What Is The Deal With Vortex Cubes In No Man’s Sky?

What Is The Deal With Vortex Cubes In No Man’s Sky?
Image: Supplied

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.

Image: Supplied

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.

Image: Supplied

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!


  • I just left a very similar planet, caves packed full of vortex cubes and crystal gold everywhere.

    0 security.

    Bought a new ship and went to the next star, 1st planet i get to has the gravity cubes in a reasonable density, except the sentinels go for me as soon as pick one up.

    Which is fine as I can then farm them for titanium….

    • I’m on a planet farming gravitino balls. About 33k each. High sec with no animal/plant life. I can usually grab two before the dog bot does too much damage.

      Need to be careful given the lack of fuel on the planet. I need more slots to make it more lucrative per run.

      • If you use the boost jump (run, melee attack, jump) then you can escape from sentinels quickly with little to no damage and just keep collecting! I’ve found two high security gravitino ball planets since writing this, too.

      • You can stack gravitino balls. You need to build a photon coolant theta (or whichever tech that requires 10 gravitinos) after you build it, fill up every other but 3 slots in the ship with full stacks or things that didn’t go into making that tech. Salvage the tech, and you should get a stack of 5 gravitionos. Now they will stack to 100. When selling, leave 2 balls so the stack remains, or you will have to go through the entire process again.

        • That is pretty bad, have to glitch just to get inventory stacking. This game needs some serious patching.

        • I accidentally started a stack of Vortex Cubes. The only thing I can figure out is that I must have dismantled some technology into a full cargo hold, causing it to stack up. I’m still trying to replicate it, at the moment.

    • I never farm gold or emril for money. I’ve been to 4 solar systems so far and I’ve found 2 plenty full of poison sacs, 3 planets full of gravity balls and I just found a planet full of vortex cubes. I mean money has been fotlr me such an over the top commady it’s slightly ruining the game for me. But one things for sure I’ve heard people complain about the grind but I’ve been doing no grinding just exploring and I’m filthy stinking rich and upgraded. I do love no man’s sky I just think I’m to lucky for this game sometimes.

  • I NEED 4 and cannot find any planet anywhere with them…. I keep getting gravity balls… or aqua bowls, but mostly balls.
    I am pretty much at max everything by now, having also completed the first part of the titan quest. I have seen things you people wouldn’t believe… but no cubes. Just balls.

  • I found one planet with cubes in caves and crystal gold. Did one trade run and got about 400,000 dollaridoos then warped off. Very next planet, exact same thing. Figured it wasn’t very rare only collected a few this time. I feel like it would ruin the game a bit to just stock up fully. No sense of progression if you just smash one lucky plannet and have no reason to trade any more.

  • Sac venom is where its at… same deal but if you kill them in less than a second sentinel forces don’t spawn. I was selling lots of 16 for 400000.

  • The last system I was in had an abundance of albumen pearls on 2 planets. No traders nearby to make much use of them, though.

  • meanwhile im stuck in my starting solar system because no one wants to sell me antimatter for my warp drive >.

    • Might have to mini quests and hope for a lucky drop.

      It’s a bit weird, usually it places a marker to the closest merchant when the quest starts

    • If you don’t have the quest chain that teaches you how to make antimatter, it might be because you traded for a ship that has a warp drive before you got the quest.

      Dismantle your warp drive if you can, and the quest should start back up. Happened to me when I equipped the pre-order ship, which comes equipped with a warp drive.

      • Seems this is the case, I finally found the parts to repair the warp drive in the ship but I still cant dismantle it, looking into it, its a pretty well documented bug. Apparently my only salvation is to delete the save and start over again.

        • Could hang out in a space station at your starter planet and buy a shitty little ship that doesn’t have a warp drive? Grasping at straws here.

          • yeah im thinking I might just nuke the save and start again, wait till im completely out of the first system till I start looking for another ship.

        • you get the recipe for antimatter i believe in the system after your first warp jump. the traders in the first system should have an antimatter you can buy to get you going on the first jump. hopefully your’s hasn’t bugged out, that would be kinda annoying.

          from what I can tell you can’t dismantle the actual warp drive itself too, only any upgrades you’ve built for it (that’s what happens on mine anyway)

          • yeah so the issue is I cant warp jump, so I cant get to the next area to get the antimatter. Very frustrating situation.

          • I had no problems, got recipe after first warp. But my bf got stuck in his first galaxy for a LONG time. He was given the original antimatter, but sold it. If I remember correctly, he purchased it from another ship docking. The recipe will be in aneed abandoned building with locked doors, so be sure your bolt caster is usable on gun.

  • I found a similar type of planet which was covered in ‘Venom sacs’. They sell for a bit over 26k each. Half a second’s work with a bolt-caster to collect, and they’re littered everywhere. Everywhere.

    I’ve got a 48 slot exosuit. I do a lap around an outpost that has a trade terminal, blasting venom sacs, go back to the terminal and sell them. Nearly a million units, right there.

    It gets real boring real fast, but it’s incredibly lucrative.

    It’s one of the few planets/star systems that I’ve bothered to name and upload.

    • The best is when you find one of these planets but with heaps of wildlife too. Then you can break up the collecting a bit with scanning

      • Mm. No such luck on mine. Completely barren of fauna, just flora.

        If only it were easier to mark and keep track of preferred waypoints so you could always find your way back to a trade terminal. It’d make collecting-while-exploring a lot more of a sure thing, as opposed to filling up your inventory then not being able to do anything else until you hunt down a new outpost. It basically means that any kind of farming is tethered to a ‘can still see the waypoint’ radius around that one terminal you found.

        My kingdom for a map…

        • I would like to be able to remove all waypoints on a planet. I’m looking for a transmission tower, not 50 observatories, thanks game.

          Edit: Also be able to mark waypoints would be good too. How about a scout/mapping drone like from Mechwarrior 2 too.

          • “Ooh, scan for monoliths? I need monoliths for the atlas words!”
            “Cool. Have fifty fucking plaques.”
            “Oh. Th… thank… you?”

    • Yup. Where before I would just get occasional but tolerable slowdown, now instead I get stuttering. And lots of crashes – before I only got the one consistent crash on a particular multi tool blueprint box that seemed to be bugged.

      • That’s exactly what I’m getting now too ๐Ÿ™ have ended up requesting a refund from GoG which is a pity. Oh well. I intend to pick it up again but only after most issues have been ironed out.

        • Not to be a dick, but if you intend on getting it again why request a refund and not just hang onto it?

          • Because I don’t believe it’s worth the 60 dollars I paid for it. I can get a refund for it, so I will. Then later on, when it’s dropped in price, I will pay roughly half, or a third of that, for the game and feel happier with that pricing point. But as it stands right now, I simply don’t believe that price is right for me. If I don’t see improvement in it, more content etc, then I simply won’t get it again, pretty easy really. Sorry dude.

          • Yeah fair enough mate, all good just a shame your having a shit time with your graphics drivers and whatnot. I feel shit because I am not having any problems, and judging by the masses of people who are, Ijust hope that Hello Games can make the necessary changes so everyone has a similar play experience.

  • I found a planet covered in venom sacs, which made for some fun cash grinding. Sentinels and the fact that venom sacs explode into crazy spiky balls when you get too close!

  • The Sentinels are only hostile with Vortex cubes if they are active ones, like the ones on the pedestal.
    They are always hostile with Grav balls, and Pearls though.
    Haven’t seem them Hostile with the Aqua Spheres or the venom sacks

    • I had 3-star sentinel incursions popping up on my venom sac planet for a while, only needed to pop 2-3 sacs before getting attacked. But after a few hours they just stopped. Dunno why.

    • Is it a bug when you go to full sentinel alert (5*), if you kill the walker then they stop going after you? If you run into them in the wild they will shoot on sight, but they don’t really chase you GTA style.

  • Getting the best ship without paying for it:

    1. Use a waypoint thing and select Transmissions.
    2. Use bypass chips till you find a Transmission Tower. (Note : Not observatories or beacons)
    3. Go in the transmission tower, then keep solving the same math riddle in there for as long as you can bear it.
    4. Go to each abandoned ship. Most will be 1 cargo space bigger than the last. Some won’t. This is decided when you approach the ship, not when it spawns. So you can have a field of abandoned ships progressively better than the last.

    All you need is iron, carbon and plutonium to repair launch thrusters and pulse engines. Oh, and the formula for carite sheets. (I’m not sure if you don’t have to repair it and can just walk to the next ship, but they tend to be spaced so that this is not even feasible. Quicker to repair thrusters)

    I went from a 36 slot ship to a 48 slot ship in one night. And I had enough abandoned ships I could find a good looking one.

    154,000 light years to the centre. Started to see more planets with farmable callium and even farmable radnox. But I tend to go to strange stars.

      • It just… works. Although when I was on the reddit skimming entries, they mentioned something about it only working on Gek planets maybe?

        • I’ll have to give that a try tonight. The last 3 system’s I’ve been in have been Geth… oops Korvax systems.

          • On experimental build gex transmission towers only work once now.
            Also, had a vortex cube planet I ground out the inventory and multitool on, but I use peaceful desert planets for ships, fly along at random at 100 and stop for transmission towers or ships by sight, its quicker than the bypass chip method and clutters waypoint icons less.

  • I found one( same as yourself) earlier in play through didn’t have much inventory so didn’t farm much as couldn’t get enough to farm for long
    But one weird trick I found that the 1% don’t want you to know is that you let your self die (near trading post) to have the most possible space you can have farm till your bored/multimillionaire then after wounds collect your stuff up and continue on your journey

  • I had the exact thing you described happen to me. Exact. I found a trading post with huge caves near by and just keep selling the vortex cubes. I don’t want to leave.. 22 slots gets me over half a mil each trip.

  • It would be awesome if the inner economy of the game fluctuated due players actions. A previously believed-to-be-rare element found in heaps in a distant corner of a galaxy? Market crash! Over-mining of a previously believed-to-be common element? Inflation!

    • I found Albumen Pearls at planet Ume, in the Long Tripp Ultra star system. (Vykeen) Sorry if Ume name is not self explanatory, I only realized the albumen thing after a good while. Some flora in a nearby planet will tell you, tho ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Sign me up to this vortex club, I’ll even bring a monocle and moustache wax…..now that sounds like a true gentleman/ladies club!!!

  • I had the exact same experience as you. Tons of vortex cubes in caves and no sentinels to give a care in the world. Needless to say I upgraded everything I owned and left the planet with 20million units. Not even 24 hours later, I found a planet 2 galaxies away that is COVERED in Venom sacs. With my increased inventory space and new ship I was pulling in about 1.1 million every gather/sell cycle which took only 10 minutes. I got up to 40 million units and left the planet after naming it VEMON SAC PLANET so I can hopefully revisit it if the money ever comes up short. Glad to hear I wasn’t the only one to get lucky enough to find this.
    Good hunting!

  • I’m currently making 1.5mil per run with vortex cubes with no issues with sentials. I could make more if my exosuit and ship where maxed

  • I was on one planet mining these large gold deposits. Eventually I left this planet after a while and went to its nearby moon.That moon had the same “gold” deposits image but instead of gold, I am getting Emeril, which sells for more! I plan on getting rich here…

  • I just found a cave full of vortex cubes and crystal emeril right outside a trading post on a planet. I had the texture glitch too where you could see previously harvested cubes, but then they would disappear as you approached. Planet was not particularly high security. No problems with sentinels.

    I didn’t milk it too badly, but got from <$100k to $1M units pretty quickly.

  • Fortunately enough I have discovered the same thing. Im on a planet now that has sentinels that dont bother with me whatsoever even if I pick vortex cubes up. I have been on about 15 planets and then stumbled across this one. The weather is harsh with extreme radiation stoems every 3 mins or so. Theres miles upon miles of caves filled with vortex cubes. I have mined around 2 areas no further than 4 minutes from the ship and made 34 mil units in 2 days. I can literallyrun into a cave and fill up 55 inventry slots and make 1.5m in 20 minutes. Without exageration there has to be bilions of units worth of vortez cubes on this planet. As you said once I lift them and run away when I come near them again they are there until I put the cursor over them. Its sad to say but I see myself being here for weeks mining 100s mill rather than continuing with the story. If you ever find a planet like this take advantage u shud realise the resources yoy have found. Also a tip. I found a becon and it marked a shelter. The shelter has a terminal to sell. As long as you stay away from the save point it wont say destination reached. Meaning when I move I can always come back to sell eather than going to the apace station

  • If you find a crashed ship, park close to it. Claim it as your own. Then go back to your original ship and click “compare”. In this screen your going to want to dismantle “beam impact theta” if its available to do so. You should get 50 omegon, 1 vortex cube and 25 carbon.. transfer the newly obtained vortex cube over to your original ship. Finish by accepting and claiming back your old ship. Now if you look at the vortex cube in your inventory, it should say 1 out of 100, instead of just 1 out of 1 ๐Ÿ™‚ enjoy. P.s. this works for most “non”-stackable items that you get from disabling crashed ship upgrades.

  • After warping once to the next system with my upgrade ship (started the game with the preorder ship with warp), I went back to original system and started scanning and it took me back to one of the three original planets to a research facility, taught me how to make antimatter and now I can make my own warp cells. Try pulsing around to all the planets in your system and when in between them keep scanning!

  • i came across such “free vortex cubes” planets three times by now. named the planets/system so others can see. but today i hit another jackpot: a beautiful mild climate planet with grass and trees and stuff. tons of sac venom everywhere and sentinels don’t care at all.

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