that system, but it’s not possible to jump to another system, or the core, when you’ve traveled via Portal. They’ve also closed some holes so it’s no longer possible to establish a base with a Teleport Terminal on the other side of a Portal, return and then use a Teleport Terminal to go back.

I suspect this will somehow be modified in future updates; there are at least 256 galaxies available to explore.

Black Hole Travel

IMG_4199.JPG

So, you’ve decided to use a black hole to travel a long distance? Good. Do you have a junk ship? No? You need one.

Don’t take your good ships through a black hole. Each trip through will result in damage that requires resources and Technology Modules to repair. But if you take a junk ship through it likely won’t damage anything you’re worried about, especially if it was a salvaged ship that was already busted up.

If you’re traveling to the core of a galaxy, and suddenly find that black holes aren’t working, then guess what? You’re probably very close to the core. I found that once I reached a certain distance (about 10,000 light years from the core) that black holes no longer worked. Instead, my ship would fly right through them and not go anywhere. When you reach that point you’ll need to use standard jumps to reach the core. If I remember correctly, the last jump will require a full tank of warp fuel.

But there’s also a bug, which I’m assuming still exists. Suppose you’ve reached this point and you have you’re junk ship, Ship A, and you fly through the black hole? Something gets triggered and it’s not specific to your ship. You decide to land on your freighter and swap into a good ship, let’s call it Ship B. Since the black hole doesn’t work, you decide to jump Ship B to the next closest system to the core. You jump and after a moment you enter normal space.

Guess what? Something on Ship B was damaged as though you had flowing it through a black hole. Yep, doesn’t matter that you actually flew Ship A through the black hole and then changed ships. It’s as though a flag is set when you pass through a black hole but it’s not actually triggered on Ship A because the ship didn’t jump like it usually would in a black hole. So this flag hangs onto your avatar’s ship status until you actually jump, whether it’s that ship or another ship.

Game Mods

There are game mods available for No Man’s Sky on Windows, but I’ve avoided them, so far. I’m not suggesting they’re bad but I don’t want to become dependent on one only to find that it’s broken by a future update.

Weird Stuff Happens

I’m not referring to the randomly generated terrain, plants and animals. I’m talking about weird clipping issues and bugs. Odd things do happen, off and on. Certain ones more frequently than others.

Whatever you do, try not to get your ship inside a cave or you may find yourself bouncing around for some time, if your ship doesn’t take damage.

Here are various screenshots of some odd things I’ve seen in my journeys…

Strangeness on the Landing Pad
Hauler summoned down on top of another ship on the landing pad
An asteroid inside the hangar bay of my freighter
Two Damaged Machinery units overlapping
Silhouette of a destination base visible during the teleportation sequence.
Another silhouette of a destination during teleport.
A Sentinel enters during an alarm, but doesn’t attack nor extend the search for me.
I just happened to place my Exocraft Summoning Station right where the game determines that my ship should spawn
After fighting waves of Sentinels, and destroying around ten Walkers, the game gave up and stopped spawning Sentinels of any kind.
More remains of Walkers from the session shown in the previous screenshot.