How to set up trade routes in No Man’s Sky

Golden rule: Buy low and sell high.

Image via Hello Games

Recommended Videos

While you are out exploring the galaxy in No Man’s Sky, you’ll need plenty of units to keep your ship flying through the galaxy as you uncover the secrets of the universe. Units can be gained by mining resources from a planet and selling them on, but with the addition of instantaneous travel with portals, there is an even easier way to start raking in the units.

By understanding how the in-game economy works and making sure you can get around quickly, you’ll be able to make more money than you likely know what to do with.

How Trade Routes Work

Trade routes are different from the missions undertaken by the player’s freighters. Instead, they utilize portals in trading posts and space stations that the player has already visited to quickly move goods from one system to another to maximize profit.

It can take some time to set up a good trade route. The key is to invest in the Economy Scanner upgrade for the ship, which can tell you key details about a system’s economy. The key is to find systems with a Strong Economy, which typically will offer not only the best price for goods but also won’t be as easily manipulated once goods start moving through them in bulk.

How to Set Up Trade Routes

There are also several different types of economies to look out for, ranging from Trading to Mining to Scientific. Certain economies will offer better prices on materials from a specific economy type, meaning that it is helpful to approach these trade routes in a specific order.

There are two trade route types that you’ll want to exploit. They are:

  • Trading to Advanced Materials to Scientific then back to Trading
  • Mining to Manufacturing to Technology to Power Generations then back to Mining

Note that it doesn’t matter which step you start at, so long as you maintain the loop.

Once you are ready to start trading, look for an item in your current system that is being sold for as close to –30% of the base price as you can find. Buy as much as you can and then warp to the next system, where the item will be more in demand and therefore have a higher selling price. You’re aiming for somewhere with as close to +80% of the base value as possible, but so long as you are making a profit you should be good to go.

Once you’ve sold your first item, buy a similar item with a low purchase price in the system and go to the next type of system, repeating the process as long as you can.

Important Points

No Man’s Sky has a living economy to contend with, so prices will change and fluctuate when you flood the market with a particular item or material. Some things to keep in mind:

  • Change Up Your Items: Each time you visit a system, try to sell a different item or resource to avoid diminishing returns on your investment.
  • Have Back-Up Systems to Visit: When you’re traveling, make a note of systems with a similar economy and slot them into your trade route if your first choice needs time to settle. This will allow you to keep trading for longer and keep the units coming in.
  • Visit Planetary Outposts When You Can: Prices are generally better on planetary trading posts than they are at space stations, so if you have a base on a planet near a trading post and can build a portal there, then it can increase your profits massively.
  • Sell in Bulk: When you sell items, it instantly lowers the price of that item in the system. Sell everything you intend to sell at once to avoid losing potential profits.