Exploring worlds in No Man’s Sky

I have been playing a lot of No Man’s Sky this year and really enjoying it. I have 75 hours logged so far so still have a lot more to do. Despite the controversy around the game it is a good space exploration game. Basically you start on a random planet with a ship that is damaged. Your first step is to fix the ship and get into space and start exploring. This is the focus of the game. It can feel a bit aimless at times but the base building quests can give you more focus. Generally though the point is to explore.

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The worlds can have one of four hazard types, hot, cold, poison and radiation. Sometimes the worlds do not have a hazard during normal times. You get weather warnings about storms where whatever hazard effect there is becomes much worse. You are protected from the elements by the hazard protection in your exosuit. You also have life support systems in your exosuit. The above screenshot shows a hot planet with the red bar being the hazard and the white bar on the left being your life support. You are warned when it dips below 75% and every 25% drop. The icon above the bar and colour indicates the type of hazard. So the red square and bar indicate a heat planet. The two icons to the right of the red square are the heat shields I added to the exosuit. Your exosuit will also have a jetpack and stamina modules that allow limited flying and sprinting. Both run out fairly quickly but regenerate as well. So short bursts and rests. There are upgrades you can install for the exosuit that increase the stamina and jetpack.

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One of the goals early on is to earn enough units and find some drop pods to upgrade your exosuit. You start with very few inventory slots and will need most for materials. The above shows a fully upgraded exosuit of 48 slots. The top of the screenshot shows some upgrades I have installed with the bottom used mostly for minerals I don’t intend to sell. One of the things you need to do is to collect different minerals/elements to power the components in your exosuit, ship and multi-tool. So for example the hazard protection is powered by Zinc or Titanium (if you can find some – gets easier later on with the upgraded mining tool) and the life support system is powered by Thamium9. The Coolant network shields also use Zinc. Sometimes it can be hard to find particular elements on a planet. There is usually an alternative you can use. So power modules can power the life support and shielding shards can power the hazard protection and shields. These are crafted using iron and plutonium rather than zinc and iron is easy to come by.

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The multi-tool is what you use to gather the minerals you need. It also has a weapon component for fights with the sentinels or angry animals. Plutonium is the main element used to power the mining beam and boltcaster. Once again you start with not many slots and will need to upgrade till you can max it out to 24 slots. You do this by buying a new tool at shelters that are found around on the planets. The tool also has a scanner and and analysis visor for discoveries. You can scan animals and plants to earn a small amount of units.

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This is my current ship. My focus at the moment is trying to get this to 48 slots. Like the multi-tool you have to replace your ship with ones with more slots. This is done by finding crashed ships to repair or buying traders ships for lots of units.

Generally the inventory system can be a bit of a pain. You can transfer items between the ship and the exosuit. Items stack to 500 in the ship and 250 in the exosuit. Early in the game you hear the warning about no inventory slots a lot. Eventually the upgraded exosuit offsets the problem so that it gets easier to collect items to sell. It is always a balance between items and upgrades. Also when replacing a ship or multi-tool with a new one everything in the old one will need to be retrieved or it will be left behind on the old one. You can destroy upgrades to regain some of the materials and use those to install components in the new tool or ship.

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The ship has a launch thruster which boosts you off the ground. This is powered by plutonium. When you are on a planet keep an eye on your stock of plutonium. The last thing you want is to run out and not be able to take off. Most planets will have plenty of plutonium but I have been on a few that had very little.

The pulse engine which allows you to travel quickly in space is powered by iron which is also used by the ships shields. I highly recommend you keep at least one 500 stack of each in the ship. Without shields you will quickly die in space combat. I also have several stacks in my exosuit at all times. After a good battle I will replenish my stacks on a nearby planet. I found the space battles a bit annoying early on as my cannon and shields were not that good. With my current upgrades they are easy enough. Make sure you keep an eye on your shields and recharge with iron as needed (top left of the above screenshot).

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Also on your ship is the scanner which will tell you what special minerals can be found. Heridium is used in most ship repairs. Other minerals are needed for installing components and I usually keep a stack of 500 of each in the ship if I have the space. There will be rare components found on some planets that can be sold for good returns and sometimes are used in crafting. You gather the minerals by using the mining beam on the multi-tool. The bar on the top right will indicate how much power is left before needing a recharge. The bar will also flash red when it is about to over heat. You have to pause and then start again in pulses. With more upgrades the time between pauses is much reduced.

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The latest patch introduced base building and this starts with a small round building that can be increased. There are quests to learn everything to do with the building and also includes the hazmat gloves for harvesting rare minerals and the advanced mining tool. Just follow the quests and you will eventually get these items. They also added freighters that you can buy for a huge amount of units. You can also add base building items to the freighter. I don’t have one yet and that is also a current goal. To make enough units to buy one.

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When you first land on a new planet you will be given some information (see below screenshot). Take note of this information as it will indicate if the planet is an extreme one or how difficult the sentries will be. The hazard type will be listed and also the sentinel level along with the plant and animal quantities. Generally the more animals there are the more likely you will have some attacking you. The sentinels can range from passive to normal to aggressive to omg leave me alone. These are small robots that will attack you for mining/destroying some items. They are not hard to kill but can be annoying. I tend to rename any planets with aggressive sentinels to “Bad Robots”. You can also get extreme weather planets that will have more storms and generally give you a headache as you try to gather enough elements to power your hazard protection. The bars for hazard protection and life support will have little white arrows pointing towards the bar. One arrow is a low drain up to three arrows for a fast drain. You can be on a normal planet with a one arrow drain that goes up to three during a storm. Hide in a cave or get in your ship to avoid the drain.

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There are three alien races that you deal with and each system will have one alien race. On planets you can find alien shelters, abandoned buildings, manufacturing buildings, trading platforms, drop pods, ruins, etc. Just have fun and explore.

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The observatories and abandoned buildings will have numerical sequences you need to solve. These are either easy rotations like below or a simple number sequence. Like number x2 then x3 then x4, etc. Or each result is x2 – 1.

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You travel to other systems with the hyper drive which is powered by warp cores which are crafted. The starting quest will help with that. I followed the atlas path to start with and am now heading towards the galaxy core. There have been players that stayed on their starting planet and maxed out their ship there. Some explore skipping planet to planet. Explore in your own way and enjoy the weird and wonderful creatures you can find there. I’ll finish with a few wacky planet screenshots. Enjoy. 🙂

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