No Man's Sky's Sentinels Need To Chill

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.

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?”

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?


    It sentinel systems feel like the bones of something that could have offered an awesome heist style mechanic if they'd just provided better ways of interacting.

    Bribery, stealth systems, getting in good with the local hoods, so they'll flag near by bolt holes you can use to get the fuzz of your trail.

    Hopefully hello games can figure something out with them.

      They're machines. It would be interesting to introduce a hacking type process to override them. There are existing parts of the game they could add it to if possible.

      I don't hate the sentinels. I think they represent the antagonists behind everything, so are sort of The Baddies of the game, but they do have a habit of getting in the way. So different ways of dealing with that (other than just shooting them) would be nice.

        "I think they represent the antagonists behind everything, so are sort of The Baddies of the game"

        Well a random space dude rocks up on a undiscovered planet, rips out all the natural resources, blows up the passive local creatures, slaps done some shitty buildings and then zooms off to the next one like a locust. If anyone's the bad guys, it's us. Sentinels just wanna protect nature :-(

    I love getting into fire-fights with the Sentinels.
    Bring 'em on.

    I found a sneaky way to avoid the sentinels. When they are near, use the Terrain explorer and burrow underground. Get their attention so they follow you into the hole, then jump out of the hole, reverse the terrain explorer and bury them in the hole. You can then mine to your heart's content without them annoying you.

    Last edited 08/08/18 11:29 am

    Sentinel 1: Dre 0
    Played for first time last night. Mining some basic crap at spawn point and then in less than a minute, damn Sentinel came all beeping, so picked a shot at it and then the ruddy thing chased me all over the damn place. Ummm a tad keen if you ask me!! Died due to exposure.

      Sentinels 101: Don't attack them unless necessary.

      If you don't kill them in time, its easy to get into trouble you cant get out of. 3 stars gets you dog like sentinels, 4 stars gets you mini AT-ST's and 5 stars gets you giant AT-ST's. Each being harder to take down than the last, so easier to escalate to the next rating as you run out of time.

      And Sentinels have an annoying habit of getting caught on stuff (notably dogs on cliffs), and hence having the alert level rise with little you can do about it. Basically, it escalates rapidly.

      Then, as the story says, if you try to escape off planet, it gets worse. Getting off planet isnt that hard, but at that 5 star level you need to take down capital ships that never stop coming. Easiest escape I've found is to warp to another system, which resets your threat level. If you can.

      While they're a nice source of resources, it far easier to just not tick them off in the first place. The potential hassle isn't worth it. Kill em if you need to, but make sure you're ready for it. Boost out one weapon type at stations so you can take them down quickly, and use that by preference.

      Pre NEXT I'd grenade them down fast, but that doesn't seem as viable now, so boltcaster might be the best option.

        I love battling the giant sentinels. It is the best combat in the game.

          Try grabbing a Whispering Egg in NEXT. Its something straight out of a Riddick movie... They might now be the most fun combat-wise, it gets pretty intense at times.

          I don't mind fighting sentinels, but the hassle just isn't worth it. Getting rid of that 5 star rating always seems busted for me, so it becomes a useless battle I cant win. The sentinels just keep returning, and never go into the search countdown no matter what I do. Not every time, but enough that its a pain.

          So in the end, while they're some of the best parts of the game, they're also some of the worst because of the bugginess that kills the fun.

    Why is everyone making everything worse by trying to flee a wanted level?

    Go inside a building and they lose sight of you, take off and fly along the surface and they lose sight of you.
    Hell, keep running and they struggle to scan you to even get aggressive.

    I'm on a planet with aggressive sentinels and eggs that spawn monstrosities and I just run circles around them picking up the orbs and embryos.
    Then it's just hide, lose wanted level and travel to the space station without issue.

      Exactly, worst thing you can do is take off into space with a wanted level. Just take off and skim the terrain nearby and they'll never be able to track you. Can also kill Walkers with impunity from the sky.

      This precisely. Farming Whispering Eggs, I dart into the building after picking up the core. With this as well, you can sit just outside the door (the point where your multitool becomes available) and pick off the horrors.

      Everytime I land, I check the visor to determine what level of aggro the Sentinels are (don't always catch the "extreme Sentinel planet" audio warning). I also know that if the planet has rare items (e.g. Graviton balls) that the planet is going to be hostile.

    Wow, people bitch about fleeing for 5-10min, I was caught on the other side of a solar system and decided to make a run to my capital ship (it was an uninhabited system, no space station). Hour and a half later, couldn't even land on my ship cause of the hostiles on my ass. Yes I turned around and took them on several times and tried to flee before reinforcements came, only to be able to pulse jump for about 3 seconds before they did because for some reason trying to pulse jump accelerated the time it took for reinforcements to arrive.
    Anyway, method I found, and this works for any security level, even max when they won't stop searching at all, is to bail into your ship and breach atmo. You'll see your level drop to 1, so do an about face and head back down to the planet before the space sentinels engage you and land and exit your ship. They have to switch from space to ground reinforcements, at which point you can uninterrupedly jump into your ship again and take off, which everyone should know by now they can't track, so just fly around til they disengage.

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