The best ways to find water in No Man’s Sky still don’t make the process simple. Discovering lakes, seas, and even harder locales — ocean planets — is a chore no matter which way you slice it. At least for the time being. Perhaps a future update will change all that! For now, however, we have some simple tips for finding water in NMS so you can get your hands on those rare resources beneath the waves. Let’s get into it with our latest guide!
There are currently a few good reasons to reach deep water in NMS. Certain resources, like Living Pearls and Kelp Sacs, can only be found there as of the Abyss Update. The problem is that you can’t specifically search for water in NMS according to planet. You can, on the other hand, narrow down the results by searching according to system. Just hit the stars (i.e. leave your planet or space station) and open the Galactic Map. The very same one you use to warp from system to system.
Finding Water on the NMS Galactic Map
From the map, you can hover over any visible system. Just like normal! This reveals some very basic information about the location — such as which alien species rules the area. Just below the name of the system, but above the visual icons, is a string of text. One of the phrases in this section should say “Water” if there’s water somewhere in that system. You can see for yourself using the screenshot above. Just check the orange text.
This means at least one planet in the system has notable bodies of water. There could be more. There could even be entire planets made mostly of ocean! It’s not clear until you get there. Even floating above a planet and/or scanning it might not reveal the whole truth. Especially since many unexpected planet types can have large bodies of water. You can find ocean worlds that are nonetheless heavily irradiated, for example.
It’s worth noting this for one major reason: water can halt environmental damage, but only when you’re fully submerged. You can still die from a toxic storm just as quickly on a water world as a dry one! Not to mention you need to deal with oxygen draining as you dive below the surface. This makes such planets doubly dangerous to explore (assuming you want to explore underwater, which is where aquatic resources like kelp are found). It might be better to search for a world with fewer dangers.
Lush planets — those that appear with the “rainy,” “tropical,” “flourishing,” etc. adjectives — are usually a pretty safe bet in systems with water. They’re typically not very dangerous and often have clear lines of sight to find lakes and such on the horizon. If you’re fairly convinced a world could or should have water, you just need to pick a direction and fly, watching in the distance to spot it visually. There’s currently no way to scan for water specifically.
The one workaround for this is using the Analysis Visor to look for certain water-specific gathering points (notably the Armoured Clam, which appears as a yellow clam icon inside the visor). If you see one of these while landed on a planet, just head in its direction! You’ll find water there. Even if it’s underground. Both deep water and Armoured Clams can appear beneath of the surface. The solution? Just use your Terrain Manipulator to dig a hole towards these underground lakes!
Finding Water from Orbit in NMS
On a similar note, because of the way NMS “draws” graphics in, you can sometimes spot worlds mostly made of water by looking for deep blue planets while in space. Even if the planet and its oceans aren’t actually blue when you get close. An irradiated world may appear green when you land, for example, due to the radiation. Yet, if it’s an ocean world, it can appear as an almost entirely blue sphere from deep space. Once again: this requires a visual check. You can see an example, Idmouthep Major, in the screenshot above for yourself.
You can also rule out certain planets. Dead and Exotic worlds don’t support life. So avoid anything completely devoid of life and/or too “weird” (which is literally how the NMS game files categorize Exotic planets). There also seems to be some disagreement about moons… Some players say water cannot spawn on moons at all; others claim it can and that they’ve built bases on them. Because of the size and ever-changing nature of NMS, we’re going to hedge our bets and say, “don’t count on it.” At the very least, water on moons seems significantly rarer than on planets, so they shouldn’t be your first choice to explore.
Finally, there’s a semi-reliable trick to finding water through multiplayer. In fact, you can use this method to find just about anything. Though it relies on luck about as much as raw exploration. Just hit up a teleporter!
Using Teleporters to Find Water in NMS
Specifically, we want to reach the Space Anomaly and use the community teleporter there. Players usually build bases in relation to unique resources, artifacts, biomes, etc. Ocean worlds — or even just Lush worlds that are relatively safe bets when searching — might appear in these results.
Players might even name their bases something like “water planet” to identify them. Other keywords to look for include “clams” and “kelp” and “submarine,” since these only appear (or can be used) underwater. Also keep an eye out for “living pearl,” or just “pearl,” since this is the material harvested from Armoured Clams.
Though it’s honestly still a crapshoot, this method saves on warp and thruster fuel, as well as travel time. If you can’t find what you need, simply “Quit to Mode Select.” This brings you back to the starting NMS menu. From there, just load back in and you’ll be right on the Space Anomaly again with a fresh batch of teleporter locations!
This works even if you teleport away from the Space Anomaly! Assuming you don’t save by entering and exiting your starship or activating a beacon. NMS does not save automatically after you teleport.
For the time being, those are pretty much the best tips to finding a water planet in No Man’s Sky! We’ll be sure to update this guide with new information if and when things change. There’s always a new update on the horizon, after all, and the methods might be completely different from one named expansion to the next. Best of luck in the meantime while you’re among the stars.