At any given moment in Starfield, you’re probably going to be inundated with a vast amount of things to do, each as engaging and addictive as the last- which, of course, means that, thanks to the sheer volume and density of the content, there’s going to be certain things that you’re going to end up paying less attention to. From a particular style of play to certain gameplay activities to perhaps even entire systems, there are likely to be more than a few things that you won’t have engaged with on a very deep level even after having spent hours playing the game. That is, of course, very much by design, but even so, there are a few things in Bethesda’s newest RPG that you definitely shouldn’t be ignoring. Here, that’s exactly what we’ll be talking about.
INSTANTLY INCREASING YOUR INVENTORY
Encumbrance in Starfield is extremely restrictive, making what’s already traditionally been a divisive mechanic even more so. You’ll be picking up a lot of stuff in this game, which means it won’t take long to exceed your carry limit. As such, as soon as you start earning skill points, it’s wise to start investing in the Weight Lifting perk, which increases your inventory capacity. Yes, it stings to be spending skill points on a fairly boring upgrade, but it’s also a necessary one.
EXPANDING YOUR SHIP’S CARGO
One way of easing the literal burdens of Starfield’s stringent inventory limits is to keep dumping things into your ship’s cargo bays- though sadly, that has many of the same problems as your actual inventory. Specifically, it doesn’t take long for your ship’s cargo to fill up either. Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to buy and attack new cargo bays to your ship, so make sure you’ve got plenty of storage space on your vessel.
HELPING OUT OTHER SHIPS
While you’re out exploring outer space in Starfield, you’ll often come across plenty of people in distress. This can range from stranded people in need of ship parts to ships caught in combat with each other and more. While you can, of course, ignore them and just go about your way, it’s usually a good idea to help out anyone you see. Not only do you get nifty rewards in return (don’t go expecting anything too extravagant though), some of these can also lead to small yet memorable moments, while other situations can also lead to certain side quests being unlocked.
SPEAKING TO ALL NAMED NPCs
The main city hubs in the Settled Systems are densely packed places, with dozens upon dozens (if not hundreds) of NPCs milling about and going their business. A lot of these will bear generic names like “Citizen” or “Security Guard” or what have you. While these are the ones you can safely ignore (for the most part), anytime you come across an NPC with an actual name, you should definitely take a moment to speak with them. From learning new lore or story tidbits to maybe even unlocking new quests, there’s plenty of interesting stuff those conversations can lead to.
REGULARLY SPEAKING TO COMPANIONS
While Starfield gives you the option to go it alone, there’s a good chance that you’re going to be in the company of another character for significant portions of the game. Every now and then, they’ll also want to speak with you- when that chance presents itself, don’t ignore it. Regularly speaking to companions is how you build up your relationship with them, learn more about them, and unlock their quests. Speaking of which…
While you shouldn’t be expecting anything on the level of, say, Mass Effect 2’s Loyalty Missions, Starfield’s companion quests are legitimately great, and worth seeking out. Sarah, Sam, Barret, and Andreja have well-written and intriguing backstories, and experience the culmination of their stories in their dedicated quests is really fun. If you’re setting out with the intention of experiencing all of Starfield’s best authored content, the companion missions are definitely worth paying attention to.
SELLING ITEMS TO VENDORS
You’ll be earning plenty of credits in Starfield simply by completing missions (or by stealing them, if you’re so inclined), but something else that you should be frequently doing is selling items of value that you might not need to vendors (side note: it helps that that helps free up space in your inventory and cargo as well). Do keep in mind, however, that each vendor has limited cash to spend on items that they’re buying from you, so if you have a long list of items you’re looking to sell, you’re going to have to spread it out across multiple vendors.
High-level gear and weapons fetch decent amounts of credits when sold to vendors, but what if you’re looking to make your money through less legal means? Well, the smuggling life is one that’ll call to you. Contraband items, like Aurora, can be sold for high prices, and even though getting them past the UC and Freestar Collective’s scans can take some work, they can be sold at pretty much every single spaceport to the Trade Authority. It’s a quick and efficient way of making money.
INVESTING IN THE COMMERCE SKILL
The Commerce perk in the Social skill tree is a great one to invest in for all you penny pinchers out there. The first rank of the perk decreases the prices of all items by 5%, while also letting you sell your stuff for 10% more, and those numbers go up to 20% and 25% respectively with the fourth and final rank. It definitely adds up, and comes in quite handy when selling contraband or high-value items, or when purchasing, say, large quantities of ammo or health items.
INVESTING IN LOCKPICKING
This’ll be second nature to you if you have prior experience with Bethesda RPGs, but if you don’t, it can’t be overstated just how useful the lockpicking skill is. Yes, you get access to more weapons, gear, credits, and what have you, which is useful enough in and of itself, but lockpicking can also come in seriously useful during several quests by allowing you to access rooms or paths that make your objectives much easier. As such, pumping skill points into the Security perk in the Tech tree should probably be a high priority for you.
SHIP BUILDING AND CUSTOMIZATION
Ship building is probably one of Starfield’s biggest highlights, which is really saying something, because there’s no shortage of highlights in this game. The toolset on offer here boasts an impressive amount of options, letting you choose habs, engines, grav drives, cosmetics, reactors, shields, weapons, and much more across a variety of manufacturers, variants, and what have you. Starfield affords an impressive level of freedom in making the ship you want to make (as long as you have the credits to spend, of course), and it’s definitely the kind of system that gets increasingly more rewarding as you put more time into it.
INVESTING IN PILOTING
Right from the off, ship building in Starfield is incredibly expansive and flexible, but the game does put some restrictions on you, like not letting you pilot class B and C ships, or not letting you install many of the fancier (and invariably better) ship modules. As such, one of the first perks you should consider spending your skill points on is Piloting in the Tech tree, which lets you pilot B class ships with is second upgrade, and C class ships with its third. Meanwhile, the Starship Design and Starship Engineering perks unlock a large amount of module options in the ship builder across their respective ranks. Though you’re probably not going to be able to unlock these perks for a while, since they require you to spend at least five points in the Tech tree first, they’re definitely something you should be working towards over the long-term.
With a thousand uninhabited and uncharted planets scattered throughout the Settled Systems, there’s plenty of room for exploration in Starfield, and completing planet surveys by scanning things is a great way to drive that spark of exploration. By design, it’s a much more mundane activity than some of the more explosive things you can do in the game, but there’s something quite satisfying about fully surveying an alien planet and its native flora and fauna. Plus, you can also sell completed surveys for a nice little payout.
You can go through all of Starfield without every worrying about things like gathering resources, building outposts, crafting things, and what have you, but if that’s a side of the game that you do get really into (which many people obviously will), outpost building should be high on your list of priorities. The rate at which you start farming resources with which to craft weapons and gear and build even more outposts in turn increases significantly with outposts.
Bethesda exec Pete Hines said in the lead-up to Starfield’s launch that smaller, one-off quests that appear in the quest log as Activities definitely shouldn’t be ignored, and after having spent an inordinate amount of time playing the game, we can say that you should definitely listen to him. Activities will lead you to a vast variety of quests across the Settled Systems, some of which will likely end up becoming some of your best memories of the game, so definitely keep an eye out for them.