No Man’s Sky Beginner Tips And Tricks

Any time an older game makes its way on Xbox Gamepass there is an influx of new players into the game. One of the most recent games to get this treatment is Hello Games space survival title No Man’s Sky. NMS has come a long way since its rough beginning but it’s no surprise many wary gamers jumped on the chance to try the game out for free. If you’re a new player or, like me, decided to revisit No Man’s Sky after a long hiatus, a quick run through the game’s tutorial missions can get you up to speed on what NMS has to offer but it doesn’t give away all of the secrets a new Traveller will need to know. The first time I played NMS I missed out on a bunch of things that would have made the time I spent on the first few planets much more productive. To help you get your space legs a little quicker than I did, I’ve gathered up a handful of No Man’s Sky beginner tips and tricks to kickstart your journey to the center of the galaxy.

Find Shelter Fast

When you start the game you are immediately put into a precarious situation. Your starting planet will have some sort of environmental hazard and just standing around will kill you. Once you gain control of the camera do a quick 360 during which you’ll be looking for two things. The first thing you need to do is look for any small plants that are glowing yellow. These can be harvested for sodium which is needed to recharge your hazard suit.

Find shelter during a storm or die

The other thing you should look for is a cave. If there is one nearby then you can recharge your hazard protection just by standing inside the cave. Caves will also contain some plants that will give you oxygen. Oxygen is needed to recharge your life support. Once you have a bit of oxygen and sodium you are safe to venture out and hunt down your first ship.

Dismantle Your Rocket Launcher

A quick way to gain an open inventory spot is to destroy the rocket launcher on your first ship. The photon cannon is capable of destroying any ships in the early game so you don’t need the relatively weak rocket launcher anyway, and the copper that is recovered in the process will be much more useful.

Fly Like Mike

Traveling by foot at the beginning of the game is unbelievably slow. You can run by pressing the SHIFT key but the boost you receive only lasts for a few seconds before it needs to recharge. Pressing the SPACEBAR activates your suit’s booster jets, thrusting you up into the air. Like running, your jets only last a few seconds before needing a recharge, so be careful to leave a little boost to slow your descent.

Bring The Heat

As you use your mining tool you will see the heat bar on the top left of your screen begin to fill up. Using your tool for too long will cause it to overheat and shut down until it cools off. As the bar goes from white to yellow to red it is instinctive to let off the trigger and let it fully cool down. Don’t do this!

At the yellow and red stages, the mining tool does more damage, effectively gathering resources quicker and with less fuel. So as the tool heats up just feather the trigger to keep it near the fully heated level without overheating. 

Stop And Smell The Roses

Like any other survival game, No Man’s Sky has all sorts of things to collect during your travels. There are minerals, flora, and fauna that can be harvested for resources. As you progress through the game each time you visit a new planet every new species you analyze with your visor will be logged in your Discoveries tab.

This gives a never-ending flow of collectibles for achievement hunters but entrepreneurs will want to spend at least a little time scanning the wildlife as they run by. Each analysis will earn a few credits to fill your pockets. On the Discoveries tab, you will also be able to upload your discoveries for nanites. You won’t get a ton of credits or nanites from this but every little bit helps.

The Bare Necessities

As you begin your journey in No Man’s Sky inventory space will always be at a premium. Fortunately, there are only a few elements that you must have at all times. As I mentioned earlier, Sodium and Oxygen are needed for hazard protection and life support recharge, so always have a stack of these on you at all times. 

You will also need some basic fuels for your ship. If your starting planet has Uranium be sure to mine a few hundred units to fuel your launch thrusters. If there isn’t any Uranium around you can still make Starship Launch Fuel out of Di-hydrogen. It’s a multi-step process to create Launch Fuel that also requires Ferrite Dust, so stick to Uranium if it is available. 

You only need to fuel your launch thrusters to move around your first planet but sooner or later you’re going to head out into space. The ship’s Pulse Engine is fueled by Tritium or Pyrite, so gather up either one of these and you’re set there.

When it comes to starship travel the biggest inventory hog is your Hyperdrive Fuel. You won’t have to worry about your Hyperdrive until you are ready to head to a new solar system and by then you will have already gathered up all the required elements to make warp cells to fuel your departure – Condensed Carbon, Oxygen, Ferrite Dust, and Chromatic Metal (made from Copper). You will be able to make several jumps on a fully charged drive so don’t waste an inventory spot to hold extra warp cells. Besides, you’ll want to keep all of the fuel ingredients on hand since they are used in several other useful recipes.

Don’t Pass Up The Freebies

There isn’t any mention of it in the tutorial missions but there are lots of freebies laying around in No Man’s Sky. There are tons of small boxes laying around a planet’s surface, and while some of the smaller ones will contain a little carbon or other minerals, some of the bigger containers can hold more useful items such as microprocessors or batteries. It only takes a second or two to check them out making it totally worth a peek inside.

Free samples are great!

Buildings also hold some freebies for you as well. Whether you’re on a space station or just visiting a small building on a random planet be sure to check for any fixtures on the walls and glowing cubes on tables. Some will quickly restore your health or shields which comes in handy if you are on a rather harsh planet. Others will contain Nanites or credits, and some will even increase your standing with one species or another.

The (Re)finer Things Of Life

Some of the containers you find will require repairs to be made to open them. This usually comes in the form of removing some rusted metal or various slimes. These may seem useless and can be discarded instead of stored in your inventory but you will be missing out if you do so. All of these can be refined into more useful – not to mention more expensive – elements that can then be sold or used in crafting recipes. Just another way NMS lets you turn nothing into something.

Space Isn’t Empty

Always leave an open slot in your ship inventory. When you come across space encounters like an anomaly or pirate attacks they will often give you items and you will miss out if you don’t have a spot to store them.

When flying through an asteroid field you can destroy them quickly with a shot from your ship’s guns. For each asteroid destroyed you will usually gain a small amount of Tritium but sometimes you will get some silver, gold, or platinum that can be sold for profit. 

I wonder what this anomaly has to offer

There is also a small chance to get an Anomaly Detector. Using this item will activate a random encounter. Just remember, loitering in space will gain the attention of pirates, so be ready for a fight if you spend too much time out in the asteroid fields.

Become A Day Trader

It doesn’t take long to figure out that scouring a planet for mineral deposits to mine and sell is a very slow way to make credits in No Man’s Sky. There are ancient relics to gather up, bones to excavate, and all other sorts of items to collect that you can sell to supplement your mining endeavors, but the first time you see the price tag on an S class ship it will finally sink in that there must be a quicker (and easier) way to make bank.

At this point in your spacefaring career, it is time to head to a Galactic Trade Terminal to buy low and sell high. Along with all the regular minerals and basic craftable items, there will be some locally manufactured goods on sale. They can bring a decent profit if you can find a system that is in need of these special goods. They do take up a lot of inventory space but if you have the time and cargo space you can turn a quick buck.

One of the best minerals to gather and sell during the early part of the game is Cobalt. It is readily available in the starting system and sells for a decent price. It can also be used to break the economy and doing so is your first real, and maybe a little cheesy, way to grow your credits. After mining a couple of thousand units of cobalt you can sell it at a space station and crash the economy. Doing so will allow you to buy it back at a much lower price. Once you have it back in your inventory you can head to a new system and repeat the process.

Flip That Ship

They say money can’t buy you happiness. In No Man’s Sky that is only half true. Once your bank account is flush with credits from crashing each solar system’s Cobalt and Chlorine economies you’ll no longer have to take the time to mine for elements planetside (unless that’s your thing) so that will make you pretty happy. It doesn’t stop there though. After a few hours of selling short, you should have enough credits to also buy whatever ship you come across that suits your fancy, and a few more economies down the drain will set you up for a fleet of freighters. It’s at that point you figure out that credits can only get you so far. I’m talking about upgrading your gear and for that you will need Nanites. Lots and lots of nanites.

If you took my advice and stopped to smell the roses then you already found one way to make Nanites but, at 15 or 20 per discovery, it won’t take long to run through them all when you start upgrading your exosuit, ship, and multi-tool(s). A much quicker way to amass Nanites is buying ships and then scrapping them at a space station. Each time you do there is a chance that you will get some ship upgrade modules. You can then sell these for hundreds of nanites a pop. Before you know it you’ll have enough nanites to upgrade your exosuit, multi-tool, and ship.

Written by
Old enough to have played retro games when they were still cutting edge, Mitch has been a gamer since the 70s. As his game-fu fades (did he ever really have any?), it is replaced with ever-stronger, and stranger, opinions. If that isn't the perfect recipe for a game reviewer, what is?

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