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No Man's Sky

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What to do first in NMS

Paul McNally

If somebody asked you want you wanted to do first in real life, you’d accuse them of asking you a question that is too deep for this time of the morning and turn the conversation round to football instead.

A similar dilemma exists in No Man’s Sky as the game is just an open-end romp across the galaxy. After you have finished the set missions, which serve as a tutorial in many ways at least, we’ll compare this bit to your formative school years, shall we?

But of course, all the early missions given to you aren’t time-sensitive - you can dip in and out of them as you please. You might find it advantageous or even enjoy, building out a little base you can call home on a start planet before zooming around space chasing after Artemis.

Indeed, once you have finished all the game has to drip-feed you, having some form of settlement may help you feel secure. However you choose to play the game, and you will probably change paths many times, what should you do first as a matter of urgency to get the best possible start? Let’s have a look at a few humble suggestions that might just end up being responsible for which way you get engrossed in NMS.

What to do first in No Man’s Sky - 2023

1 - Complete the early missions at least

Following the story early on in NMS will help you learn the basics.

Early on it is well worth following the story path as it will guide you through many of the essentials you need to know later on. You want to at least get to the point in the story where you have access to The Anomaly, as this will open up a new swathe of the game that may see you dabbling in missions with other players, regardless of whether you chose single-player mode.

2 - Build a small base

It may be a small base but it is your first home in NMS.

It may sound strange but having a base helps you prevent becoming overwhelmed with the possibilities. What I find myself doing whenever I’m faced with a billion choices of what to do next, is head back to my base which lives (perhaps stupidly) on the first planet I discovered and do some farming or maybe add a few new buildings to build it out further. From then on I can decide what I am going to do next and for some reason, I feel under a bit less pressure!

In the early versions of the game, you could only build your base in pre-set locations. This changed with the NEXT update and you can now place your roots just about anywhere you want - even underwater! All you need to start with is a Base Computer to register the land as yours. Before long you will be hiring staff to help you expand out your own little corner of the galaxy.

3 - Make Some Money

It sounds obvious but to get improvements on your gear you are going to need Units and you need to work out a way to make them as early as possible. There are ways to get rich quickly in No Man’s Sky but they all need an initial bit of graft to get going. Scan everything, rocks, plants, and animals. To do this you need to add an Analysis Visor to your set-up but once you have that it is basically a small income consistently everywhere you go. You also get nanites for uploading your discoveries to the main server so it is a habit you absolutely have to get into.

After that, when you at least have a few coins to rub together I’ll tell you how I made my multi-millions in No Man’s Sky and it involves selling gas for ridiculous profit - just like in the real world eh.

Somewhere along the way, you will want to have farmed salt or chlorine - you don’t need lots, you can start small. Now, every time you have the opportunity to buy oxygen from anywhere, space stations, pilots at space stations, or literally anywhere, buy as much as you can. You want multiple stacks of it, and each slot stacks to 9999.

Now all you need for the first few million to start rolling in is a medium refinery, or maybe two, or maybe 10, depending on your plans for domination.

Add the oxygen and the salt to one side and it will make chlorine on the other side. Once you have a bit of chlorine, you don’t need to worry about the salt anymore. Now you are adding oxygen and chlorine to one side to make - more chlorine but at a much better ratio. Keep taking the chlorine you have manufactured on the right and side and throwing it right back into the slot on the left to make even more. Soon you will have the best part of a stack of 9999 chlorine. You need to keep some of it to keep the chemical reaction going, but go and sell the rest. Told you that bank account was going to look much more healthy now. Now just rinse and repeat to either build up a massive wad of cash or just when you need more money.

4 - Dig up as much buried tech as you can find

Scan for as much buried tech as you can.

Fortunately, there is plenty around and you can find it with your Analysis visor but you should make a concerted effort to scan for, tag, and then dig up buried technology modules whenever you can.

You will need a Terrain Manipulator to scoop out the goods but the items you will receive are what you will trade-in for new plans so you can build new stuff for your base, including essentials such as refineries and so on, or open up access to new vehicles. You really will need lots and lots

5 - Build a galactic Trade Terminal at your base

Once you have opened up The Anomaly you will have access to the construction research center where you can find plans for lots of cool stuff your own construction center you have on your base won’t show you. One of the things worth adding is a Galactic Trade Terminal which will come in handy for just getting rid of things you may have mined up by proxy such as Star Bulbs, as well as selling small amounts of oxygen and staples such as Metal Plating to save you from crafting. Yes you could make this stuff for free but when you have UNits in the millions it’s just a nice Quality of Life addition

6 - Research Exocraft.

It's far easier to get around the landscape once you unlock exocraft in NMS

When you are at The Anomaly one time buy the plans for the Roamer Geobay. This will unlock your first planetary craft and open up the development path for the others. Exocraft can be enhanced, fitted with weapons and better engines, and will allow you to explore the planet you build it on much quicker, and safer. It’s not an essential early game by any means but it will let you make a lot of discoveries, and if you need to farm a lot of buried technology to buy more plans, it will help you do that much faster.

7 - Build a landing pad at your base

Not only does it look cool, the Landing Pad saves on Launch Fuel too,

It can’t just be me who finds it really annoying how your starship just plonks itself down anywhere when summoned, regardless of the terrain. Construct a landing pad to give it the perfect spot every time. It also doesn’t cost Launch Fuel to lift off from one, so that’s another small gift.

All of these things can pretty much be done within a few KS of where you start out. Now, you just have the rest of the galaxy to explore. No pressure!


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Guide Information

  • Publisher
    Hello Games
  • Platforms,
    PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, XB One, XB X|S
  • Guide Release
    27 April 2022
  • Last Updated
    11 January 2023
    Version History
  • Guide Author

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This ongoing guide for the amazing No Man’s Sky includes the following:

  • Tips and Tricks to get started
  • Technology Upgrades
  • Building a Base guides
  • Crafting Guides
  • Mission Guides
  • Encounters
    As well as this there is also information on the game’s numerous updates, as well as the forthcoming Nintendo Switch version of No Man’s Sky.

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