Terrain (Atlas)

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Disambig.png This article is about the Atlas Rises version of Terrain. For the NEXT version, see Terrain.

Terrain is a varying feature of planets in No Man's Sky.

Beautiful and rare High Water Riverland,
Udinoka (Guiden)

Summary[edit | edit source]

The terrain of a planet can differ greatly and influences a Traveller's ability to explore them. The terrain stretches over the entire planet and is for the most part independent of their biome; with Exotic, Dead and Scorched planets being the only exception to varying degree.

Classification[edit | edit source]

Planets in NMS follow the basic design of pangean or oceanic. While an oceanic planet will always have a high base level of water, a pangean planet does not. Oceanic planets further have their own sub-biomes below the water and offer a different topography than their pangean counterparts for their water regions.

Ocean Worlds[edit | edit source]

Ocean worlds can be roughly separated into three types; Ocean, Continent and Archipelago. The continental variant is the most common, with the archipelago and ocean versions being rather rare. For now it seems the archipelago has a higher chance to appear than the ocean world due to the rarity of 'high' water levels for planets in general.
Waypoints are harder to come by on ocean worlds and in some extreme cases of ocean planets nigh impossible to find due to the lack of spawn points. There have been reports of ocean planets without Monolith spawns. This makes finding a portal as impossible on them as dead or exotic worlds in some cases.
Dead, Exotic and Scorched planets are never found as ocean worlds.

Continent[edit | edit source]

Continent, Alima Prime (Alima)

The most common type of ocean is the continental world. A continental world has a medium water height and a general topography of downs or mountains. Due to its general topography, the main body of the 'continents' is often accompanied by several smaller islands which mostly consist of hill and mountain tops piercing the surrounding water surface. It offers several waypoints on its mostly huge islands, but hinders exploration without a well fueled spaceship or a Nomad for portal travellers. For most, this is the only ocean planet they ever see.

Archipelago[edit | edit source]

Archipelago, Voet Omen (Itidpun)

The archipelago world is rather uncommon, as it prefers the third type of topography to be present, the plain. Unlike downs or mountains that can form continental worlds of different landmass for most water levels, the archipelago only works well with downs and plains. Planets of this type often showcase many small islands with little channels between them instead of big islands with huge caveats of water. Since the islands offer little space between each island, the ocean of these worlds is rather shallow. It was most commonly observed on Lush planets, but can appear on others as well.

Ocean[edit | edit source]

Achi Eta, A Mountainous Ocean World in Ommund

Pure ocean worlds might be the rarest type of planet in No Man's Sky. They consist nearly uniformly of a down topography of which the tops are the only thing breaking through the surface of water. Many small islands with huge caveats of water have no waypoints at all and those that do form small plateaus of flatland rather uncommon for this planet type. Travel here is highly improbable and a Nomad is mandatory for portal travellers. Due to their lack of spawn points, bases are rare here and finding one from a portal can literally take hours if one spawns at all.

Pangea Worlds[edit | edit source]

Pangea worlds are chunks of solid landmass without any continuous fragment being fully surrounded by water. This class of planet is the most common in the NMS universe and differs greatly due to the many types of topography and their corresponding water levels. If sorted by their prevelance of water, they roughly fall into four categories; Pangea, Swamp, Riverland, and Wetland. However, inside those categories there exist many subdivisions due to the huge variety of landscapes.

Pangea[edit | edit source]

Together with the swamp planet, the pangea planet is the most common planet in NMS. It typically has a water level of zero or near zero so that none or next to no lakes form on its surface. Since Scorched worlds have a low default water level, nearly all of them fall into this category and are bone dry. Finding a scorched swampworld is so rare one might never see one (see Gamma Polaris, Fimoff). Similar to the Scorched world, most Exotic or Dead worlds have low water levels. However some of them reach water levels high enough for low topography or regular craters to reach the status of a swamp world and are thus less rare. Any type of topography can be found here as all types are known to fall dry. Planets with sporadic lakes, as seen in mountain or low water plain topography, do still count as pangea planets. Their occurence is too rare and highly dependant on extreme coincidences in topography.

Swamp[edit | edit source]

Swamp (Dead Planet), Itidpun 5 (Itidpun)

A very common occurence is the swamp planet. Unlike the pure pangea planet, swamp planets have regular occurences of water with varying degree of fauna. In contrast to pangea planets, these can spawn aquatic species. The most common swamp planets are based on topographic anomalies like craters or pits which lend themselves to be filled by a slighty increased water level.
The natural form of swamp planets tends to appear on worlds consisting of giant plains or at least downs, as those can be flooded without topographic anomalies just by a higher water level. If most of a plain world is flooded and the proportion of land to water becomes equal, it is regarded as a rare wetland instead.

Riverland[edit | edit source]

Low Caustic Riverland, Deshvan 4 (Deshvan)

The riverlands are one of the rare landscapes in NMS and demand a specific combination of topography. While these do not really have rivers as shown in the E3 demo, their topography of ravines inbetween large plateaus and valleys imitates the natural landscape of rivers, which in the best case seem to flow into lakes. If fallen dry, this topography is a nightmare for most explorers, even with an exocraft. However, in the rare case of medium to high water levels for the planet, these mountain worlds transform into the beautiful riverland.

Wetland[edit | edit source]

Wetland, Madach (Utvalf)

The wetland is the pendant to the riverland for all the down and plain topography. If the water level is high most of the world gets flooded, however without fully submerging the planet and without forming a proper ocean sub-biome. These landmasses are still connected, but are broken up by vast shallow or deep lakes inbetween. Since mountains are the most common topography in NMS, this can be seen as one of the rarest landscapes in the game together with the pure ocean worlds.