Starfield – Useful Things You Need to Know Before Playing

Useful Tips and Tricks

Starfield is a sizable open-world game that might be challenging at first to comprehend. There are just brief tutorials for many of its mechanics and systems, or you are left to figure things out on your own. Important information about Things Starfield Doesn’t Tell You may be found on this page.

Power Up Your Cutter

When using the Mining Cutter, you can hold down the ADS button (left click on PC) to gradually power up your beam so that you can break ore deposits faster. You’ll know it’s charging when you see the lines in the center reticle moving closer. This is especially helpful when you are on a quick mission for certain materials and want to spend less time breaking them down, and more time exploring the galaxy.

Also, you don’t need to favorite or keybind the Cutter, it will be automatically equipped when you unholster your weapon while your Scanner is out.

Helpful Keybinds

F5 on Mouse and Keyboard is a Quicksave, which can be extremely vital in unsure situations. Use it before persuasion and lockpicking attempts, or taking on particularly scary pirate camps so you can reload if things get messier than anticipated.

Caps Lock will toggle between run and walk on Mouse and Keyboard. This helps when you are walking alongside an NPC for a quest, as you will no longer need to sprint then stop to stay on par with their slower pace.

You should also take a moment to configure keybinds for your weapons and health items, so you know exactly what to press to get health or swap weapons in a firefight.

Third Person Camera Can Be Helpful

If you need to do some intense platforming to boost back between buildings or rocks, switching to third person can make it much easier to get a grasp on your surroundings and make tricky jumps much easier. Though this isn’t necessary by any means, it definitely gives you a better idea of the area you’re working in before making that fateful leap into oblivion.

Extra Storage is Available on your Ship

Your Starter Spaceship, The Frontier, has a cargo hold that can store many more materials and resources than your body could handle. You can access this cargo in several ways, but the easiest way to deposit items is by looking for a small terminal to the left of your pilot seat. There’s even a keybind to automatically store everything in your Resources tab directly into the cargo hold with a single press (T on PC).

If you need to swap out items in the hold, there’s a couple more ways to do so. When in your ship (and even up to 250 meters outside of your ship), open up your character menu and select the ship icon in the left corner, and you’ll find the option to view your cargo (by pressing F on PC), letting you retrieve or store items without having to interact with the terminal by the pilot seat.

There is also a Captain’s Locker behind the Captain’s seat within the Cockpit area. This is a little extra storage area for you to use for a few essentials – gear, weapons and other goods you don’t want to sell or get rid of as you travel in order to stop you from becoming encumbered quite as often.

You Can Use Materials Stored on your Ship

Research Stations and workbenches don’t just pull resources from the inventory on your person, but from your ship’s cargo hold as well. This means all the things that you don’t actually need to use while out on foot such as minerals, materials, and heavy parts crafted at the industrial workbench can be safely left on your ship so you don’t need to carry around the extra mass.

That said, a lot of materials needed for Outpost Building, like batteries, circuits, adaptive frames, and other items created at an industrial workbench tend to weigh a ton, so you may want to drop them in a separate container and only pull them out when needed.

Sell Off Survey Data Notes for Quick Cash

Surveying all Resources, Flora, Fauna, and Traits on a planet isn’t just a great way to earn XP, it will also place that planet’s Survey Data in your Notes section of your inventory. You can then sell these data notes for a good chunk of Credits, depending on how much you needed to scan to fill up the data.

If you can wait, don’t just immediately sell them to regular merchants! Wait until you progress a little farther into the main story and meet Vladimir, who can be found on The Eye space station above Jemison. He will pay a premium price for all Survey Data, bagging you some extra Credits just for scanning the planet you were most likely scanning anyway.

For an extremely quick cash grab, check out some of the barren moons like the ones that orbit Mars. Since they have absolutely nothing on them, giving them a scan from space will automatically add their Survey Data to your inventory, but don’t expect too much money from them.

Your Companion Can Store Items

Becoming encumbered as you traverse the planets is more common than you might think. Why not use your companion to offload some of those heavier materials and items?

This is especially helpful when you become encumbered far from your ship, as you cannot use the Fast Travel feature when carrying too much weight. All you have to do is transfer some of your more valuable items you would rather keep to the companion in order to be able to use the Fast Travel ability found on your scanner by hovering over your Ship with the scanner still open.

Companions Can Bring More to the Table

Aside from just providing cover fire and holding your items, there’s much more you can get out of them if you know how. Each Companion will display their active skills when they are available to join your team. It’s important to know that most of their skills don’t exactly enhance your own, but it can bolster their abilities. For example, Andreja has Pickpocket, but she won’t do it herself or bolster your own skill — but she can deal more damage with particle weapons, and can camouflage when stealthing alongside you.

Ship and Outpost Skills are something else entirely, as when you assign someone as a Crew Member, you can view your crew in the ship menu, where you’ll see that any applicable skill that can bolster the ship’s abilities is highlighted. This means a good crew can push your ship to heights you couldn’t reach on your own, increasing damage, shields, and even storage space. Always be on the lookout for which of your friends can help in the right place, and put them to work!

Lastly, aside from tossing items at a companion to carry, you can also ask them to equip certain weapons and gear. Before you sell your next rare or epic item you don’t need, consider passing it along to bolster their ability to help you in combat.

Knowing Your Enemy

If you get an alien creature’s scan level to 100% by scanning multiple instances of it, a ton of info about them will be revealed in your HUD. This includes their temperaments, the resources they provide, where they might live, abilities, resistances, and more.

You always want the upper hand when fighting enemies, so having this information in your back pocket is a sure way to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to some of these more difficult encounters.

Potentially just as important — you’ll also quickly learn what type of resources these creatures drop when killed, which can become a reliable farming spot if you’re in need of a particular material for crafting. You can also do the same with plants, and you’ll find that materials picked from plants weigh a lot less than nearly identical ones harvested from enemies or found in lab jars.

Finding Resources in Peculiar Places

The non-chemical named resources used for crafting, such as Solvent, Adhesive, and even Polymer can be harvested from different Flora or Fauna while you’re out exploring. They’ll be found within natural things such as flowers, flesh, or glands, but will act as what they are named next to the parentheses.

This is especially helpful since some of these basic materials can be tedious to find within Pirate camps and abandoned areas.

If you need a jumpstart to crafting and happen to run out of all of these base materials, you can also buy them from various vendors, including the Jemison Mercantile Shop, which can be found by entering New Atlantis in the Landing area, running up the ramps towards the “Hotel and Shopping” section, and continuing up the stairs until you reach the shop.

Quick Slotting Items

When you are in the heat of battle and only have a Cutter equipped, things can get a bit scary. To combat this, the game has a built-in Quick Slot feature that allows you to seamlessly swap from one weapon to another in the blink of an eye.

You can also Quick Slot items, such as med kits or food in order to refill your health bar during an enemy encounter.

To use the Quick Slot feature, open up your inventory and select the “Favorite” Option while hovering over or selecting the item you wish to slot. Then, choose the button you would like to use as the Quickslot Keybind, and you’re done! Now, when you hit the button you selected for the Quickslot, you will automatically equip and/or be holding the item you favorited.

Be sure that your keybind for Ship Parts is also something you remember to use often, so you don’t forget to repair your hull in a dangerous fight.

Your Scanner Does More Than Scan!

Your Scanner is a handy tool that can be used for multiple things. One, of course, is Scanning the area around you on any given planet to find Flora, Fauna and Minerals you need for various tasks.

But did you know the Scanner will also guide you towards your selected Quest Objective? As long as you have a quest selected to track within your quest log, when you pull out your scanner, you will see arrows on the ground that lead you to the next waypoint.

This can be done both indoors and outdoors, so it can help a lot when you have a tricky objective you just can’t seem to locate. The scanner also highlights items that you can pick up, which can help you find new things to sell on the black market if you’re feeling a bit on the “criminal” side of things.

Fast Travel With the Scanner

Starfield includes a lot of traveling between waypoints, jumping between planets, and checking maps several times just to confirm a place to travel to. If you don’t feel like running across town, or are getting sick of having to pull up the map for a second time after getting scanned for contraband — pull up your Scanner!

When in Scanner Mode, you can target a point of interest icon in the center of your reticule, and then tap E on PC to instantly fast travel to that point. It can be used on the surface to quickly get back to your ship or to a city district, and when orbiting a planet to target a point of interest that’s been flagged on the surface.

How to Get Back to New Atlantis

The Star Map can be a confusing thing, as not only is the vast expanse of space extremely hard to manage, it’s also in 3D, making it very hard to determine which planet is actually where.

The first Major City you come into contact with is New Atlantis, which is home to several shops, hubs, and important places you will need to visit once in a blue moon. The game doesn’t seem to tell you how to get back to this City once you have left, so here is how to get back there if you need to offload some items or even upgrade your ship.

Open up the Star Map using the corresponding buttons on either Console or Keyboard. Once it is opened up, find the System named Alpha Centauri. Once you have this System selected, you need to find the planet titled Jemison.

Selecting that planet will show you a few Diamonds located around the planet’s surface, two of which will be New Atlantis locations as long as you have completed the planet’s initial story quest; The Lodge and New Atlantis. Either one of these options will land you in the city proper.

Making Sense of Galaxy Map Icons

There’s a lot of random planets out in the Settled Systems, and sometimes it’s hard to remember where all the important stuff is. Thankfully there are at least a few tricks you can use to determine where to go next:

  • If a Star System or Planet has a sloping triangle icon with an indentation in the middle, that means there is some sort of settlement to be found. This can be a large city like New Atlantis, a smaller outpost like Titan’s New Homestead, or a working space station you can trade at. These icons may only appear once you’ve visited that system, however.
  • If you see a bunker-looking icon with a doorway, that means the system or planet is home to an Outpost you have created there.
  • If a planet has three ellipses dots (…) it means that your scanners have detected points of interest that can be targeted from the planet view — which can either be randomly generated outposts, or unique points of interest that all players can find. Even if there is no ellipses icon, you may still find points of interest once you touch down, but you won’t be able to land directly at them.
  • Sometimes when you visit a star system, certain icons will appear to orbit a planet or moon. These icons aren’t directly on the planet, but instead are often “random encounters” you need to click on directly instead of the planet to investigate them. You can find anything from friendly (or unfriendly) ships, cargo and debris to loot, starstations, and more!

Unequipping Your Suit Automatically

If you want to look your best in towns, there’s a way to take off your suit and helmet without actually unequipping them and losing out on their stats. When browsing your Spacesuits located within your inventory tab, players can simply select the “Show/Hide Spacesuit in Settlements” option (Press T on PC). This will either hide or show off your Spacesuit while in Settlements and Cities, rather than having to manually equip and unequip each time you land in a safe place. The same goes for helmets when in areas where there is breathable air.

Customize Your Loading Screen

Got a knack for taking cool pictures of outer space you want to reminisce with later on? Taking screenshots with the in-game photo mode will populate the loading screens with whatever screenshots you’ve taken so far. Go to the Photo Gallery located in the Game Pause Menu to check out and manage what screenshots you’d like to see whenever you’re loading into the game or a new area!

The Help Menu

Did you miss a tutorial that was explained during a questline and wish you would have paid a bit closer attention? That can happen pretty easily in Starfield since there is a lot going on at once. No need to panic, as there is an in-game “Help” Menu located inside of the Games Pause Menu.

Open up your character menu, and then press the Pause Button to open up the Game Menu, and then select “HELP” to check out all of the different tooltips that you may have missed along the way. This includes things like different Afflictions your character can suffer from, how Contraband and Stolen items work, and even a breakdown of every piece of equipment available to you in-game.

Remove Unwanted Traits

When picking your optional traits at the start of the game, some of them may have consequences you might come to regret later in your adventure. Or maybe you’re just bored of having to deal with your family, pay the interest on your dream home, or whatever. The good news is that there is a way to get rid of these Traits permanently, but each trait may have its own workaround you need to discover. Some may require talking to someone specific, paying a fine, or maybe finding a way to convince the Adoring Fan you aren’t really that cool.

Crime and Contraband

When in cities and settlements, you may notice some items have a red square next to their name. Pay close attention to these items, as accidentally grabbing one will make you a petty thief without realizing it. When you are traveling through different cities and settlements, there may be a nice med pack just lying on the table that looks ripe for the picking– but before you select the item to pick up, check to see if there is a little Red icon in the top right corner of the item. If there is, it means you would be Stealing the item if you pick it up, which, if noticed, could land you behind bars.

Like in other Bethesda games, even if you steal an item without being caught, if you’re arrested for something later, the guards will confiscate anything in your inventory that had ever been stolen. If you need to get rid of hot items quickly, look for any Trade Authority shop in a settlement (not the yellow kiosk, but the store itself), as their merchants have no qualms with stolen or illegal goods.

Contraband items have the same icon in the top right corner, only it is yellow in color rather than red. Having one of these items anywhere at all in your ship or on your person when being scanned for contraband can land you in hot water (but they can’t scan for stolen items). This is an easy way to determine whether or not you can be safely scanned by Systems prior to entering without the fear of being locked away for eons to come. To get contraband to a planet safely, you’ll need to invest in finding shielded cargo, or boosting skills that allow you smuggle with greater odds.

Dialogue Options and Progress

Some dialogue options advance the dialogue and story content while others don’t. Since the text is all one color and doesn’t seem to give any hints on whether or not it will progress the story and/or dialogue with the NPC you are speaking to, there is a sure way to tell whether or not the option is the correct one.

If the text has a question mark at the end or is at the bottom of the dialogue options, it is a safe bet that it won’t move the actual conversation or dialogue forward. Asking questions is not always necessary, and usually just provides the player with more context or lore.

The choices that end in a period or are closer to the top of the Dialogue options are usually, if not always, the ones to pick in order to keep the story going.

Different Space Ports have Different Ship Upgrades

Different Spaceports and Cities can have different options for your ship upgrades. While Mars can provide you with basic upgrades and parts for your ship, other Cities and Ports along the way might offer better and higher quality ship parts for you to utilize. It’s important to check what each Ship Upgrade terminal or NPC has to offer before making a decision on what you’d like to add or subtract from your ship.

Like guns, ship parts have different manufacturers, and you can find ship-building starstations orbiting a few planets in different systems that exclusively offer their best model ships and parts. Similarly, if you’re looking for less than legal parts, like shielded cargo to bypass contraband scans, you may need to get on the Crimson Fleet’s good side — or hijack one of their ships.

The Value of Items and Goods Changes

Though there may be a “Value” of an item listed next to each and every item in your inventory, do not expect to receive that amount of Credits for your cargo. This is more of just a baseline of what the item itself is actually worth, not what a vendor is willing to pay for it.

Some items are also extremely heavy and will weigh down your character. It might be best to drop an item that may be worth a lot of credits if it will severely affect your encumbrance. You can also store it in your ships Cargo hold if you do wish to check on the value with different vendors later on down the line. If you’re looking to maximize your weight to value ratio, be on the lookout for smaller valuables like desk ornaments, antiques (especially from Earth), and contraband.

Some Skills Unlock Basic Abilities

There are quite a few things you cannot do until you have made the progress needed to unlock the Skills you need to perform a certain task.

For example, these skills require at least 1 point to be able to make use of the ability at all:

  • Pickpocket
  • Boost Pack Training (Pack Boosters)
  • Piloting (Ship Thrusters)
  • Targeting Systems
  • Gymnastics (Combat Slide)
  • Diplomacy
  • Intimidation
  • Instigation
  • Manipulation
  • Xenosociology
  • Robotics

This sort of includes the “Stealth” skill, as you won’t be able to see if you’re hidden or not without unlocking the Stealth skill first — but you’ll still technically have a degree of stealth by crouching.

Go Downstairs In the Lodge

After meeting Constellation, you’ll get a brief tour of the upstairs area. But if you go downstairs just after making a right upon entering the main door, there’s a whole underground section complete with crafting benches, a research station, and a chest with seemingly infinite capacity.

Since this chest isn’t your ship’s cargo hold, crafting benches won’t pull from it automatically, but since you’ll be returning to the Lodge many times throughout your adventure, and all the benches are right next to it, it’s no trouble to simply choose “take all” to grab all your heavy resources from the chest, and then go to the bench you need. Then just put them back when you’re done!

Helena Stamatina
About Helena Stamatina 3012 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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