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No Man's Sky: Beginner's Guide


No Man’s Sky: Beginner’s Guide

While I’m not going to spoil any of the story elements, this guide will point new players in the right direction in No Man’s Sky. For those that would like a clean first attempt at the game, you might want to look away; for anyone wanting a leg up in the massive universe, here are 10 tips for beginners to get you off-world and on your way.

Storage is King

Almost everything useful in No Man’s Sky, from weapon companion units to warp engines, has to be crafted. That means lugging around many types of isotopes and metals since you’ll never know what kind of ingredient the next formula you find will require or if you’ll even have any of that resource on your current planet. You start with a few slots on your exosuit and a few more on your starter ship. So you want to upgrade your inventory slots as soon as possible, especially the exosuit. While you can transfer items to your ship if you fill all your empty slots, you have to be in range of it. So at the beginning, the structure below is the most important in the game.

exosuitupgradenoman's sky

It’s not marked on your map, but these little structures upgrade your exosuit storage by 1 slot for 10,000 units and each additional upgrade station charges another 10,000 on top of that. Which means…

Fly Low

You might get a marker on your map when you reach a planet and decide to fly over and check it out. As you’re flying to the objective you can decrease the amount of time to get there by using your boosters. However, don’t always be in a rush; if your objective is only a few minutes away, it pays to tilt the nose of your ship down and scan the terrain. By the time I had left my second planet I had added 7 inventory slots to my exosuit. Speaking of objective markers, how do you get them?



I’m not sure what they are really called, but you’ll come across mechanisms with a glowing beam of light shooting upwards near buildings and on their own in the wilderness. Craft an access key and the guidepost will let you choose to scan for a ruin, outpost, shelter or transmission. Afterwards a marker will appear on your radar that you can follow to whatever you picked. FYI, just because you picked a ruin and that is what is marked on your radar, doesn’t mean it’s the only one in the vicinity. Of course, what you really want to find are…

Structures with reinforced doors

Often they are “Manufacturing Plants” but other buildings can have them too. I’ve had them show up from picking up “transmissions” and “shelter” options on the guidepost, so it may be chance or distance that decides if you find one. You’ll know you’re at the right place because there are usually a couple of Sentinels cruising around a structure with a door you can’t open that says it’s reinforced and shows a picture of your gun. Blow it open with continued fire or a grenade upgrade, but watch out because you will activate the Sentinels as soon as you do. It’s worth the fight though, since once inside you can access the console and get new recipes for valuable materials, underwater and atmospheric shielding for your exosuit, and items that can recharge your shields and life support faster. The more formulas you get the, more places you can explore and the farther you can go in space. Speaking of travel…

Height matters..

Just like a real aircraft, the higher up you are the more ground you will cover. All target locations on your radar will show a time until arrival that will count down as you get closer. If it’s more than a minute or two, forget the booster — pull your nose up and go back into space. You can use your pulse engine when your break through the atmosphere, so even locations that are hours away will take only seconds to reach. Speaking of space…

Asteroids aren’t always Thanium

asteriods nomanssky

You may not realize when you’re leaving a planet’s atmosphere that some of those asteroids you’re shooting aren’t just composed of the element Thanium you use to power your spacecraft. Rare minerals and metals like, Nickel, Gold and Copper float around mixed in with the usual asteroids; look for the big ones and watch your screen to see what item you’re receiving when shooting the rocks. These are valuable materials that can be used in recipes and sold for a lot of units. Another easy way to make money…

Don’t forget to upload your discoveries

Hit the options button on the PS4 and you’ll see your discovery list. Yes, it’s fun to rename everything something rude and upload it, but it’s also profitable. You can upload the star system, then the planet underneath that tab. But wait, don’t forget to also upload the landmarks you discovered, along with each plant, element and animal. There are usually a couple of pages of discoverables for each planet, so make sure you look on the bottom right and turn the page to upload everything. If you’ve been to more than one system, make sure you click on each individual one to upload all of it’s discoveries for more cash. When on planet and looking for new discoveries, just remember anything on a new planet, even if it looks similar to something you scanned on another planet, still counts as a new discovery. Once you’ve loaded up on cash you can upgrade your multi-tool or ship. Be aware, though…

You can lose everything if you don’t understand how to switch gear

Of all the things that needed a tutorial, this probably took number one. If you’re looking for a new ship you’ll probably find you can’t afford one of the 1,000,000 ones you can find on a space station. Most likely a distress beacon (or using a guidepost to search for transmission) will bring you to a crash site. The ship can be yours as long as you repair it. Here’s the catch: The Hyperdrive you built? The enhanced mining laser? The reinforced shields? You can’t bring them over to the new ship. Well, not exactly.

Anything listed as a companion unit can be broken down into a portion of the elements used to build it. You then have to transfer those elements over to the new ship. If you accept the new ship, anything left in the old ship’s inventory is gone, unless you go back to your old ship and start the whole process over again. Oh, and you can’t break down the core components of the ship at all, like the launch thrusters and Pulse engines. Most likely everything on that crashed ship is going to be damaged and those are the two things you have to fix in order to fly anywhere.


In other words, if you aren’t careful you could leave yourself with a choice between a brand new ship you don’t have the elements to fix, or your old ship, that will still fly, that you just broke down all the companion units on. Try exiting out of the ship comparison screen and breaking down the companion units, then keeping the components on your exosuit to keep from losing anything.

The same goes for Multi-tools, except you won’t get stranded. I have no good segue for this, but…


You’ll find a space station in every new star system you go to that will let you trade your inventory for units. You may find trade posts at various local structures on planets too. What you may miss are the other pilots you can trade with. Any structure on a planet that has a landing pad, or any open landing space in a space station can have a random alien pilot land their ship on it. They will almost always trade with you, including letting you make an offer on their ship. They’re expensive, but alien pilot’s ships aren’t going to need any repairs done. Also be aware, when trading, of the small red and green number under the price you are buying and selling for. If a price is below the galactic average it’s green, if it’s more expensive, it’s red. The same goes for selling: green good, red bad. Don’t get complacent though; if you ever see a star over a price it means the good is being sold or bought for over 100% more than the galactic average. You could make a fortune on that element, or get taken to the cleaners. Last but not least, if you want to talk to other traders, solve puzzles at the buildings on the planets, or understand more of the quest line you are following you better learn the language…


Each system you discover will still have its share of alien life. You’re going to find it hard to communicate at first. That’s where ruins come in. Finding a ruin will present you with the opportunity to learn new words from whatever race is most abundant in the system you are currently in. Besides the main structure of the ruin, there will be little cylinders that you can activate to learn one word. These smaller ruin structures can also be found out in the wild by themselves, but always accompany a large ruin. In the middle of the ruin you may gain an item or learn multiple vocabulary words.


The reason this is so important? Shelters and buildings on the planets, especially ones with new design formulas, have terminals that are locked that you must find a way to open before you can claim your reward. Usually you are given a scenario, like having to shut off an alarm, and then you’re given three choices to do it with — get it wrong and the terminal is locked. Knowing the language translates dialogue in the corner you can use to figure out the correct answer; the more vocabulary you know, the more plans you get, the better gear you make and the more you can explore. And around and around it goes.

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