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Starfield: Best Starting Backgrounds

Your starting background in Starfield helps define the early part of your playthrough. Here are the best ones.

Your starting background in Starfield sets the stage for how your first few hours of play will go. Short of a few different bits of dialog, the main benefit of choosing the right background is the three free perks it gives you. While you certainly will get tons more skill points as you progress and level up in the game, getting started on the right foot can be the difference between a rocky opening and a smooth one. We’ll go over the five best starting backgrounds in Starfield in this guide.

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Best Starting Backgrounds in Starfield

Bounty Hunter

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Piloting your ship — and fighting other ships in it — is one of the core gameplay elements in Starfield. The Bounty Hunter background provides two perks that make that part of the game much more comfortable, making it one of the best starting backgrounds in Starfield.

  • Up first is rank 1 Piloting, which lets you use your ship thrusters, a vital mobility tool regardless of where you are.
  • Next is Targeting Control Systems, which allows you to target specific ship parts when you’re fighting them. You must have this skill if you want to capture other ships, as you’ll need to disable their engines to board them.
  • Finally, Boost Pack Training enables the use of boost packs, the jets on some of the backpacks in the game that let you get around the world faster and easier.

In short, Bounty Hunter makes traversal in space and on-planet a better overall experience. It also gets you started on each skill’s challenge, which you’ll need to complete if you want to purchase the next rank. Larger, more complicated ships need upgraded Piloting to fly.

Related: Best Items to Sell in Starfield

Cyber Runner

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One of the best ways to make a load of credits in Starfield is to steal them, whether from the pockets of the unsuspecting or after cracking a safe with goodies inside. Cyber Runner helps with both endeavors, granting specialized perks that make property theft much easier. That’s why it comes in second on our list of the best starting backgrounds in Starfield.

  • The first perk, Stealth, does precisely what you’d expect. You gain a Stealth meter while crouched, are 25% harder to detect while sneaking, and do 5% more sneak attack damage with a suppressed weapon.
  • Next is Security, which adds Advanced locks to the list of those you can crack and allows you to bank two auto attempts instead of one. Auto attempts let you bypass one of the steps required to crack a locked container, and the higher the difficulty of the locks, the more steps required.
  • The last perk is Theft, which grants the ability to pickpocket almost any NPC in the game. You’ll only have about a 50-60% success chance at rank 1, but future ranks increase that value immensely.

Related: How to Use a Flashlight in Starfield


Screenshot by GameSkinny

The Industrialist is not focused on combat but rather its avoidance, making it one of the best starting backgrounds for some players. Not every problem in Starfield can be solved with bullets. Sometimes, smooth-talking is a better way to get what you want. There are also the many research projects you’ll be taking on to make and improve your gear, and this background also helps.

  • The first Industrialist perk is Persuasion, which, as its name would suggest, makes it 10% easier to persuade people to see things your way. There are hundreds of persuade challenges in Starfield, many of which can cut the time it takes to accomplish a task in half. The higher this skill’s rank, the more likely you are to succeed.
  • Security, the second perk in Industrialist, is the same as it is in Cyber Runner. You can crack safes and other locks more easily.
  • Finally, there’s Research Methods. While you can simply buy or find almost everything you need out in the wild, if you want to craft and upgrade your gear yourself, you’ll need to spend resources researching those upgrades. The Resource Methods perk reduces the cost of materials.

Related: Starfield Beginner’s Tips and Tricks

Long Hauler

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The Long Hauler starting background might seem to preclude you from becoming a courier, but that might be further from the truth than you think. The perks this background provides increase your inventory size and make ship-to-ship fights easier, though you’ll need a bit more investment in the latter to really make use of the system.

  • The first Long Hauler perk is Weight Lifting, which adds 10 kilograms to your character’s carrying capacity, for a total of 150.
  • The second Long Hauler perk is another one we’ve already discussed: Piloting. As always, your boosters enhance your mobility in space and make the trips to and from shipwrecks and floating cargo.
  • The third perk Long-Hauler provides is Ballistic Weapon Systems, which both increases your ship’s Ballistic weapon damage by 10% and makes them cost 20% less to use in Targeting Mode. You can’t continually target an enemy ship’s specific systems forever, and once you use up the energy to do so, you will unlock and need to start again.

Related: How to Find Caelumite in Starfield

[File Not Found]

Being a person of mystery with the [File Not Found] starting background gives you access to two powerful perks right off the start, plus one that’s just helpful overall. From a roleplaying standpoint, there are few backgrounds more freeing than “We know nothing about you.”

  • The first perk for [File Not Found] is Wellness, which increases your base health by 10%, put to 40% at rank 4. If you’re playing at lower difficulties, this perk can be especially useful, as it will let you get out of close scrapes more often. Playing at higher difficulties might get some benefit, as well.
  • The second [File Not Found] perk, Ballistics, increases the damage of ballistic weapons (weapons that shoot bullets) by 10%. You can expect plenty of combat in Starfield, so extra damage is always nice.
  • The third perk for [File Not Found] is Piloting.

Those are my recommendations for the best starting backgrounds in Starfield. Don’t be afraid to pick any of the others if you think they might fit your playstyle better. For more on the game’s absurd amount of content, check out our galactic guides hub.

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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.