No Man’s Sky, the stupidly huge space exploration sim from Hello Games, was finally released last week. If you’re anything like me you have probably picked it up with the hopes of becoming the next Han Solo. Below I’ve listed some of the things that I found helped me on my way to becoming a true explorer on the frontiers of deep space, listed in no particular order.
Have a Purpose
Tell a lie, this tip is in particular order as it is at the top for a reason. No Man’s Sky is huge. Think the largest game you have played and times it by quintillion, because it is those kind of sillly numbers we are talking about, and as such, it is easy to find yourself overwhelmed by it all. With that in mind it is important you have a goal and you try your best to stick to it, whether that be fixing your ship or upgrading your multitool or even looking for fuel for your mining beam – pick one, and set yourself a goal, then stick to it. It is far to easy to get distracted or drift of to another planet in search of something else to do, but baby steps are key, especially at first. Once you are up and running with a good ship and a suit, your goals can get a big bigger in scope, but until then give yourself a simple purpose and try and stick to that at the sake of everything else. All the tips below somehow or other fall under this one thing, so if I had to pick one tip that would be my number one rule this one would be it.
Improve your Inventory Slots
Link this to the first tip and you won’t go far wrong. No Man’s Sky is all about the collecting, whether that be collecting resources, collecting blueprints, heck, even collecting words. Early on you struggle to collect much of anything as your suit has barely enough space to hold you inside of it, never mind the resources you find out and about, so the first thing you want to do is improve your inventory. I got pretty attached to my ship early on (it looked like an X-Wing, I was happy) and was reluctant to upgrade to something that wasn’t as pretty, so I took the route of upgrading my suit. I stumbled across the Drop Pods a few hours into my game, but once I found them they became my number one priority as they allow you to upgrade you exosuit by 1 inventory slot. The first one is free, with consecutive upgrades costing 10,000 units each (first slot free, second slot 10,000 units, third slot 20,000 units etc). Each planet has Drop Pods scatted randomly throughout the terrain, and I found they were quite easy to recognise from the air in my ship once I knew what I was looking for, so that is exactly what I did. With a sufficient bank of credits (more on that in a bit) I flew low over a relatively flat planet, landing whenever the familiar Drop Pod appeared on the horizon. Even with the poor draw distance, spotting Drop Pods was quite easy – the harder part is having enough credits to fund each upgrade, with the final one costing 350,000 taking your inventory in your exosuit up to a large pocketed 48.
The other option is to not get too attached to your ship and upgrade this to something with a larger storage capacity, but this too costs either credits or resources. Crashed ships found on planets and requiring repair generally have 1 more or 1 less than your current ship inventory, so it is possible to fully upgrade your ship without spending a single unit should you have the required resources to repair any crashed ships you find – if you are a little inpatient and want to hit the big inventory numbers sooner you can upgrade by offering to buy ships from traders as they land in the space station found in orbit in whichever star system you currently reside, but this is the most expensive method requiring more money up front – the biggest inventory I have so far spotted was 32, and the ship cost over 19 million.
Don’t Let Resources Weigh You Down
Early on I found I was quite the hoarder, keeping as many resources on hand as I possibly could, which, when paired off with the lack of inventory space early on, quickly became quite the pain. To that end, only keep the resources you intend to use, either by having an upgrade in mind and so going out to collect the resources to build it, or by actively hunting out resources to sell and make a profit. Don’t keep resources “just in case” – you will quickly run out of slots and be forever rummaging around and discarding the items and resources you don’t want. It is always a good idea to keep some Plutonium on you, as this can be used to many aspects of your multitool as well as allowing your ship to take off, and Thamium9 is also handy but not as essential as it can be found by destroying astreroids in space. Anything else can be let go if you don’t plan on using it or selling it, no matter how rare it is.
Learn to “
Walking is the only way to mine resources planetside, and getting from A to B can be a little on the slow side. Crafting a Jetpack is one of the essential tools to add to your arsenal early on, as this does make getting around a lot smoother, especially when you combine it with the melee button (R1 on PS4). If you hit the melee button, immediately followed by X to use the Jetpack, your momentum will launch you forwards at a much quicker speed than even sprinting will allow, provided you have sufficient fuel in your Jetpack. This can be improved further if you sprint into your melee boost, giving you added speed for getting about. I’m just going to put it out there but I prefer my own name for Clobber-Hopping, Thumping.
Follow the Path of Atlas (to begin with)
Not so much if you are reading this months after release and are returning to No Man’s Sky for whatever reason, but newbies to the game, do yourself a favour and say yes when asked if you wish to follow the Path of Atlas. Why? Doing so not only introduces you to many of the basics, but by following the on screen prompts as you find and locate each Atlas station is a good way of finding a stack of blueprints, as well as giving you a purpose (see tip 1). You are not stuck to the Path of Atlas, and are still pretty free to explore/trade/mine/hunt at will, but by the time you come to the end of this path, your understanding of the game will be far better than if you choose to go it alone.
Pay attention to the Gold Starred items in the Trading Menu
I made a small fortune early on by selling a stack of Dynamic Resonators at a trading station – enough so that I was able to fund my suit upgrade addiction to the point that I had it maxed at 48 with units to spare. How I did it was by paying attention to what was in demand when I went to a Space Station and talking to the robot on the wall thingy that gives access to the Galactic Trade Network, and noticing that they would buy any Dynamic Resonators at over double the price. Now Dynamic Resonators don’t come cheap, but I had been awarded a few from guessing the correct dialogue option of some NPC or other, and they were just sitting in my inventory (at this point in the game I didn’t have any blueprints that made use of them) so I had every intention of selling them on to make precious room. It was here that my plan came in to action – having sold my Dynamic Resonator for a tidy profit, I simply went outside to the landing dock of the station I was in, waited for some other NPC’s to land, offered to trade, then bought any and all Dynamic Resonators they were carrying before selling back to the Trade Station at increased profit. This is time consuming, but with patience you can quickly accrue a whole heap of units at not much work from you. This is made quicker if you find a Space Station with a small runway (for want of a better term) as it takes less time for NPC ships to land, and is thus quicker to buy from them. Now not every ship has Dynamic Resonators, and some Traders themselves will also sell them at an increased price, so quick tip – sell to any and all that have a golden star, avoid buying from those with a golden star, as these will charge you over the odds. This system works with any item that has a gold star by it, but using Dynamic Resonators gave me the biggest profit for each one sold.
Upgrade Upgrade Upgrade
If you’ve followed me so far you will have spent a while upgrading your suit and ship, no doubt found a decent multitool as you visit the Space Anomolies on the path of Atlas (found in the cylinder cupboard thing to the right in the room with the two aliens) and spent enough time following the Path of Atlas to have acquire a decent amount of blueprints to craft with, including, if you’re lucky, one for an Atlas Pass (or if you aren’t as lucky, you might have acquired this one talking to an NPC and picking the right option, like I did). With a wealth of inventory slots now at your disposal the next step is to upgrade your ship, suit and multitool to further aid you on your journey. I found I upgraded my suit to allow for better traversal as I travelled around, so Jetpack and Sprinting and any relevant upgrades were a must, I upgraded my ship’s hyperdrive to take me out of the star system I was in, then further upgraded it to travel vast distances, before focusing on shields and Photon Canon to fend off any unwelcome attention, and my multitools mining capabilities to allow for quicker resource gathering. Keep in mind that when crafting these upgrades you are awarded a bonus if they are touching the item they are upgrading – for example my hypderdrive upgrades are all in a row – you will know you are doing it right as the upgrades with have a coloured outline that matches them off with any that are touching. I have read a few things on the internet that guess as to what the bonus is that is applied by doing this, but all I have found is the gains from having each upgrade touching each other. I also have found that fully upgrading the combat efficiency of the multitools laser is far more upgrade effective than having both the laser and the Boltcaster applied – this frees up even more slots to upgrade things like your visor or the grenades. Don’t be afraid to play around and move things about, see what upgrades work best for your play style.
The Visor Is Your Friend
Crafting the Scanner and Analysis Visor is something the game actively encourages you to do, and it is worthwhile. By pressing L3 on PS4 you scan your immediate area to locate any resources that are nearby, such as a red lightning bolt that designates a fuel source, and this quickly becomes invaluable in locating resources quickly and efficiently. Not only that, but you are able to tag any animals you see and upload them to the Galactic Database, naming them before hand if you feel the need, as doing so will net you a handy unit bonus. Finding all species on a planet will also net you a tidy sum of units, anywhere upto 300 000, provided you remember to claim it before moving on to another system. To claim the reward, press the Start button to open the Discoveries tab, then upload each discovery (using Square) that has a red circle next to it. Once you have scanned all the animals, upload that data by pressing X over the percentage complete tab, as although it doesn’t look like it, this is also a button that awards you the bonus upon completion.
Now a little word of advice when scanning for animals – the analysis visor does help with this too. When standing still, allow a few seconds after initially landing on a planet before pressing L2 to bring up the visor. From here, little white dots will occasionally blink on and off within the visor – this is animal activity. Head in this direction and you will come across some kind of animals, whether they be land, air or sea based. Keep checking your visor as you move, as you get closer keep bringing up the visor again to tag them as this will also show you if they have been discovered or not as the dot will turn to red meaning no they haven’t been discovered, or green for if they have. Scanning all the animals on a given planet can still take forever, but it is a nice source of income especially on planets with an abundance of wildlife.
One final tip – if you keep checking the Discoveries tab, the order in which your discovered animals appears is also fixed, with land animals first, followed by cave, air and then sea (when read from left to right, ignoring the columns). This can help massively if you are unsure on a diverse planet what to look for next – scan for any flying creatures, (make it easy for yourself and kill them first, scanning them as they fly about is nigh on impossible) and if they appear at the bottom of the list, you know you have all land based animals to find, if there are any ????? after you are confident you have discovered all the bird like creatures, then you know these are to be found in the sea. It took me ages to work this out, and I was well on my way to the Galapagos trophy before I did. Also, remember creatures might look very similar, but scan everything – the last one you are looking for might be right under your nose. Use the Visor!
Knowledge Stones Are Good!
After a while of playing and seeing what worked for me and what didn’t, Knowledge stones became the only distraction from whatever goal I was striving towards. This is because some of the rarer blueprints or more valuable resources appear (or at least appear more frequently) when you choose the correct dialogue option when talking to an NPC, and this is made all the easier when you have an appropriate understanding of their language. If when scanning a Knowledge stone pops up, do yourself a favour and hop over to learn whatever word it gives you.
You can also further your lexicon by trading 20 Carbon to an NPC at any trading post having already spoken to them – simply hover Square over them again, and the majority of the time you will be presented with the option to learn a new word, provided your standing with their species is high enough (that doesn’t take too long provided you hunt down Knowledge stones and Monoliths). Another strategy for learning a dictionary load of words is by hitting up all the glowing orbs found on the floor every time you visit an Atlas Station during the Path of the Atlas. Don’t feel like you have to stick to the path – hop on off the landing platform and grab all them glowing spheres – a good number of them will teach you a new word.
End Game Goals – Milestones
I am now in the latter stages of my playthrough, and before I plan on blasting off to the centre, I am currently on a trophy hunt. These tie in to the Milestones that you can view by pressing the Start menu then R1 to scroll along to the Journey tab. Here you can see a list of all the Milestones, and how many more things your are away from the next one, whether that be number of Warp jumps completed, space ships shot down or words learned. A few words of warning – scanning species is a pain, and does take time so start doing this early on (see The Visor Is Your Friend for help). The most annoying of all of these Milestones is currently the one for Extreme Survival, as it is cumulative, meaning the second you leave an extreme planet, the timer starts afresh. If you are wanting a platinum, my advice is stock up on shields for whatever kind of Extreme planet you plan on exploring, and then STAY THERE. Do not make my mistake of thinking the next Milestone simply means you have to spend that long on an Extreme planet – it means you have to spend that long on an Extreme planet ON TOP of what you have already spent there. I hit up the RUGGED Milestone, meaning I’d survived 16.1 Sols (read days) on an Extreme planet, left for whatever reason thinking I could go back and it would pick up where I left off. It didn’t – and now my final trophy before Platinum requires me hanging around on an Extreme planet for 16.1 Sols before I even get close to the counter picking up again. A final word on this – the timer does clock down on an Extreme planet when you are stood in a small shelter or in a cave, meaning you can be sheltered from the elements but still clock up time towards this trophy.
So there you have it – a few tips and tricks to help you on your merry way in No Man’s Sky – by no means a comprehensive list, but a few things that I found as I explored and stumbled my way around the Universe. If you have discovered any more hints tips or tricks, add them to the comments.
You can find my review for No Man’s Sky here.
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