As you may have seen, Returnal (and farming ether) is not an easy game. In fact it might be one of the hardest AAA action games of the last few years. But as with all good roguelikes, it gives you plenty of ways to even the odds as you play. One of these is Ether, a super important resource that you’ll find scattered throughout the world. You need a lot of it but it’s not easy to come by. Luckily, there are a few methods you can use to farm it, and we’ve got them right here for you.
What is Ether?
Ether is a valuable resource in Returnal. It’s a rare pick-up and can easily be confused with Malignant Resin from a distance. It’s the most important resource available, and you will retain it even on death. Once it’s spent, though, it stays spent and you’ll need to collect more.
Returnal Ether: Why do you need it?
Ether is used for various purposes. The first and most important is that for 6 Ether, you can activate a Reconstructor (above) which will allow you to respawn with all your gear and and items once on death.
You can also spend 3 Ether at the Helios Crash Site to unlock new items or artefacts for the loot pool.
Finally, you can use it to cleanse Malignant items and chests (below). If you have an abundance and you’re desperate for health, it’s worth cleansing Resin and Silphum, while you can also cleanse Atropan Chests which contain weapons and, very occasionally, artefacts.
How to find Ether:
This is the simplest, easiest, and slowest way to build up a stock of Ether. Simply explore every area, and you’ll typically pick up at least 1 to 3 in a given Biome. It looks like a Malignant item at a glance, so be sure to check every time.
After a certain point in the story you’ll be able to use the Helios’ terminal to run simulated scenarios. These are really just chunks of the main game with conditions in place which you’ll be scored on at the end. You’ll gain points for enemies killed and lose them for Adrenalin resets, for example. If you complete the simulation with enough points, you’ll earn several Ether as a reward.
Trade with other players
If you find a Fabricator you’ll be able to trade at an online exchange for Ether or Oblites. It’s a fairly expensive process and should only be done if you’ve a wealth of either resource, or, of course, if you’re desperate.
If you’re feeling brave you can revisit boss rooms, signified by a red rectangle door with a triangle above it. You’ll receive 5 Ether every time you beat a boss, so if you need to farm some fast and you’ve enough skill or knowledge of a particular boss fight, this is a viable way to do it.