Starfield – The Ultimate Guide (with Useful Tips)

Note: I am using an Xbox controller so any references will be the buttons on the controller.

In Game Help

In game help with associated keys and useful information is in the pause menu. Just select help and go through the details to learn more about game play.

Gaining Skills a Bit Faster

Sleeping regularly gives you a 10% EXP buff and some foods like Shepherd Pie will give you a 2% experience buff for 1 hour of game time. Coffee and Tea often yields a 15 minute bonus. I believe you will only have the highest food item at one time. They don’t stack. But you can have a 10% sleep buff and eat a Shepherd’s Pie and add 2% on top. So that is a 12% buff to gaining experience.

Planet Exploration and Surveying


The information screen on a planet is off on the left side of the screen. Minerals and data is shown. The minerals identified to be present have what I call pips on them. It can range from none which are basic elements to 3 pips that are gold which is extremely rare elements. Each tier of element is revealed on the planet map resource overlay based on your Scanning skill level. So to map the highest three pip tier you need all four skill levels in scanning.

When you upgrade your skill in scanning you can re-scan the planet to reveal more information.

If you want a particular mineral for crafting find the proper location and land in it for that mineral. On the planet when you pull up the scanner you sometimes see the ground color change and it highlights a mineral. This is for outposts but also in that region nearly all resource nodes will be the type associated. So get your trusty mining laser ready.

Mining Laser Auto Equips

You don’t have to equip your mining laser to use it. Just open your scanner and hit the bottom right throttle as if to pull up your normal weapon. It will instead pull up your mining laser without having to equip it. This lets you quickly use it without having to equip it.

Mining Laser Mini Game

With the mining laser out if you hold down the bottom left throttle paddle on the controller and you have the hud cross hair on. I normally have it off. It will show a power up of your mining laser. At the point it hits the center of the cross hair if you pull the trigger you will nearly instantly mine the node. No need to sit there and target it. This is a quick mini game to mine faster. It takes a bit of practice but you can also do it with the hud off if you practice a bit and guess. It tends to lower the time to mine either way if you use both paddles.

Giant Fast Hop Traversal

On low grav worlds you can sprint and jump which is a bit faster than just sprinting and doesn’t use stamina. It can be faster without boosting if you just make giant hops unless you have the right boost pack.

Suggestion: Collect every type of boost pack and head to a low gravity moon. Try each one out and learn how they work.

Note: Be careful on high grav worlds. Falling is painful and you use much more O2 sprinting.

Note: On low grav worlds you can pick up explosive canisters at outposts and throw them very far. This can be very useful for combat situations.

Cut Doors Open

Tip (Be Aware): On certain locked doors you can use your mining laser to cut the hinges off to gain access. Can shoot them off as well. No lock picking nor computer access needed.

Path Markers in Scanner

Tip: If you are in a mission and it seems confusing where to go can hit your scanner and look down in front of you. For a few seconds it will light up with arrows showing a suggested path to your mission waypoint.

Scan Waypoints on Planet to Reveal Them

Tip: If you open your scanner on a planet you are exploring and hover over an unknown waypoint you can scan it to reveal what type of object it is such as natural formation or structure. If you look at the icons closely you can have an idea of what you will find before traversing to the location. For example a drill looking object for a structure is probably a mining facility. You may want to find a structure and find a thermal vent so might as well head in the right direction.

Mission Terminals

Constellation has a mission terminal at the lodge where you can complete the founding principles of the organization. Exploration and discovery. Be sure to check it out and pick up a few mission for your travels.

If you are looking for trading missions, transporting passengers, manufacturing and even bounty hunting you can often find mission terminals in bars and some other locations. Keep an eye out and maybe check them out. Might be heading that way anyway and can drop off some passengers along your journey.

Fun Tip: Some bartender’s and folks in bars will gossip. This can reveal locations and missions to find off the beaten path.

Storing and Selling Loot

Leave items on your ship to sell them at stores

In New Atlantis and many other locations you can keep all the items you want to sell in your ships cargo hold. When you go to sell just cycle one more time and it will show your ships name instead of your inventory. I often go to the Well in New Atlantis which you will learn about at some point as they have several merchants close to each other and sell as much of the items I don’t plan to keep like weapons, armor and other junk I’ve picked up in my travels.

Note: I hear commerce skill also cuts costs on buying ships and also gains on selling captured ones. So if you are going the smuggler or pirate route you may want to consider a few points there to make more money. It obviously also works for all items you sell and buy at stores.

Nearly Infinite Storage

Hording Tip: At the Lodge in your personal room there is a secure storage. You can store an infinite amount of items but be aware that it can lag on you if you keep dumping everything under the sun in there as it loads the list of items. A way to jump a large amount of resources quickly and save time is to be in orbit and put every item you want on your character. Don’t worry about encumbrance. Grab everything from all your companions. Now select the planet and then select the Lodge (explored) and it will bring you right to the front door. You can now just walk that small way to your locker and keep all your crazy junk you desire.

Piloting and Knowing Your Ship

Stopping Ship Boost

Boosting is a great way to close range but really important to get out of the firing arc and drop behind enemies. To cancel a boost on controller drop the throttle down. Practice this when things are peaceful and see how it turns if you leave it on max versus dropping it to the middle and then try holding it down in reverse out of a boost. Learn how your ship handles. This will save your life.

Repair Ship in Combat

Pushing the right stick button will heal your ship with ship parts by I believe 40% over time. Though skills can change this. Remember that ship parts are in the Aid section of your inventory. So be careful if you grab everything out of the cargo hold. You need those parts and don’t want to accidentally store them somewhere else.

Power Levels

Expert Tip: The Dpad controls your power levels. If you hold the Dpad down while over for example one of your weapons. It will drop all the pips to 0. You can then move it over to grav or engines if you desire and hold up to allocate all the pips at one time.

Fun Tip: Asteroids can be destroyed for mineral resources.

Captains Storage and Ship Cargo Storage

There are two cargo holds on your ship. One is the large ships hold you can upgrade and change. It’s where you store all your commerce items. But if you look around the cockpit a bit more you will find a Captains Storage one as well. It only holds around 40kg and unsure if that changes on other ships. But it is great for storing small items like stims that weight very little. This way you can offload the types you aren’t going to use that often and only keep the ones you need giving you a bit more weight and not mixing them with your other general cargo. I personally also keep several sets of clothes in there to change into from time to time.

Commerce Tip: You can hail ships in space. If they are traders they may trade with you. Another way to drop off some stuff you don’t want to make room without going back to town. And sometimes you learn something new to go explore.

Pirates Factions Carry Contraband on their Ships

Boarding enemy ships is a lot of fun. I highly recommend this when you can pull it off. You’ll need the targeting skill to take out their engines. And you can take the ship as your own if you can pilot it. But even if you can’t capture it pirates and even many of the other naughty types in the Settled Systems carry a bunch of contraband. Just don’t warp somewhere that will scan you after grabbing their ship.

Store Your Contraband at your Outpost

Non-spoiler Contraband Tip: Make a very simple outpost on a planet in a system that is near a town you like but out of the way of scanning. Get enough resources together to build a habitat. After building the hab go inside and pull up the scanner and hit the X button to setup outpost to pull up the build menu while inside the hab module. From here look for the contraband storage crate and build it. You can dump all your contraband in the crate until you figure out what you want to do with it.

Ship Sound and Visibility to Enemy Sensors

When in your ship play with your engine throttle. You will see blue bars that seem to fluctuate and the faster you go the larger they become. This is your ships visibility on sensors I believe. I have yet to ship contraband but keep this in mind as it may come in useful down the road. I’ll update the tips if I figure out more.

Pro Grav jump Tip: If you have a free energy pip on your ship and choose to grav jump it will automatically allocate all available pips to the grav drive spin up. You could always drop a gun with dpad held down and then select a grav jump point to escape. Might be worth practicing a few times. Never know.

Mix it Up Note: If you approach the pilot chair from the left or right side you will get in the seat from that direction and see a slightly different cinematic.

Finding Biome Exploration Completion Levels

Biome Landing Points: When in your ship and in the planet map looking to land. You can click on different regions and it will potentially change the Biome. Many planets at least have a frozen pole and a more general biome. Some have many more. As you select different biomes it will also show how much of that biome has been surveyed for the explorers out there.

Decorating Your Ship and Outpost

Hold A while targeting object to Levitate and Hold It

Would you really like to place that cool light up sculpture you looted from the pirate ship or clutter up your ship a bit to personalize it? You can. Hold the A button while hover over lootable and yes even non-lootable like a large toaster oven. If you hold it long enough it will pickup and levitate the item. You can move around holding it until you hit the A button again and it drops.

X Button Throws Objects

If you hold X button while levitating an item or explosive canister and then release it the item will be thrown. The longer you hold X the further the throw depending on mass of the item and gravity. Have fun in zero G.

Triggers Rotate Held Object

You can also somewhat rotate items. If you hit the bottom left and right throttle paddles on the controller it will spin the item. Unfortunately I haven’t found a way to rotate it vertically. It tends to spin it on a particular axis. Hopefully they will add a feature to add the other axis to manipulating the item.

Tip: After getting the item in place it sometimes helps to pick it up and drop it. I’ve noticed on some ship counters if you place it sometimes the item will fall through on a load in and out of the ship. It’s probably because the axis was a bit off. It can sometimes be resolved by picking up the object slight and releasing. Takes practice but can be done.

Ship Clutter Issues

Decorating Time Saver Note: If you modify your ship it will unfortunately place everything in your storage and cargo removing all your work. So think ahead before you do a ton of decorating. Also when getting back on the ship after modification it will often be bare with no items anywhere. I don’t recommend decorating or placing anything. Maybe travel a bit, clean out your cargo selling junk and only leaving ship parts. After awhile the ship will eventually spawn a bunch of clutter again as the default upon acquiring it. If you placed things already it will toss them all over your ship as it tries to populate the ship with clutter again. After the ship has the clutter return you can decorate again for the most part without any issues until you upgrade your ship again.

Miscellaneous Tips

Compare Objects without Picking Up hit X

While adventuring if you don’t want to loot everything but want to compare a piece of armor or gun that was dropped you can hit the X button. This basically puts you in the inventory menu and you can compare items.

Cover Pop Out use Iron Sights

If behind cover or a wall edge and you use iron sights you can do a slight pop out or pop up to shoot and then go back to cover. It doesn’t work perfect but it is there and can be useful.

Need Stealth Skill to Get Stealth Meter

To get a stealth meter you need to take the stealth skill. One level will give you the meter. This at least lets you know if enemies are aware of you if that matters to you.

Hiding Armor and Helmets

If you don’t want to show your armor and helmet in city you can go to your armor in the inventory and press the button associated with don’t show armor when in city. There is also one for your helmet. This removes your helmet when in your ship and other breathable atmospheres but the armor stays on. Unfortunately there isn’t an option yet to remove your armor while in your ship or some combo of that for those of us who like to mix it up a bit more.

Companions Can Equip Gear and Weapons

Your companions can equip all the gear and items you can equip. When trading with them give them the item you want them to use. And hit the Y button to equip it. Weapons will need the associated ammo but they won’t use the ammo. It just needs to have a few pieces of ammo otherwise they will not use the weapon.

Solve Entire Digipick before Completion

Lock picking can be solved before hitting a single choice. Some are really complicated and can fit in multiple situations. It’s often easier to solve the whole puzzle before committing. Just move things around and then leave them and move to the next piece. It will stay where you left it. After you get them all lined up commit and bam, bam, bam and bam.

Change Time of Day

Time of Day can be changed by waiting in a chair or sleeping. There are two times as each planet rotates differently. There is local time which is the planet time and there is UT which is universal settled system time which I am guessing is 24 hour normal earth time but could be wrong. Be aware of this because you could sleep more than needed as well. But you can also change the time of day if you want to be out at day or night. Some NPC’s do have a slight schedule so for all your thieving types you can be aware of this.

Immersion Recommendation (Limiting Noticing Load Screens)

Question: Destination or Journey?

I love games and prefer the journey. I’m in no real hurry to finish but instead want to take it all in. Starfield is awesome when you play it as a Journey versus a set of objectives to complete.

Here is what I do to immerse myself and have a good game flow.

Let’s say I load in on my ship. I’ve got a general constellation mission to explore several planets and then find a trait of one.

I walk over and jump in the pilot seat. Lift off to space enjoying the cinematic. When in space I look for the waypoint. I target the waypoint and see if I can grav jump. If I can it jumps if not it brings me to the map. I select the best path and then jump to the system. From there I likely will have an encounter and resolve that. I then select the planet I’m orbiting. It pulls up the planet menu and I scan it. It doesn’t look like it will have the trait I’m looking for so I zoom out one level for the system view. I pick a likely planet and set course for the next planet no grav jump. I resolve any encounters that come up along the way. Then after I’m in orbit I target the planet and scan it. The trait looks like it may be on the planet.

I then highlight potential landing spots that seem good. Not all are equal as a frozen pole may have less creatures or different ones. So I normally pick a day light side of the planet and a biome that makes sense clicking different potential landing spots. I then land and have enjoy the ship landing cinematic. I get to see the planet a bit and enjoy the view as this occurs.

I never click exit the ship. I just get up from my seat using the B button. I walk through my ship to the cargo bay access. I click on it and the door shifts a bit and the sound is made exiting the ship to the bay. I appear in the cargo and walk out past Vasco with my companion likely mentioning something about the planet down the gang plank taking it all in.

I set off on my journey. I stumble on some formations none of which are useful but I eliminated a trait and end up in a strange facility that caught my eye. (I’ve encountered some wild stuff) And after potentially 30 minutes to several hours depending on what I get sucked into I prepare to head back to my ship. At this point it is optional to walk back for me. But there are two ways to fast travel back to the ship. The one I prefer is using the scanner and selecting the landing site and not the ship itself. This means I show up outside the ship and basically just skip the walking part to save a bit of time unless I need to scan stuff. This waypoint unfortunately tends to only appear if within 1000 meters or so.

At which point I Vasco welcomes me back and I walk up the gang plank into my ship. I head inside and do inventory management. I then walk to the pilot seat and launch into space. Maybe I’ll get lucky and a trader will be in orbit. If so I hail them and do some trading to offload some junk I collected. I then select my next destination or potentially drop off resources. Let’s say I go back to New Atlantis.

I don’t pick a landing site. Since I probably don’t have a mission to it. While in space I open the planet system menu. Zoom out and find New Atlantis system. I warp to the system. Not to a location on the planet. Animation plays and I warp in. A scan occurs and land at the dock. Any items I want to keep I grab from the ships cargo leaving all the junk I want to sell on the ship. Then I head to the gank plank exit and walk out of my ship. I’ll head to the kiosk sell as much as I can.

I then head into the city and there are a few more stores I can offload stuff. I head to the lodge or you can fast travel if you have done it a ton. I actually walk it quite a bit and recommend it in the beginning to get a feel for the city. But if you want to just go to the lodge you can pull up the scanner look for the waypoint of the lodge and fast travel without entering a menu.

At the lodge I check out the mission constellation mission terminal. Maybe talk to people. Maybe hear something new. Drop off some items I want to keep for now at my safe. Take a nap and then head to the Well if I need to offload more items or back to my ship. Let’s say I am just heading back to my ship. I exit the lodge. From here I do normally skip walking. I pull up my scanner and select the landing pad next to my ship, no menu needed. I am in front of my ship prepared to walk in and start my next adventure.

This can be done in the other cities as well. This is how I play and I love it.

At least if nothing else learn to use the scanner to bypass using menus so you stay in the game world and less in menus. The loading screens for me at least are fairly quick. I do love taking photos in games and a side benefit is when there is one of the longer loading screens it will use the photos I’ve collected from my adventures reminding me of where I have been. And personally I don’t recommend fast traveling from ground location to ground location. That is always a loading screen and breaks immersion.

If you do things in order as you would do them in real life the game is phenomenal. And the loading screens for the most part are minimized or a very fun cinematic watching your ship take off which is always a treat after you put a bunch of work into making one.

Either way enjoy the journey friends.

Back into the Starfield for me. May you enjoy all your travels as much as I have.

Helena Stamatina
About Helena Stamatina 3021 Articles
I love two things in life, games and sports. Although sports were my earliest interest, it was video games that got me completely addicted (in a good way). My first game was Crash Bandicoot (PS1) from the legendary studio Naughty Dog back in 1996. I turned my passion for gaming into a job back in 2019 when I transformed my geek blog (Re-actor) into the gaming website it is today.

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