Returnal: What Are Obolites And Ether?

As you explore the various biomes of Atropos in Returnal, Serene will find Obolites and Ether. These are both forms of currency on Atropos, but of course, using them isn’t as simple as doing a bit of window-shopping.

This guide will cover what Obolites and Ether are, what they can be used to buy, as well as how you can find more of both Atropian currencies.

What Are Obolites?

Obolites are orange shards that you will find all across Atropos. These can be used to buy items that will help you on your current cycle.

Over the course of a cycle, Selene can collect hundreds, or even thousands, of Obolites. However, they will all be lost when you die and the cycle restarts. You need to strike a fine balance between saving Obolites for better items and using them before you die.

Where To Use Obolites In Returnal

Obolites can be used at Fabricators to buy items. Fabricators are shops with various items for sale, such as consumables and artefacts.

These items might give you boosts, such as extra suit integrity, for the rest of your run. Others might have a one-time use, such as Silphium Vials, which grant you a small amount of health back.

How to Find More Obolites in Returnal

Obolites spill out on to the floor when you kill an enemy. Move near Obolite fragments to have them automatically dragged into your suit. You won’t get many per kill, so you’ll have to save them up.

You will also find Obolite crystals around Atropos. These drop a larger amount of Obolites, but they can only be smashed with the Atropian Sword. This is a permanent unlock that you will get an hour or two into Returnal, so you can ignore them at first.

Across Atropos, you will find stone statues. Most of these can be shot and destroyed. Some won’t drop anything useful, but if you destroy statues with glowing yellow eyes, Obolites will spill out in the surrounding area.

What Is Ether?

Ether is a permanent currency in Returnal, so you won’t lose it when you die. They are far rarer than Obolites, so only expect to be holding a few at a time. They look like purple shards on the floor.

What to Use Ether for in Returnal

Ether can be used in a few different ways, so you’ll need to decide on the best time to spend it.

Malignant items will plague you throughout Atropos. Malignance is a random status effect on items that corrupts them. When you pick up malignant items, there is a chance that your suit could malfunction. Fortunately, Ether can be used to cleanse malignant items, making them safe to pick up.

Ether can also be spent at Cthonos, the living tower found near the Crash Site at the start of a cycle. This is unlocked a few hours into Returnal, so if you haven’t unlocked Cthonos yet, keep playing until you do. You can give Ether to Cthonos in exchange for a random item. 

Ether can also be used to activate Reconstructors. These are essentially respawn points that Selene can find throughout Atropos. They are quite rare, so don’t expect to find them around every corner. Returnal is a difficult game, so Reconstructors are especially valuable. This means that you must use a lot of Ether to activate them.

How to Find More Ether in Returnal

Ether spawns randomly, but it can make your run much easier. If you are struggling against enemies and could do with some Ether, investigate side routes. These are marked on the map as dark blue doorways. You could find all kinds of useful items in these, including Ether.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a way to guarantee more Ether, so you’ll just have to cross your fingers whilst exploring every corner of Atropos.

How To Exchange Obolites And Ether

If you constantly find yourself with loads of Obolites and no Ether, or vice versa, then you might be wondering whether you can exchange one currency for the other. Luckily, you can.

To exchange Obolites and Ether, you need to find a group of Fabricators, the shops that are found randomly around Atropos. Near the Fabricator, you will find an Obolites Repository, which can be used to trade in either currency. You can trade in 200 Obolites to get 5 Ether, or 5 Ether to get 300 Obolites.

If you’ve made it much further in a run than usual, it could be worth trading in some Obolites to gain Ether, which you could then use to activate a Reconstructor. This will give you a second chance if the aliens of Atropos manage to kill you.

However, activating a Reconstructor won’t make you any stronger. You might feel safer, but enemies will kill you just as easily. If Obolites are scarce and you are coming toward a boss, it might be worth trading in some Ether to gain some more. You could then teleport over to a Fabricator and buy some items to give yourself a better a chance of survival.

Next: Returnal: Can You Save The Game?

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