No Man’s Sky is a game all about exploring the universe at large, and to get around that universe you’re going to need some transportation. There are several options for ships to choose from, but which one is the best for you? Do you need to haul lots of cargo? Do you need the ability to fight off space pirates? Here are all of the ship types from best type to worst in No Man’s Sky and what they do best.
Exotic ships are the highest tier of ship found in No Man’s Sky. Usually equipped with bonuses to all categories of up to 65%, an Exotic ship is hard to match right out of the gate. These come in two unique designs: either the “Squid” type or the “Ball” type. These variations don’t have any tangible benefits besides visual appeal, but they have tons of cosmetic options for both archetypes. Exotic ships usually come with smaller inventories of 15 to 25 slots, but their bonuses make up for the lack of storage and upgrade space. Exotic ships can also come with special modules pre-installed, such as Emergency Warp drives and the most advanced shield type available by default, making them excellent endgame ships if you’re not strapped for storage space. Most Exotic ships are found in the Opulent or Advanced system and are always S-class by default. They spawn more often in 3-star systems and are almost always found in space stations or planetary outposts, but only extremely rarely as a crashed ship.
Living Ships are a unique class of vehicles that are not found, but are grown. They have a large inventory for slotting in technology, along with hefty bonuses to damage output and Hyperdrive range. They are excellent upgrades to Fighters and can stand as some of the best combat-oriented ships in the entirety of No Man’s Sky. To obtain a Living Ship, players much purchase a Void Egg from the Space Anomaly for Quicksilver and then complete the quest Starbirth. After completing the quest, additional Void Eggs can be purchased for Nanites. There are a couple of drawbacks to your personal space squid. Being an organic being, Living Ships do not have the ability to install traditional technology and fuel sources. Players must complete Space Encounters to upgrade technology slots, inventory capacity, and other aspects of the ship. You can either do these upgrades via Expeditions on a Living Frigate or by looting the cargo of an abandoned Freighter.
Solar ships are a recent addition to No Man’s Sky in the Outlaws update. These ships feature a unique design with unfolding wings and solar sails which give bonuses to Launch Thruster efficiency and Pulse Engine efficiency. They have performance similar to that of an Exotic class ship but with fewer bonuses to shields and Hyperdrive efficiency and range. Their unique Vesper Sails also have the ability to slowly recharge the Launch Thruster while unfolded in space flight. Most Solar class ships can be found in Outlaw systems either as crashed ships on a planet’s surface or in space stations. If you are in an Outlaw system, land at the local space station to see if Solar ships will spawn for sale or scout a planet’s surface for one that may be crashed.
Explorer ships are some of the best all-rounders that have the best launch fuel and warp drive bonuses in more high-end systems. They can come with a Hyperdrive boost as high as 60 if it is an S-class ship, and a launch cost as low as 12.5%. Explorers also benefit from a unique cockpit layout that offers an excellent field of vision making combat and exploration a breeze with near 360-degree visibility. Explorers don’t have very many major drawbacks, but the only noteworthy thing to mention is that they cannot be found with any major bonuses to combat modules. If that doesn’t bother you much, an Explorer ship is best found in a system with the Korvax being the dominant race and if the system is rich, then S-class ships will show up more often.
You actually start No Man’s Sky with a basic Fighter class ship, but there are much better versions to find out there. Fighters can come with larger-sized inventories with up to 38 slots with plenty of room for upgrades, but their main strength comes from their ability to withstand and deal lots of damage. Most Fighter class ships can be found with bonuses to shield capacity and maneuverability in combat. However, Fighters do have a couple drawbacks. They do not come with any bonuses to Hyperdrive jump distance, so they are not the most optimal choice for exploration. While not a stat-based hindrance, certain Fighter designs can come with long noses that cut down on visibility during combat scenarios, making it hard to see further out in front of you. To look for a high-quality Fighter, the best place to look is in a rich star system with the Vy’keen as the dominant race. Not only will this result in seven different Fighters spawning at a space station’s landing pad, but in rich systems, it increases the chances for S-class ships to spawn for sale.
Haulers are mainly for the discerning cargo collector and trade runner, coming with a default inventory of up to the maximum size of 48 slots. Haulers are also known for their high shield capacity, being even stronger than Fighters can get if you find one with a bonus baked in. Haulers can be found throughout the game in general and are available to find early on with decently sized inventories. Typically, they are good for beginning players and used as a stepping stone to a superior ship later on.
Shuttles are a basic archetype in No Man’s Sky that are a Jack of all trades, but a master of none. These ships can come with a small (18-23 slots) or medium (19-28 slots) sized inventory for cargo and technology upgrades. Typically found all over in populated areas of space, a Shuttle is the most common ship type out there.