Screenshot: No Man’s Sky (Hello Games)

Ever landed on a planet in No Man’s Sky, minding your own business, mining some carbon, when a sentinel comes over, scans you and brings the fist of God down onto your cheerful space adventure? Fuck those guys.

I understand why sentinels exist. There has to be some friction to harvesting rare resources in No Man’s Sky or else it would be kinda dull. That friction may as well be robots that patrol planets and check up on you. Depending on what you’re mining and the security level of the planet, the check-in can range from a harmless scan to getting shot at by dozens of sentinels until you high tail it off the planet.

Just because I understand the purpose of sentinels does not mean I don’t lose my shit any time one shows up. There is nothing more nerve wracking than seeing a sentinel float over to you with an exclamation point above its body, while you wonder if it’s gonna let you off scot-free or just wreck your shit.

Most of the time, you’re fine. All you have to do is stop mining every plant and rock in your vicinity and wait for the sentinel to go away. But, every now and then, its blue eye turns red, it starts shooting, and you either have to run or accept death.

The last time I ran into sentinels, I was trying to harvest some Whispering Eggs. This is already hard enough, given that when you mine them they spawn horrible monsters that try to kill you. I had flown to the top of a building, perched above the eggs and ready to stake my claim, when a sentinel showed up. I wasn’t even mining anything yet. I was just standing still on top of a base. Nevertheless, it started firing, and now I had to escape the egg aliens and this laser-shooting robot at the same time.

I managed to kill the sentinel, but that didn’t make things any easier for me. No Man’s Sky has a “wanted” system that’s a lot like the one in Grand Theft Auto. Once I killed a sentinel, the planet’s security alert went off and summoned reinforcements.

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On the run from the law, I got in my ship and flew off the planet. Soon, though, I got an alert that the galaxy’s authority—the space cops—were in pursuit. If I could make it five minutes to the closest space station, my wanted status would get reset. My ship was just fast enough that the space cops couldn’t hit me if I kept running. I sat in bed and pressed forward on my controller for five whole minutes. All because a sentinel couldn’t handle me harvesting a few eggs.

Leave me alone!
Screenshot: No Man’s Sky (Hello Games)

I’m not the only person who has gotten fed up with these trigger-happy robots. If you search “sentinels” on the No Man’s Sky subreddit, dozens of posts pop up from players who just want to grab some resources without getting followed across the universe by sentinels and space cops. “I leave a planet with 1 star, god forbid,” one player wrote, “and get a ship that chases me all the way to another goddamn planet 10 minutes away? No way to divert them?”

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Another player ended up getting chased for much longer by sentinels. “I flew all the way to another planet, landed, ran away, hid, and they are still chasing me through space. I can’t comm them to ‘surrender’ or anything, and they’ll wreck me without any of my upgrades,” they wrote. “Has anyone figured out how to get them to stop?”

One unfortunate player got trapped in a hole they had mined with sentinels outside, unable to escape because the robots won’t leave them the hell alone. “Somehow they saw me through the ground and are now staying nearby with a blue question mark,” the player wrote. “It has been 5 minutes now of no contact, yet it still won’t let me leave. What gives?” What gives indeed!

It’s exciting to have a little danger lurking when you’re exploring and destroying trees for fuel, but this is a bit much. I don’t think I want to do away with sentinels, I just want them to find some chill. You think in the next patch we could talk it out with them instead?