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Starfield Tips for Beginners

Starfield is a huge, complex game, and it doesn’t always spell everything out for you. There are some game mechanics that you won’t discover except by accident or through trial and error, and when you do figure them out, you’ll wish you had known about them a lot sooner. Fortunately, we can spare you some headaches by sharing our own beginner tips for your journey in Starfield. These include some basics that Bethesda forgot to include tutorials for, as well as some more in-depth strategies for efficient leveling and looting!

Starfield Tips for Beginners Help Menu
The in-game Help menu has some useful information. | Image: Bethesda via HGG / Sarah Arnold

1. Don’t Try to Carry Everything

Leave the cannoli, take the gun: there’s a limit to the amount of junk you can carry around in Starfield. Sure, you can have your companion carry some stuff, and you can stow some in your ship or in the Constellation Lodge, but you should ask yourself if it’s really worth the time and effort.

Chances are you’ll enjoy the game infinitely more if you’re not constantly micromanaging your inventory. Credits are easy enough to come by that you don’t need to pick up and sell every item you find. Especially given the sheer amount of junk you’ll find throughout the game

Identifying Junk & Trash Items

There is a ton of clutter all over the game (so many godforsaken notebooks). If you’re anything like me, you’ll be tempted to pick up everything at first. Maybe it’ll be useful later! As a general rule, if it doesn’t have any text or stats, it’s probably junk.

This applies to most items that get sorted into the Misc category in your inventory. Crafting components, consumable items, gear – anything useful has some sort of text on it indicating what it does. Leave behind junk items and save your inventory space for something more useful or valuable.

Starfield Tips for Beginners Notebook
Where do they get all that paper, anyway? | Image: Bethesda via HGG / Sarah Arnold

Similarly, a lot of food and drink items can be ignored. Many of them only restore a small amount of health and aren’t worth many credits. Don’t make the mistake of filling your pockets up with Bitten Sandwiches and various forms of Chunks. Alternatively, you can eat the food on the spot to take advantage of any bonuses it offers.

You also don’t need to carry around every book and text file you come across just in case you need it later. Anything that is tied to a mission won’t be able to be removed from your inventory. So go ahead and dump everything you can from the Notes category into storage or sell it to a vendor.

Starfield Tips for Beginners Bitten Sandwich
You took his sandwich, didn’t you? | Image: Bethesda via HGG / Sarah Arnold

Useful Items to Pickup

On the other hand, ammo is weightless and you’ll constantly be using it, so make sure to pick up, buy, and carry as much of it as possible. Picking up weapons also gives you any ammo they have in them, so you can do so and then immediately dump the weapon if you wish.

Do pick up aid items, but don’t forget to use them. There’s no point hoarding them forever – you’ll never wind up actually benefiting from carrying them around that way. Take it from someone who played 100 hours of Skyrim with an inventory full of unused potions.

And always pick up digipicks. They’re weightless, and you’ll need them.

Starfield Tips for Beginners Digipicks
You should pick up digipicks at every opportunity. | Image: Bethesda via HGG / Sarah Arnold

2. But If You Do Try To Carry Everything…

Running around while you’re past your carrying capacity will quickly drain your oxygen, and when you run out of oxygen, your health will start to drain. Fortunately, this health drain will stop at 5%, so you can’t die from running while encumbered.

It’s obviously not safe to stay at 5% health, but as long as there isn’t anything dangerous around, you can get away with running around normally for as long as you want.

Starfield Tips for Beginners Encumbered
This message will become the bane of your existence. | Image: Bethesda via HGG / Sarah Arnold

Securing Your Hoard

If you do want to let your oxygen recover, you don’t have to stop and stand still. Walking while encumbered doesn’t burn oxygen. You can walk with the CapsLock key on a keyboard or by not pressing the joystick all the way forward on the controller.

You can access your ship’s cargo hold from anywhere within 300 meters of it, so you don’t have to actually board your ship in order to dump your stuff. Just open the ship menu through your character menu and use the Cargo Hold button in the lower right of the UI. If it’s not there, you probably aren’t close enough.

Starfield Tips for Beginners Ship Cargo Hold
You can access your cargo hold through the ship menu. | Image: Bethesda via HGG / Sarah Arnold

3. There are Easier Ways to Gather Resources

As long as you have a Cutter in your inventory, you can pull it out automatically from the scanner interface by left-clicking on the mouse or pressing RT on the controller. Hold that same button down to mine.

And now, a feature that isn’t ever pointed out through the game, but which will save you a lot of tedium: while you’re using the Cutter, right-click or press LT to mine whatever you’re aiming at instantly.

Starfield Tips for Beginners Mining Cutter
Right-click or press LT to speed up the mining process. | Image: Bethesda via HGG / Sarah Arnold

Mining Geysers & Asteroids

Some resources that show up on your scanner won’t be mineable, and you may wonder how you can collect them. Geysers must be harvested by getting close and looting them. Be sure to run out quickly so you don’t take too much damage from the toxic chemicals or extreme temperatures.

And finally, you can mine asteroids! Just point your ship’s weapons and start blasting. You can then loot the broken pieces like you would a defeated ship.

Starfield Tips for Beginners Mining Asteroids
We’ll just ignore the actual ramifications of a million pieces of asteroid flying at your ship. | Image: Bethesda via HGG / Sarah Arnold

4. Traveling Doesn’t Have to be a Headache

When you first start traveling the Settled Systems, you might find the process a little involved: go to your ship, take off, select a system, select a planet, and land. You don’t have to do all that every time. You can fast travel through your mission log or from the map menu.

Convenience and XP Boosts

Just use the Set Course button and boom, you’ll head straight to where you need to be, skipping several steps. Keep in mind, though, that if you do this all the time, you’ll miss out on some fun random encounters that can happen whenever you arrive in orbit around a planet or moon.

Starfield Tips for Beginners Set Course from Mission Log
You can set course directly from the mission log and bypass several steps. | Image: Bethesda via HGG / Sarah Arnold

When you’re in orbit around a world, you don’t need to open your map to land. You can just open the scanner and you’ll be able to select a landing spot from marked locations. This can also be done on on foot. If you want to land somewhere other than a marked location, you can do so by opening the planet map. You can land anywhere on a planet.

Before you leave your ship, sleep in the bed for an hour to gain a 10% XP boost. You can do this in any bed you find, even in the middle of a dungeon. If you’re married to one of your companions, the buff will be 15% instead.

Sleep to gain an XP boost.
A little shut-eye will boost your XP gains. | Image: Bethesda via HGG / Sarah Arnold

Never Get Lost While Exploring

The game does not have local maps, even for major cities, which might leave you feeling a bit lost at times. Luckily, the scanner will always show the way to your currently selected mission objective. Just choose the objective in your mission log and open the scanner, and a line of arrows will appear on the ground in front of you directing you to your destination. You can also see mission markers floating in the world as light blue hexagons. Target them with the scanner to see what they’re marking.

When you’re traveling on foot in a low gravity environment, try jumping. You may find it’s more efficient than running, and it’s also a lot of fun.

Scanner Mission Objective Arrows
You can follow the arrows in your scanner to your current mission objective. | Image: Bethesda via HGG / Sarah Arnold

5. Spend Your Skill Points Wisely

There is no respec option in Starfield, so you can’t get rid of any skills you don’t want anymore, and there are way more skills in the game than you could ever get in a single playthrough. Don’t spend your skill points just to spend them; think about what you really want to invest them in.

Some skills are valuable in any playthrough, like Security, which lets you access the locked doors and chests that can be found in every location in the game. Others are a little more specific to your build or playstyle, like weapon and stealth skills.

Think about the type of character you want to play and plan ahead. Then grab the skills you need so you can start unlocking their higher ranks through challenges.

Plan out which Skills you'll want.
The Security skill is a good choice for any character. | Image: Bethesda via HGG / Sarah Arnold

6. Other Useful Tips for Starfield

And now for some miscellaneous tips to improve your quality of life in Starfield.

  • New Game+ exists and offers some benefits you can’t get in your first game. To start a New Game+, you have to complete the main Constellation missions all the way through “One Giant Leap.”
  • It’s worth doing a good chunk of the main quest right away. “Into the Unknown” and the missions that follow it will change your game significantly.
  • You can choose to hide your spacesuit and helmet in settlements, which will show your character in whatever apparel you’re wearing underneath (while still allowing you to benefit from your equipment’s stats). Just open the Spacesuits or Helmets category in your inventory and look for the Hide option in the lower right of the UI.
  • Spacesuits and packs are noisy, cumbersome, and will reduce your sneakiness. Take them off when you’re trying to be stealthy. (Hiding them doesn’t count, you have to actually un-equip them.)
  • Starfield has a cover system. Stand or crouch behind something and then aim with your weapon – you’ll peek out around the corner or over the top.
  • Companions only need a single bullet or grenade in their inventory, and they will effectively have an infinite supply of that item to use.
  • Vendors will respawn their credits and goods after 24 hours UT time. You can wait or sleep if you want to make this happen faster.
  • Rank 2 of the Security skill causes the ring in the digipick interface to turn blue when a key is a potential fit. This will help you eliminate a few keys right away.
  • If you track a project at any workbench, the resources required to craft it will be marked with a magnifying glass icon, making them easier to spot in the world, at vendors, and in your inventory.
Track Project Resources
You can track materials for recipes from the crafting menu. | Image: Bethesda via HGG / Sarah Arnold

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Thanks for reading! We hope this guide of tips has helped you get started in Starfield. If you have any questions, leave a comment below, and be sure to subscribe to High Ground for more useful guides!

Happy gaming!


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