The other night, I made around 14 million units in a matter of four hours in No Man's Sky (Gek traders hate her! Click here to find out why!) It was largely thanks to finding a huge number of items called 'Vortex Cubes' on a rare resource planet — though it didn't really look like one. This odd proliferation of a supposedly super-rare item led me to question: what is the deal with these things?
If you've been playing No Man's Sky for a while (and you haven't stayed on the same planet for the whole time) you may have run into a rare resource planet. On these planets, the sentinels will be on high alert — they'll probably attack you on sight, and they'll definitely attack you if you pick up a valuable resource. These can include items such as Gravitino Balls, Albumen Pearls and yes, Vortex Cubes. These items don't stack in your inventory, and they'll generally sell for around 30,000 units apiece.
Here's where the Vortex Cube gets weird. The icy planet I found them on wasn't particularly high security (sentinels were 'Standard' as far as I remember), and what's more, the sentinels didn't care if I picked one up from right under their noses.
The first one I found by accident, after landing near a drop pod to pick up an upgrade. I wandered off the beaten track a little looking for a nearby creature that my scanner had alerted me off, only to notice an oddly angular item in the scrub. I picked it up, thinking it a lucky accident as I continued into the cave where the thing I wanted to scan was supposedly hiding. I got lucky again — in here were clustered another five or six, and there were only more cubes the further I went into the cave. I filled up my inventory pretty quickly, leaving yet more valuable items behind.
The Vortex Cubes were clustered everywhere on certain types of terrain on that planet — once I knew where to look, I probably picked up at least 100 in every new area I landed (selling them later for around 28,000 each). It was kind of weird. I hung out in the cockpit of my ship as I Googled it. Interestingly enough, a lot of people were posting about encounters with Vortex Cubes, mostly far different from my own. For one, theirs looked like this:
They also reported that sentinels were being just as aggressive as you would expect when you're looting millions of units worth of resources from a planet. And all I had were weirdly valuable boxes sitting passively in caves.
I made enough money to buy a new ship, upgrade my inventory to around 35 spaces and still have enough left over to comfortably buy pretty much any ship in the game, all in a few hours of grinding that same collect, sell, move location routine. When I finally left the planet, I hadn't explored even a quarter of it, and there were still hundreds (thousands?) of islands left unplundered. I could have been selling Vortex Cubes for days.
One weird little glitch made me wonder if maybe the whole thing was a glitch — a few minutes after picking up a Vortex Cube, they'd spawn back in. These new 'ghost' cubes couldn't be interacted with, and they'd disappear if you put the cursor over them. The whole thing is super weird.
The No Man's Sky wiki says "according to Sean Murray, the planets are not a glitch and that they were built into the game. He also said that anyone who finds one of these planets will be extremely well off in the game." It doesn't link to a source for this quote, however. Interestingly, the wiki has also founded a 'Vortex Club' for those who've found 'Vortex Planets', with the following irate note starting it off:
A NOTE TO THE TROLLS WHO KEEP DELETING THIS AS "SPAM": I, and the club I have founded, will not be fazed by your deletions of content, and we will stay strong. No matter how many times you delete the sources and vortex club section, it will come back, stronger than ever. And your ip will be remembered. Long Live the Vortex Club!
It seems that the Vortex Cubes (and their resultant wealth) are already fairly controversial, not to mention a point of pride for those who've found them. I'm just glad I have a buttload of inventory space now.
I personally can't find any official quote from Murray on so-called 'Vortex Planets', and so the possibility still stands that it may be a glitch that'll soon be patched. In the meantime, there are a few things you can take from this: firstly, if you find a Vortex Cube, you should probably stay on that planet a while, and secondly, if you find a planet or solar system that's been named 'Vortex' anything by another player, you should probably give it a look.
Have you found any Vortex Planets, or other weird rare resource planets? Let us know in the comments!