So you want to be a space explorer. No Man’s Sky is finally out, after a week of leaked footage, furor over a day-zero patch, and an aggressive effort by Sony to stuff the cat back in the bag.
As you get started, you might find yourself confused about what to do. Before you panic when your life support hits 25 percent or your thermal or radiation protection starts to drop, check out our tips for what to expect while cruising the galaxy.
When you begin No Man’s Sky, you have a damaged ship, your exo-suit, and a multi-tool. This will be your core equipment throughout your adventure, but each can be customized.
Each has a limited number of slots to play around with. For your suit and ship, those empty spaces are also your cargo hold. This makes upgrading a balancing act with hard choices.
You’ll use your multi-tool’s natively equipped mining laser to blast rocks, crystal structures, and large mounds of precious minerals. Thankfully, you can store 500 units per stack in each ship inventory space. You can hold 250 units per stack in your suit. As long as you’re close to your ship, you can transfer back and forth.
Crafting requires an empty spot and the right materials on-hand. Press the square button and select the item you need to create. You’ll be in the air in no time and off to the next planet.
In order to install upgrades, you need to find blueprints from crashed capsules. Once you build your scanner, you’re able to more easily locate them on the map (they appear as blue gear icons).
These can be used to make your mining laser more efficient, increase your scan range, let you sprint longer, or add new weapon functionality to your multi-tool. You can’t install them all, but they also aren’t so resource-intensive that you can’t experiment to find out which make the biggest impact on your playstyle.
(Please visit the site to view this media)
What kind of batteries does this thing take?
One of the most interesting experiences early on was realizing that my life support was dwindling at an alarming rate. The game doesn’t spend a lot of time letting you know how to deal with that, and getting into the cockpit of my tiny ship wasn’t the solution.
It’s actually rather simple, thankfully. Each equipment type takes isotopes or oxides. There’s often some wiggle room, letting you choose which element to use. Some equipment requires specific types, though.
In order to charge the equipment, hover over it and press the X button. From there, you’re able to choose which of the eligible, on-hand types to use to give yourself a boost.
You’ll know how much charge you’ll get from each selection by hovering over it. Select which compatible element type (of those you have on hand), and you’ll restore some of your life support or strengthen your thermal or toxic protection.
Note that if you’re close enough to your ship, you don’t need to use resources to charge your hazard protection. Getting inside your cockpit will allow you to recover quickly. It won’t increase your life support, though. So you’ll always need resources to restore that.
The benefits of lollygagging
No Man’s Sky guides players to the center of the universe, where mystery awaits. And while it would be tempting to make hyperspace jumps as quickly as possible, there are benefits to sticking around for a bit.
Along the way, you’ll find cylindrical pillars called “knowledge stones.” Each teaches you a new word in one of the alien languages.
While you can get by without them thanks to descriptive text, knowing the languages can help you make smarter choices. As an example, I met an alien who was insistent that I hand over my multi-tool.
Had I known exactly what he was saying, it wouldn’t have been a problem. Thankfully, my flip of the coin paid off. Choosing to hand it over resulted in getting a much better multi-tool in return.
It’s fascinating to start to piece together the alien languages. You can chat up some of those you meet to ask for an additional word here or there. This is often a great way to expand your vocabulary.
While on planets, you can also run across a number of different points of interest. These new territories can be renamed, just like planets. Locking in a solar system, planet, or region name earns you credits.
The same thing goes for wildlife. You can scan different creatures by holding L2. Once you’ve done so, you’ll get some information about the animals and have the opportunity to rename them for credits.
Should I stay or should I go?
While many planets have relatively hospitable ecosystems, you’re going to run into some unpleasant places. Extreme cold, blistering heat, and deadly toxic rain are just some of the things to watch out for.
Those are places you probably won’t want to linger. Planets that offer increased survivability are where you’ll have the most opportunity.
You’ll get a sense rather quickly of what kind of resources are present. Use your scanner to get a feel for how densely seeded a planet is. Get a feel for what the most common elements are.
Keep your eyes peeled for anything that shows up purple. These are extremely rare precious elements and are perfect for selling.
One planet I landed on was rich with Radnox, and it happened to be extremely close to a space station. There was never a clearer moment to farm the heck out of a planet.
The user interface shows how much an element will sell for locally. This takes the guessing out of it, and gives you a pretty clear indication if a planet is worth harvesting or is better off in your rear-view space mirror.
Space Travel for Dummies
One thing you notice quickly once you break atmosphere is that there are a lot of asteroids in space. While this can make for some tricky navigation, it’s worth the hassle.
Each of those asteroids can be destroyed and automatically harvested. You’ll also find different elements in space, so don’t be afraid to open fire on asteroids just to see what you can find.
As you start to travel, you’ll likely feel the itch for a new ship sooner rather than later. The benefits of more cargo space means you can upgrade your weapons and shielding, while also storing more valuable resources.
In order to purchase a new ship, you first need to find one. You encounter other wayfarers at on-surface depots and in space stations.
Simply walk up to the cockpit and interact with the ship. You’ll converse with the pilot, have the option to trade, and can further examine the ship for purchase consideration.
Each vessel has different upgrades already installed. You’ll want to move all of your cargo over before accepting the deal. Ships aren’t cheap, so if you can find a good planet to farm in order to build your bank account, do so.
Regardless of whether you buy a new ship with sweet new weapons or upgrade yourself, you’re going to want to have some added firepower before you get into a dogfight. Beam lasers are far more effective than your standard cannon. Make those a priority before you get set upon by pirates.
Meeting strange new races and killing them… maybe
Many of the planets you visit in No Man’s Sky are likely to be inhabited by benign animals. Most of these will keep their distance, though some are clearly aggressive.
As mentioned before, you can scan lifeforms for the atlas to earn credits. If you need to kill a hostile creature, like a giant insect that seems to want to lay its eggs in your corpse, that’s okay, too. You can scan the corpse.
You also encounter different alien races. As previously discussed, each has its own language. As you learn to understand aliens and interact with them, you can increase your standing with that species.
There are also space pirates that will attack you as well as neutral ships. You get a warning when hostile ships approach, even if you aren’t the target.
When you scan for activity, you might see a distress beacon pop up. If so, head toward it and keep your eyes open for smaller ships firing on a freighter.
You can choose to engage those fighters to lend a hand. Fending them off will go a long way to increasing your reputation with the race that was under attack. It’s risky, but the rewards are potentially substantial.