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Opinions 12 September 2023, 13:32

author: Darius Matusiak

10 Things to Know Before Playing Starfield

Starfield is a sprawling game that can sometimes overwhelm. Here's a bunch of useful tips that should make your time in space a little easier!

Starfield, the new game from the studio that once gave us the immortal Skyrim, has been capturing our imagination for a long time with the prospect of an epic adventure in space. Many will be taken by this promise and set out aboard their ship to explore the mysteries of Bethesda's new universe.

Although we don't have to worry about the necessity of thoroughly exploring a thousand planets to not miss anything, Starfield is still a huge game with many mechanics that may cause some troubles or overwhelm new fans of Bethesda games and beginners of action RPGs. Thus, we provide you with some start-up tips that can make the first hours of Starfield easier, both for newcomers and those more experienced in space adventures.

Be sure to look for more detailed tips and descriptions in our guide.

  1. You will also find a set of starting tips in our game guide.

1. Save your game progress often!

Starfield is a vast game, and it also runs on Bethesda's own engine, known from their old RPG games. But don't worry – it's not as leaky as it might seem in the worst scenario. The game generally works well, but you should be prepared to encounter some errors, including ones that will make it difficult or impossible to progress further in the story.

Hence it's always worth having a relatively recent game save at hand, or even one from an earlier quest, to let the scripts grind again properly. Sometimes you might simply want to perform a certain task differently; without losing any resources, sneaking instead of shooting, or conducting a conversation with different dialog choices. There will be many options along the way. One save doesn't weigh much, just a few megabytes, so don't worry about them clogging up your drive.

2. If you cannot continue a quest, it may be due to script errors

This advice partly stems from the previous one and again – it's not a rule, but rather a matter of bad luck, for which it's worth being prudently prepared. After all, you may not be able to complete a quest, despite satisfying all its stages. The game engine seems to have particular problems when we complete missions with companions and ignore their presence too much, especially when running fast from one marker to another and leaving them far behind. It all brings us back to the old, golden rule – reloading the game save and keeping an eye on your crew should help you with a more consistent experience.

3. Fast travel is a must

Starfield is built on an engine that, although it sometimes provides impressive views, isn't designed for a space simulator and doesn't allow for free flight through subsequent systems. Everything is based on fast travel and jumping to new locations from the galaxy map. It's not worth trying to spend time flying from one planet to another. On the other hand, you should use the fast travel option whenever you can – not only during space escapades. The developers have prepared a few features such as the option to return to the ship or teleport directly to the cockpit seat, without having to walk through the interior of your ship for the hundredth time. You'll appreciate such a convenience very quickly.

4. Always loot ammunition from enemies

Even with a focus on developing the game's greatest diplomat or an expert in sneaking, more than once you'll have to solve the problem in a "noisy" way, with a gun. For situations like this, it's a good idea to have a sufficiently large amount of ammunition for each of the weapons owned. Packs of ammo sold in the stores are quite expensive and spending credits on them isn't the best idea. A much more sensible solution is to carefully search the corpses of all killed opponents and the containers scattered around the locations. This is the best and cost-free way to always have something to shoot with.

Also remember to place various types of weapons in the quick-access interface: a pistol, a machine gun, a rifle, a shotgun, and something for melee. Changing to the next type of weapon will be necessary if you run out of ammo, and a blade will be useful not only when passing missions silently. The boost pack, which allows tactical vertical mobility, is also very useful in gunfights.

5. Carefully allocate your skill points

In Starfield, as in every RPG game, you'll have to spend skill points on developing our protagonist from time to time. There are many traits available, divided into five main categories: social, technical, combat, scientific, and physical. As you can imagine, over time they allow for significant simplifications in the chosen gameplay style. Remember that Starfield in the current version doesn't allow you to reset skill points! So it's worth reviewing them in advance and investing in your chosen attributes accordingly.

Some are more universal, like commerce which allows for better prices when reselling items. Others are already more specialized, increasing the ability for sneaking, piloting ships or using specific types of weapons. Such important choices await when you create your character. During this stage, you'll have to choose several features, some of which mutually exclude others.

6. Invest in ship upgrades

Starfield is definitely not a full-fledged space sim like Elite: Dangerous. Nevertheless, our ship and later small fleet, play quite an important role during the gameplay. Their development and upgrading should be treated as meticulously as developing the main character. In space battles, laser cannons will be especially useful. Later, you can take care of better shielding and reactors, all of which should increase your prowess in space combat.

  1. More info about the ship mechanics is available in our guide

However, if you dream of a career as a space pirate, and trading contraband, purchasing a shielded cargo hold and a scanner jammer will be essential. But beware – such components cannot be purchased anywhere. If you let yourself be carried away by the adventure, you'll quickly reach areas and outposts where such purchases will be possible.

7. Docking to stations and ships isn't very intuitive

Besides landing on planets, you'll very often dock the ship at various space stations or other facilities. The game doesn't consider pilot bravado and does it automatically for you, but docking initiation isn't explained in any tutorial and may give some people trouble for the first time. Nothing happens when you're just approaching. To trigger the docking interface, you need to press the action button (A on controller or E on keyboard) and be within 500 meters of the landing site. Then, an additional option appears, allowing you to start docking. In the case of a controller, it's the X button, and on a keyboard, it's R.

8. Be aware of inventory weight

Similarly, as in other Bethesda RPGs, a very important indicator is the maximum weight capacity of your protagonist's inventory. It's very easy to get over encumbered by carrying too much, which comes with rather vexing consequences. On first contact with the game, it's quite difficult to notice the not-so-obtrusive indicator of the protagonist's current weight and maximum carrying capacity – it's visible when the main interface screen is displayed, in the lower right corner, just below the active weapon icon.

Lifting too many heavy items causes oxygen supply to run out more quickly, which blurs vision. To recover the oxygen, it's necessary to slow movement down, which completely breaks the pace of the game. The remedies for increased weight capacity are the appropriate abilities and perks that can be acquired during gameplay. The second, faster, option to temporarily get rid of the problem is to use the cargo hold of yor ship, which in Starfield acts as container for our gear. We have access to it right away, although it's hidden a bit inside the ship – click on the screen just behind the cockpit to activate the item transfer screen. A great convenience is the ability to sell items directly from the cargo hold, so there’s no need to collect them before each trip to stores or trade kiosks planet side.

9. Remember to use the scanner

Fast tracking of elements such as the cargo hold screen will certainly be easier with frequent use of the scanner. It acts as a HUD in the helmet and expands the amount of useful information displayed on the screen. These include highlighting any interactive objects in the surroundings, as well as the path to an active navigation point. The scanner can be activated with the same button as the flashlight, but by a quick press. On the controller it's the left bumper, and on the keyboard it's the F key.

10. Collect digipicks in any quantities!

Here’s the last piece of advice, which by no means implies it's the least important. Rather, it's the other way around – by placing it at the end, it may be better remembered. Collect and buy digipicks in any quantity, because they are vital and will always be in short supply. What even is a digipick? In the Starfield universe, these are digital lockpicks. Traditionally, in Bethesda's RPGs, many locked chests, containers, and rooms can be opened with a clever minigame. But every such attempt requires lockpicks, and the further into the game we get, the less often these tools occur.

  1. Read more about digipicks in our game guide

Futuristic locks in Starfield no longer have mechanical elements. You need to properly match the graphics of the circles with the corresponding notches on the screen. Their level of complication differs, it's sometimes easy to make a mistake, and locked containers often hide useful weapons or ammunition supplies. You'll quickly discover that exploration is pointless without a supply of digipicks at hand!

Darius Matusiak | Gamepressure.com

Darius Matusiak

Darius Matusiak

A wannabe fighter pilot, racing driver, and a spec-op; an adventurer and a space marine – hence, a gamer. I’ve been playing games since Wing Commander, and writing since Destiny.


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