The massive new PlayStation 4 game “No Man’s Sky” is all about exploring the vast reaches of space, all from the comfort of your couch. The game has a near-infinite universe, filled with alien planets, intergalactic trading posts, and all other manner of sci-fi delight.
But just like here on Earth, cold hard cash rules everything in the universe. How else will you get a nicer ship?
The logic is simple: In “No Man’s Sky,” your goal is to reach the center of the universe. The only way to do that is by building a ship capable of traversing millions of light years across the universe. A bigger ship is also capable of holding more stuff, and the more stuff you can hold in your ship, the better your ship is.
So, how do you get a bigger ship?
You could find one, crashed and in need of love, on an alien planet. Those tend to come in small increments, though — in so many words, you’re likely to find a slightly nicer ship than what you’ve already got.
There is, however, a way to skip all that and jump to a much bigger ship relatively early in the game. It’s a simple trick of basic economic theory.
Sound intimidating? It isn’t! Here’s all the economic theory you need to grok: buy low, sell high. ECON101 lesson over.
Now let’s apply that lesson.
First things first, get yourself to an intergalactic trading post. These are the pyramid-like structures floating in every star system. They’re basically much nicer versions of highway rest stops, sans Roy Rogers. Then, head inside and to the trading terminal. They look like this:
When you’ve engaged the terminal, select the “Sell” option. Then scroll through the various prices the trading post is offering. Some items are sold at a lower price than the galactic average, and some are higher than the galactic average, as indicated in red (less) and yellow (more) text next to the price this teller is offering per piece:
You may already be picking up what I’m dropping here: these price fluctuations mean you can buy or collect things cheaply in one star system that are ridiculously valuable in another. And that’s true!
But that’s the long game, and you wanna make money right now. Stay with me.
There’s another visual indication of value in the galactic terminal. It’s a gold star, and it indicates that the item in question is of particular value at this terminal. Like so:
In this instance, Terumin is valued at 77,289 space bucks per piece.
And here’s where things get wild: Just outside of the galactic terminal room, there’s a space garage full of aliens who want to trade their stuff with me.
And these aliens, it turns out most of them are selling Terumin at much more reasonable rates — in the range of 30,000 space bucks. Can you guess where I’m going with this?
I spent 15 minutes hopping from space trader to space trader, pillaging their ship inventories for low-priced Terumin. I invested hundreds of thousands of space bucks on it, in fact.
As traders left, new ones arrived with even more low-priced Terumin for me to buy.
And then, after having purchased as much Terumin as my inventory allowed, I dumped it all at the galactic terminal.
So, let’s do the maths: If each Terumin cost about 30K, and the galactic terminal is buying them for about 70K, that’s a more than 100% return on every item.
Or, in English, it’s how I made all the money:
And what’d I do with that money? I immediately bought the most baller space truck I could find in that star system.
Then I high-tailed it out of there, off to another space adventure.