Making Money on the Fly in ‘No Man’s Sky’

Engage your inner swindler.

Maybe you entered No Man’s Sky thinking you could finally escape the aggressive capitalism that propels so many video games. Well, think again, because that isn’t the case. Hello Games’ newest release, like so many others, doesn’t simply compel its players to make money – it pretty much obligates them to.

Case in point: One of the ingredients necessary to fuel your ship’s hyperdrive is suspension fluid. Like nearly every object in the game, you can craft suspension fluid once you find the blueprint for it. Of course, the blueprint is exceptionally rare. Meanwhile, it’s found at pretty much every vendor in the galaxy for a relatively paltry sum. So, you can either scrounge around your home galaxy, unable to use your hyperdrive, hoping you run across the rare blueprint, or you can find a market and pony up the dough.

Not to worry, though: Making money (and keeping it) is simple and fun. Once you’ve got your sea legs, it’ll be time to establish the fortune you’ll need to reach the center of the galaxy.

Cheating and Trading

Before we dive in properly, you should know that there are a lot of ways to make space paper in No Man’s Sky. We’re going to focus on making money on the fly, as opposed to committing to a trade route or even straight-up cheating.

While the Trader approach can be extremely rewarding (and kind of addictive), it’s a galactic way of life. You’ll need to adapt your ship to suit trading and you’ll find that the majority of the game is spent running from pirates and talking to a Galactic Market robot as opposed to naming oddly cute herbivores. Be forewarned.

Cheating through the use of the dupe cheat can be a bit of a grind. Plus, you’ll see a diminishing rate of return on repeat save scumming. Also it kind of side-steps the entire point of the video game.

With that out of the way, here’s a quick-and-dirty guide to making money as you hustle toward the center of the galaxy.

Buy and Sell on Green

This one is suuuuuuper basic, but it’s extremely important, nonetheless. When you’re talking to another traveler, trader, or Galactic Market vendor, don’t buy or sell anything that’s got a red number next to it unless you have stacks of cash or you’re desperate for whatever it is.

When you’re selling, this red number means they’re under-paying you; when you’re buying, the red number means you’re getting gouged.

Do Your Homework at the Local Space Station

Whenever you drop into a new galaxy, your first stop should be the neighborhood space station. Not only will a quick trip to the Galactic Market help you drop any excess items in your inventory, it’ll also give you an eye towards which items are the most valuable in that neck of the interstellar woods.

Then, when you hit nearby planets to plunder their secrets and gather enough resources to head to the next stop on your galactic tour, you’ll know which items you should keep around and which you can drop on the ground behind you. This tactic should help you keep valuable inventory slots free when you’re on the ground searching for the minerals you’ll need.

Planetside Collecting

In order to squeeze the most profit out of landing on alien surface, you need to make sure that you’re filling up your inventory with specific commodities, like Gravitino Balls and Albumen Pearls — items that have a Crayola green background. Here’s a list of the game’s trade commodities, too, in case you need to determine which to keep and which to pitch.

Focusing on commodities doesn’t mean you can’t collect resources, too. After all, you’re not trying to become a rich trader, you’re trying to get through the galaxy comfortably. When you’re on a cash run, just make sure you limit yourself to one stack of any materials you collect from the environment.

Making Friends and Influencing People

The other great thing about space stations and planet-side trading posts is the constant influx of new travelers. While the hangar is always empty when you first pull in, once you head through a door, ships will begin showing up and departing randomly. Not only is this the best way to find a new ship worth flying to the center of the galaxy, these AI pilots can provide a profitable counterpoint to the Galactic Market found on every space station.

If you want to know what I mean by that, just check out the prices of plutonium in this video at 3:35 and 4:28, respectively.

By keeping your eyes open — and hanging out in a hangar bay for a few minutes — not only can you make some fast money without actually jumping galaxies, but you can actually get some solid deals from the kindred aliens who likewise travel the stars in search of meaning.

The Short Grift

If you need to quickly rustle up the supplies to keep moving along on your quest to enlightenment, there are few better ways than simply running down to the planet, picking up a ship and exosuit full of commodities, heading to the nearest space station, and then waiting to exploit the ignorance of a handful of passing travelers.

If it helps, think of yourself as a space-faring con artist.
Related Tags