Is the cartographer expedition worth trying for a newbie?

I'm still pretty new to the game. I've tried two of the expeditions—Utopia this month and I believe Singularity earlier this year—but didn't make it very far through either (via a combination of not starting them early enough and, for Singularity, barely knowing how to play the game). I don't have a lot of time over the holiday this year and I'm still trying to decide if I should attempt Cartographer or not. I probably wouldn't be able to start it until after Christmas if I do—is it doable in just a few days?



When I first bought NMS, there was a community expedition launching, and I watched a speed expedition guide on YoutTube. The YouTuber finished in an hour, but it did take me much longer, but just watching the video let me know what expedition tasks there were, and which rewards helped, etc.

Here’s one for Cartographers:

It’s nicer to spend time exporing the story of each expedition, but it’s also nice doing things efficiently.

SeeJayEmm, avatar

If there was a story to this one I completely missed it. Just felt like a list of tasks.


Yeah, this one just had you stranded with a hard to repair ship. In Utopia, you were supposed to be building up the Utopia system. Singularity you were deciding the direction of an artificial lifeform.

Compared to Singularity, I can’t think of any “story” in this one. Except maybe why the cocaine bears are so angry. Certainly nothing explicit.

Granted, NMS isn’t much of a story game.

ghostatnoon avatar

I probably would have enjoyed what little I did of Utopia much better with a guide. Half of my playtime was spent trying to figure out which button to press to get my current goal to pop back up on the screen again. (The other half was spent running around looking for an alternate source of carbon, because I got distracted while going out to mine for it and started mining other things that I didn't actually need and promptly rendered myself unable to mine anything at all.)

So yeah, I think it's safe to say that having something to refer to to see exactly what I should be doing at any given moment would be helpful for me. Thanks for the links.


Even having played a fair bit of NMS now, watching one of those guides really helps smooth things along. I usually just muddle through, since I’m not too focused on efficient completion. All my old Expedition saves have unnecessarily nice bases for example, but there is no doubt that just watching a guide or doing some research saves loads of time.

On this current expedition, for example, until I got into it, I didn’t realize how key finding water for Crystal Sulphide would be. If I read ahead, maybe. Follow that with tips on finding crystal sulphide in comments and threads like this. Also, I’ve found 3 abandoned settlements just hiking over this godforsaken world but didn’t realize that Larval Cores were going to be needed. So now I’ve saved myself some hunting later and grabbed some ahead of time.

Most of this can be gleaned by reading the tasks ahead of time, but the particulars of the environment aren’t clear until you are actually into it a bit.


I managed to do the entire thing in a couple of hours.

Some pointers:

  • Metal Plates. You’ll need a lot of them so mine a bunch of ferrite dust if you want to speed up some of the base building, specifically for the power grid & mining.
  • Chromatic Ore. Used in just about everything. Find a copper vein after you get the terrain tool, set the tool to it’s smallest setting, and mine the entire vein. You’ll have just about all of the Chromatic Ore you need after processing it in a refiner. If you dig a tunnel underneath the vein, you’ll also avoid the weather.
  • Finding water is your best bet for the crystals you need to fix the ship. Floating crystal formations also carry them on occasion, I believe.
  • Take a look at the other tiers of tasks, doing them out of order is sometimes preferable. One of them grants the magna-gold recipe for another part of the ship repair.
  • If you have trouble finding Larval Cores, look for distress signals from planetary charts, there’s a <20% chance that they’ll point you to the abandoned building that’s surrounded by the eggs.
  • you can build a tiny base using the 1/2 size pieces to complete the base building. They cost 1/2 as much so you need less ferrite dust.
  • build the minotaur as soon as you can (via the expedition task that grants you the recipe). It can keep you safe from the weather and the hostile creatures. Plus, it’ll drastically cut down on on-foot travel time until you get your ship fixed.

Hope this helps!


subterranean mineral nodes also drop glowing crystals

also you can get magna-gold from the glowing crystals, if you dont want to craft them yourself

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