Note: As of the NEXT major update in Summer 2018, this page is somewhat outdated. If you’re playing a non-updated version of the game since launch, it still applies, of course, but otherwise we’ll leave it in for the sake of posterity and as a reference for anyone looking back fondly on a simpler time. ..
there is not a excellent There’s a lot of story in No Man’s Sky (it’s an exploration game, after all), but the one element that stands out as a more structured narrative is Atlas Path. Although it’s obscure, easy to miss, and inexplicable, one way or another you’ll still need to interact with the Atlas in No Man’s Sky, if only to get an Atlas Pass.
So what exactly is the Atlas Trail, how is it completed and what’s at the end? Obviously, full spoilers will follow.
Please note that our No Man’s Sky guides are being updated following the release of No Man’s Sky BEYOND. For now, this page may still have a lot of useful information, but please note that it needs updating! However, if you’re looking for more information on that big update, our guide to what’s new in the No Man’s Sky BEYOND update and its release time on Xbox One, PC, PS4, our big list of No Man’s Sky patch notes or our guide. Even No Man’s Sky’s new multiplayer mode and Nexus Hub are the best places to start!
[4K] No Man’s Sky is Beautiful on Xbox One
What is the Atlas Trail in No Man’s Sky?
The Atlas Path is one of three ‘paths’ you can take on your No Man’s Sky adventure; the other two are presumably free exploration or direct travel to the galactic core. It’s the closest thing to a linear story or quest line in the game, and it dominates much of the discussion you’ll have with alien NPCs and interactions with objects throughout your journey.
The first opportunity you will have to join Atlas Path is at the beginning of the game. When investigating the site of your crashed starship, you will come across a piece of debris that emits a glowing red orb when you interact with it. That orb will offer you the opportunity to follow the Atlas or explore freely. If you choose to follow it, a marker will be added to your galactic map for a nearby system containing the first Atlas Interface.
In each interface, you’ll interact with a large orb or object that seemingly represents the Atlas in some way, while intriguing text describes your character’s thoughts and reactions to the strange situation.
If you turned down the opportunity to follow the Atlas’ instructions at the beginning of the game, you can still take advantage of it. To rejoin the Atlas Path, you will need to find Nada and Polo inside a Space Anomaly and choose the Atlas option when talking to Nada. The two aliens appear seemingly at random unless you’re already on Atlas Path, so to find them you’ll simply have to scan as many new systems as possible until the space anomaly discovery notification appears and a message appears. A purple icon appears on your starship’s HUD.
How to complete the Atlas Trail in No Man’s Sky
To complete Atlas Path, you will need to follow a series of steps:
- Start the Atlas Trail: Either at the beginning of the game or upon finding Nada and Polo, select the Atlas Trail dialogue option (see above).
- Go to one Atlas interface at a time; every time you reach a new Atlas interface, there are eleven in total; the next one will be highlighted on your galactic map. All you have to do is create the Warp Cells to reach each one and follow the illuminated path on your map. Many Atlas interfaces offer two Warp Cells inside for free, but you can also create Warp Cells using Antimatter, which we’ve also explained how to create and find.
- Keep Your Atlas Stones: As we reported before, No Man’s Sky finishers have suggested from the beginning that it’s a good idea to keep your Atlas Stones. This is because you’ll need 10 to fully complete the Atlas Path (although, as we’ll explain below, it ultimately makes no difference) and you’ll only receive 10 for free along the way. If you lost or sold them, Atlas Stones can They can be purchased from a Galactic Trade Terminal or NPC, but will cost you between 2 and 5 million units in the process. Check out our tips on the fastest ways to make more money if you find yourself in that situation.
- Achieve at least 50 Travel Milestones: You will need the title “MAGELLAN” to fully complete the Atlas Path, although each Atlas Interface you communicate with will require another rank up in your milestone achievements to continue to “submit” to their will. Shoot down ships, earn some money, switch to new systems, hike, and generally play to level up if you’re behind.
Do you want to get the most out of No Man’s Sky? Check out our main No Man’s Sky guide, tips and tricks page, plus our tips on the best and fastest way to make money, how to repair your ship, what to do first and how to increase inventory space. We also show how to use a massive No Man’s Sky exploit to get infinite rare resources, as well as explaining how to save and how to get the elusive Atlas Passes, the Antimatter recipe, Zinc and how to get the Hyperdrive and its required Warp Cells in No Man’s Sky . Man’s heaven.
Atlas Path Rewards in No Man’s Sky
All of this may have made it seem like following the Atlas Trail is a rather fruitless endeavor. In many ways, especially in terms of history, it is; However, there are still numerous rewards you can earn along the way that make it worth it:
- Ending the story: The final requirement of the Atlas Trail is that you return the 10 Atlas Stones you obtained along the way. All that wasted inventory space will give you a chance to spawn a new star when you do; However, this is only explained to you via text and doesn’t change anything else about the game, so only return them if you really want that feeling of completion (and not much else).
- Atlas Stones: You will receive an Atlas Stone every time you visit and interact with an Atlas Interface, except the last time, so 10 in total. If you don’t mind accessing the final story content, these can sell for the sky-high price of 70,000 units each, or around 140,000 if you hold on to them until you find a merchant who has them in demand. Note that the Atlas Stones have no other purpose and take up one slot in your inventory each, so there is no reason to keep them other than this.
- Warp Cells: Most, but not all, Atlas Interfaces will offer you two free Warp Cells, which are located on podiums in front of the large orb.
- New Technologies: Each interface will grant you one or two new technologies, which we found were most prevalent for our Exosiut. Simply walk up the central path to the main floating orb to activate them, but keep in mind that these can be, and often will be, duplicates of the ones you already know.
- Learning New Words: An overlooked point regarding Atlas Path is the access it provides to new words for the Gek, Vy’keen, and Korvax languages. Inside each Atlas interface is a platform that surrounds your ship. There are numerous silver orbs in it, which will explode when you run over them. Each one has the opportunity to teach you a new word, and you’ll typically learn between 10 and 15 words each time you cycle through an interface, making it a great way to quickly learn the game’s languages and complete milestones on your journey.
Finally, once you complete the path, you will be shown the way to a Black Hole, which will take you a little closer to the galactic core. Otherwise, that’s all there is to it on the Atlas Trail: you’re now freed from the shackles of the Atlas and free to continue exploring as you please.