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Economy [Re]Started

No Man's Sky Columns - By Red Thomas on August 02, 2018

Economy [Re]Started

No Man’s Sky released their Next updated and the virtual universe took a sideways jump into crazy world.  Everything is different, and it has been a pain in the backside to figure out legitimate ways to make credits in the game.  Sure, there are a few oversights that have been profitable until patched out of the game, but I don’t really care to experience No Man’s Sky that way.  Not only does it kind of cheapen the experience, but it also just doesn’t make for a valid long-term strategy since those methods always get patched out.

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This week, I dug into No Man’s Sky in an attempt to develop some decent money-making strategies.  I quickly found that trade goods had been patched out.  Some goods do now exist as craftable resources but running them to systems that once paid well doesn’t seem to be that lucrative.  Carbon Nanotubes were made at Advanced Materials systems pre-patch and sold in Scientific systems at a profit, for instance.

After the Next patch, Carbon can be crafted into Carbon Nanotubes or can be refined to make Condensed Carbon.  That means 250 Carbon can make 125 Condensed Carbon or 5 Carbon Nanotubes, and thus they made for a good test of the new economy.  I checked my base terminal, an on-planet trade hub terminal, and the in-system station terminal.  The results were that there were 5-10% swings in price of lowest and highest, and there was no discernable pattern.  Nanotubes were 2.3% below galactic average from my base, but 10.8% low at the on-planet trade hub and 10.6% on station.  Condensed Carbon was 16.3%, 11.8%, and 12.7% respectively, and Carbon was 10.4%, 14.4%, and 10.6% low in the same order.


Finding and exploring Ancient Ruins can be a good way to earn cash. I got nearly 2 million Units for one find and have heard they can go a lot higher.

My conclusion was that it may not matter where you sell anything, just that you have to try terminal to terminal to find the best.  I also went through about 20 systems to see if system type and economy tier made any difference.  I used mostly economies in the moderate range but snagged a low and a high check to compare against, as well.

There was about a 5% swing in prices low to high as I went system to system, and the economy type (Advanced Materials, Science, Trade, ect) didn’t seem to make much difference, except that there were a couple outliers that I need to look at.  A Mining system with a medium economy bought Nanotubes at 4.9% below rate and a Trade system with a booming economy purchased Condensed Carbon at 7.4% under.  Both systems were near the middle on the others, and prices varied wildly between economies of similar types and sizes.

Average buy/sell percentages are reported in the galaxy map, but I was using the teleporter to go system to system and didn’t want to exit in my ship to look at it.  I suspect that’s a better guide of the general market in each system than the system type and economy.  Now that there are no trade goods, I’m not sure there is much point to a Trade system verses a Power Generation system.  It seems the greater importance is access to the unique raw resources generated in each system.


Each station has a suit upgrade (the blue hologram in the back). Upgrade your cargo slots for additional 500-unit storage.

So, what does it all mean?  I haven’t got a clue.  It strikes me as incredibly strange that Hello Games would remove a relatively solid trading mechanic from the game.  It seems an odd step backwards.  I’ve heard some say that it’s because they intend to make player-manufacturing the driving economic force in the game, but the calculated galactic average for Condensed Carbon is 3373 Units, Nanotubes is 2751 Units, and Carbon is 3376 Units when they’re compared 125, 5, and 250 of each based on the amount of Carbon it takes to produce them.  You lose heavily by making Nanotubes and lose a little condensing the Carbon.

I did learn a couple things that might help, though.  First, Chlorine has an average galactic price of about 677 Units each, which means a full stack sells for over 169k Units.  That makes Chlorine one of the best raw materials to sell.  I haven’t found anything yet that can be easily harvested and sold for a similar amount.  Since salt can be refined into Chlorine, it seems a good trade economy to get going with.  It also sold well in nearly every system I visited.

The second thing I did while looking through all this was to take notes on all the elements I saw.  Many, if not all, rarer elements have a recipe that can discovered to make them, but it looks like they can also be made through the refinery.  They often hint at their recipe in their flavor text.   I wrote it all down and will end the article with a table below.  Those I tested and have recipes for are marked (note units in table are in stacks because I didn’t have time to note actual ratios).  The others I haven’t had a chance to test yet.

Good luck, and happy traveling!

Red Thomas / A veteran of the US Army, raging geek, and avid gamer, Red Thomas is that cool uncle all the kids in the family like to spend their summers with. Red lives in San Antonio with his wife where he runs his company and works with the city government to promote geek culture. Follow him on Twitter: