Knowing how the wanted system in No Man’s Sky works is vital to your ongoing success in the game. Knowing what to do and what not to do will help you forge healthy alliances and stay (mostly) on the good side of the sentinels.
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But what does the wanted level actually do and how will affect the way you play? As it turns out, it is pretty integral to your overall experience in No Man's Sky.
What is a sentinel?
Before we get into how the wanted system works it is important that we look at those who uphold the law in No Man’s Sky. The Sentinels are instrumental players within the wanted system; the sentinels are essentially the space police.
Sentinels are pre-modeled by the developers as opposed to being procedurally generated, this is so the player can learn and adapt to Sentinels's behaviors. Sentinels, whose job it is to monitor and protect the planets including the planets many inhabitants, can be seen patrolling many of the planets that you will visit.
There are a number of ways that you can anger Sentinels; one sure fire way is to attack the local wildlife or even the Sentinels themselves. Whilst it is possible to fight off the Sentinels, it is not always the best idea as these interactions raise your wanted level and increases the strength of the sentinel sent to take you down. Believe me they get pretty big and you will not last long out there with a take on all comers attitude.
The ‘Wanted Level’
In No Man’s Sky, there are certain things that you can do that will raise or lower your wanted level. The wanted level works similarly to that of Grand Theft Auto. You will gain a star for every negative action, and each star that you accrue brings with it smarter, stronger sentinels. The wanted system goes up to five stars.
Killing local wildlife, mining too heavily or attacking sentinels themselves will all cause your wanted level to rise. You must remember to do all such things in moderation. Try not to draw too much attention to yourself. Oh, and if you are worried about this limiting how much wanton destruction you can cause, you needn’t fret. There are many planets that are not governed by the sentinels and on these planets you are free to do whatever you want.
It changes a little when you are in space. If you attack traders or other space craft, the space police will come after you. If you attack the space police, then the military will come after you. The military are the strongest and most deadly force in the universe (as far we know), and are more than capable of handling a rogue player or two – your best option in this scenario is to just warp the f*** out of there!
To stop Sentinels attacking you or to lower your wanted level, you can either stop what you are doing and comply immediately with Sentinels, run away from aggressors instead of shooting them or even run away from the planet entirely. The longer you go without committing a negative act the better.
The introduction of the wanted system is inspired, it allows for far greater variety in the game play, it forces players to adopt or shift their game style. It also allows for a greater range of weapon and fight mechanic to be introduced. But mainly, the space police and military act as company, something you can consistently bounce off in a vast universe devoid of human life.