At the start of last week, Activated Indium farming was one of the simplest ways to make big money in No Man’s Sky. Players would find a deposit, plop down a ton of drills, and surround it with storage containers. The sci-fi ore poured in. All they had to do was exchange it at a terminal for nearly 1,000 units a piece. But no more. The latest Waypoint update nerfed the cash crop into oblivion, and No Man’s Sky’s robber barons are pouring one out for their now-useless monuments to interstellar capitalist excess.
“I spent a lot of time building AI mines that could give me completely unnecessarily large levels of income,” a player named TheOneGingerman wrote on the No Man’s Sky subreddit. “This update has slashed the amount of income they generate, but honestly I’m fine with that. The mines I built were more an exercise in what could I generate than what I needed to generate.”
No Man’s Sky is a beautiful space sim that lets you explore millions of different worlds at your leisure. You can build bases, explore, fight pirates, and even form galactic councils. While some players go to space to escape the shackles of the modern marketplace, others venture out there to embrace it. Some established lucrative trade routes. Others looted rival frigates. And more than a few turned to farming some of the galaxy’s most profitable materials.
For a long time, Activated Indium was one of those reliable moneymakers. It could only be found on planets orbiting blue stars. It could be refined into a crating material or sold as a commodity on the open market for a whopping 949 units. No Man’s Sky’s economy had unlimited demand, so players met it with near limitless supply, and shared images of their massive farming projects on social media. They built everything from nuclear reactor-shaped rigs to giant floating space bridges.
“[This is] my first fairly large activated indium farm,” ItSmellsLikeJim wrote on the subreddit last month, sharing screenshots that showed massive stacks of mineral extractors that were connected to a series of large buildings and associated infrastructure. “20,000hr/120,000 storage. Overhead supply line runs. Like performing surgery running them, no diminished returns. Have some if you wish.” Players were drowning in Activated Indium, so they were generous, gifting it to random strangers. These new players could then use the startup funds to upgrade their ship, travel the galaxy, or build their own farms. Some farms produced millions of units every day. Others made billions.
A player who goes by nmskibbles constructed his “Fallout Farm” over two years ago on an “extremely radiated” and “brutal” planet. That’s usually where the good stuff is, he told Kotaku. No Man’s Sky didn’t have cross-play at the time, so he constructed the same exact farm on PS4 so players there could benefit as well. How long did it take? “About 10 hours of wire glitching,” he wrote on Reddit at the time.
This all changed when the “Waypoint” update streamlined much of the game on October 7. Players soon discovered that the price of Indium had dropped to just 165 units a piece. Even more dire, maker Hello Games also reduced the efficiency of drilling. Where players were previously able to stack hundreds of extractors on top of each other, they now suffered diminishing returns for each additional facility built over the same deposit. Some players have estimated their farming operations are now taking 50 percent longer to gather the same amount of Indium.
“Really disappointing as I’ve worked insanely hard to make some absolutely massive AI farms that I guess are now just worthless?” GalaxyGalavanter wrote on the subreddit. “Unfortunately I built a activated indium farm a day before the 4.0 release which nerfed it so I’m only getting like eight million units every 26 hrs which isn’t that great considering I can get eight million units from storm crystals in under 25 minutes,” wrote Actual_Material_5915.
Some of No Man’s Sky’s biggest entrepreneurs are effectively treating the latest market crash like a massive reset. While some are mourning their now all-but-useless Indium farms, many are also relieved to have new worlds to conquer. “Activated Indium prices being nerfed after the update actually made other ways of making units interesting again,” now-former farmer KashKaroon told Kotaku. “I’m now back to old-school methods like collecting storm crystals and ancient bones, also getting back into growing plants for crafting items like circuit boards, living glass, and liquid explosives. I used to enjoy these aspects a lot before Activated Indium made them kind of redundant. Glad they’ve been given some purpose again.”
Money never sleeps though, even in No Man’s Sky. A bunch of players who hit it big in the Indium boom are already scrambling to find a new market to dump their billions into. While some are leaning hard into crystal, others are pursuing stasis devices and chlorine. “You should do the chlorine scam,” Important-Position93 suggested on the subreddit. “Set up a couple oxygen farms and expand chlorine with oxy. I make about 1bn a day with a few hours work.”
But the most lucrative ore in the face of Activated Indium’s decline appears to be gold. At least until the next nerf. It’s currently worth about 350 units each, which is breaking some players’ brains because unlike Indium, which requires a “blue star” solar system, gold can be found anywhere. “They nerfed indium farms so now everybody will have the unfun job of rebuilding their farms as gold farms since these are the best ones,” Redditor Lenat complained. “They should at least make AI better than gold so people don’t have to rebuild. But looks like this update is all about starting over from scratch.”
Among its many changes and additions, the Waypoint update introduced a new Relaxed mode players can turn on to adventure with minimal danger and grinding. You can even drop the price of every item in the game to zero. While those who want a challenge can ramp the difficulty up for a more survival-oriented experience, this “create mode” backdrop has left some No Man’s Sky capitalists soul searching for a new reason to play.
“Your insanely hard work can be replicated in minutes by anyone now; for balancing reasons I am told,” wrote LastPint508. “Idk, the patch made one of my spare ships worth half a billion, I sold the thing, money is meaningless now.”