Starfield Beginner’s Tips and Tricks Guide

The first dozen hours in Starfield are amazing, and it you follow these few beginner's tips, they'll be even better.

Screenshot by GameSkinny

Getting started with Starfield is a daunting task. Shortly after the tutorial section, you can leave the port of New Atlantis and find your fortune almost anywhere among the stars. While the folks at Bethesda recommend you complete the main quest first to unlock the game’s real potential, you don’t have to. There are tons of things you can learn by playing the main story or going off the beaten path. These are my beginner’s tips and tricks I wish I’d known when I started playing Starfield.

Starfield Beginner’s Tips and Tricks Guide

Upgrade the Targeting Control System and Piloting Skills

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One of my favorite parts about playing Starfield is the ability to dogfight a group of enemies until only one remains, then take out its engines and commandeer the ship as my own. However, you can’t take command of the bigger, more valuable ships if you don’t have an upgraded Piloting skill.

I found this out the hard way when I took a huge prize. When I tried to add it to my fleet as my flagship, I couldn’t sit in the pilot’s seat. That’s why I recommend upgrading your Piloting skill to Rank 4 as soon as you can. Every ship in space will be yours for the taking.

Important note: If you don’t have the Targeting Control system Skill, you can’t target an enemy ship’s engines. That means you can disable it long enough to board, take out the crew, and claim the ship.

Related: Starfield Ship Combat Guide

Invest in Crafting, Not Combat

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My second beginner’s tip for Starfield is to invest in crafting. It’s always been powerful in Bethesda games and is incredibly so here. Crating opens the way to creating personal outposts and many items that you can sell for a tidy profit.

Perhaps more importantly, improving your crafting skills lets you create and add powerful upgrades to any weapon. You can enhance any Legendary weapon or armor piece you find. In turn, that makes it more powerful and worth more when or if you decide to sell it.

And while the combat skills are great (most are flat damage increases), none of the early bonuses outweigh the best stat-stick you find on an enemy. Put another way, the rare rifle you find on a random enemy might be so much more powerful than everything else you have that it doesn’t need the help. Investing your skill points into crafting early on will ensure you can always have the best of the best.

Related: How to Make Money Fast in Starfield

Search Everything, Illegal or Not

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There’s loot everywhere in Starfield. So much so that it’s practically falling out of every locker, off of every desk, and every NPC’s pockets. Not everything is valuable, mind. However, you can find some very juicy loot and loose credits, clothes, rare consumables, and even contraband in some surprising places.

Even the illegal goods that aren’t contraband can have value, so long as you know where to sell them. Theft, piracy, and other illicit dealings can net you huge sums of money. If you have the gumption and the sneaking ability, taking someone else’s things from right under their noses can be quite lucrative.

Related: How to Bribe NPCs in Starfield

Don’t Neglect Planetary Exploration for Space Exploration, and Vice Versa

Screenshot by GameSkinny

This Starfield beginner’s tip is very important. The game is massive, and you can spend dozens of hours engaging with just one of its many systems. However, I don’t recommend spending all your time in space, hopping from port to port. You can make more money and see so much more of the game if you explore the surfaces of its planets.

Not only can you find places to loot, but almost all of the materials and creatures you find on a planet are useful in crafting. That allows you to bypass buying, selling, or hunting for specific materials if you already know of a planet where the local flora and fauna can provide it in droves. And trust me, there are some worlds where you will be swimming in specific material types. The only problem is you can’t note where they are anywhere in game, so take a moment to do so elsewhere.

Related: How to Scan Flora and Fauna in Starfield

Enemy Level Really Matters (Kind Of)

Screenshot by GameSkinny

Like in any good RPG, your enemy’s level is a good gauge of their capabilities. As a Level 25 character, you don’t want to take on anything more than ten levels higher than you. If you decide to do so anyway, expect to take a lot of damage in a very short time.

Every system on the star map has a level assigned to it. Both the enemies and enemy ships you find there will roughly correspond to that listed level. If you’re in the early game, don’t expect to go to a Level 50 system and have a time of it. You will be shot out of the sky in short order.

That doesn’t mean you can’t win against otherwise impossible odds. You just have to play smarter. If an enemy is beyond a comfortable level range, kite them or take pot shots with your best weapon. Starfield‘s AI isn’t good enough to completely outmaneuver you. Peeking with a high-powered weapon will usually deal with most foes quickly enough.

The same might be said of the enemy ship AI, but fighting ships is a very different game than foot soldiers. It’s much easier to be overwhelmed. If your gear or piloting abilities aren’t up to the task, expect to be space dust in no time.

Those are my beginner’s tips and tricks to Starfield. You’ll learn plenty of other lessons as you progress through the game, but I’ll leave you to discover those for yourself. The mysteries of space wouldn’t be the same without them. If you want to know much more about how Starfield works, check out our guides on how to collect gaseous resources, complete planet surveys and scans, and more in our guides hub for the game.

About the author

John Schutt

John Schutt has been playing games for almost 25 years, starting with Super Mario 64 and progressing to every genre under the sun. He spent almost 4 years writing for strategy and satire site TopTierTactics under the moniker Xiant, and somehow managed to find time to get an MFA in Creative Writing in between all the gaming. His specialty is action games, but his first love will always be the RPG. Oh, and his avatar is, was, and will always be a squirrel, a trend he's carried as long as he's had a Steam account, and for some time before that.