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"No Man's Sky" Starting Guide

James Robertson is an author and freelance writer who specializes in just about everything—and he loves writing about video games.


Introduction to the Game

No Man's Sky is an open world action-adventure survival video game with an infinite procedurally generated galaxy. The ultimate goal of No Man's Sky is to reach the center of the universe. Once you reach, it developer Sean Murray has eluded to new items or mechanics that might become available afterward. These items are described as a "new beginning" for players.

No Man's Sky is such an immense game that no one person would ever be able to explore the whole thing. There are a near-infinite number of planets that will be in the game, and each of them has been uniquely generated. The designers behind the game created it so that no planet will be the exact same as any other planet, the mechanics might be similar, but they will not be the same as any other planet.

A walkthrough of this game is virtually impossible due to the randomized nature of each player's starting point, so a beginner's guide would be a better guide instead. As you continue to move through the galaxy and come closer to the center of the universe, your time on each planet will be met by more hostile surroundings. This could be creatures that are passive in the exterior of the universe and hostile closer to the center, or planets that are habitable near the exterior and inhabitable near the center.

Some planets might be extremely hot or cold, forcing the person to spend limited amounts of time on the surface before finding a way to survive these extreme conditions. One example of this would be an extremely cold planet where you must find a cave to warm up in before continuing your travels on the surface.

One of the very special features of this game is the fact that players can name planets, moons, and life forms if they are the first to discover them. Once a person names the planet or life form it is forever known by that name to anyone who comes across it after that. Each time a person discovers a new life form or planet, they are rewarded with currency (units).


Landing on a Planet

When you first land on a planet, you have the option to scan and get an idea of what might be encountered on the planet. Each planet has its own life forms, its own day and night cycle, size (dictating how long it takes to explore the whole planet), plant life, ancient relics, resources, trading posts, atlas beacons, and most importantly, atmosphere.

Once you land, it will be important to first designate if you will be able to survive on the planet or not. Radiation and weather can kill you in no time if you do not have the proper suit or if you are not prepared for it.

Additionally, scope out exactly what resources you can expect to gather from the planet. This will be important with knowing if it is a planet you need or if you should move past that planet.


Player Progression

NMS does not rely on a standard leveling system like an MMO. Instead, it relies on an upgrade system much like Starbound or even Minecraft. You are required to find materials, earn units (in-game currency), use blueprints, or find upgrades through the game to obtain better equipment. This equipment will help you to explore different planets (maybe some planets that don’t have habitable atmospheres) as well as fight more difficult creatures.

Upgrading your multi-tool, suit, and ship are the three primary ways you progress in this game. I place upgrading your multi-tool as a personal preference because that helps you with upgrading the later two more proficiently. The more you mine the more you can upgrade! But having more space in your ship and your suit is very important as well.


Combat in NMS includes both combat on the ground and combat in ships. Ground combat is centralized around using your multi-tool to shoot creatures. You can upgrade your multi-tool as you go to be more efficient at killing things. In space, you must use the weapons on your ship to fire at other ships. You can upgrade your ship to be more efficient in space battles, or buy a better ship altogether!

I will be able to find out more about this once I have a chance to play it. I will update as I go.


Alliances and Other Alien Races

There are other races of aliens that occupy NMS with you. These will be NPCs that you can communicate with, unlike the creatures that you will come across on the various planets. In addition to being creatures that you can talk to, they will have alliances that you are able to form. You must first find relics left across various planets to learn the language of each individual alien before you are able to communicate with them. Knowing their language and interacting with them in a correct fashion is how you raise your standings with them.

If you are unlucky in your travels and anger a specific race of aliens, it will be noted in your area, and that race may not be passive towards you the next time you interact with it. There is a “Wanted Level” system in this game that will reflect in any given area you explore. If you decide to fight the other alien races, be aware that this will be reflected in your “Wanted Level” system.

Of the currently known races of aliens, we have: Sentinels, Police, and Military. Sentinels protect the individual planets. If you mine too much from the planet or attempt to harm the creatures on the planet, Sentinels will be dispatched to take care of the situation. Police are NPCs that will protect other aliens if you are attempting to harm them. They will also intervene anytime you try to commit a crime. Lastly, the Military will become involved anytime you decide to combat the Police.

The Atlas

This is a very important aspect of the game. This mainframe is where the player must go to upload all of their discoveries. When you reach it and upload your discoveries, you are rewarded with currency. If you are killed before you reach the Atlas, though, you will lose the discoveries and resources you gathered since your last upload, so be careful!

Getting Started

The first thing you need to concentrate on is getting your scanner working. You need to gather resources to do this. Place it as your first priority because it greatly increases the rate in which you gather resources.

After you repair your scanner, you need to collect the required resources to repair your ship! This is very important because you are not leaving that planet until you repair it. Quite honestly, I spent a lot of time on the first planet exploring, and I definitely recommend it before moving to your next planet. Once you can fly your ship and you have the scan repaired on your suit, you are in business! The goal is to move closer to the center of the universe while upgrading your gear to be able to combat the more difficult NPC characters you meet along the way. You will want to collect a lot of resources as you go because this will be the driving force behind you getting better gear, in addition to having money to buy stuff!

If you find an NPC selling something 99% above market value, sell it! Buy low and sell high. Gather as much of that item as you can and sell it to the NPC.

Save the game! There is no autosave in the game, so you must save by finding beacons. I forgot to save early on in my game, and my computer crashed. Don’t be like me! Save frequently.


Beginner Tips

  • Sentinels on planets are not always bad guys. They usually are passive as long as you don’t do anything wrong or farm to many minerals. Once you do hit that level, though, a dead Sentinel can provide valuable resources.
  • Search for relics to learn the alien language. This is a very important aspect of the game.
  • At Atlas stations, search for glowing parts of the ground. These parts will teach you a new word in an alien language.
  • In addition to creatures being able to kill you, some plants will also attack you, so be careful when walking next to new plants.
  • Carry a lot of carbon with you in the early game. It is a basic building block but also an essential piece of your life support system.

Patch 1.03 and How It Changes the Game

  • To start, there are now three “paths” that you can follow with your character.
  • Total revamp to the planet system. Galaxies are much bigger now and have completely changed in shape. Planets have changed biomes.
  • Overhaul to the aesthetic look of the planets. Caves are bigger; underwater erosion is more detailed, etc.
  • Upgrades to the ships and cargo.
  • Inventory is already upgraded so you can carry more, with plans to upgrade again in the future.
  • Trading has been modified to be galaxy specific (based on demand in that galaxy).
  • You can feed creatures, and each creature has its own diet. Different things can happen when you feed them. They might follow you, do mining for you, protect you, alert you to rare material, or poop valuable resources.
  • Hazard protection and suit upgrades have been added.
  • Graphic upgrades for texture and lighting.
  • Combat system upgrades. Sentinels can alert each other if not killed quickly.
  • Space combat updated to be more efficient and challenging.
  • Fixed some exploits.
  • Ability to scan other systems that players have discovered.

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