The Exosuit you start with is the only one you will ever have, but you can upgrade it in a number of ways, by finding or buying blueprints for enhancements, by buying or finding upgrade modules and by expanding its inventory space. The difference between blueprints and upgrade modules is that the modules (for any gear - not just the suit) can’t be moved once installed, but blueprint modifications can be rebuilt. This is not so important with the Exosuit, but the Multi-Tool and Starship will be swapped out as the game progresses, so you may not want to add expensive modules until you get the equipment you want.
For Exosuit upgrades, I concentrate on those which allow faster travel, such as greater sprinting ability, longer boost, etc. I don’t find extra environmental shields to be all that useful, since you have to recharge them separately and you rarely need the extra protection.
Aside from buying slots every time I visit a Space Station, I look for Drop Pods, which give you a ‘free’ slot if you repair them with the requisite materials. This a good reason to load out your Exosuit cargo slots with at least the basics for repair, which are (so far) 55 Ionized Cobalt, 45 Sodium Nitrate, 40 Oxygen and one Antimatter.
You start out with a Multi-Tool that is pretty pathetic but enough to get you going. I eventually want to end up with at least a Class-A Rifle, but that usually costs over $2,000,000, and that takes a while to accumulate early on in the game. As a compromise, I usually buy a cheap model with about 10-slots and hang onto it until I get my final rifle - just don’t add any good upgrade modules which you won’t be able to take with you. If you talk to all the Vy'Keen on the Space Stations, one of them might offer you a (slightly) broken one to use until you can afford the best. It seems that in a given system, all the Multi-Tools are the same, so always check the vendor on the Space Station and make note of the best one so you can come back to buy it when you have the money.
For upgrades, I just use those which boost mining speed and Bolt Caster ability. The other weapon types aren’t really all that more effective, unless you use the Plasma Grenade, and I avoid that one like the plague because I kept killing myself with it. It activates with a right-click, and if you accidentally do this in the wrong spot (like a room), you will blow yourself up - I didn’t find the annoyance worth it.
This is perhaps your most important (and customizable) asset - and the hardest one to upgrade. You start off with a puny but serviceable Class-C Fighter and can only improve it by buying a better one or by finding a crashed one and fixing it up. If you have a fully operating base, getting the materials to completely restore a ‘broken’; one is not too difficult - assuming you can find one worth restoring. There are five classes of ships available, and in order of (my personal) preference from best to worst are:
Exotic – Low cargo space but high base performance on all categories – and the coolest looking ships in the game. Besides the low capacity, they seem to want a large area for landing, which makes them less desirable for exploring in bad terrain. Click HERE to see a slide show of various Exotics.
Explorer – Easier on Launch Fuel and good base Hyperdrive range and good maneuverability. There are many variations in body and wing style, but all Explorer ships have the 'bubble' cocpit window. I usually buy a Class-S Explorer at a Korvax Trading Post and use it as a primary exploration vessel and use the Exotic for deep Hyperdrive needs. Remember that you can switch ships anywhere by 'calling' them to you.
All ships are priced by class and more importantly, by cargo space. A good Class-S explorer or Class-S Exotic with modest capacity (20 slots) will cost you in excess of 10,000,000u, but that is not as hard to get as it seems once you have an operating base. Because of the premium paid for space, a modest Hauler with 48 slots can cost over 100,000,000u. My personal play style is not at all hampered by a ship with limited storage (20 or so slots), as there are plenty of other ways to haul goods, and unless you are a ‘hoarder’, you should sell off most stuff as soon as you get it, saving only the materials needed for high-tech manufacture – if that’s what you want to do.
How To Buy A Ship
Once you have enough money to buy an upgrade and have figured out what class of ship you want, the next problem is how to find it. This turns out to be relatively easy if you follow this simple formula. First, go to a Prosperous System owned by the race associated with the type of ship you want: Vy’keen = Fighter, Korvax = Explorer, Gek = Hauler, Shuttles everywhere. Next, go to a Trading Post and (preferably) land on the central-most pad so you can see all the others. A few seconds after you exit your ship, seven ships will appear, circle you and eventually land. If you don’t see what you want, reload the game (from the point where you exited your ship) and try again. The ships that appear are randomly spawned, so eventually you will be able to see everything in the system (and buy it if you have the money). If you own more than one ship, you can call them all to you as long as they have Launch Fuel; if you have a Freighter, they are also berthed there.
How To Find A Wrecked Ship
I find this fun, in that it is like getting something for ‘free’, but it is also frustrating, since most everything you find will be low class, and of course, wrecked… You can use your Signal Amplifier to scan for Distress Frequencies and also find these by decoding Signal Towers and sometimes from Beacons. If you find one, all you really need to do is make it minimally space-worthy by repairing the Launch Thrusters and Pulse Engine. Alternatively, if you own a Freighter, you can call your Freighter to the system and the ship will be picked up, even if it is broken.
These are a lot of fun and very useful for planetary exploration. My personal preference is the ‘Nomad’, since it will go almost anywhere. I don’t add many upgrades except for those that boost speed (and of course the mining laser and cannon). The Colossus is particularly useful as a general-purpose hauler, as it has 42 slots for cargo. You can use it as a mobile storage bin by calling it to you (if you build an Exocraft Summoning Station on that planet) and filling it with whatever you want. When you return to base you can call it back and unload it – just like a rental truck!