How to Pick a Fight and Win in 'No Man's Sky’

Pacifism isn't for space.

Now that Hello Games has finally released No Man’s Sky, it’s time to figure out how you want to spend your time in this impossibly large, procedurally generated universe. Officially, Sean Murray and his cohorts at Hello Games seemingly want you to spend your time quietly exploring the alien landscapes, soaking up the new life and new civilizations that you stumble upon. That’s a perfectly fine way to play, of course, but they didn’t give you a gun and lasers just so you could go on an intergalactic cuddle spree.

Eventually, every player just needs to throw down. It’s only natural. Here’s how to do it effectively in No Man’s Sky.

Get Through Some of the Tutorial

To kick effective alien ass, you’re going to need a ship that will actually fly and a weapon that will actually kill things. Both of these are readily supplied by simply moving from checkpoint to checkpoint in the opening tutorial, at least to the point where you’ve got a decently working hand gun (something deadlier than your mining laser) and a capable ship.

There’s a Melee Button

If you press the R1 button, you can pistol whip whatever’s directly in front of you. This can help when you run across hostile lifeforms or when you need to inflict some pain while your mining tool is overheated.

Beware the Herd Mentality

Before you start shooting, you’re going to want to scout the area. From ships to alien creatures to Sentinels, things have a way of grouping up in No Man’s Sky, and groups protect their own. Smaller creatures might scatter when you come calling, but bigger animals will fight back, and they’ll recruit their buddies to help out.

To make matters more difficult, the Sentinels will come at you if you inflict too much damage on a carbon-based lifeforms. In other words, even you’re attacking something that’s all alone, you may still have to contend with multiple opponents.

Sentinels Are Cops

The friendly-looking floating robots you see on literally every planet belong to the Sentinels — No Man’s Sky’s intergalactic peacekeepers. What you see represented are just the low-end spotter units. They’re equipped with automatic weapons that can and will hurt you, but it takes a lot of damage to end your life. That being said, these little guys can also call in buddies to help them out. One of these guys is easy; five will ruin your day.

If you do manage to ward off one wave of attackers, you can get the Sentinels to leave you alone by simply running away and not killing any living thing for a few minutes. If, however, you’re intent on murdering these little guys, eventually they’ll call their big brothers, the oval walkers.

Early in the game the best advice to give when one of these guys shows up is to simply get in your ship and high tail it out of there.

Dumb Violence Is Deadly Violence

Here’s a good overall gameplay tip: don’t do anything half-assed. Don’t run into situations impetuously, especially combat scenarios. Ammo is finite, and it takes a few, crucial seconds to craft, so make sure your chamber is full before heading into battle. Know how to get into and out of the fray, and don’t be afraid to pull a tactical retreat if things get too hairy.

Violence for Profit

Unless you’re playing No Man’s Sky when you’re on a break from torturing small animals, you’ll probably want some kind of incentive to engage in combat. Thankfully, this is a pretty easy task once you know what is profitable and what isn’t.

Hunting the local wildlife, for example, is not profitable in terms of money or resources. Dead animals don’t give you much to work with. Let ‘em walk.

Hitting the ships that enter and exit your friendly, neighborhood space station, however, is definitely worth your time, because a lot of them are easy targets and they give you a variety of goodies to work with.


Which stands for “Alway Be Upgrading”. To get good at violence, or even to just survive a fight with a gang of space pirates, you’re going to need to install several upgrades to your ship. Of course, the recipes for upgrades are scattered across the cosmos, so be sure to spend some time exploring or you’ll just end up spending your time watching neat quotes from famous sci-fi authors.

Take Baby Steps

You’re not going to be able to jump trade armadas right from the off. Sorry. It’ll take time, upgrades, and lots and lots of death. Just focus on upgrading your items and planning your attacks and you’ll be a regular space marauder in no time.

Related Tags