No Man’s Sky Next is a satisfying and addictive game that overflows with discovery, wonder and challenge. It’s finally the game that No Man’s Sky notoriously was not when it first released in 2016. It can also be immensely confusing for first time players. You’re most likely to begin the game in threatening circumstances with a clock ticking down and no idea what to do or how to do it. Here are some tips to get you started and ease your way if you haven’t played No Man’s Sky before or don’t remember much about the game.
You begin the game on a random, procedurally generated planet. You may luck out and start with a planet that doesn’t present a life-threatening hazard, but the chances aren’t good. Most planets demand protection from the environment. Your Exosuit’s Hazard Protection system protects you, but when the game begins it needs to be recharged. You have some time left, but not much. When the charge runs out, you begin to take damage. You need sodium to charge Hazard Protection. Where do you find it? How do you get it? How do you use it?
The most common source of sodium is a plant that emits a golden glow. Harvest the plant by clicking on it.
If you don’t see any plants or crystals, you can use your Scanner to find some, but first it has to be repaired. Fixing it requires ferrite dust which is easy to acquire. Almost all of the small rocks and many of the large ones are sources for ferrite dust. Shoot them with your Mining Beam and you can gather the 50 ferrite dust needed to repair the Scanner in a minute or less. If you don’t immediately see a sodium source in your area, shoot rocks and repair the Scanner.
Three main conduits for interacting with the game
Once you have either sodium or ferrite dust you have to use them. This is a good time to become familiar with No Man’s Sky Next’s three main conduits for interacting with the game, the Exosuit, Starship and Multi-tool. Each conduit serves as an inventory space for related subsystems, tools, devices, and upgrades. The Exosuit and Starship also store the things you collect and the crafting components you gather.
The Exosuit houses the Jetpack, and the Hazard Protection and Life Support subsystems. Clicking on Hazard Protection will let you charge it once you’ve acquired sodium.
The Multi-tool houses the Mining Beam and the Scanner. Click on the Scanner to repair it.
The Starship houses the Launch Thruster, Pulse Engine, Deflector Shield, Photon Cannon and Rocket Launcher. You need to repair the Launch Thruster and Pulse Engine before you can fly the ship.
Finding your starship and leaving the star system
If you gathered sodium, use it to charge Hazard Protection and then repair the Scanner; if you repaired the Scanner, use it to find sodium and charge Hazard Protection. If the Scanner doesn’t reveal any sodium sources, don’t worry. Getting into your ship will also charge Hazard Protection. The ship is close by and easy to find because it shows up on your HUD as soon as the Scanner is repaired if you haven’t moved too far away.
Repairing your ship is your next task once you’ve found it. After your ship is repaired you can explore the local star system while you complete the in-game tutorial which unlocks new tools, devices and capabilities.
There’s so much to do in No Man’s Sky Next that it’s easy to get sidetracked. It’s not a problem if you do, but you may not have advanced far enough into the game to take advantage of many of the things you discover. Following the tutorial will keep you on track and give you everything you need to warp out of your first star system.
Tips to ease your way.
- If you have a long distance to travel on a planet, boost into space, move until you’re above your target location, and then dive down through the atmosphere. It’s much quicker.
- Use your Mining Beam carefully if there are Sentinels around. If you’ve attracted their attention, go somewhere else until they lose interest. They call for backup if you get into a fight.
- You can avoid most fights by running away from Sentinels and boosting away from space pirates. The AI isn’t too bright.
- Build the Analysis Visor as soon as you can. The visor lets you scan flora, fauna and minerals as well as locate buried items and large mineral deposits. The large deposits can be harvested with a Terrain Manipulator which the tutorial will show you how to build. The Analysis Visor also locates your ship and keeps it on your HUD which is a life saver if you get lost.
- Scan everything that’s unidentified. Scanning gives you units, the game’s main currency, and uploading your discoveries gives you nanites which are used to buy blueprints and upgrades.
- Stockpile blueprints. They don’t take up inventory space, let you reinstall your favorite upgrades after you pick up a new ship or Multi-tool, and may be just what you need for an on-the-spot upgrade.
- You can buy additional inventory slots for the Exosuit at one of the merchant kiosks on the space station. Walk past the merchant to get to the suit-upgrade device. The first slot costs 5000 units and the price doubles for each additional slot.
- Discover buildings and points of interest on a planet by feeding Navigation Data to the Signal Booster. It beats flying around randomly looking for things. The orange octahedrons inside buildings yield either Navigation Data or nanites. Asking lifeforms for directions will also reveal planetary locations on your Exosuit and Starship HUDs.
- Visit all the planets in your star system once you get your ship repaired. Each planet has its own ecosystem to scan and is loaded with things to find. Planets with extremely hazardous environments also tend to have more valuable resources to harvest. A relatively benign planet is a good base of operations while you complete the tutorial.
- Carbon, ferrite and di-hydrogen are often-needed crafting materials that are plentiful and easy to acquire on most planets. Sodium and oxygen are not rare but not as abundant either. It’s a good idea to keep some in your Exosuit inventory because they’re needed to charge Hazard Protection and Life Support.
- Don’t forget to pick up your deployable machines like the Signal Booster and Portable Refiner after you’ve used them. Having to build a new one because you left the old one behind is annoying.
- If you swap ships with a lifeform to increase your ship inventory, make sure you empty your ship before you make the trade. All of a ship’s cargo and upgrades go with a ship when it’s traded. Upgrades can’t be removed but they can be salvaged for parts. Move cargo you don’t want to lose to your Exosuit inventory and sell the rest before you trade ships. You’re going to have to make some hard choices about what to keep and what to sell but it’s better than losing it all.
No Man’s Sky Next is a complex game with a lot to discover and do. I haven’t even scratched the surface here, but it should be enough to ease your way through the early stages of the game.
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