A good set of Starfield tips will help you start your adventure on the right foot, as there's a huge world to explore here, filled with new mechanics to learn. Everyone knows that Starfield is massive, and it can be easy to get overwhelmed if you try to jump straight in and do everything at once. I've got tens of hours of experience exploring the galaxy though and, based on my experiences and what I've learned, I've broken down some of the basics. So follow my Starfield tips here for a solid grounding to build on as you continue into the far reaches of the galaxy.
1. Scan all the time to find useful items
You'll get a lot of use from your scanner as you explore planets to spot resources and identify creatures. However, it will also highlight any nearby items you can pick up, and containers you can loot, in blue. This makes it useful when searching cluttered areas for things and for spotting containers that may be partially out of sight. So pop your scanner on when you're exploring to help find things you might otherwise miss.
2. Use fast travel to avoid long journeys
There are several ways to fast travel in Starfield that will save you a lot of time as you explore. While you're on planets switch to your scanner and then center it on an icon for any landmark you've already visited to fast travel to that location. For further distances, you can access the Starmap then expand the system you want to visit, before drilling down to the planet and setting the landing target to fast travel there. Just beware that if you have Contraband on your ship or there's another reason your ship can't fly directly into your chosen system, then the option to set a landing target this way will not be available, which is also a good early warning method to prevent you from getting arrested by going somewhere you shouldn't.
3. Use the Transfer options to preview gear before taking it
You're going to be spending a lot of time looting all sorts of items and, due to your limited carrying capacity, you want to make sure what you pick up is worth it. This is particularly true with spacesuits and helmets as they weight loads so you don't want to be lugging extras around unless they're really good. So, when you highlight a container or body to loot it, use the Transfer prompt to get a better look at the stats, and use the Compare to Equipped option to see if it's worth taking or leaving.
4. Only pick up the resources you need
There's a mountain of different materials, elements, and other resources that you can harvest or collect, and if you grab them at every opportunity you'll regularly struggle with Starfield encumbrance. Instead, when you're in the Starfield crafting and research menus, follow the Track prompt at the bottom of the screen to place a small magnifying glass icon against resources you need, which will help you track down only the required ingredients as you explore and scan things.
5. Digipicks and ammo are common if you loot regularly
You'll be getting through plenty of Digipicks and ammo to pick locks in Starfield and blast any enemies standing in your way, which means you can often find yourself running low. If that's the case then don't need to worry too much as both are reasonably common if you just do a bit of exploring. Just head to any planet or moon and have a snoop around a few random bases, you'll almost certainly find more and stock up easily. For ammo, make sure you're searching every Ammo Case you see and looting the contents.
6. Don't overlook Cargo Hold on ships
Towards the front of every ship, usually to the side just behind the Pilot Seat, you'll find a panel you can interact with to access the Cargo Hold. This Starfield ship storage on your own craft is a great place to stash materials and resources you don't want to carry around, and the capacity is significant so you can cram plenty in there. However, also be sure to check the Cargo Hold on any other ships you board. Not only might you find something good but, if you're stealing the ship, you want to check there's no hidden Contraband stashed in there that could get you arrested.
7. Avoid carrying Contraband until you know what to do with it
Contraband can be exciting when you first discover it, due to its high value. However, you definitely shouldn't carry it around with you until you know how to hide it and who to sell it to, as if it gets detected at any point then you're going straight to space prison. You'll eventually discover how to do Starfield Contraband smuggling and get illegal items past security, but until you do either stash it – Outposts can be good for this – or just leave it be.
8. Distribute your Skill Points wisely as you level up
As you earn XP and level up your character there are a whole host of Starfield skills you can spend points on, but it's worth thinking carefully about what to invest in. To start off with you should aim to unlock a broad range of skills. After that completing challenges will unlock additional Ranks in existing skills to specialize in a specific area. So it's best to unlock specific things you might need first - like Stealth, Theft, Boost Pack Training, Piloting, and Targeting Control Systems which all provide fresh abilities. And only then think about specialising by leveling up an already unlocked skill. You can get a head start with some Starfield backgrounds here, which will unlock three skills in character creation.
9. Sleep for an XP boost
Finding a bed and sleeping in it restores your health but more importantly adds the Well Rested status effect which gives you a +10% XP gain for 24 minutes, which can significantly help you to level up. So get in the habit of sleeping every time you start playing. If you're in a Starfield romance then the boost is even better and gives you a +15% XP gain, so sleep well and sleep often.
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