Starfield – Skills & Character Creation (The Ultimate Guide)

Professions – Introduction

Professions are the LEAST important aspect of character generation. They alter a handful of insignificant lines of dialogue, and provide three starting skills. That’s it. If you pick a profession purely for roleplay, it will barely dent your gameplay.

That said, if you hate having a useless skill point mocking you 20 hours later, read on. All skills with a useless (or situationally useless) skill will be marked. You’ll want all the good skills eventually, so all professions without useless skills are equally good.

Note: Crafting skills are rated poorly. Most weapon mods provide negligible benefits compared to legendary prefixes and weapon skills. Same situation for armor mods. I suppose you could craft large quantities of consumables with outposts, but that’s another can of worms.

Professions – Tier A

<File Not Found> – A Tier

The one and only best profession, with no disclaimers or caveats of any kind.

  • Wellness: Unless you’re running a 1HP challenge, having more HP is never a bad thing.
  • Ballistics: Energy weapons and ballistics both have decent late game options, but good ballistic weapons are easier to find (and thus get legendary variants of) sooner. They also require fewer skills to mod effectively. Last, but not least, they have the best range. Range is king on planet surfaces, as otherwise you’ll get swarmed.
  • Piloting: You WILL want Piloting 4 for C class ships, as soon as possible. It doesn’t matter how good you are at ground combat if you can’t survive space combat.

This is the only entry for A Tier. The only reason you might not like this profession is if you’re doing a laser only / melee only challenge run, are running a 1HP challenge, or a Ship Class A challenge.

Professions – Tiers B and C

I’ll explain the okayish professions in detail.

Cyberneticist – C Tier

  • Lasers: Suboptimal, at least at chargen. Energy weapons aren’t bad, but their good mods take more research, and fewer enemies carry good laser weapons, so it might take awhile to find a good legendary of a weapon you like.
  • Medicine: Suboptimal, at least at chargen. You are generally better off investing in avoiding damage (usually by killing things faster) than healing damage.
  • Security: YMMV. The best use of lockpicking that I’ve found so far is peaceful options when working against factions I like, and an extra chance at looting legendary gear in some dungeons.

Long Hauler – B Tier

  • Weight Lifting: An early must pick. Your rate limiting step in acquiring money is in how many weapons you can carry. Money is used for things like ammo, medicine, rocks, and ship cargo upgrades. Note that in the early game, you will have VASTLY more inventory capacity than the ship you are flying on – especially if you’re willing to get a little encumbered.
  • Piloting: You want Rank 3 by midgame, rank 4 by lategame. Few things are more disheartening than loading a quicksave because you aren’t allowed to use good shields, weapons, or reactors. If you build a ship well, it will serve 90% of the functions of an outpost with a fraction of the time investment.
  • Ballistic Weapons Systems: You might prefer missile or laser weapons, but ballistics are perfectly viable, especially Class B and up.

Soldier – C Tier

  • Fitness: Suboptimal, but more O2 for sprinting/walking encumbered isn’t bad.
  • Ballistics: Energy and ballistics are both viable in terms of overall damage, but ballistics are easier to mod, easier to find ammo for, easier to find legendaries of, and have more variety.
  • Boost Pack Training: Not necessarily useful against pirates, but absolutely necessary for animals, mountains, procedural terrain, confusing vertical levels, and hauling 3 times your carry weight in loot to the general store for the 100th time.

Professions – Tiers D and F

In the interests of brevity, I’ll only be listing the skills that are dealbreakers.

Beast Hunter – F Tier

  • Gastronomy: Crafting Skill. Bad even by crafting skill standards, as some of the best food items are quite good even when eaten raw.
  • Fitness: Oxygen is used for sprinting, and walking while encumbered. That’s it. An extra 10% won’t matter, especially once you <REDACTED>.

Bouncer – F Tier

  • Boxing: Remember Paralyzing Palm from Fallout? This is that, but I haven’t found ANY fist weapons. You’ll be guaranteed to sloooowly win any 1v1 fight. If a fight isn’t 1v1, and the hard fights aren’t, you’re a sitting duck.
  • Fitness: Oxygen again.

Chef – F Tier

  • Gastronomy: Crafting again.
  • Dueling: Pretty good with the late game weapons, skills, armor, and lots of medpacks. A very bad idea for the early game.
  • Scavenging: You’re rate limiting step in hoarding loot isn’t finding it, it’s carrying it back to base.

Cyber Runner – F Tier

  • Theft: Anything you can safely steal from, you could safely be killing.

Diplomat – F Tier

  • Persuasion: Useful if you like the dialogue. I don’t. Most quests are designed such that you can fail dialogue with minimal consequences (that matter).
  • Commerce: If the only thing you loot from raiders is their weapons and armor, you’ll be swimming in more loot than the vendors can afford to buy.

Explorer – F Tier

  • Astrodynamics: Grav Jumping is already free, and even Class A ships have plenty of range. My opinion might change depending on how Survival Mode update/DLC/mods are (im)balanced.
  • Scanning: Doesn’t matter unless you’re hunting for outpost locations, which is a late game thing.

Gangster – F Tier

  • Boxing: Boxing again.
  • Theft: Theft again.

Homesteader – F Tier

  • Geology: The best way to get rocks is to buy them. If you insist on mining them, a tiny boost won’t make a difference. In the ultra late game, outposts will produce most if not all of your rocks.
  • Surveying: You might want a level or two at some point, as a luxury, but scanning is more about being a completionist than anything practical.

Industrialist – F Tier

  • Persuasion: Dialogue again.
  • Research Methods: This gives you a discount. On rocks. When used on one-time research unlocks.

Pilgrim – F Tier

  • Scavenging: Even more loot!
  • Surveying: Scanning!
  • Gastronomy: Crafting!

Professor – F Tier

  • Astrodynamics: Grav Jumping!
  • Geology: Rocks!
  • Research Methods: One time discount on rocks!

Ronin – F Tier

  • Scavenging: Even more loot!
  • Dueling: Melee is a bit risky to base your build around.

Space Scoundrel – F Tier

  • Pistol Certification: Can be viable, but I prefer rifles.
  • Persuasion: Dialogue.

Xenobiologist – F Tier

  • Surveying: Again.
  • Fitness: Suboptimal, but not terrible.

Traits – Introduction

Unlike Fallout New Vegas, the traits are terrible. There are teeny tiny things you can minmax, but there’s nothing exciting or gamechanging. Your best bet is to ignore traits altogether unless you have a very specific reason.

Warning: I am still on my first character, so I obviously don’t have personal experience with most of these traits!

Traits – Tiers C+

Alien DNA – S Tier

More Max HP and Oxygen, in exchange for food being less effective. How much HP and Oxygen? No idea. Personally, I don’t like consumables anyway, so this was a no brainer pick for me.

I don’t know if the “food is less effective” refers to just the HP bonus or to the other effects of food. Either way, the few good food items are still good and the many useless food items are still useless.

Terra Firma – S Tier

Planets have things like pirate snipers in open fields, hiking trips measured in kilometers, and multiple abandoned mining outposts worth of loot. You will want the HP and the O2. Even and especially if the planet has a breathable atmosphere!

Introvert – A Tier

If you have pack mules/decoys companions you likely won’t need O2 for sprinting or walking while encumbered, so even _IF_ you like companions, this is still a good trait when running errands solo.

Hero Worshipped – C Tier

It’s really sad that a joke character with “annoying” in the tooltips, is far more entertaining and lovable than the characters you’re supposed to like. Offers no meaningful gameplay benefit, and I don’t know if it’s possible to evict/kill the fan if you get sick of him. I’d pick this trait on a challenge/speedrun/achievement playthrough, not on a main playthrough.

Wanted – ? Tier

I’m really regretting not picking this trait. I don’t even know what the health threshhold is, or what the damage boost is, but I’ve been on low health enough times to wish I had a tiny extra edge to keep my alive.

Stealth archer builds can safely lower their health on any planet with gas vents. S Tier.

Berzerker builds will frequently find themselves at much lower health than expected. A tiny damage boost just *might* keep one alive longer. B Tier.

Sporadic EXP + Loot delivery service. Loot and EXP are plentiful, but still nice. D Tier.

If you find EXP + Loot self delivery services to be annoying, this is F tier. If you are playing on a sufficiently high difficulty or a permadeath challenge, sporadic ambushes are FFF Tier.

Taskmaster – ? Tier

A well designed Class C mothership shouldn’t be getting damaged, but if it does, the rate at which you repair your shields and weapons is a matter of life and death. If you are playing a bronzeman permadeath challenge, this is easily S tier.

Note that this requires having crew on your ship. Only select named NPCs can become crew. Crew are people who you will be stuck in close quarters with, over and over again, every time you use your starship. Even likable NPC’s become less so the third time they try to start the exact same conversation with you.

Traits – Full List

Alien DNA – S Tier

More Max HP and Oxygen, in exchange for food being less effective. How much HP and Oxygen? No idea. Personally, I don’t like consumables anyway, so this was a no brainer pick for me.

I don’t know if the “food is less effective” refers to just the HP bonus or to the other effects of food. Either way, the few good food items are still good and the many useless food items are still useless.

Wanted – S Tier

I’m really regretting not picking this trait. I don’t even know what the health threshhold is, or what the damage boost is, but I’ve been on low health enough times to wish I had a tiny extra edge.

If you find EXP+Loot self delivery services to be annoying, this is F tier. If you are playing on a sufficiently high difficulty, with a permadeath challenge, this is FFF tier. Otherwise, it’s as I said: a routine EXP+Loot self delivery service.

Hero Worshipped – C Tier

It’s really sad that a joke character with “annoying” in the tooltips, is far more entertaining and lovable than the characters you’re supposed to like. Offers no gameplay benefit, and I don’t know if it’s possible to evict/kill the fan if you get sick of him.

Dream Home – F Tier

At the end of the tutorial you get access to the main faction base. It’s basement has all crafting stations right next to infinite storage chests.

you’d only pick this trait for a challenge, and earning credits isn’t a challenge.

Kid Stuff – FFF Tier

2% of ALL your savings, for a home you don’t want or need? Yikes! As above, not annoying enough to be a challenge but far too annoying to be fun.

Taskmaster – ? Tier

A well designed Class C mothership shouldn’t be getting damaged, but if it does, the rate at which you repair your shields and weapons is a matter of life and death. If you are playing a bronzeman permadeath challenge, this is easily S tier.

Note that this requires having crew on your ship. Only select named NPCs can become crew. Crew are people who you will be stuck in close quarters with, over and over again, every time you use your starship. I want to rate this as F tier, but I can’t rule out the existence of ethical, mature, competent NPCs just yet.

  • Empath Vs Extrovert

Empath – D Tier

Useful if you are speedrunning companion affinity/quests. I would rate this higher if there was a single companion I liked.

Extrovert – A Tier

If you have pack mules/decoys companions you likely won’t need O2 for sprinting or walking while encumbered, so even _IF_ you like companions, this is still a good trait when running errands solo.

  • Spaced Vs Terra Firma

Spaced – F Tier

Outside of some unusual circumstances I’ve yet to encounter, you don’t need HP or O2 in space. Wild, I know. Space Stations have plenty of air, lots of cover, short travel distances, and less loot, so you REALLY don’t need this buff.

Terra Firma – S Tier

Planets have things like pirate snipers in open fields, hiking trips measured in kilometers, and multiple abandoned mining outposts worth of loot. You will want the HP and the O2. Even and especially if the planet has a breathable atmosphere!

  • Freestar Collective Settler VS Neon Street Rat VS United Colonies Native

Freestar Collective Settler – D Tier

I like the faction itself, but I’ve yet to meet a named faction NPC with dialogue I liked, and I certainly don’t need more loot from quests, and I REALLY don’t want the bounties I’ll inevitably accrue against the Var’uun and UC to be more expensive than they’re already going to be.

Neon Street Rat – F Tier

As above, except I don’t like the faction. Also, Neon is a single city on a single planet.

United Colonies Native – F Tier

As above, except I don’t like the faction.

  • Raised Enlightened VS Raised Universal VS Serpent’s Embrace

Raised Enlightened – F Tier

Doesn’t even promise dialogue, just a one time loot chest.

Raised Universal – F Tier

As above, but a less likeable faction.

Serpent’s Embrace – FFF Tier

As above, but an even less likeable faction. Additionally, your Max HP and O2 get penalized if you don’t jump to different systems regularly, in exchange for a very temporary bonus to the above when you do.

Skills – Introduction

The rate at which skills are acquired slows down over time. It’s hard to get to level 100 if the average level of enemies is 50 or less. I assume this can be mitigated by NG+ (haven’t done so yet).

The rate at which content gets more difficult accelerates by the same token. It’s much easier to kill a level 10 pirate with no combat skills than it is to kill a level 100 pirate with no combat skills.

Therefore, it is important that your first ~30 skills are chosen to maximize your ability to survive and acquire EXP. Nothing hurts like seeing a skillpoint in Gastronomy when you are one skillpoint away from the capstone of your build.

Note that I haven’t had time to take my own advice yet, on account of still being on my first character. Take all my opinions with a grain of salt.

Since there are so many viable builds, and I assume you can read the tooltips for yourself, I will only discuss a few of the most important skills, and then move on to warning you on what NOT to take.

Skills – Ignore List

The first priority is to know what NOT to take. There are plenty of viable builds, and even a suboptimal build can be fun if you have good skills and strategy. Still, there are no regrets like a skillpoint in an useless skill, with no hope of a respec in sight.

The physical tree is mostly good, but there are a few things to ignore:

Physical Tier 1

  • Brawling – Great at cheesing 1v1 fights (which are easy anyway), tedious and dangerous when outnumbered (which is almost always).
  • Fitness – You should have plenty of O2 from traits and equipment. Anything more is a lategame luxury.

Physical Tier 3

  • Cellular Regeneration – Testing needed. Healing items are plentiful, and I *think* you automatically heal from injuries over time anyway, so this is a lategame luxury.
  • Decontamination – As above, but for infections (airborne) instead of injuries (thermal/kinetic)

Physical Tier 4

  • Neurostrikes – See note on brawling. Provides short range AOE CC, but doesn’t help against guns at mid-long range.
  • Rejuvenation – YMMV. I like not needing medpacks when fighting things my level and below. That said, this ruins any traits or prefixes that rely on keeping health below a given threshhold.

The social tree is mostly bad, but it has a gem.

Social Tier 1

  • Scavenging – Okay. Better than Commerce, since you’ll be struggling to find enough vendors to toss pirate loot at anyway. Scavenging wouldn’t be worth the skill points if it weren’t for…

Social Tier 2

  • Isolation – The only good social skill, and possibly the best skill. At max rank, you’re looking at +40% damage to ALL weapons and +120 armor to ALL damage types while without a companion.
  • Diplomacy – Avoid. It looks good on paper, so I’ll have to explain. Works only if you’re willing to be very good (miss out on corpse loot and EXP) or very evil (shoot surrendering combatants in the face). Only works on human enemies with a level no more than 20% higher than yours. Note that +20% of 10 is 14, while +20% of 100 is 120.

After 20 hours of playtime, on normal difficulty, I was level 30 and farming level 75+ enemies. +20% of level 30 is 36. Completely useless for the fights that are actually dangerous. Use only for pacifist challenge runs, or to avoid killing innocents if you make a mistake on an ironman playthrough.

Social Tier 3

  • Outpost Management – Avoid everything related to outposts like the plague until you are well past the mid game. Hopefully some updates/exploiters/mods will prove me wrong, as I normally love settlement building.

Social Tier 4

Avoid entirely. Most of these options are good, but some are better than others.

Combat Tier 1

  • Dueling – Avoid early. Very good in the late game, but only against enemies you could easily kill anyway. As a luxury, it’s great for saving ammo, but when outnumbered against truly dangerous enemies, close range is a bit risky.
  • Shotgun – Avoid early, for similar reasons to the above. Don’t get me wrong, shotguns are really good, even before you invest skills in them, but I wouldn’t want to be stuck with using just shotguns.

Combat Tier 2

  • Incapacitation – Avoid. You can’t loot unconscious enemies, not sure about EXP.
  • Demolitions – Avoid early. The bonuses are REALLY good, but the weapon selection is incredibly limited, and explosive ammo tends to be quite expensive. Worth it if you have the right mods/weapons. Not sure if it applies to explosive prefixes on legendaries.

Combat Tier 3

  • Marksmanship – Avoid. I made the mistake of taking a similar perk in Skyrim. At close range, knocking down enemies sounds nice, but at close range you have plenty of options. At long range, getting headshots is a lot harder when a pirate takes a 15 second nap after every few bullets to the head. The crit chance is meh unless you have a way to stack it.
  • Rapid Reloading – Avoid early. If your weapon runs out of ammo before the enemy is dead, the weapon is the problem, not the reloading.
  • Targeting – Avoid. In theory it’s great, tier 4 makes disarming enemies trivial with automatic weapon. In practice, the “Highlighting” highlights enemies so well that you can’t see the cover they are standing behind. This can lead to wasting a lot of bullets on the broadside of a barn. Besides, between the muzzle flash, compass indicators, and verbal insults, pirate aren’t hard to find.

Combat Tier 4

Commenting on this tier would require an understanding of criticals, downing threshholds, and armor that I don’t have. They seem good on paper.

Science is a bit weird. There are quite a few gems, but most of it is late game luxuries. In retrospect, I may have judged some professions too harshly, as a good Tech 1 pick doesn’t exist.

Science 1

  • Medicine – Least bad? Medpacks are plenty effective as is, and the healing stacks, so no need.
  • Research Methods – A 60% hand crafting discount would be great if anything was worth crafting.
  • Surveying – Shaving a few seconds off of an hour of searching feels nice, at least.

Science 2

  • Weapon Engineering – Avoid early game, get eventually.
  • Spacesuit Design – Avoid early game, get eventually.

Science 3

Avoid everything. Pick the least bad option from Tech 1-2 instead.

Science 4

  • Anuetronic Fission – Avoid early, get eventually. There aren’t many ways to get more ship power.
  • Special Projects – Avoid early, get eventually. Mostly used for modding energy weapons.
  • Avoid anything involving outposts.

Tech only has a few bad picks, and they aren’t even bad so much as competing with better choices. Obviously, avoid investing in more than one weapon type at first.

Tech 1

No bad picks, though ship performance won’t matter until mid-late game.

Tech 2

No bad picks, though ship performance won’t matter until mid-late game.

Tech 3

  • Robotics 4 – Avoid. Same deal as Persuasion: If you aren’t farming enemies twice your level, something’s wrong with your build. The first three ranks are nice, but skip the fourth.
  • Starship Engineering – Avoid. I’m pretty sure no ship parts require it. If you’re taking hull damage, something is wrong with your build or your tactics.

Tech 4

  • Automated Weapons – Avoid at first. Automated weapons have poor targetting priority, poor stats, don’t focus fire, are reported to bug out, and have friendly fire issues. Until you have an invincible mothership that can afford to blast or pay off any faction, avoid turrets.
  • Em Weapon Systems – Regular weapons can get ships 90% disabled just fine. You don’t need much power from an EM weapon to disable the remaining 10% of a ship.

Skills – Vital Early Game (Levels 1-20)

I’ll try to keep this as short as possible, to accommodate freedom of play in an open ended rpg.

The early game essentials are Loot, Damage, and Mobility. Which skills you choose, and in what order, matters less than ensuring you have at least something in each category. Below are my opinions on the best skills for each quality.

Weight Lifting – Physical Tier 1

Loot is money, money buys stuff, stuff keeps you alive. Being able to move quickly while burdened with said stuff will also help keep you alive. AFAIK encumbrance penalties are based on percentages, not flat values, so +100 unburdened carry weight means +200 slightly burdens, and +400 heavily burdens. For comparison, your starting character inventory is about 135 and your starter spaceship has about 300 carry weight. Get this to rank 4 ASAP, you’ll thank me later.

Boost Pack Training – Tech Tier 1

A single point unlocks the use of boostpacks. Boost packs are the only way to move at a full sprint, while encumbered, aside from <REDACTED>. They are also helpful in dealing with wildlife, <REDACTED> “puzzles”, hiking up and down mountains, etc. You’re going to do a LOT of walking. Might as well make it fun!

That’s 5 skill points so far. I highly recommend spending at least 4 points (more on higher difficulties) on stacking damage modifiers on your weapon(s) of choice.

Options include:

  • Social Tier 2: Isolation. With no companion, +40% damage to ALL weapons and +120 to ALL armor types.
  • Combat Tier 1-2: Damage type of choice. Ballistic is the most flexible and common.
  • Combat Tier 1-2: Weapon type of choice. Rifle is the most flexible and common.
  • Combat Tier 3-4: Additional modifiers, such as bypassing armor, crit chance, etc.
  • Physical Tier 1-4: Stealth. I would avoid stealth skills until late game, but you can make it work.
  • Physical Tier 1-4 + Combat Tier 1-4: Melee. I heavily advise against it, but you can make it work.

You can spend leftover skills however you want, but I’d advise spending no more than 8 or so skill points in luxuries – in my case Rejuvenation from Physical Tier 4 – before investing in the mid game necessities.

Vital Early-Mid Game (Levels 20-30)

By this point you’ll start running into a problem.

The level of pirates your comfortable with attacking on foot is rapidly increasing, but your ability to upgrade your ship has hit a brick wall. To survive high level dogfights – and therefore reach high level pirate bases safely – you’ll need to invest in your ship.

You have two options:

  • A) Fully invest in a fast Class A ship. Max out your reactor and engine. Ditch all but the longest range weapons, if you even bother with weapons. Grab the best shield that your reactor supports, not that it matters.

The idea is to jump into a system, outrun any dogfights, and jump until you aren’t being attacked. In the worst case, you can probably outrange attackers and whittle them down with missiles.

This is a relatively cheap but risky short term solution.

  • B) Fully invest in a massive Class C ship. Enjoy the best engines, shields, reactors, jump drive, weapons, AND cargo space! You won’t fit on small landing pads anymore, but that only applies to player owned outposts, and even then you can build bigger landing pads if needed.

Counter intuitively, Piloting is NOT the skill you’ll be rushing! Invest two points ASAP for maneuvering, but don’t bother getting your Class B license until you can actually afford Class B ship parts. Class A parts are expensive enough before the jump to B, much less to C!

C) Join the crimson fleet, steel a class C ship? Can you do that? Would you still need the Piloting 4 skill? I need to check that quest out.

Assuming you are going with B), here are your priorities:

Tech Tier 1-2

  • Invest 8 points between the following:
  • Boost Pack (at least 1)
  • Piloting (at least 2)
  • Security (no more than 3)

Tech Tier 3

  • Starship Design (4)

Tech Tier 4

  • Finish getting Piloting to 4, then do whatever you want.

See, Starship Design 1 unlocks a lot of parts that are technically Class A, but better than normal Class A parts and better than some Class B or even C parts. Sure, Class C might have the best reactor and shields, but the best engines (that I know of) is Class A with a Design 1 requirement!

For more advice on building a ship, consult a ship guide. Due to some quirky but flavorful game design, building a good ship is quite the challenge.

What matters is that you can now build any ship part, provided you can afford it. You might find it worthwhile to own multiple ships – one minimalist ship for looting, and one mothership that you slowly improve as you earn money.

Starship Building

I’m basing my assumptions based on the starship parts available in the starting area.

To be clear, talk to the Starship Technician, near the trade terminal, at the landing pad, city of New Atlantis, planet of Jemison, system of Alpha Centauri.

Different landing pads, NPCs, and star systems offer different parts. I don’t think anyone’s made a complete list yet. Starfield’s pretty big. More expensive / skill heavy parts are usually better, but I found lots of exceptions. That’s beyond the scope of this guide – I haven’t even unlocked or found all ship parts yet.

Below is a heavily abbreviated list of my favored parts, assuming you don’t have any skill points in Piloting or Starship Design yet:

  • Nova Galactic 2×1 Workshop. Has all crafting except medical, research, and cooking.
  • Nova Galactic 2×1 Frontier. Has cooking and research.
  • Noba Galactic 2×1 Infirmary. Has medical and research.

Note: I only use the above habs as mounting points for other modules, I craft at the main faction HQ – the chests in that basement can hold unlimited items, unlike ships or outposts. That’s why I don’t use habs unless they give me more mounting points per mass than a structural part.

  • Magellan C2X Cockpit for storage space. Best view. The C1 variant has less mass. One per ship.
  • Da gama 1000 cargo hold. Best cargo to mass ratio. Side mount only.
  • 360T Stellerator Reactor. One per ship.
  • Deflector SG-30 Shield Generator. Side mount only. One per ship.
  • R-3000 Alpha Grav Drive. One per ship.
  • Hope 5 Landing Gear. Bottom mounted AND best thrust/mass ratio.
  • Nova Galactic Cargo Bay (IIRC). One per ship.
  • Nova Galactic Docker (IIRC). One per ship.
  • Titan 550 He3 Tank. Side mounted. One is plenty in the early game, especially at low mass.

White Dwarf 2010 Engine. Side mount only.

Note: Mounting this engine is very obnoxious. It’s going to be easier to build a ship with minimal mass than it is to add more engines. It has a ~20% better thrust to mass ratio than the next best engine that isn’t inconvenient to mount.

Amun-3 Engine. Rear, top, or bottom mounted.

Note: Significantly worse performance. Only use if adding the structural mounts for more Dwarf 2010’s becomes more trouble than it’s worth.

  • Most weapon statistics aren’t listed on the tooltips, so these recommendations are a best guess.
  • PB-30A Auto Electron Beam. Best overall DPS and anti-hull DPS. Mid range, balanced.
  • Atlatl 270A Missile Launcher. Best damage per shot. Long range, burst damage, slow reload.
  • Flare-P 15MW IR Pulse Laser. Best shield damage, high fire rate, short range.
  • Spark 750 Supressor. Best EMP, used for boarding vessels. Doesn’t work against shields!

You want a least 3 different weapons, one for each weapon group. 1 point of power keeps a weapon loaded. Only add more power to improve the reload rate of a weapon. Engines and shields only provide their rated performance when fully powered.

Best practice is to use high mobility (90 isn’t enough) to escape ambushes, then turn around and snipe attackers one by one. A full salvo of pulse lasers followed by missiles will cripple most ships in one pass, but a third weapon is needed to provide a kill.

Being fight capable means sacrificing luxuries like crafting and cargo space.

Skills – Mid Game or What About Mods? (Levels 30-50)

If you’re expecting the mods of Fallout 4 or the enchantments of Skyrim, you’ll be dissapointed. Most of the power of a weapon is in it’s random prefixes (explosive, poison, bleeding, etc.) and it’s rarity (legendary, rare, etc.). You’re looking at multipliers in excess of +300% damage. This is purely from anecdotal experience – the tooltips are suspiciously scarce on the details of prefixes.

The remaining bulk of combat power comes from skills. +40% damage here, +30% damage there, another +30% damage with a chance of a status effect… it all adds up to a lot, even if we assume all the bonuses are additive. Knowing bethesda, I suspect that some of those multipliers are going to be multiplicative.

Then we have weapon mods. We’re looking at +10 damage to a 40 damage weapon, a little extra accuracy, larger magazine size, small chance of a status effect, etc. I’m not saying you shouldn’t invest in mods, I’m just saying it will likely be your last priority in your pursuit of minmaxxing.

Same concept applies to armor. I will say that Spacesuit 3 is nice, as it lets you customize the boostpack, but the rest is more of the same. +10 damage resistance doesn’t mean much on a helmet with the Bolstering prefix (+100 damage resistance while at low health), 100+ base armor, and another 100+ armor from the Isolationist social skill.

Lategame or What About Outposts? (Levels 50+)

What do you need to make outposts work? First, ask what you want from an outpost.

Credits? LOL! You get so much loot from hunting pirates, that you swear you spend more time looking for vendors with money than you do fighting!

Resources? If you keep track of what you need, and buy from vendors whenever you’re selling pirate loot, you’ll have more than enough for research and weapon mods.

EXP? At 1 EXP per craft, you’d need to rake in industrial quantities of resources to be worth half as much as a 15 minute visit to your local pirates.

Medpacks? Weapons? Armor? You can’t craft those, sorry. No, not even medpacks. Yes, I know medpacks are on the cover of the Medicine 1 Research, but if you check the tooltip it just lets you make non-healing items that treat injuries and conditions.

You’ll have to wait for the inevitable DLC, I’m afraid, though we should get mods sooner.

NPCs? Sorry, AFAIK you can’t recruit randos. You’re stuck with companions only. If you like your companions, you can build a castle for them. If you don’t like companions, you can station them at an outpost to keep them out of the Lodge. Speaking of the Lodge, why would you live anywhere else?

Challenge? Prestige? I can work with that. There are few tasks that consume more time and resources than building an elaborate museum.

So, let’s talk skills.

  • Outpost Management (Social Tier 3)
  • Tier 1 Additional cargo links, required for complex recipes, especially across multiple planets.
  • Tier 2 Additional robots can be constructed. Includes logistics robots, farming robots, etc.
  • Tier 3 Additional crew can be consigned to outposts.
  • Tier 4 Outposts extractors work twice as fast.

That’s a good luxury, but what about necessities?

Surveying (Tech Tier 1)

Tier 4 With a scan distance of 50 meters, it should save a few minutes of the hours it takes to scan every single lifeform on the planet, which you need to do if you want to harvest them in an outpost.

Botany (Tech Tier 2)

Tier 1 Unlocks farms, for harvesting resources from plants. Results vary by planet, but generally you can get fiber, nutrient, adhesive, structural material, etc.

Zoology (Tech Tier 2)

Tier 1 Unlocks ranching, for harvesting resources from animals. Results vary by planet, but generally you get fiber, nutrient, meat, bone, etc.

Scanning (Tech Tier 2)

Tier 4 You can detect unique inorganic resources and planetary surfaces. AFAIK, this is much faster than scanning a planet with your hand scanner.

Astrophysics (Tech Tier 3)

Tier 2 You can scan any planetary body in the current system. Saves on a LOT of jump drive cutscenes. Tier 4 You can scan any planetary body within 30 light years. A bit overkill, but worth mentioning.

Outpost Engineering (Tech Tier 3)

  • Rank 3 You can research and build max rank outpost modules.
  • Rank 4 Outpost modules cost 50% less to build.

Planetary Habitation (Tech Tier 4)

  • Rank 1 You can build outposts on planets with extreme temperatures of hot or cold. +4 max outposts.
  • Rank 2 As above, but for pressure. AFAIK needed for airless worlds, with most worlds are. +8 max.
  • Rank 3 As above, but for corrosion. Needed for acidic planets, which often have certain resources. +12 max.
  • Rank 4 As above, but for gravity. Needed for most moons, where you find necessities like He-3 fuel and other rare resources. +16 max outposts.

Special Projects (Tech Tier 4)

  • Tier 2 Craft rare components.
  • Tier 3 Craft exotic components.
  • Tier 4 Resource extractors collect more resources.

You might be wondering how many of those skills are luxuries, and how many are necessities for outpost production chains.

Any given star system is unlikely to have all the raw materials you need to expand and outpost. Interplanetary outposts and logistics is a must. That means you need He3.

He3, aka Helium 3, aka jump drive fuel, aka reactor fuel, is required for sending resources to other planetary systems without you having to personally move them. It is typically found on low gravity, airless moons. That means you need at least Planetary Habitation 2, probably 4.

Any given planet has 3-14 of the 50+ resources you need to have a fully self sufficient outpost. You’ll need a lot of outposts. Planetary Habitation grants +16, which should be enough.

Then you have to find the planets you need, which requires scanning from orbit. Astrophysics 2-3 and Scanning 4.

The price of rare components is low, but waiting for vendors to restock is tiresome, so you want to make your own with Special Projects 3.

Can’t harvest organics without at least one point in Botany and Zoology, preferably both.

Then you have to actually build everything, which takes loads of resources. You’ll want to upgrade and optimize your production chains as much as possible. That means Outpost Engineering 3-4, Outpost Management 2-4, and possibly Special Projects 4.

Hopefully I’m proven wrong soon, but for now it looks like outposts exist solely for the sake of creating museums and more outposts.

Helena Stamatina
About Helena Stamatina 2687 Articles
My first game was Naughty Dog’s Crash Bandicoot (PlayStation) back in 1996. And since then gaming has been my main hobby. I turned my passion for gaming into a job by starting my first geek blog in 2009. When I’m not working on the site, I play mostly on my PlayStation. But I also love outdoor activities and especially skiing.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*