No Man’s Sky has arrived following delay and boy does it deliver a metric ton of mechanics for you to learn in order to survive the depths of space. You’ll be rebuilding your crashed ship, scavenging the planets around you for various resources, and more importantly – upgrading your equipment to help you better scour the universe.

One key piece of equipment you’ll need is a starship, which allows you to travel around the game’s vast universe and engage in various activities. Thankfully, you’ll receive one at the beginning of the game for free… but it’s one you’ll quickly want to rid yourself of in favor of a better model.

The game supports three major starship classes: Explorer, Fighter and Trader, each of which works to support a specific playstyle.

Explorer class ships are designed to travel faster and further than any other ship, which means they have a much better engine and hyperdrive. These ships also have better stealth capabilities that make them more difficult to detect and engage.

Fighter class ships are built for players who want to fight in space battles. Armed to the teeth, these ships can take more and dish out more damage than any other ship in the game while providing excellent maneuverability.

Trade class ships are good for players looking for a more passive approach. These ships focus on larger cargo bays for storing massive quantities of items and keeping said cargo safe, which means they are slow, armored and have massive weapons to defend them from harm.

Once you’ve decided on what type of ship youd like to pursue, there’s a few ways you can go about doing so.

Finding a Starship in the world

The cheapest way to find a new ship early on is to search for a crashed ship on a planet’s surface. These ships are typically slightly better than your current ship, but will almost always have something broken in their inventory which needs to be fixed for you to claim them as your own.

In order to find a wreckage, you’ll have to find a waypoint or outpost with a beacon. Each of these beacons will give you access to four choices: monolith, colonial outpost, transmission and shelter – of which you’ll want to choose transmission. This will send you to a base which requires you to decode a sequence of numbers that provides the location of a distress beacon somewhere on the planet.

Head to the distress beacon and you’ll find a crashed ship that you can interact with, review and ultimately decide to leave or take with you.

Purchasing a Starship from another lifeform

Since each starship in No Man’s Sky is procedurally generated, directly purchasing a new starship from another lifeform is one of the quickest ways you can obtain a new ship of your preferred class. This route does cost you a lot more however, making planetary exploration a better option if you’re low on units or saving them for something special.

In order to purchase a ship directly, you’ll have to head to a location where lifeforms regularly land, like a trading post, space station, observatory, or shelter. Once you pick a location, just sit back and people watch until you see a ship you’re interested in purchasing – then approach the pilot and offer to buy their ship.

Once they accept your offer, you’ll be able to view a comparison of the two ships. Here you can see the slot capacity of each along with the upgrades installed on each ship before making your purchase. If you like what you see, accept the offer and transfer your items over.

One important thing to keep in mind is regardless of how you obtain a new starship, you’ll lose a significant amount of resources in the process unless you transfer everything in your ship inventory during the transition. You also won’t be able to transfer energy from your hyperdrive, weapons, shields, pulse engines and launch thrusters either – meaning you’ll have to have resources to stock up your new ship with.

Just remember that finding the perfect starship is a lot like everything else in No Man’s Sky; it takes a lot of time and will cost you plenty of resources. You’re only allowed to have one ship at a time too, so spend plenty of time window shopping and make sure you pick out the space ride right for you.

Photos via Nicholas Bashore

Nicholas is a writer and content creator in Knoxville. He frequently covers video games and other consumer electronics. When he's not writing for Inverse, you can usually find him tweeting about Star Wars or streaming on Twitch.