Whether you are a newcomer or a Bethesda gaming veteran, it’s crucial to know what you are signing up for, especially if you have a certain expectation or are unsure about a mechanic. You could also factor in basic gameplay mechanics that could result in your character’s demise simply because you weren’t aware of the galaxy’s many harmful features.

That’s where we come in to help you get a better idea of what to anticipate before starting Starfield, with several handy tips and tricks that can maximize your space adventures.

What Character Build You’re Aiming For

Starfield Background
Image Source: Bethesda Game Studios

The avatar you create can ultimately shape your story in ways you would never imagine, often resulting in special dialogue scenes and exclusive items. For example, if you have the Chef attribute, you may encounter a talking selection that only caters to this specific Background, where you can open the door to a food-related mission. It can also provide you with various skills, like Gastronomy, Dueling, and Scavenging, to further your role as a Chef.

Not only does the Background pave the way for your journey, but Traits can expand the universe even more. While Extroverts can use less oxygen around others, Introverts utilize shorter amounts of these levels during their alone time. It all depends on your preferred personality type and whether you want to gain an item or quest, including the rewards you receive from joining a religion.

Not All Planets Will Have Signs of Life

Barren Planet in Starfield
Image Source: Bethesda Game Studios

Like the real world, Starfield’s intergalactic system showcases the existence of barren planets that won’t have as much to offer compared to other locations. Although these areas don’t seem too valuable, they can prove helpful with the surrounding resources and a chance to build a space kingdom of your very own with Outposts. Even if there isn’t anyone to command as a ruler, being an overlord of a planet still sounds pretty awesome.

Those who don’t want to waste their time in these locations can first look at the planet’s type to know what to expect before landing. That way, you can focus your attention on other destinations that are rich in resources and missions.

Activities Are More Important Than You Think

Exploring Planets in Starfield
Image Source: Bethesda Game Studios

I wasn’t entirely sold on the idea of Activities during my initial playthrough, as they can occasionally not provide you with any XP boosts or advancements in questlines. However, these missions are something you don’t want to miss out on due to their unique storylines and convenient tips. Sometimes, players can discover a mechanic they were utterly clueless about, or the Activities can guide you to missions whenever there’s a lull in the main campaign.

The small quests can lead you to never-before-seen loot, whether it be a weapon or gear item. Various Backgrounds and Traits can also trigger distinct dialogue scenes, like how the Kid Stuff characteristic allows you to visit your parents at home.

Space Travel Does Have Its Setbacks

Traveling in Starfield
Image Source: Bethesda Game Studios

One of the most crucial things you should know before starting Starfield is the limitations of space travel, given that you cannot zoom around the galaxy as you please. That means players won’t have complete control when going from point A to point B, but rather an option to choose a point of interest on the Starmap to set a course instantly.

I ran into this issue during the early stages when I attempted to travel to a planet myself, only to realize I wasn’t exactly getting anywhere. Nevertheless, you’ll still have control of the ship with other activities, primarily when it comes to combat, so you don’t have to write off space travel immediately.

Running for Too Long Can Deplete Your Health

Running in Starfield
Image Source: Bethesda Game Studios

Running mechanics typically include pros and cons in gaming, allowing players to get around much faster at the cost of stamina. Though, Starfield takes this feature up a notch with its realism by reducing your health bar whenever sprinting too long as if you were truly navigating through space. Any time you are up for a jog or encumbered, you’ll need to watch out for your character’s Oxygen Supply since the CO2 levels will spike along with it.

Once the CO2 level is at its maximum, your health will start to deplete immediately, and you may end up finding yourself being downed in no time. Fortunately, it won’t be able to knock out your character alone, but damage from the terrain or enemy could result in this scenario regardless.

Contraband Items Can Land You Prison

Starfield Tools
Image Source: Bethesda Game Studios

Settled Systems will require players to pass a checkpoint before entering the domain, scanning them for Contraband or stolen items. Those caught won’t be able to weasel their way out with a “No, officer. That’s not mine!” Guard ships can also scan you for these items, especially when the Contraband is in your personal inventory. Yet, there is a way to cheat the system by placing them into your Shielded Cargo or installing a Scan Jammer instead.

When you are arrested for the crime, you will lose out on these objects, forbidding you from building a particular build or completing a quest. Yet, if you want to live a clean lifestyle, you can detect these items in your inventory through the Contraband’s yellow icon and the stolen item’s red symbol.

You Can Be Affected by the Planet’s Atmosphere With a Suit On

Starfield Planet
Image Source: Bethesda Game Studios

One thing I wish I knew before starting Starfield is the damage you can get when exploring planets despite wearing a protective suit. More specifically, Environmental Damage can be inflicted upon the player due to a planet’s harsh environments, which you will run into during the game’s early stages. The suit you wear can only keep you safe from bad weather conditions for a short time and can eventually lower your protection when out for too long.

That’s why it’s essential to keep track of your health meter when encountering these hazardous locations, but at least you can prepare for it with the proper equipment. All suits come with various advantages regarding Thermal, Airborne, Corrosive, and Radiation attributes, and you can equip certain ones to avoid Environmental Damage altogether.

Some Afflictions Can’t Heal on Their Own

Exploring Dangerous Planets in Starfield
Image Source: Bethesda Game Studios

If you are a newcomer to Bethesda games, you should be aware of the Afflictions you can obtain from dangerous activities and combat, as they cannot be remedied through basic means. Similar to Skyrim and the Fallout series, players can worsen their conditions when not properly treating an illness. Whenever an Afflcition has entered a “Poor” state, you may need to utilize an Aid item or a Doctor to improve your character’s performance, differing from those with the “Excellent” status.

Starfield’s illnesses and injuries are just like any other sicknesses you can get in real life, including fracturing a part of your body or burns, furthering the game’s realism for space travel.

Hailing Other Ships

Starfield Ship
Image Source: Bethesda Game Studios

While Starfield’s exploration can be relatively limited, you can initiate transmissions with fellow travelers whenever they are nearby. They’ll be marked with an arrow pointing to their direction on the mini-map, and you can hold the ‘A’ button to hail the starship unless it’s a hostile vessel. This option makes for an excellent opportunity for trading or gaining useful knowledge about a particular topic.

In some cases, players will have the ‘Dock’ selection available, permitting them to board any type of ship (hostile ones included) Space pirates can also hit the ‘Piracy’ option by threatening to take everything from the vessel or taking it over entirely. You can even set this vessel as your own mode of transportation, solidifying your stance as the master of stolen parts.

Time Works Differently in Space

Starfield Time System
Image Source: Bethesda Game Studios

Time systems always seem to change in gaming, from Animal Crossing’s real-time mechanics to Bully’s clock feature. And given that Starfield is entirely set in space, it comes as no surprise to see it function differently with its Universal and Local times. Local is associated with the planet you are currently on and can change if you move on to another location. For instance, if you travel to a new place during the afternoon, it will most likely not be at the same Local time as the previous area.

Universal works differently since it covers all the times across the universe and will not change no matter where you are. Waiting and sleeping will pass the time for both systems, but space interactions will only affect Universal.

About the author

Kristina Ebanez

Kristina is a Staff Writer and has been with Twinfinite for more than a year. She typically covers Minecraft, The Sims 4, Disney Dreamlight Valley, anime, Call of Duty, and newly released games. She loves the Metal Gear Solid series (Snake Eater especially), Rockstar’s Bully, the Horizon franchise, What Remains of Edith Finch, and many more. Her dog is also an avid video game watcher, primarily when there’s a horse or a cat. She has a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo and grew up gaming on the islands.

By mrtrv