With the No Man's Sky Next update, Hello Games has transformed No Man's Sky into an altogether different beast from what it was before. The launch version of the game caught huge criticism from the video game community, with the title failing to reach the expectations that many held for the game upon launch.
However, that did not stop Hello Games from continuing to update the game through a variety of free patches, helping to transform the title into something close to what gamers wanted. Although the core gameplay loop of gathering and crafting has not been broken, the variety of changes brought in helps make the title feel almost like an altogether separate game, not least through such important elements as true multiplayer.
As such, some potential space explorers who turned away from the title, or perhaps who never bought it based on the poor reception at launch, might be interested in picking up No Man's Sky now. It may seem like a difficult prospect, but here's a quick guide to help new and returning players get up to speed with how No Man's Sky Next works.
How To Get Started
No Man's Sky might be initially daunting; after all, the game has a total of 18 quintillion planets to find, and so it's perhaps hard for some players to grasp how to even start playing. Thankfully, No Man's Sky is able to point players in the right direction, and so perhaps the first thing to take note of for new players is to let Hello Games guide you at first.
New games will deposit the player on a random planet, and the first course of action for users is to get together enough materials to get off the planet and follow whatever path they choose, be it the story-driven Atlas Path or a direction of the player's own choosing. The best way to think about how to prioritize No Man's Sky tasks is through thinking about the title as almost having its own version of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Getting hold of sodium helps charge the Hazard Protection system that is required on many planets, so for starters that may be a vital element to find in plants dotted around the starter planet.
Something that will make this easier is to repair the Scanner, a tool to find elements and minerals. Use the Mining Tool to destroy some rocks and gather ferrite dust to repair the Scanner, and then use it to help find not only sodium but other elements to help repair your ship.
This discovery of elements takes up the vast majority of No Man's Sky's planet-side gameplay, and the gathering of materials is the only way to travel around the universe (unless you're using the game's free roam mode introduced in the Foundation update). For starters, you'll want to repair those vital components of your ship to get off the ground, so be on the lookout for ferrite and di-hydrogen jelly to repair the Launch Thruster. The ferrite will need to be refined into pure ferrite, so craft a portable refiner from oxygen and a crafted metal sheet and then select the refiner to get some pure ferrite.
The next steps could be a little trickier, forcing the player to follow a mini-quest to find some of the other elements, such as a Hermetic Seal, Navigation Data, and Signal Booster, but let the game guide you and before long you'll have a starship set up to get off the planet and do some exploring of your own. Once again, it's worth listening to what No Man's Sky is suggesting in these early stages.
There are a few things to remember when gathering elements, though, particularly that it's always worth being cautious when it comes to sodium and oxygen - although these elements are not rare, you don't want to get caught out far from your ship on a hazardous planet without them. Equally, make sure you get the Analysis Visor installed as soon as possible: it will allow you to discover much more about planets, as well as the bizarre creatures that live on the worlds, and earn Units off the back of it.
Get Lots Of Cash
One of the easiest ways to get ahead with No Man's Sky Next is to get rich quick, but thankfully, this isn't as difficult as players might imagine. Things have been made a bit trickier than the original game, when making good use of the Galactic Trade Network could make the player the No Man's Sky equivalent of Bill Gates in no time at all. Although things aren't exactly difficult now, gamers who haven't played the game since launch will need to bear in mind that the Pathfinder update added a new currency in the form of Nanite Clusters.
This currency acts differently from the Units, with Nanite Clusters primarily going towards buying blueprints from Space Station vendors. This actually makes the clusters an extremely useful resource to acquire, although given the flexibility of Units players will want to have a decent amount of both. Getting Units is easy, through farming resources via element mining and scanning of flora and fauna on planets.
Getting Nanite Clusters can be less common, but they're still available through searching abandoned shelters and damaged machinery, completing missions and exploring crashed freighters. They are also readily available by destroying Sentinels, but make sure you're in a good position for a fight if you take this strategy.
Explore The Space Stations
Space Stations have always played an important part in No Man's Sky, particularly from a trading perspective. However, the role of a Space Station is now much more than just a hub for use of the Galactic Trade Network, although that does make up a good proportion of why players will want to visit Space Stations in No Man's Sky Next.
Now, plenty of the game's upgrade mechanics are now available through Space Stations. Gamers who want to access these upgrades via the Technology Merchants will be able to find them aboard, and this is where you can use those aforementioned Nanite Clusters. As well as this, you can also upgrade your inventory slots, and also modify your appearance, including changing your species.
Space Stations are also the place to go to pick up missions. To begin with, you'll only be able to pick up smaller missions, but getting your reputation up with different factions will then open up the much-wanted Guild Missions, and with it even bigger rewards.
That brings us to the end of this beginner's guide to No Man's Sky Next, and hopefully, this will point players in the right direction. However, No Man's Sky has always been a game about forging your own path, so players will want to use this as a base to go and create their own adventures. After all, what's the point of being a spacebound explorer if it doesn't lead to an individual journey?