no man's sky getting started

No Man’s Sky Getting Started Guide

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No Man’s Sky is a literal Galaxy of a game full of endless discovery. Of course, you might find a game with such a label daunting, but all you truly need to get started is a good heading!

With so many resources, elements, upgrades, and mechanics on hand, you might just think this game is inaccessible. However, that is far from the truth. Only a few resources are required to keep your Exosuit and Starship functioning.

There are countless Solar Systems, Black Holes, Pirate Fleets, and Cosmic Horrors to discover among the stars. However, you will first need to fix your ship to find them. This will require learning your Exosuit and getting a handle on your all-important Multi-tool. 

Just be careful; a lot of that flora bites back. We are a long, long way from those roses Earthlings rave about.

Before you set off on your own to carve out your new life as a Freight Captain, infamous Pirate, or Feared bounty hunter, you will need to get a handle on your first Star System and find a Space Station. 

So let’s kick off this guide to No Man’s Sky Getting Started and so you get ready to punch a space pirate, or bounty hunter, straight in their ship’s bow.

Before Blasting Off

no mans sky opening
No Man”s Sky, or potential anime opening. you decide. – Image from Daniel Meierer
  • To auto-save, enter and leave your Starship. 
  • A manual save requires you to build a Save Beacon.
  • Oxygen and Sodium are necessary to fuel your Exosuit’s support systems.
  • Carbon and Ferrite Dust are needed to fuel your Multi-Tool gadgets.
  • Ferrite Dust and Di-Hydrogen are necessary for your Starship’s on-planet fuel.
  • Tritium is required for interplanetary fuel.
  • Oxygen, Ferrite, Condensed Carbon, and Chromatic Metal are required for Interstellar fuel.
  • The Exosuit’s storage can hold 9,999 individual resources in normal mode but only 250 in survival or permadeath. 
  • Elements and Resources do not have a maximum stack beyond this limit, but certain crafted and found objects do.
  • You have 449 bases available per save, along with a Freighter.
  • The Salvaged Data harvested from Buried Technology can be used to purchase upgrades from the Space Station and Anomaly. In a financial pinch, it can also be sold for an average of 50,000 units per individual Salvaged Data
  • You can summon your Starship at any time using the Quick Menu.
  • From uncovering Knowledge Stones and asking random NPCs to teach you their languages, languages can be learned.
  • The alien languages you can uncover and learn throughout the universe are Vy’keen, Korvax, Gek, and Atlas.
  • Learning languages is essential for finding side quests and solving puzzles.

The First Planet

no man's sky first planet
Going by the number of tentacles on the flora and my understanding of cosmic superstition, we’ve found ourselves in a big uh-oh. Image from Daniel Meierer

You’ve woken up on a hazardous planet, though few aren’t in these conditions. However, your hazard protection is low, your life support is critical, and all you have is a mining laser and a busted scanner. 

First, caves will allow you to replenish your Hazard Protection as you hunt down one of your new favorite members of the periodic table, Sodium and Oxygen. 

These will come in the form of yellow and red flowers, respectively. To find them, you will need to fix that wonky scanner. You will eventually find more efficient sources, but this hazardous planet you are on affords you few liberties.

no man's sky minerals
Image from Daniel Meierer

This will require Ferrite dust. This will prove to be a continuously necessary but thankfully abundant resource. Use your mining laser on the rocks to find life-saving flowers and locate your ship. Look out for Oxygen and Sodium as you hustle for your Starship. Oxygen should be your priority, as it will be used to fuel your Life Support.

The ship will not be too far away. Once you jump in the ship, it will immediately recharge your hazard protection, with Sodium used when you stray too far. Your day is going just terribly, I am afraid, cause your ship is damaged too. 

Fixing Your Ship

Just ask Artemis, I didn’t do it. – Image from Daniel Meierer

To fix your ship, you must venture further into the wild new world you’ve woken up on. To repair your Pulse Engine, you will need 50 Ferrite Dust to make Metal Plating and, usually, Condensed Carbon to make a Hermetic Seal. However, a Story Mission will send you to a piece of Damaged Machinery which will gift you a Hermetic Seal for Story-related reasons. 

The important part is engineering has won this day. The problem is that the Launcher Trusters, required to achieve lift-off, known as the linchpin of traveling like the birds, will need a few more complicated items. 

You will need 1 Di-Hydrogen Jelly and 50 Pure Ferrite to repair the Launch Thrusters. 

The Di-Hydrogen Jelly is the easy bit. It takes 40 Di-Hydrogen, which comes from small blue crystals littering the ground.

di-hydrogen crystals
Winner of the worst thing in the game to fall onto. – Image from Daniel Meierer

The second will be your first taste of refining! First, collect 100 Ferrite Dust, 30 Oxygen, and an extra dash of Carbon. 50 of that Ferrite is going towards a Metal Plate. This Metal Plate and 30 Oxygen net you a Portable Refinery. 

100 Carbon will fully fuel a refinery, but you don’t need that much. About 10 to 30 should do it. Then, the remaining 50 Ferrite will be pumped through to give you that final necessary resource to explore those stars!

Before you crack on into the stars, make sure you have some Launch Fuel on hand. 40 Di-Hydrogen and 50 Ferrite make it, but it is better to keep a good stock of both just in case.

With your ship repaired and knowledge on how to keep it functioning, it is time to take to the stars and take on your first Star System.

The First Starship

no man's sky starship
Skim the stars in style. – Image from Daniel Meierer

No Man’s Sky is a game packed with starships you can find, salvage, or buy. The Radiant Pillar BC1 will introduce you to the vast world of captaining the stars. You will eventually find more, even potentially lucking out on a derelict ship. But, for now, you’ll have to do with ole reliable here. 

For a starter ship, it has plenty for you to make do with. I would not bother with upgrading it, however. Instead, you will likely stumble across a free abandoned ship in your travels. 

As a class C, the Radiant Pillar has no class bonuses and a minimum amount of storage space. It does, however, come pre-installed with a Rocket Launcher on top of its average blasters. The starting starship will be capable of taking on everything from small sentinel patrols to more extensive pirate raids. However, I would flee before the sentinels begin investigating the area. A large group is still a bit treacherous for ole reliable. 

Mobility

driving starship no man's sky
Image from Daniel Meierer

While on a planet, your pulse and warp drive are locked until you exit the atmosphere. By holding boost, you can get a slight speed increase, but should you find your coordinates are a bit far, there is a better way with a little gravity slingshot. 

Boosting higher into the atmosphere, followed by flying directly towards your destination, will dramatically reduce the speed it takes to get there. Should the destination be farther than 1000u, consider exiting the atmosphere and using your pulse drive to lock onto the destination a drastically cut down even a trip to the other side of the planet.

Your Pulse Drive will be your main form of transport between planets in a system. The moment you turn your pulse drive on, you are locked in a forward trajectory until you leave pulse speed.

Hovering your crosshair over a planet or destination will engage the autopilot. The game will automatically steer the ship around obstacles to the destination, slowing you down as you enter the atmosphere and allowing you to kick back as you wait for arrival.

To travel to another system, you must follow the Story Missions. These will guide you through your First System and allow you to repair your warp drive for interstellar travel. 

The First System

no man's sky solar system
Far as I am aware, you don’t have to worry about planetary alignments summoning demons. – Image from Daniel Meierer

Welcome to the stars, where asteroids are somehow simultaneously nowhere yet everywhere. Thankfully, they are full of valuable material. A cathartic jaunt through the nearest Asteroid belt would do any new space traveler well.

You see, those dangerous asteroids not only house gold and platinum but Tritium. Tritium is required to refuel your Starship’s pulse engines. Some planets take multiple in-game days to reach even while holding a boost, as opposed to seconds with the pulse engine functioning.

Now you might be concerned with your choices. There are so many planets now at your disposal and the potential for more on the horizon! Fret no; you will be directed to a nearby world by the story.

After you get a handle on your newly repaired, or pilfered, if you want to be a stickler about it, Starship, you will be hailed by an unknown frequency. After deciding to be mildly creepy with their introduction, it will send a series of missions introducing the many detailed aspects of the game, both old and updated. 

A few things before you set off on your cosmic adventure. For a taste, however, these will include: attempting to find the original owner of your Radiant Pillar, seeking out the significant Anomaly, and seeing if you can finally pick a fight with a black hole. 

The experiments involving the last one are still ongoing. But, overall, the answer is, “No, why? Go back to the stars, you silly space pirate.”

Resources

no man's sky resources
By your powers combined, my ability to organize resources gets shattered. – Image from Daniel Meierer

Resources will be gathered using your Multi-Tool. Not all planets house all resources, so exploring planets and systems is a must.

More significant minerals and plants will require the use of an Advanced Mining Laser upgrade for your Multi-tool. While hazardous plants will be harvestable rather than mere carbon fodder through a Haz-mat Gauntlet.

Other materials will require using your ship’s lasers to mine asteroids found floating around systems. These materials include Gold, Platinum, Silver, and Tritium. Astroids containing large Tritium veins, used to fuel your ship’s Pulse Engines, can be easily found using the scanner.

Farmable seeds and valuable materials can be found on other planets scattered across the many systems. 

Portable Refinery

Recipe: A single Metal Plating and 30 Oxygen.

Fuel: 100 carbon to fill the tank.

Portable Refinery
Image from Daniel Meierer

The Portable Refinery will be used to make some more complicated materials but is unable to craft alloys. You will use these for a large portion of the game to refine your resources, make valuable upgrades, and fix abandoned vessels. 

Some practical refining recipes include:

  • Rusted Metal can be refined into Ferrite Dust.
  • Ferrite Dust can be refined into Pure Ferrite.
  • Pure Ferrite can be refined into Magnetized Ferrite.
  • Carbon can be refined into Condensed Carbon.
  • Copper, Cadmium, Indium, and Emeril can be refined into Chromatic Metal.
  • Gold can be refined into Pyrite.
  • Residual Goop can be refined into Viscous Fluids, which can be further refined into Runaway Mold and finally refined into Nanite Clusters.

Space Station

Space Man's Station
Insert Star Wars quote here. – Image from Daniel Meierer

The Space Station will be your first hub of Upgrade, Trade, and a quick and easy way to get around Star Systems you didn’t feel like building a base in. 

In the hangar, you can bug NPC captains for trade, even buying their ship, if you feel it shows off your style. However, I prefer finding my ships destroyed on a distant planet, ready to become my fixer-upper project.

The Station Core sits at the very back of the station, handling the general functionality of the Space Station as a whole. With a Forged Passport, you can restore your standing with the species currently running that system. The Input Override Code option currently does not have a known purpose. 

Vendors, mission handlers, and terminals are on either side of the hangar. I will offer a quick run down, using the station core to direct which side of the hanger they are located.

Specialists

no man's sky missions
My favorite intergalactic hobbies! Photography and creature culling. – Image from Daniel Meierer

The right balcony holds several specialized vendors who will help you on various matters outside trade alone.

The Mission Agents will give you various missions that range from attacking creatures and sentinels to scanning multiple objects. You will get more complex and complicated assignments as your standing with the various guilds and species begins to rise through these missions and numerous tasks around the universe. 

The Guild Envoy will not be important for now, but you will be able to sometimes snag free rewards based on Guild missions. You can also increase your standing by giving him a Captain’s Log or Crew Manifest.

The Cartographer acts similarly to a scanner. Instead of building an object and placing it, you can exchange Navigational Data or 15 Nanite for Planetary Charts that will lead you to a random building or settlement within the system.

Vendors

The balcony to the left of the Station’s Core houses several vendors, terminals dedicated to your Starship and appearance, and some shady lurkers. 

The back of both balconies has a room you can enter. Here you will find technicians and hirelings who can be taken on to manage various parts of your base.

Exosuit Technology Merchants will let you buy Upgrade Modules involving the Exosuit in exchange for nanites. 

Next to the Exosuit merchant will be a tube. Once per system, you can use this to upgrade your Exosuit’s inventory by one slot. The cost is different based on which inventory you choose to upgrade. Still, the price for each inventory will grow exponentially based on how many slots you have purchased previously for that inventory. This will cost Units rather than Nanite.

The Exocraft Technology Merchants handle upgrade modules purchased with Nanite Clusters.

The Starship Technology Merchant handles starship-related upgrade modules.

The Multi-Tool Technology Merchant lets you purchase Upgrade Modules for the Multi-Tool.

To the Multi-Tool Merchant’s left will be a Multi-Tool available for purchase to replace your current one. You should keep an eye out for one you prefer to replace the starter Multitool.

To his right is a station to let you install expansion slots, purchase new slots for units, and upgrade its class in exchange for Nanite. 

The Scrap Dealer is the last vendor on this side, but he seems a bit suspicious. He will offer dubious goods, repair kits, and other items in exchange for Tainted Metal.

Terminals

Terminals no mans sky
Where all the money happens. – Image from Daniel Meierer

I will separate this by hangar side for ease of reading.

Left Side of Station Core

The Starship Outfitting Terminal will allow you to upgrade all its base stats through a class upgrade with nanites or upgrade its storage capacity with units. You can also scrap ships in exchange for Units based on the ship’s condition, IE, how many damaged parts are in it and any further upgrades added to it.  

The Appearance Modifier is how you will finally be able to transform your character. You will e able to change your race between Anomaly, Gek, Vy’keen, Korvax, and Traveller. Each comes with its own presets, various head options per race, and changes you can make to your Exosuit’s design and color scheme. Here, you will also be able to adjust your banner. 

Right Side of the Hangar

The Galatic Trade Terminal is where you will buy and sell your available items and resources. The prices of each system vary based on what star system you are in, allowing for the market to be exploited by the unit-say traveler.

The Teleporter is going to be your best friend. It will automatically connect all Space Stations you have visited, and even more helpful, it will automatically connect you to all of your bases. So long as you have built a teleporter connected to some power within the base, you hope to connect to the network.

The Anomaly

space anomaly no man's sky
Don’t let its appearance fool you, it is plenty peculiar to be worth its name. – Image from Daniel Meierer

The Anomaly can be considered the Space Station+. It is commanded by two NPCs at the front office in the central room at the back of the hanger. In addition, Priest Entity Nada will be a frequent contact for you through the Artemis-related missions that start off No Man’s Sky’s story of exploration. 

Specialist Polo will similarly be crucial in offering coordinates for the Atlas missions and helping progress various other missions.

These two aren’t the Anomaly’s only essential aspects. There is plenty more to discover and other Travelers to meet, but here are the crucial NPCs and traders you need to be aware of to get the most out of your cosmic travels. 

Nanite NPCs

The Nanite NPCs, as I have chosen to call them, are located in the right wing of the complex right behind the hangar.

Iteration: Helios is hungry for knowledge and will pay for it. He is the first of the Iterations you will find behind a counter in this wing. Helios will pay Nanites for specific memories. Be sure to check in with him every visit. He will often ask for a copy of your uploaded data separated by planet, flora, fauna, and minerals. 

Iteration: Ares is located right down the way from Helios, and while Hungry for Knowledge, his quest is for Milestones. Be sure to check in constantly with him for an insane jackpot of nanites from all the milestones running around and killing pirates surely has given you. 

Iteration: Cronus is located right next to Ares and is just hungry. He will pay nanites for food samples you have collected or harvested. Cronus is the resident chef of the Anomaly and, as such, will only pay you based on his rating of the item. You will be given 0-129 nanite based on the food you give him. If he does smell any food samples on you, he wants nothing to do with you.

…Continue reading about Nanites in No Man’s Sky.

Research Room

research room - no man's sky
Image from Daniel Meierer

The Research Room is located in the back of the central room behind the entrance hangar. This room is where several seasoned scientists and research equipment are located. Here you can unlock upgrades for various parts of the game. Going clockwise around the room, let us meet our grand scientists and occasional automated system.

Iteration: Hyperion is where you will be able to research from the extensive Starship upgrade tree in exchange for nanites.

The Construction Research Station is where you will exchange Salvaged Data for building-related items. This tech tree includes the items available at the craftable Construction Research Unit. More are available, including large prefabricated rooms and more complex technology such as a short-range teleporter.

Iteration: Selene will allow you to research Exosuit Blueprint upgrades in exchange for Nanite. An Exosuit terminal is next to Selene, allowing for a storage upgrade while at the Anomaly.

Iteration: Eos handles Multi-Tool research. Not only can you research powerful weapon and survey upgrades for your Multi-Tool here in exchange for Nanite, but the Weapon Terminal behind Eos might contain that perfect replacement for the starter Multi-Tool you have been dreaming of.

The Synthesis Laboratory can not be overlooked. Not only will you be able to learn how to make valuable ingredients such as the ever-needed Microprocessor and practical products to take control of Galactic Trade. In addition, this is where you craft those odd and elusive Atlas Passes that keep you from opening many crates littering the planet.

Finally, Iteration: Perses will handle all your Exocraft confusions. For Nanite, he will let you upgrade your Exocraft into the superpowered Mech of your dreams. 

Interstellar Terminus

The Interstellar Terminus functions much like your standard Teleporter, giving you access to all your teleporter-connected bases and any Space Stations you have discovered. It has another great use.

Using the Interstellar Terminus, you can visit the bases of group members, view features bases and stations, and see any bases that have recently been made. Here you may scrutinize and grow inspired by the intense creativity of the No Man’s Sky community.

Long Term Goals

goals in no man's sky
I got accosted by an alien and it gave me money. Chill dude. – Image from Daniel Meierer

The longest-running End-goal of No Man’s Sky is to explore the galaxy until you reach its center. To do this, you will need to expand your base and freighter to process more complete alloys to create more imaginative technological wonders. 

To do this, you must continue down the Artemis mission path to locate your first cosmic friend. In addition, upgrades will need to be made to your Warp Drive, allowing you to venture into stranger and more dangerous galaxies full of rarer materials. 

This will take quite some time, but there are plenty of other Long Term Goals to achieve until you find that galactic center. Should you not become so addicted to your current galaxy that you never wish to leave. 

  • Become a Space Pirate and claim the loot housed in those freighters for yourself.
  • Flip the script and, instead, amount a massive fortune and reputation as the most dreaded Bounty Hunter to curse any who get a price on their head. 
  • Dominate the galactic trade market with your Freight lead fleet. 
  • Learn the intricate building system to carve masterpieces in the sky, underground, underwater, and in all those fantastic biomes you discover. You have 449 slots to fill up, after all!
  • Discover the secret of the void eggs and, potentially, snag yourself a Living Ship of your own.
  • Find the ancient horrors lurking in the stars.
  • And so much more because Hello Games has been peppering the game with 90’s era expansion-sized updates since it first released.

Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting

no man's sky playing tips
Image from Daniel Meierer

Don’t Fret Over Your Spawn

Your starting planet will not be the one you settle your first base on. You will have long since blasted off in your newly repaired spaceship. Unlike many games of this nature, you will not have to stress about where you spawn. In fact, it is supposed to be inhospitable.

Your first base will, instead, be after you have learned the mechanics and started planet hopping. After that, you are free to be choosy, as you will always be able to return to it from the Anomaly.

Don’t Fret Over Common Resources

Unless you hoard a particular recipe or building materials, don’t waste your time and energy making a periodic table out of your backpack. Carbon, Iron, and Copper can be found in abundance on most planets.

When you stumble across rare resources, feel free to ditch any useful though common elements clogging up your inventory.

Survival games and RPGs might have built up that collector crab tendency of ours, but through willpower and a need for greater shinies, we can ditch the copper.

Don’t Fret Over Your First Base

While the game makes everything seem finalized about your Build Computer, the scrutiny only needs to be in its placement. It is required to build walls and other items that make the foundation of the average structure. 

The computer itself might be permanent, but each save option affords you 449 individual bases. So use your first base to familiarize yourself with the building controls and learn what resources will be most valuable to your magnum opus. 

Things To Avoid

  • Don’t upgrade the Starter Starship beyond the story requirements. The chances are incredibly high that you will stumble across an abandoned starship of a far greater class. The repair cost is significantly smaller than buying one from the Space Station or upgrading the Radius Prime.
  • Some resources, such as Sodium and Oxygen, on certain planets require plucking toxic flowers. These require pressing the action button rather than mining them, which means getting close despite your reflex to flee what’s harming you.
  • Do not discount certain plants, such as Humming Sacs, that show up on your scanner. They house valuable resources that will give you a leg up in units, but most are housed in caves where you won’t stumble across them randomly.
  • Don’t overlook the importance of mining an asteroid field. Keep note of ones that have monstrous metallic masses as these often have the richest sources of Gold, Silver, and Platinum. You’ll also need the Tritium found in the unassuming rocks to fuel your Pulse Engine.
  • Scanning and Uploading might seem tedious, but it is a great way to fill the time running between destinations and, most of all, a quick way to gain credits and nanites.
  • Don’t forget to regularly check in with the ‘Naninte NPCs’ in the Anomaly. This is wasting an opportunity to horde nanites. 

Tips & Tricks

tips tricks no man's sky
Back to my experiments. Come at me, physics! – Image from Daniel Meierer
  • Landing pads attached to various abandoned buildings and trading posts allow you to take off without costing you fuel.
  • Should you find you wandered an exhausting distance away from your Starship, you can summon it to your location from the Quick Menu.
  • Speed up terrestrial travel by going directly into the air and then directly to your destination. Thus, taking advantage of gravity and planets’ curvature drastically reduces your commute time. Go until you see the atmosphere disperse for short no-pulse engine travel, just outside the atmosphere to take advantage of the Pulse engine’s autopilot.
  • Talk to all the random NPCs you see. If they don’t have a side-quest for you to help them with, you can ask them for help with your language skills. Each NPC you haven’t done this to will teach you a new word in their language. 

FAQs

Question: What is the difference between the three No Man Sky currencies?

Answer: Units are the primary currency for everything from handling the Galactic Trade Network to buying and selling Starships. 
Nanite Clusters are acquired through Uploading discoveries, refining certain materials, performing missions and side-quests, and various other ways. However, nanites are primarily used to purchase upgrade blueprints and modules from the Space Station and Anomaly Vendors.
Salvaged Data is used to unlock craftable decor, structures, and technology.

Quicksilver can be obtained through missions involving the Anomaly. This includes particular story missions and Quicksilver-focused weekly missions. Additionally, Quicksilver can be spent at the Quicksilver Synthesis Companion on the Anomaly. The items bought with Quicksilver include appearance-related items, collectibles, unique decor, and titles.

Tainted Metal is a form of currency only taken by Scrap Dealers. It can be refined into Nanites should you not want to be a part of their shady dealing. This can only be found in Derelict Freighters. These are random encounters found between planets. 

Question: What is an AtlasPass in No Man’s Sky?

Answer: Fear not. While it might sound microtransaction-related, Atlas Passes are items you construct. The blueprint is located at the Synthesis Laboratory terminal on the Anomaly and purchased using nanites. There are three levels of Atlas Pass. They are used to unlock doors and containers found on different planets. Each progressive Atlas Pass can unlock items requiring the lowest tier, so Atlas Pass v1 can be discarded once you create an Atlas Pass v2.

Question: Is No Man’s Sky worth playing?

Answer: I know No Man’s Sky has a reputation to overcome thanks to its disastrous start, but I believe Hello Games made up for the initial launch with enthusiasm. Beyond just adding in the promised features that had once been the point of contention between early fans, they vastly have improved the game fans dreamed of and continue with surprise updates to this day. 

Conclusion

That Starship is functioning, and you even found a new beauty while searching for Antimatter. Finally, the Space Station is hooked to your Teleporter, and you are ready to roar. 

Once you have landed on the Anomaly for the first time, the hand-holding segment of the game is over. The stress of your failing Exosuit and limited fuel is a thing of the past. Now you understand that the Asteroid belt holds the path to riches, at least for a novice Traveler. 

There are plenty of paths to follow from this point on. Specialist Polo can send you on your way to the Atlas Station and a Black Hole for far more fascinating things to discover. 

This only scratches the surface of what lies beyond that First Star System. Now that you have your heading, it is up to you to find all the whimsical and weird secrets hidden among the stars.

Continue reading related No Man’s Sky Guides and Walkthroughs

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