Bethesda Game Studios’ Starfield has a leveling system, much like previous games, and it’s how you’ll get some of the Skills necessary to survive. Each requires a Skill Point to unlock, but as you complete challenges, you can assign additional Skill Points to improve them. As you’d imagine, Skill Points become pretty valuable if you want to take on many different things (check out our recommendations for the best starting Skills).
However, even if you don’t like a specific choice, there’s no option for respeccing. No, not even in New Game Plus. The flip side is that Starfield doesn’t have a level cap – you can keep leveling up, which means it’s possible to earn all Skills with enough time. Gaining XP becomes even more valuable in that case. Here are some of the best ways to level up quickly and gain the Skill Points necessary.
How to Level up Quickly and Earn Skill Points
Yes, sleeping is a good thing in Starfield, and you should take advantage of it whenever possible. Walk up to a bed and sleep. Upon awakening, you’ll receive the Well-Rested buff, which increases all XP earned for one day (in-game). It may seem minor, but if you’re completing various missions and side quests in that period, it all adds up. Plus, there’s no cost associated with it.
Another way to gain a passive XP boost is to drink Aid items like Alien Tea and Boba Alien Tea. They both buff XP gain by one percent for 15 minutes. The former is crafted with Distilled Water and Fiber, while the latter requires Distilled Water, Aromatic and Membrane. The only difference is that Boba Alien Tea also provides +8 Oxygen for five minutes. Whenever starting a big fight or slaying some alien creatures on Very Easy (see below), drink some Alien Tea beforehand for even more gains.
Complete the Main Story and Side Quests
The most obvious method to earn lots of XP is to complete main story quests. They grant a healthy amount of XP on completion (usually 700 XP or more), even if they’re not quite as exciting as some side or companion quests.
Side quests also provide decent rewards and XP, even if it’s not as much as the main story. The key is to mix in other activities while completing the main story quests side by side. Don’t worry if things get too challenging since you can always set the difficulty to Very Easy and breeze through the campaign.
In the Lodge in New Atlantis and other cities like Neon, Cydonia, etc., you’ll find Mission Boards. These are like the Radiant Quests from older Bethesda role-playing games, providing tasks you can carry out for Credits and XP. Picking these up and completing them while doing other side quests is a good way to pile on the XP.
Faction Mission Boards
There are also Mission Boards for Factions found in their respective cities. You’ll have access to Constellation’s Mission Board from the beginning, which involves surveying planets, locating phenomena and more. The UC Vigilance has missions for the UC Vanguard and defending against hostile ships in space, often putting you at odds with the Crimson Fleet.
On the other hand, the Crimson Fleet’s tasks are from The Key and involve space piracy and battling the UC Vanguard. If you’re doing a mission for either, just be aware that they can put you at odds with the other. Neon is the place for Ryujin Industries and focuses on corporate espionage, while the Freestar Collective on Akila City is more ground combat-focused, embracing the space cowboy fantasy.
One of the easiest ways to earn XP, even if it isn’t a lot, is to scan planets. There are so many planets in each system, and since fast traveling is pretty easy, it’s not difficult to scan them all. A full scan, which grants more XP and Credits (provided you sell the survey to Vladimir Sall on The Eye), requires landing on and surveying the planet. If you’re keen on exploration, it’s a decent way to earn money, even if far more lucrative methods exist.
If you don’t want to survey a planet but want more XP than a typical planetary scan, scan any gas giants or asteroids for 50 XP. Since you can’t land on them, the survey is considered complete. You can then sell this to Sall for easy money.
It’s also worth noting that you gain XP for discovering new landmarks, settlements and cities. While not the best method for “farming” XP, it’s still a consistent way to earn it as you keep playing.
Board Enemy Ships
Slaying enemies will grant XP, regardless of where you go in the universe. However, you may want to hold off on destroying an enemy ship. Instead, destroy its grav drive to prevent it from running away and then board it. Kill all the enemies on board, loot them and take the ship for yourself. You can sell it – and any spare loot acquired from the enemies – for Credits. Of course, if you want to blow up the ship afterwards, that also nets some XP, but you’ll get significantly more XP from this process than just destroying a ship.
Killing Alien Creatures on Very Easy
If you want to earn XP quickly and don’t mind some grinding in the starting planets, hunt some alien wildlife. Of course, there’s a trick to it. Fast travel to high-level planets like Ixyll 2, Gamma Vulpes 2, Serpentis 4 or Hyla 2. These have a good amount of fauna, which means alien creatures and are close to the beginning of the game.
Their levels also range from 40 to 55, but before you think that’s impossible to overcome, set the difficulty to Very Easy. You’ll still earn the same XP as if playing on Normal or Hard, and the decreased item rarity isn’t a big deal in this situation. Land on the planet, leave your spaceship, look for any alien creatures nearby and get to the slaying. If there aren’t any in the vicinity or you’ve cleared them all out, choose a different landing spot, fast travel and try there.
Despite their higher levels, they’ll be easy to kill due to the difficulty. You can further enhance this by gaining the Well-Rested buff by sleeping in your ship beforehand and drinking Boba Alien Tea to increase XP earned.
While these planets won’t help in this method as your level increases, you can always seek out higher-level planets later. Just remember to search for those with abundant fauna.
Starfield is available for Xbox Series X/S and PC for those who purchased the Premium Edition. Standard Edition and Game Pass owners won’t have to wait long to jump in. The space-faring RPG launches on September 6th and, depending on your time zone, goes live as early as 5 PM PT/8 PM EDT today. Check out our official review in the meantime.