No Man’s Sky: Guide To Frigates And Expeditions

Quick Links

  • How to Buy Frigates
  • Types of Frigates
  • Frigate Expeditions

Managed to save up enough cash to buy a Freighter (or won it after a battle) and want to get the most of it? It's a wise idea to recruit Frigates that you can send on expeditions. After starting a Frigate expedition in No Man's Sky, it runs passively and you don't (usually) need to do anything, but it can net you some fantastic items, upgrades, and units. This means easy work for fantastic profits.

First, though, you'll need to buy yourself some Frigates and fill out your fleet. We've got you covered, though. In this guide, we'll go over how to buy Frigates, how the different types of Frigates work, and how to send them on expeditions.

How to Buy Frigates

Before you start exploring the expedition feature, you'll need to have a fleet of Frigates. You can buy them from other Freighters around in space.

When you're flying around a system, you'll sometimes notice large Freighters that spawn in. If there are some green navpoints around the Freighter, they've got some Frigates for sale.

Fly close to a Frigate that is labeled with the "Recruitable Frigate" tag and your communications channel with ping you. Open up communication with the captain of the Frigate, and they'll offer to join your fleet.

From here, you can view the Frigate and all of its qualities. Here is what all of the things on this screen mean:

  1. This is the current rank of the Frigate — this one is C-rank. This can be leveled up by sending the Frigate on expeditions.
  2. This is what type of Frigate it is. This one is an Exploration specialist. More on that later.
  3. These are the stats of the Frigate. Each Frigate has different stats, which represent its potential. The higher these numbers are, the better.
  4. Here is where you'll find any traits the Frigate has. These can add points to the Frigate's stats or subtract them.
  5. This is the general information about the Frigate. It's mostly unimportant and just for information and flavor.
  6. This is how much fuel the Frigate will expend on an expedition. The lower this number, the more efficient the Frigate.
  7. These two sections represent how long it will be until the Frigate levels up. The number on the left is the total number of expeditions, and the circle with a percentage on the right is basically the same thing presented in a different way. This is how far through the current level the Frigate is until the next level.
  8. This is the price of the Frigate. Click here to purchase it and add it to your fleet.

About Stats and Ranks

The stats and rank of a Frigate indicate how it will perform during expeditions. Its base stat total can be as low as -5 or as high as 14. You can determine the statistical level of a Frigate with this calculation:

base stat total = ( sum of current stats ) – ( sum of stats from traits ) – ( # of rank ups * 6 )

You can determine the number of rank ups a Frigate has experienced by how many expeditions it has completed. Here's when each rank up occurs:

  • 4 expeditions completed
  • 8 expeditions completed
  • 15 expeditions completed
  • 25 expeditions completed
  • 30 expeditions completed
  • 35 expeditions completed
  • 40 expeditions completed
  • 45 expeditions completed
  • 50expeditions completed
  • 55 expeditions completed

So, let's use the Frigate pictured above as an example.

  • sum of current stats = 0 combat + 18 exploration + 2 industrial + 3 trade = 23
  • sum of bonuses = +15 exploration
  • number of expeditions = 0, so that means 0 rank ups, multiplied by 6 is still 0
  • therefore, 23 (stats) – 15 (bonuses) – 0 (rank ups) = 8

The base stat total for this Frigate is 8.

Remember, the range of base stat totals is -5 to 14, so this Frigate is fairly decent.

When a Frigate levels up, it can either lose a negative bonus (this one doesn't have any) or gain a positive one, which will change these numbers. Additionally, as it ranks up, it will also improve. Don't worry too much about the class rank, as all Frigates level up in this category as they go on more and more expeditions. Sure, finding a Frigate at S-class is nice, but it also cost more, whereas a lower-class Frigate will be cheaper and reach S-class over time.

Stats are not the only thing to consider, though. All Frigates can get the job done, but the positive bonus traits that a Frigate has can determine if it's great or best avoided. Watch for Frigates with good positive traits and at least halfway decent stats. If a Frigate has 0 in some stats, that's fine, but each one will often perform each of the roles on an expedition. In other words, an exploration specialist will still benefit from numbers in combat, industrial, or trade.

Types of Frigates

We've talked a bit about the different types of specialists, but let's get into what that actually means.

Every Frigate will specialize in one of five areas: combat, exploration, industrial, trade, or support. The first four will perform better in expeditions that match their specialization; support Frigates conserve fuel, therefore reducing the amount needed for an expedition. Each of them also has another bonus, outlined below.

SpecializationBonus Functions
Combat
  • If it's nearby, it can warp to you when you're in combat and help you defeat enemy ships
Exploration
  • Has a scanner that can detect nearby Ancient Ruins in the system
Industrial
  • Produces Magnetised Ferrite that you can collect by landing on the Frigate
    • 2 every 30 seconds, up to a maximum of 100 (takes 25 minutes)
Trade
  • Produces Units that you can collect by landing on the Frigate
    • 1,000 every 30 seconds, up to a maximum of 125,000 (takes 1h, 2m, 30s)
Support
  • Produces Condensed Carbon that you can collect by landing on the Frigate
    • 2 every 30 seconds, up to a maximum of 100 (takes 25 minutes)

Typically, you'll want to send the type of Frigate that matches the expedition's purpose. However, as we mentioned above, it's good to find Frigates that have at least some stat points in the other specializations as well.

There is another type of expedition called "Balanced." These expeditions are not associated with one specific Frigate type. For these, send a mix of the different specializations.

Frigate Expeditions

Sending Frigates on an expedition is easy and pretty straightforward. The first thing you'll need to do, though, is build a Fleet Command Room on your Freighter. Enter the buildable base section of your Freighter and open the base building menu.

A Fleet Command Room costs the following materials to build:

  • 120 Silver
  • 40 Gold
  • 10 Tritium

Next, head down to the cockpit of your Freighter. There will be a large table in the center that lets you control and manage various parts of your Freighter and fleet (the side closest to the captain's seat lets you view your Frigates and dismiss them).

Talk to the navigator next to this table. They'll present you with a handful of potential expeditions, complete with their specialization, time to complete, and difficulty level.

When selecting an expedition, you'll notice it has a star rating. This represents the difficulty level of that particular expedition. You'll want the star rating of the fleet you assemble to be equal to or higher than the difficulty rating, otherwise you risk failure or damage to your Frigates. The small lit-up dots next to a Frigate does not represent its star rating, but rather its number of positive traits. Once you've assembled the expedition fleet, you'll see a star rating for it as a whole.

You can send up to five Frigates on an expedition. After selecting it and sending your fleet out, you can now head to the Fleet Command Room you built and speak with the expedition captain.

If you want to send out your Frigates on more than one expedition, you'll need to build another Fleet Command Room. You'll need one for each ongoing expedition.

Next, let's go over the important things you need to know about expeditions.

Fuelling Frigates

In order to send your fleet on expeditions, you'll need to fuel the Frigates. When selecting an expedition, it will show you how much fuel the selected Frigates will consume. Remember, you can see how much fuel it takes to power a Frigate when you purchase it.

There are three separate Frigate Fuel recipes, each of which is the same but in varying amounts. You'll obtain the blueprints for them all when completing the introductory tutorial mission for Freighters, titled "Freighter Command."

Here's the recipe for each:

ItemCrafting Materials
Frigate Fuel (50 Tonnes)
  • 50 Di-hydrogen
  • 50 Tritium
Frigate Fuel (100 Tonnes)
  • 100 Di-hydrogen
  • 100 Tritium
Frigate Fuel (200 Tonnes)
  • 200 Di-hydrogen
  • 200 Tritium

Support-specialized Frigates will reduce the amount of fuel you need for an expedition if you include them in the fleet. However, support specialist Frigates themselves use fuel, so it's often better to use them for shorter expeditions. Sending them on a longer one can actually increase the total fuel used by the expedition fleet.

Consumable Frigate Upgrades

If you access the panel on the table that's farthest from the captain's seat (the first one you see when you enter the cockpit), you can purchase the blueprints for some Freighter upgrades, including consumables that will help your Frigates on expeditions.

On the left-hand side of this tech tree, you'll see the Fuel Oxidiser. After learning that recipe, you can unlock recipes for the Mind Control Device, Explosive Drones, Holographic Analyser, and Mineral Compressor. The Fuel Oxidiser reduces the time spent on an expedition, and the other four each correspond to a different type of expedition.

Unlocking each costs a Salvaged Frigate Module.

Here are more details on what each of these items does:

ItemExpedition TypeFunctionCrafting Components
Fuel OxidiserAnyReduces the time needed for an expedition
  • 2 Quad Servo
  • 50 Gold
Explosive DronesCombatAdds +10 points to a fleet's Combat skill
  • 1 Walker Brain
  • 50 Gold
Holographic AnalyserExplorationAdds +10 points to a fleet's Exploration skill
  • 1 Quantum Computer
  • 50 Gold
Mineral CompressorIndustrialAdds +10 points to a fleet's Industrial skill
  • 1 Hydraulic Wiring
  • 50 Gold
Mind Control DeviceTradeAdds +10 points to a fleet's Trade skill
  • 1 Solar Mirror
  • 50 Gold

Repairing Damaged Frigates

Occasionally, you'll receive a call from your fleet and learn that one of your Frigates has been damaged during an expedition. You'll be given the option to call it back from the mission. If you continue to use a damaged Frigate, it can become even more damaged and even be completely destroyed permanently.

Once you've recalled a damaged Frigate (or the expedition ends and it returns), you can repair it.

Fly your Starship to the Frigate and land on it (damaged Frigates are marked with a red navpoint). The captain will contact you and show you where the damaged components are. You'll need to head to each and provide materials to fix it.

These materials can include any of the following;

  • Oxygen
  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Platinum
  • Pure Ferrite
  • Ferrite Dust
  • Tritium

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