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No Man’s Sky Next guide: How to find any element

Using your Guide and Discoveries to know where to go

Hello Games via Polygon
Jeffrey Parkin (he/him) has been writing video game guides for Polygon for almost seven years. He has learned to love just about every genre of game that exists.

No Man’s Sky has become a much more friendly game, especially with the Next update, but you’ll still find yourself in situations where you need a specific element or item. The game has made a lot of the information that you need available. You just have to know how to ask and where to look.

Below, we’ll walk you through using No Man’s Sky’s Guide and Discoveries menus to help you track down elusive elements.

The Guide menu (do your research)

Your Guide is like a journal of all the stuff you’ve found with hints about where to find more.
Hello Games via Polygon

Open your menu, then tab over to the Guide. Under the Catalogue heading on the left, you’ll find Raw Materials and Crafted Products. Here, you’ll find a list of every item you’ve seen so far, along with information about where that item comes from, where you’re likely to find it, or how to make more.

In this guide’s images, we’re looking for uranium to fuel our Launch Thrusters. Based on the information in the Guide, we can see that we’re looking for a radioactive environment.

The Discoveries menu (know where you’ve been)

The first tab in your menu is Discoveries. You’ll come here to (rename and) upload the places you’ve been and the animals you’ve scanned to earn Nanite Clusters. But it’s more than just a travelogue. You can use it to find your way back to planets that you know have certain elements.

It’s easy to forget what planet has what resources. Your Discoveries tab will remind you.
Hello Games via Polygon

In the image above, we’re still looking for uranium. The card right in the middle of the screen shows two useful (for our purposes) pieces of information: the weather and the available resources on planet Retc XII. (We’ll talk about the weather in the next section.) Since uranium is right there on the list, we know that we’ll be able to find at least some uranium on this planet — it turns out it was a secondary element in some minerals. Traveling to Retc XII and mining its minerals didn’t get us a lifetime’s worth of uranium, but it got our ship fueled up.

Know what to look for

Nice planet for skiing, but probably not great for finding uranium.
Hello Games via Polygon

Especially early on in your game, your Guide is going to be pretty sparsely populated. You might not have even found a planet that has what you’re after. That’s where the weather comes in.

If you know what kind of planet you’re looking for — in our uranium example, we’re looking for “radioactive environments” — you can decide before you even approach a planet if it’s going to have what you’re looking for.

When your ship is pointed at a planet, click the left thumbstick to scan it. You’ll get information on the most common elements, along with a couple of words describing the weather. You’ll have to do some interpreting sometimes, but those words will tell you what you need to know.

In the image above, the planet is “frostbound,” so we know that it’s cold there. And knowing that, we know it’s probably not going to have much (if any) uranium. To find uranium, we’re looking for words like “irradiated” or “gamma-intensive” or “nuclear.”

Know your options

The direct path is most efficient, but there’s usually another way. (Also, we’re letting predictive text name our ships — don’t judge.)
Hello Games via Polygon

No Man’s Sky Next rebalanced a lot of the game’s elements and their uses. And with the addition of Refining (especially with a Large Refiner at a base), you have a lot of options for acquiring elements and items. Before you spend days scouring the universe for one specific element, see if you can make it in a Refiner instead.

Instead of spending hours looking for relatively rare uranium, see what else you can fuel your Launch Thrusters with. (The prepackaged Starship Launch Fuel only needs ferrite dust and dyhydrogen to craft, meaning you can make it on any planet with only a little bit of work). You can find additional crafting Blueprints in Abandoned Buildings and by completing the base building side missions.

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