No Man’s Sky: A beginner’s guide

Brodie Fogg 10 August 2016


We've begun our journey into the ether and learned a lot since setting foot on our first planet. Here are our top tips for getting a head start in No Man's Sky.

We've barely scratched the surface of No Man's Sky's vast universe. We've left our first planet, met with aliens friendly and not-so-friendly, traded resources, duked it out with sentinels and managed to warp to another star system. While that sounds like a lot, its a relatively small achievement in the world if No Man's Sky.

However, we feel we've achieved and failed enough to offer some sage-like advice on the dos and don'ts of NMS beginners.

1. Mine early, mine often

When you set out on your first planet, you will be asked to gather multiple elements and resources to repair your ship. Planets are teeming with valuable minerals, but to get started you're going to need to power your mining beam with some isotopes. Carbon, Plutonium and Thamium9 are all isotopes that are plentiful on most planets we've visited so far. We recommend stocking up on isotopes to save you from running out of charge when you've found a rare mineral or come toe-to-toe with a pesky sentinel. If you run out of charge, you can always interact with certain flora or loot boxes. Interactive flora often spits out carbon and you can find all sorts of treasures in loot.

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2. Relax. Take your time.

As soon as you begin No Man's Sky, you are given an objective: Repair your ship. While its a good idea to get that out of the way early, don't be in such a rush to leave your first planet. Skimming over the surface and setting off your scanner will reveal all sorts of exciting places to visit. So long as you keep a steady supply of plutonium to power your launch thrusters, you can set down and take off as often as possible.

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Keep an eye out for Monoliths and Knowledge Stones early on. These two stick out like a sore thumb and teach you words from various alien languages. Before you know it you will be conversing with Korvax, and without any knowledge of Korvaxian vernacular, these conversations can take a dive quickly.

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It's also a good idea to familiarise yourself with the elements early. Knowing the symbol for what you're looking for will help you navigate to exactly what you need at any given time.

ElementSymbolMineralsCommonly used for...
IsotopeRed lightning boltCarbon, Thamium9 and PlutoniumPhase Beam, Pulse Engine, Hyper Drive fuel, Life Support System and feeding fauna.
OxidesYellow brickSulfur, Iron, Zinc, Titanium, Lemmium, Aronium, Crolium, Teromin and Magmox.Charging the Deflector Shield and Exosuit. Crafting Carite Sheets etc.
SilicatesBlue beakerSilicon, Heridium, Platinum and ChrysoniteUsed for constructing new tech for your Exosuit, Ship and Multi-tool
Neutral elementsGreen brickNickel, Iridium, Emeril, Copper, Aluminium, GoldNeutral elements are sometimes used for crafting, but are most valuable as a commodity to sell.
Precious elementsPurple iconCalium, Radnox, Omegon, MurrineValuable trading resources

3. Save, save, save

No Man's Sky does a pretty great job of saving your progress often. It autosaves just about every time you exit your ship, when you achieve certain goals and when you make contact with an outpost. However, I found myself on more than one occasion falling victim to a game-breaking bug, losing some significant progress. If you're stocked to the teeth with resources, take a short pitstop at your ship or a local outpost if there's one nearby.

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Speaking of bugs. I've ran into my fair share so far. In one situation, my objective directed me to 'press square' to activate a beacon. However, when I stepped close there was no prompt. I spent way too much time searching for answers in forums, before closing the game and restarting it, but that fixed things right up. In another situation, an outpost I was tasked with visiting seemed to be placed in between the surface and an underground cave, making it impossible to reach. Again, a quick refresh and the problem sorted it self out.

4. When the Bypass Chips are down

You will come across terminals early on that require Bypass Chips to access. At first I stupidly ignores these, thinking a Bypass Chip was something I would have to wait to unlock. Turns out you can fashion a Bypass Chip using some Iron and Plutonium, both of which are plentiful on just about every planet. Accessing terminals with a Bypass Chip reveals various points of interest on whatever planet you're currently visiting.

5. Avoid combat early on, stay close to your ship

Sentinels, No Man's Sky's protective bots, have roamed every planet I've visited so far. They tend to show up after you've seriously pillaged a planet of its resources. The Sentinel will look at the space where a rock formation used to be, then at the player, back at the vacant space, then back at the player. If you keep it cool around patrolling Sentinels, they shouldn't give you too much grief. However, if you just go about your business, bleeding the planet dry in their presence, they will seriously mess you up.

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For this same reason, its always handy to keep your ship close by. Some encounters can be easily avoided by getting out of dodge.

Bonus tip for those playing at home

Make friends where you can. Creatures tend to be skittish or aggressive, making it hard to scan them or get a good screenshot. If you chase them down and feed them Carbon, they'll learn to love you. Get friendly enough, and some creatures will even point you in the right direction for valuable resources.

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