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No Man’s Sky: How To Play Co-Op And What To Expect From The Experience

When No Man’s Sky launched on consoles in August of 2016, it was met with a mixed reception. For a space exploration survival sim, it was a little barebones. However, over time, it has changed for the better, as each new update has brought a new feature or fix to further improve the game (such as the recent pet-wrangling Companions update).

One of the biggest (and by far the most popular) of these changes was the addition of multiplayer. Bringing co-op to the once vast and empty universe of the game had a huge impact. No Man’s Sky is now the multiplayer space survival game that fans wanted it to be when it was first shown off at VGX in 2013. Getting started with co-op in the game can be a little tough, though.

How Do You Access The Co-Op?

Previously, the directions for accessing the co-op in No Man’s Sky were a little obtuse. When it first launched, there was still a small chance you could run into another player and, whilst they appeared as a floating ball of light, you were still unable to interact except through text or VOIP.

Since the NEXT Update dropped in July of 2018, getting into the co-operative aspect of No Man’s Sky has never been easier. Now there are two options: players can select Join Game to directly load into a friend’s session or start up solo play and visit The Nexus.

How To Directly Join

One of the easiest ways to get into deep space adventures with friends (with the least amount of hassle) is to directly join their game. Selecting Join Game will present you with your friend’s list, as well as the system and sessions they’re currently in that are available to jump straight into.

There’s an interesting quirk to this feature, though: If you load up a previous save that your friend isn’t on, it will load you into that location instead of your friend’s general area. Make sure you know how to save correctly by using this guide, then.

How The Nexus Works

The Nexus is more straightforward. It essentially acts as a big MMO social hub. Here, players can run around, use the various vendors, emote and chat to each other using VOIP, or set up missions to run.

However, this little hub needs to be unlocked first. Usually, this should take new players around 5 to 6 hours in-game, if they jump straight from each mission to the next. Once you’ve progressed far enough, you will receive a series of strange signals to investigate that will culminate in The Nexus warping into nearby space. After that, it can be summoned at will.

Can Anyone Join Your Game?

Like most multiplayer-based games, there is a level of privacy available when you decide to host a co-op session in No Man’s Sky.

This can be achieved by going into your Network Settings and turning off the option for anyone to join. You can also set your lobbies in The Nexus to invite-only if you’re looking for a session that’s just you and your friends. After all, the last thing you want is a stranger joining and potentially damaging your base or antagonizing the local sentinels.

How To Set Up Missions

One particularly fun distraction in co-op is the fact that randomly generated missions are available. They can reward you with anything from equipment to nanite clusters, or a huge payday of units.

To get started with these missions, just head to The Nexus in any star system you’re in and walk over to the Job Board next to where you parked up your ship. From there, you can build a private or public party. After that, you can choose from a range of activities, including hunting down pirates, investigating signals, or collecting resources. Each mission is played in its own instance, so you and your friends can enjoy your task without strangers stopping by.

Race With Your Friends

One of the most unique additions to multiplayer in No Man’s Sky is the ability for players to make their own custom racetracks with their friends.

To get started on building your own circuit, you need to first construct a Race Initiator. After that’s set up, players can build their course and then drive along the route, to map it out and set a time for visitors to beat (just remember the importance of dropping checkpoints periodically). Anyone stopping by your base or downloading the circuit via the Base Sharing option can share their lap times for your course.

Explore The Galaxy

In No Man’s Sky, it can get a little lonely traversing the Big Empty with nothing but the soundtrack and your scanner for company. With co-op, however, you can bring in a buddy or two to keep you company.  Charting out new territory together, discovering intriguing new alien races (such as the Vy’keen) on strange worlds, or just having dogfights amongst asteroid clusters can be incredibly fun when you bring along friends.

Exploration plays a big part in this game. Having another pair of hands to help mine resources or someone to watch your back when you’re out in the wild can make quite the difference.

Build Your Own Fleet

Resource management No Man’s Sky’s early game can be a bit overwhelming (and a real grind at times). Nothing is free in space and sometimes a much-needed spaceship part can be a little pricey.

Thankfully, freighters can take some of the strain, as they can store and be sent out for additional resources. These colossal interstellar starships come with 19 inventory slots, parking spaces, and up to 30 support frigates. Co-ordinating with friends by calling in several Capital ships at once can let you organize your own massive super fleet, with which to slowly build your fortune.

Build Giant Bases With Your Friends

Base building and open-world survival go hand in hand. As such, when the update to let players colonize planets with their own Star Bases launched in July of 2018, the game’s popularity skyrocketed.

To get started building your own spaceport with your friends, just fly to the surface of any planet you encounter and place down a Base Computer (this can be found in the Portable Tech section of the building menu). Dropping one of these down requires some Chromatic Metal (which isn’t too hard to make). If you’re short on this, you can usually get some from refining Copper, which shouldn’t take too long.

Uncover Alien Infested Freighters and Face Other Threats

One mission might yield rewards, while another the life of a crewman. You are unable to save onboard each of these behemoths (as they vanish instantly should you leave), so plan ahead and make sure your team is prepared for what they might find. In addition to these freighters, there are also Space Pirates and roaming robotic Sentinels of various levels and sizes on each planet.

NEXT: No Man’s Sky: 11 Things Players Didn’t Know They Could Do

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