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No Man's Sky guide: Milestones and why they matter

Mostly, they remind you about cool space missions

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.

Early in No Man's Sky, you are bombarded by seemingly endless "Journey Milestone Accomplished" notifications. These Milestones might feel random and arbitrary at first, but they're really just notifications that you're doing … things. In this guide, we'll teach you about each and why they matter.

There are ten Milestones in No Man's Sky, nine sub-Milestones and one overarching Milestone, and each milestone has 10 levels. These activity-specific Milestones award you levels basically for playing the game. For example, the first Milestone, On-foot exploration is simply a reward that accounts for how far you've walked.

The other Milestones are self-explanatory or easy to figure out from their descriptions:

  • On-foot exploration: distance walked
  • Alien colonist encounters: alien beings spoken to
  • Words collected: words learned of alien language
  • Most units accrued: amount of money made
  • Ships destroyed: number of other starships destroyed
  • Sentinels destroyed: number of Sentinels of any type destroyed
  • Extreme survival: number of sols (days) survived on planets during Extreme conditions
  • Planet zoology scanned: number of planets where you've scanned every creature

The total Milestone, shown at the bottom of the image above, has levels awarded for every five of the sub-Milestone levels you attain.

When to care about Milestones

There are two times when No Man's Sky requires Milestones. These serve as gates in the game, requiring you to attain a certain level of progress before interacting and progressing the storyline.

Atlas Interfaces

Choosing to continue along the Atlas path requires you to have achieved certain Milestones at each step. Each of the first 10 Atlas Interfaces will require you to have achieved a Milestone level before you can Accept (or Concede, Comply or Conform). In short, you'll have to achieve five levels of the various sub-Milestones between visits.


Polo, the Gek of Nada and Polo fame, also requires you to attain a specific sub-Milestone in exchange for a blueprint, which you use to construct things like Multi-tool upgrades. The sub-Milestone Polo requires and their levels varies with each interaction. If you're unclear about how far you are from achieving the Milestone Polo requires, you can always check it in the Journey tab of your Options menu (shown in the first image above).

Would you like to know more?

No Man's Sky is a largely solitary experience, but you don't have to travel the universe alone.

This is just one small section of Polygon's No Man's Sky guide. Be sure to check out the rest, where you can learn all about your ship, your Multi-Tool and Companion Units and even get answers to some of the biggest questions about No Man's Sky. We also have a guide to No Man's Sky's resources that'll teach you the difference between Oxides and Silicates as we explain No Man's Sky's elements.

And if you're just looking for a quick reference guide to locations, like where you can save and trade — we've got you covered — too.

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