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The subject of this article is from the NEXT update.
The information from this article is up-to-date as of 24 July, 2018.

The Sentinels are policing drones with mysterious origins and purposes.

Summary[edit | edit source]

You have overstepped your boundaries!

The Sentinels are Mechanical Lifeforms; self-replicating, non-organic machines that are similar to the Korvax, another Mechanical Lifeform in No Man's Sky's Universe. Their origins are unknown but they are seemingly deployed on every known planet to balance the efforts and actions of the player within the procedurally generated ecosystem. Sentinels act as the workhorse machines of The Atlas and as universal police, policing the actions of those who reside within the universe.

They are, in essence, the "gardeners" of the No Man's Sky. If the player makes an attempt to alter the environment while they are around, they will not hesitate to defend their "garden." They will attack the player if caught harming the ecosystem of a planet. A Sentinel will also defend itself if the player shoots it, alerting other Sentinels in the area.

In planets with rare trade commodities like Albumen Pearl or Gravitino Ball, the Sentinels will attack the Player instantly after scanning them once. These Sentinels are classified as "Aggressive," "Frenzied" or "High-Security", and that planet is considered an extreme planet for the purposes of fulfilling Extreme Survival milestones.

Lore[edit | edit source]

According to records scavenged from various ruins, traveler logs, and plaques - Sentinels are also known as The Aerons, and have existed longer than most of the entities. The exact time of their first appearance in the Outer Edge is yet to be discovered. They quickly spread across the entire No Man's Sky universe and were finally confronted by the Vy'keen Alliance under the Prophet Hirk. As the most powerful race in the galaxy, the Vy'keen nearly won the Aeron War, but were attacked by the Gek Dominion coming from the core while they desperately tried to remove the Aerons from existence. Weakened, they had no way to resist the First Spawn Empire.

To end the war between the Dominion, the Sentinels and the Alliance the then enslaved Korvax 'injected' the breeding pools of the Gek with their nanites. This forced the First Spawns to work for the Atlas and its loyal Aerons. During their short conflicts, the Gek quickly came to realize that these sentinels were far more vicious than they themselves. They are so powerful that even the more intellectual entities such as the Korvax started to worship them and deemed the Aerons to be the rule-keepers among the galaxy in the name of their god Atlas. While the Sentinels are still at war with the Vy'keen Alliance, they also still seek to eliminate anomalous entities such as non-convergent Gek and renegade Korvax lifeforms. This forced Nada and Polo to permanently be on the run and was another root cause for Polo's continued interest in studying the Sentinels.

On all exotic worlds the 'Last Traveller' can find Boundary Failures that tell the story of the multiverse from Telamon's point of view, a safety program of the Atlas.

One describes that the sentinels did go out of control once before and the entire universe had to be deleted from the multiverse. This could happen again, but this time unchecked, as the Atlas is slowly losing control of its own defense program.

Some blackbox reports of crashed freighters state that they come from a universe with different skies. Some of them were attacked by sentinels which during their last moments fought among themselves for an unknown reason. It is possible that those are the rogue sentinels which annihilated all life in their respective multiverses and had to be deleted by the Atlas Protection Program 'Telamon' in return. It is likely Telamon used some sentinels to fight the corrupted ones, before giving the order to wipe the universe clean. A similar behavior can be seen in No Man's Sky, as some branches of sentinels are overly aggressive, although for now only to foreigners, especially the player who is accompanied by the Telamon AI as their guide.

Motivations[edit | edit source]

Bipedal walker

According to an article published in the January 2015 Game Informer, it is suggested that Sentinels, formerly known as The Malevolent Force, were not all that malevolent to start off with:

"This robotic enemy army isn't all that malevolent as far as motivations go. They are simply trying to maintain the balance of the universe. On some planets they patrol, keeping an eye out for anyone who kills creatures, carves out resources, or generally changes the environment. If you're just strolling around scanning things in, they leave you alone. If you draw their attention, they attack like traditional first-person shooter enemies, shooting lasers, strafing, and taking cover."[1]

In a separate interview with The Guardian published in October 2014, Sean Murray said:

"It's dangerous on planets. Each one has an ecology, and you're not always at the top of the food chain; we've shown large creatures that attack you. There's also something else we haven't shown. There is a malevolent force in the universe that does provide a lot of combat and more core gameplay at times. We wanted that; we wanted players to wander around exploring planets but never to feel entirely safe."[2]

Background information has been found within abandoned structures on 'Derelict' consoles. These belong to a race that was active before the Vy'Keen, but were annihilated during a war with the sentinels. This information describes the inability of any race to ever truly destroy enough of the Sentinels to eliminate them, and alludes to the mystery of how they are produced.

Types[edit | edit source]

The most common type of Sentinels are flying drones, which will hover above the ground, patrolling the planets and scanning for threats. However, armored drones (introduced in NEXT) and bipedal and quadrupedal combat units will also appear if the unarmored drones are unable to subdue threats to the planet by themselves. Damaged quadrupedal units can be healed by flying drones. This may apply to bipeds as well. All of these are equipped with sensors and turrets meant to protect planets from harm.

In space, Sentinel starships behaving similarly to Pirate starships will attack players which attack Space Stations and Space Fleets or leave a planet on which they have maximum planet alert. At maximum space alert, a Sentinel starship carrier will replace starship spawns but will itself release starships until maximum alert ends. The carrier itself cannot be destroyed, only its turrets.

For Sentinel units with armor, the armor has its own health and will usually greatly reduce, if not completely nullify, damage to the unit itself. The armor of armored drones, however, has a weak spot in the center which can be targeted to bypass the armor and deal significant damage to the drone.

Behavior and wanted level[edit | edit source]

Flying drone being destroyed

Sentinels behave differently on each planet. Normally, Sentinels only react to players when witnessing them violate a universal law (such as killing an animal unprovoked, or over-mining a planet's resources). Engaging in combat with Sentinels will cause the player's planet wanted levels (PWL), indicated in the top right corner of player's screen, to rise. As this level increases, the number of Sentinels will increase, and stronger Sentinels will start to reinforce.

Behavior[edit | edit source]

Here are some examples of Sentinels behaviors:

Does not engage player regardless of any actions player done to the planet Sentinels reside on. However, they still may become active if a player continues to mine near its presence or when it starts scanning.
Lacking, Relaxed
Sentinels are far less common and engaging in comparison to "Active" behavior. During exploitation of resources they next to never spawn nearby. Their scouting speed is reduced and they often ignore the player even if they are mischievous. They quickly lose interest, even during combat and don't really try to pursue the player.
Limited, Low, Low Security, Minimal
Few Sentinels around, those that are present react like "Active" sentinels to even the smallest mining near them.
Active, Average, Standard, Typical
Most common and normal state of Sentinels. Will engage player once they witness the player killing an animal unprovoked, or over-mining a planet's resources.
Sentinels are noted to be almost similar to "Active" behavior, but move faster and are slightly more accurate.
Sentinels are more sensitive in comparison to "Active" behavior.
Frenzied, High Security
Sentinels kill on sight after spot player and scan for 5 seconds
Aggressive, Hostile
Sentinels will always attack on sight after immediately spotting a player. Extremely accurate aiming and fast movement. Higher tier sentinels like walkers can already appear on alarm level 2.

Sentinel alerts[edit | edit source]

Doing these actions always alerts Sentinels (regardless of Sentinel presence), raising either PWL or SWL (Space Wanted Level) to at least 1:

Collecting resources[edit | edit source]

Attacking behavior[edit | edit source]

  • Attacking a Cargo Ship (Space Wanted Level [SWL] 1)
  • Attacking a space station
  • Attacking another star ship
  • Attacking a Sentinel drone

Doing these actions with a Sentinel drone witnessing the action will alert the Sentinels and set the player's PWL to 1:

Avoiding detection[edit | edit source]

If a player provokes a Sentinel on a planet, the usual way to disengage from combat is to flee and avoid detection by Drones until they give up the search. It is best to hide in a cave, as it is difficult for Drones and Quadrupedal Sentinels to enter; however, procedurally-generated buildings, even those with windows, will also conceal the player from Sentinels. You can even dig a hole using your Geology Cannon or Terrain Manipulator. It's best to make an L-shaped hole, since Drones can spot you from overhead, and may fly into your dugout. The player may also lift off in the starship and cruise around without leaving the atmosphere until the deactivation timer has finished. Alternatively, maintaining some distance from the Drones, landing, and exiting the starship and running while they catch up can cause the sentinels to scan your ship and hover around it rather than searching for the player, possibly registering the ship itself as the threat.

After 20 + (wanted level x 10) seconds of evasion, Drones will be "deactivated" and return to their passive behaviour. However, Quadrupedal and Bipedal Sentinels act differently. After deactivation, they will wander around the terrain and simply make noises. In this state, they are passive, and will only attack when attacked or the Sentinel force is alerted once more.

Entering a building can also cause the Drones to lose track of the player, as buildings are non-combat zones. While a Drone can follow a player through an open door, they cannot detect the player once inside, and can become trapped as they cannot trigger the door themselves. While standing in an open door, if the player is inside far enough to trigger the no-combat zone, Sentinel Drones can no longer detect them even if they have a clear line of sight.

Players can also disengage from combat with planet Sentinels by leaving the planet. However, as of NEXT, leaving a planet with a non-zero PWL will set the player's SWL (Space Wanted Level) equal to 1, causing Sentinel starships to begin pursuing the player.

Disengaging from combat with Sentinels in space is much more difficult. While Sentinel starships are present or arriving in at most 7 seconds, the player starship's Pulse Engine is jammed and the player is unable to access the Galaxy Map; additionally, Sentinel starships will relentlessly follow players, even into the atmospheres of planets. Entering a freighter or space station is the only way to reset the player's space wanted level back to 0. Entering a planet's atmosphere prevents additional waves from spawning in for the duration, but does not reduce the player's space wanted level. Landing on a planet will set the players PWL equal to their SWL (usually at a minimum of PWL 2.) The player can disengage as normal after being detected by the ground Sentinels. If the player can move far enough away from pursuing Sentinels, the alert will be cancelled immediately, cutting short the evasion timer.

Expected appearance[edit | edit source]

As the wanted level increases, so does the sentinel presence. Here are some examples of what a player may encounter:

Level 1 1 Drone
Level 2 2 Armored Drones
Level 3 2 Armored Drones, 1 Quad
Level 4 2 Armored Drones, 1 Walker
Level 5 2 Armored Drones, 2 Quad, 1 Walker - Obtained after destroying all Sentinels from level 4 twice. This wave of sentinels will be sent after the player endlessly until they evade.
Level 1 1 Sentinel Starship - Can also be obtained by leaving a planet before the "Sentinels Searching" counter runs out.
Level 2 2 Sentinel Starships
Level 3 4 Sentinel Starships
Level 4 6 Sentinel Starships
Level 5 1 Sentinel Starship Carrier - Carrier spawning 3-5 Sentinel Starships at once. More Starships will spawn each time a wave is defeated. The Carrier will immediately disappear when SWL drops below 5.

Engagement[edit | edit source]

Sentinels may be attacked either on foot using the Multitool, or by starship or exocraft weaponry. They usually will not fire their weapons unless they have a clear line of sight to the player, so continuously holding up the Personal Shield may stall them from attacking, however they will fire immediately upon the shield being dropped.

Normal Drones[edit | edit source]

Drones have no forward armor, and can be destroyed with relative ease from any angle. Drones attack periodically with laser blasters, and show a tendency to try to flank the player if more than one Sentinel unit is presently engaged. They normally hover a short distance above the ground, but can fly higher to pursue a flying opponent. Thus far they have not shown much tendency to attack a starship in motion, but will continue to track it until it leaves their range of sight. At wanted level 3 or higher, a Drone's successful visual and/or scan of the player will summon the appropriate backup of Quads and Walkers. Drones may also heal other units if the player moves out of detection range.

Armored Drones[edit | edit source]

Armored Drones have forward plating, with an eyelet in the center, and will face the player at all times while engaged to make use of this shield. When not tracking the player, most of their bodies are open to normal attack. They can be directly attacked through the eyelet; in fact their eye seems to be a critical spot, however it is a small target and Drones tend to move subtly, making a clean hit on the eye difficult.

Other than their armor, they appear to be identical to Normal Drones in every other way. They attack with the same blaster bolts as Normal Drones.

Sentinel Quads[edit | edit source]

Sentinel Quads have two attacks they can perform, a charged laser attack and a lunge attack. Both attacks are aimed directly in front of the Sentinel and can be defeated using strafe tactics. However, Sentinel Quads can pass through the walls of player-made tunnels during their lunge attacks, so these units should be fought in open areas. Quads can be healed by Sentinel drones when their health drops low. This can be annoying if the drone ends up stuck under the ground. (Those drones can be killed with melee attacks, and the quad dealt with as normal.)

The quad's weak point is located on its rear, which is most easily exploited by attacking from an elevated position rather than by attempting to stay behind it as it jumps around. Another method is to get them to target your parked ship, allowing you to safely kill them while they harmlessly leap at the ship over and over.

Sentinel Quads are more aggressive than Drones, but may be easier to deal with than the smaller target Drones. At medium range, they will edge around the player, then pause and charge up their weapon and fire a sustained beam, telegraphed by a bright orange-red glow around its "eye" before firing. This attack is fairly easy to avoid, and the Quad is rooted in place while firing, making strafing an effective tactic as they will keep firing until the player moves outside their laser targeting radius or the weapon loses its charge. The beam does track the player, but the player can move faster than it can turn.

In close combat, they will charge at the player, dealing heavy damage and some knockback, and will continue to rush the player in such manner until distance is gained. This makes them tougher in confined spaces, especially in the tight quarters of caves or between large resources nearby.

Quads have been observed to remain in place while engaged, if the player is outside their beam range. This seems to occur if the Drones scan the player while the player is backpedaling from them with the Personal Shield up, causing the Quad to spawn in but be unable to attack due to the shield's barrier blocking line of attack. Even if the player engages the Quadruped while outside the beam's range, the Sentinel will only side-dodge at best, but otherwise remains in place.

Sentinel Walkers[edit | edit source]

Unlike Sentinel Quads, Sentinel Walkers attack exclusively using ranged weaponry. While their leg and upper torso armour is intact, they will regularly charge and sweep a laser across players, though this laser can be blocked with well-timed use of a Personal Forcefield. The lower torso takes no damage from small arms until the player destroys all four pieces of leg armour and the upper torso armor, at which point the Walker releases a barrage of blue explosives around itself and switches to a rapid-fire plasma attack which can be dodged much more easily than its original attack. Once it has switched attacks, players should target the lower torso with non-ricocheting weaponry in order to destroy the Walker. The weak point is a small blue area near the top of the lower torso [Add picture]. Once it is dead, its unique part must be retrieved from the Combat Supplies container it drops.

Also known as Bipeds, they are covered in armor plates in multiple locations along their legs and on their head unit. With their much larger stature and longer legs, they can keep pace with a Roamer or Nomad exocraft; however, they do have some trouble navigating hilly or rocky terrain, attempting to go around obstacles. Their primary means of attack is a powerful sustained laser beam similar to the Quad's, and they will continuously move to keep the player within sight and range of this beam. The beam range is significantly further than that of the Quad, and deals much more damage and tracks almost perfectly to maintain the damage output. When charging up the beam, the weapon causes a bright red-orange glow on the forward plates, and like the Quad, the Walker will remain still while targeting.

The armor plates on their bodies have much higher defense, however destroying them appears to weaken the Walker. Removing the plates from their legs will weaken them, but their main head must be destroyed to kill them. The armor on their head is much more resilient. Once the forehead plate has been destroyed, the Walker will stumble and release a vertical volley of falling energy projectiles. At this point, they abandon the sustained laser beam and attack with the same blasters as the Drones, with a greater number of projectiles before recharging. Arguably, this stage of combat is much easier to deal with, as the blaster bolts have a lower flight speed than the sustained laser, so strafing at a distance can prevent any bolts from hitting while the player attacks with their own projectiles. Circling the Walker, or changing strafe direction once the Walker's magazine is empty, can lock it into a cycle of turning and then opening fire, effectively leaving it completely open. Their recharge time on the blaster bolts is fairly long as well, further leaving them open to attack.

Walkers are also much more cognizant of the player's presence, and appear to have a broader range of view. Hiding inside a building does not always avoid detection from Walkers; if they are close enough, they can still detect the player.

Weapons choice[edit | edit source]

Sentinels may be engaged with the Multitool weapons, and the player may want to make use of the Terrain Manipulator to create a bunker or small cavern from which to attack if they feel they are not able to attack the Sentinels head on. Alternatively, it may be prudent to utilize the stronger weapon systems of the starship or exocraft. The starship's constant motion while on planets necessitates a looping flyby method of attack, but the slight homing capability of the reticule makes weaponry easier to use against them. Additionally, most, if not all, terrestrial Sentinels do not attack the starship while it is flying. Exocraft may be used as well, however, the player should be aware that the limited turning mobility, as well as being on the ground, may present substantial limitations due to the terrain in addition to individual exocraft speeds. Sentinels will attack Exocraft as well. Of additional note, the exocraft's upgraded mining laser appears to be much more effective than its upgraded weapons, dealing significant damage faster and with greater precision, along with its ability to sustain fire without overheating. When engaging Sentinels, range is usually preferable, and taking Drones out at a distance before they can see or scan the player usually - but not always - prevents a Quadruped or Biped from spawning even if the player has reached the appropriate threat level. The Personal Shield may be used to take on their laser attacks, but will not stop Quad charges.

Walkers and Quads have been shown to sometimes disappear when the player boards their starship, and often will not spawn at all if the player increases their wanted level by destroying Drones without leaving their ship. Walkers or Quads that have disappeared are still present and will detect the player in their starship if they pass by close enough, but cannot be targeted, requiring the player to leave the area and reset the detection or attack more Drones. Boarding the starship does not de-spawn Drones, however, and they will pursue the ship and continue moving in roughly the direction they last saw it, including up vertically in the air. Engagement of terrestrial Sentinels with the starship must be done at medium to far range, as close range will result in them taking no damage and being too close to the ship to be naturally targeted by the reticule.

When planning to challenge terrestrial Sentinels, the player should have appropriate weaponry ammunition and recharge materials on hand. Walkers in particular do not easily lose track of players, making grabbing recharge materials on the fly a harrowing endeavor. Carbon-based weapons such as Blaze Javelin or the Exocraft weapons or mining beam are good picks for backup weaponry, as carbon can be easily obtained on most planets in a pinch. Unlike the Exocraft's mining beam, the Multitool mining beam does not deal as much damage, so Blaze Javelin is a better use of the carbon charge.

Note: While hitting regular animals with an exocraft will usually kill them, Sentinels do not take damage from Exocraft impact. In fact, Exocraft can get flipped over by trying to run up onto the Sentinel, particularly common with Drones spawning from the ground while traveling. Sentinels are not alerted on impact.

Sentinel Starships[edit | edit source]

Starships are little different from Pirates in terms of combat tactics or approach. Sleek and triangular in build, they are also somewhat flat, presenting a slightly smaller area to hit. They carry a Photon Cannon and a Phase Beam, and do switch between the two, possibly on the same overheat mechanics as the players' weapons. For longer range, they use their Photon Cannons, while switching to Phase Beam for medium range. Phase Beam in particular is quite powerful. They can and will chase players into a planet's atmosphere, and will remain engaged until the player either lands or destroys them. Landing switches the PWL response from aerial to terrestrial, summoning Drones to seek the player out instead. On their own, Sentinel Starships are not much different from a Pirate. Their accuracy and frequency of weapon change seems to increase with PWL.

Like any dogfight, it is advised to move as much as possible to minimize enemy targeting, and try to attack from behind or directly from the front. Most space attackers in No Man's Sky will break off their head-on attack to try to evade incoming damage, and Sentinels are no different, so a rocket salvo during a headlong charge will likely force them to break off and spin to the side to avoid further attack. Sitting still and letting them charge and present themselves as a target is another option, however their Phase Beam makes this a risky tactic.

Additional information[edit | edit source]

If a Sentinel unit other than a Sentinel starship is destroyed, they grant Pugneum immediately to the currently active inventory [either the player's backpack if on foot, or to the inventory of the piloted craft]. They can also drop a cylindrical combat supplies container which can be destroyed for a partial shield recharge and additional resources. They have been known to drop:



  • 29-58 Pugneum
  • 1 Combat Supplies (can contain: ?-24 Nanite Clusters, ?-89 Projectile Ammunition, 1 Quad Servo)


  • 61-113 Pugneum
  • 1 Combat Supplies (can contain: ?-87 Nanite Clusters, ?-93 Projectile Ammunition, 1 Walker Brain)


Note: Blueprint drops have been replaced by Nanite Clusters.

Sentinel presence may also be used to determine a building's type while exploring on foot - a locked building will have multiple Drones, and occasionally may also have Quads roaming the immediate grounds. Most other building types will only have one or two Drones patrolling them. Sentinel presence may also heighten for certain mission types, and Walkers will spawn immediately upon the starship landing by the building or when the player is within foot range.

The Sentinel starship's model name is "Sapporoz S94", but the player starship's targeting system assigns procedurally-generated names to the Sentinel starships.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Vore, Bryan (January 2015). Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe. Game Informer. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  2. Stuart, Keith (28 October 2014). No Man's Sky creator: 'We wanted to build a universe'. The Guardian. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
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