How does multiplayer work in No Man's Sky?

With the latest update to No Man's Sky (NMS) multiplayer has become a major component of the game. There are two main ways to play multiplayer in NMS, through the Nexus, or by joining your friend in their game.

Each of these ways has its own idiosyncrasies, and neither is exactly how I imagined the multiplayer to be, but it is certainly better than encountering random balls of light in the universe and being told that is multiplayer. Let's start off by showing you how to do the easiest of the multiplayer matches, joining a friend.

How to join a friends game

  1. On the main page, you will be asked to either Start a game or Join a game.
  2. Select Join game to start the process

  1. You will see a list box of the worlds being played by your friends that day.
  2. Select the friend you want to play with and hold the X button

  1. Next, you will be asked to load a saved game. This is confusing but it wants you to choose which loadout you want.
  2. Long press **x// on which save you want to use in your friends game.

  1. You should appear in the sytem above the planet your friend is currently on, they are marked with a purple hexagon
  2. Use your pulse drive to aim directly at them.

That's it, you should now be able to see your friend and play No Man's Sky with them. Pretty simple isn't it?

Joining people in the Nexus

Joining people in the Nexus is a little more tricky. First, you need to have found the thing — it's located on the space anomaly that you don't actually start the game with — which you will need to do some traveling to do. It's frustrating that the Nexus isn't immediately available, after all, plenty of people want to start the game with a group of friends. They may not want to go cruising around the galaxy looking for an anomaly beforehand.

More: how to find the Nexus

Once you are in the nexus though, and it is populated with some people, you can easily invite people to play by opening your menu and selecting Network. There you will see an option to "View nearby player list." This will bring up everyone in the nexus and allow you to invite them into the game.

Right now it seems the maximum that can be in the nexus at any one time is 16 for the PlayStation VR, and you can only party up with three other players, but that doesn't mean you couldn't all find a planet to play on together.

How to do Nexus Missions

Nexus Missions are like bounties, set by the game that you can accomplish as a team, and can be accessed from the main panel on the anomaly. You can join together with three other people to accomplish this task, and all of you get the spoils if you complete the mission.

  1. In space, press down on the D-pad to call an anomaly.
  2. Dock with the anomaly to enter the Nexus.

  1. Use the missions board to find a mission to do.
  2. Select a mission from the board by long pressing the X button over it.

  1. The screen will show you who is already signed up for the mission. If there is enough space, highlight Join mission and long press X.
  2. Once you have joined you can choose to either wait for more people or press the Ready up button to start missions.

  1. Once everyone is ready the game will launch and you will be whisked away to the system where the mission takes place.
  2. Once the mission is over you need to return to the anomaly to complete your mission.
  3. Simply go to orbit in your spaceship and press down on the D-pad to access the anomaly once again.

These missions are well worth doing if you need some quick cash or Nanites and are generally a lot of fun. They let you explore the universe with far more purpose than ever before.

What can you do in multiplayer?

Locating your friends is simple as you have seen from the above how-to guides, but you can also just connect with random people you meet out in the universe. If you do manage to encounter someone by accident — it's possible even with quintillions of planets — then you can access the network tab in your menu and select "View nearby player list." This will let you see the other players name and invite them to work together. From what we can tell, it doesn't start a group chat, so you will need to invite them to a PS4 chat if you actually want to converse.

Once you are in a game together there is a lot you can do, and a lot you can't. For example, you can use each other's base equipment. If the guest or guests — you can have up to four players in one session — build something it stays in the host game and is accessible by them, but you can't use each other's ships. This makes sense when you think about it. If you are a guest you can help your friend build a BBQ in their back yard, but you wouldn't just swap cars.

If you decide to turn the planet you are on into a hunting preserve where four players enter and only one survives, you can do that too.

The guest is free to harvest resources and use those resources in the host's game, and even take it with them when they leave, which is extremely helpful. If you are clever about it and you are working with a group of people, you can move around each other's homeworlds, collecting the resources you don't have.

Here's an example; I need Ionized Cobalt for my Cobalt Mirror but haven't got any Cobalt in my system, but I do have lots of Sodium Nitrate for fellow Android Central writer Jennifer Locke's Sodium Diodes.

All I need to do is empty out my inventory, join Jenn on her home planet, and harvest a truckload of Cobalt. After that, I can return to my game, and invite Jenn to come to visit, and she can do the same with my hoard of Sodium Nitrate. That way we both get what we need without having to fly all over the galaxy trying to find stuff. This would work even better in a clan with a Discord channel, as you could keep a running list of who has what.

Another nice multiplayer touch is being able to toggle friendly fire on and off. So if you want an entirely peaceful game, where you work together to create a brave new world, you can. If you decide to turn the planet you are on into a hunting preserve where four players enter and only one survives, you can do that too.

It's a bit of a shame you can't see the dead players grave marker though, in fact, there are a lot of things you can't really see.

What can't you do?

Just after this image was taken I killed Jenn in cold blood. It wasn't nice of me but it was for science so we both agreed. I waited for her grave marker to appear but it didn't, at least not for me. When she arrived back the grave marker was there for her, along with all her stuff. This seemed weird at the time, as it would be helpful if everyone could see it so we could head there to help. That's when we started to notice odd synchronizing issues.

While we were on my home planet Jenn suffered three major heat storms that forced her to take shelter. I had none. Our game kept getting interrupted by her need for shelter while I could stand outside in the bright sunshine. This seems like it could be a simple fix, but it may be systemic of a wider issue. It feels like we may not be as connected as we thought, and this may be the reason for the lack of trading.

we now know that trading is possible between players, they have just buried it in a menu without telling anyone where it is.

One of the most infuriating things about the multiplayer is the lack of trading options. I can't give any of the players anything I have in my inventory, and there are no chests like you would see in Minecraft — heck, you can't even drop stuff for others to pick up — so it is impossible to really cooperate in any meaningful way.

If you have a blueprint that can make your base better, but not the resources, surely your friend should be able to give it to you right? That's literally the whole point of working as a team. I should be able to stay at home working on the base while Jenn goes out and gathers the resources needed for building. This feels like a huge oversight and one they should fix very soon. To make No Man's Sky feel truly cooperative they must include a trading system soon.

Update to trading

Thanks to an awesome reader named Daniel, we now know that trading is possible between players, they have just buried it in a menu without telling anyone where it is.

It's obvious now we think about it, but still, why would it be buried in there and not connected to the other player in any way? I would have thought viewing your teammate and accessing the trading that way would have made much more sense.

But there it is, all you need to do to access trading is use the quick transfer system in your inventory while standing next to your friend. Simple, yet maddeningly unknowable.

There is still more to come!

We have really only scratched the surface of multiplayer in these last days and I am sure there is more to come. This article will be updated anytime we get new information about other parts of the game as well so keep watching. If you have any information that we have missed let us know in the comments. If we can verify the information we will add it into the article with a credit.

James Bricknell
Since the days of the HTC Hero James has had two or three Android phones stuffed into pockets. James is always on hand to offer advice on phones, apps and most recently, PlayStation, especially VR, It's now something of an obsession. Find him @keridel wherever Media Socials itself.