This post has been updated for Beyond and is using Normal mode.
Don’t listen to the haters. No Man’s Sky has turned into a fantastic game. This is something you might not realize during grind heavy early play. Here is a quick summary on how to navigate your way through the first hour of No Man’s Sky.
Where the fuck am I?
You’ll spawn on a random planet with no clue what to do or where you are. There are 6 main biomes: Nuclear, Frozen, Scalding, Toxic, Tropical and Barren (and a few others, but you probably won’t land on one of those). If you’re on one of the first 4 types, you’ll immediately start to lose your Hazard Protection. First things first: look for a cave to take shelter in.
Once you’re nice and cozy, spare a minute to adjust your network settings. The players in the NMS universe are mostly pretty cool but there are some griefers out there. Go into the Network settings and adjust so that no one can cause damage. You can also adjust the building options and whether or not other players can see you. Adjust at your will, but I would suggest using default for everything except Damage.
Be sure to avoid any hazardous cave plants as spewing toxins that can quickly kill you. If you can, use the mining beam on them to harvest their elements. Also make sure to use your jet pack to lower yourself into the cave if it’s deep, at this point a fall from even a short drop is deadly. Once you’re deep enough into the cave, your Hazard Protection will start regenerating. Wait until it’s completely full to emerge.
There are three places you need to monitor to make sure you don’t die prematurely. The health bar at the upper left is your total health. It will recharge as you rest, so if it gets low- find a safe place to let it recharge. The Hazard Protection in the bottom left will also recharge automatically if you find shelter. At the very bottom left is your Life Support. This will not recharge automatically- make sure it does not reach 0.
Early game No Man’s Sky is basically repairing equipment that was damaged when you crash landed. The first thing you are prompted to repair is your scanner. Find a few small rocks to blast and you’ll quickly get the 50 Ferrite Dust you need for the repair. Fix the Scanner and you’ll be able to scan for elements to power your life support and extend use time.
The next things you should look for are Oxygen and Sodium; scan to look for plants that contain these elements. Stay close to the cave and look for as many of these plants (indicated by floating O for Oxygen and Na for Sodium when you scan) as you can find- keeping an eye on your stats to make sure you don’t run out of either of your life support filters. You can refill your Hazard Protection with the Sodium and your Life Support with the Oxygen.
Ticket to the stars
Now you need to start looking for your ship. You’ll see a distress icon when you scan. It should be less that 1000 units away. Make sure your Hazard Protection level is at max and head towards it, picking up any Oxygen or Sodium plants or supply boxes you see along the way. Be careful of Hazardous plants, but try harvest them if you have time as they usually contain Oxygen.
Once you reach your ship, enter it and allow your Hazard Protection to recharge. When you click on your Ship inventory button, you’ll notice that your Launch Thruster and Pulse Engine are busted. You’ll need a few things to repair them. Hop out of the ship and blast small rocks to gather Ferrite Dust, you’ll need 50 to construct a Metal Plate. Repair this first and you’ll get instructions to check the distress beacon again.
Inside you’ll find a planetary chart. Open it and you’ll see the location of your next destination, where you’ll find the Hermetic seal. There are also some supply boxes scattered around the ship, make sure you grab what’s inside. Hop inside your ship to recharge your hazard protection and set off to the beacon.
You better run!
The building should be less than 1000 units away and you’ll probably need to run there, but make sure to keep an eye on your stats. There’s also the possibility that a storm could roll in so be on the lookout for caves and Sodium plants to recharge your hazard protection.
Once you reach the buildings, run inside the market one, grab the blueprint, read the dictionary entry inside and take any other items (nanites or navigation cards) in the buildings. When you emerge, a prompt will appear telling you that it’s time to construct the Visor. You’ll be able to do this once you’ve made Carbon Nanotubes- built with- you guessed it- Carbon. Having the Visor makes life significantly easier. Every mineral, flora or fauna item you scan gives you credits, so scan away- but make sure to keep an eye on your stats!
Now back to your ship!
It’s where you left it but don’t forget to pick up anything you find along the way and watch out for any hostile animals or plants. Once you’re back, you can fix the Pulse Engine. Now it’s time to build the Portable Refiner, it requires a Metal Plate, so harvest more Ferrite Dust. Once the Refiner is constructed, you’ll need Carbon or Condensed Carbon to fuel it. Toss in some Ferrite Dust and refine it to get Pure Ferrite. You’ll use this to fix the Launch Thruster.
Now you’re off! Head into space and answer the call that comes in and forces you to test your ship systems. After this, you’ll see a destination marked on another planet. You can go directly to the next mission or check out the space station first. You won’t be able to do much there yet, but it’s nice to see all the ships you can’t afford and upgrades you can’t buy yet. If you want some more, check out my guide for how to play hour two.
Don’t worry if you die a few times. The first hour of No Man’s Sky can be super stressful, but trust me, it’s worth it.