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While Starfield is clearly an ambitious action RPG with more scope than most that have come before it, this creates its own problems. Even if you only want to follow the main quest line, sometimes you have to shoot some bad guys, solve puzzles, or fight in space combat. Combat piloting has been oft-cited as a real challenge (I’m terrible at it), especially early game, so here are some ways to make Starfield space combat easier.
Best way to raise Piloting skill fast in Starfield
The simplest and most important way to make space combat easier is by raising your Piloting skill. Unfortunately, to increase your piloting rank you’ll need to defeat ships. However, as long as you have the skill points to spend there is a very easy way to get to Rank 4 quickly. All you need to do is take the mission titled Supra et Ultra. This works whether you’re mid or post-mission so don’t worry if either you don’t want to, or have already completed it.
Related: Starfield Navigation Guide – How to use the Starfield Map
You pick up the mission by speaking to Commander John Tuala at MAST HQ at Jemison, New Atlantis. He tells you that to join the Vanguard, you’ll need to pass a piloting exam. Simply head upstairs in the MAST building to the simulator. You can take the exam as many times as you like and all the kills count towards any Piloting skill requirement (I used it to go from Rank 3 to 4). You can even cheat (see link above)!
More useful skills to make space combat easier
Increasing your piloting skill is critical as you’ll get important bonuses at every rank. At Rank 1 you’ll get the ability to use thrusters (think strafing – hold space and use the WASD keys to do quick maneuvers) and at Rank 2 an increase in ship turning rate and maneuverability. But more importantly, at Rank 3 and 4 respectively you’ll unlock the ability to fly Class B and Class C ships. Even better, there’s an easy way to do it. But there’s more you can do.
- Targeting Control Systems (T1 Tech skill): Improves ship missiles. Make sure to get at least Rank 1, which unlocks targeting. Later ranks reduce targeting time, weaken targeted ships, and increase your missile crit chance and damage.
- Ballistic Weapon Systems (T1 Tech skill): Improve ballistic weapons. Ranks increase damage, reduce energy use, and increase recharge rates.
- Shield Systems (T2 Tech skill): Increase shield capacity, with Rank 4 giving you a chance to resist all damage received from a hit.
- Energy Weapon Skills (T2 Tech skill): As with ballistic systems above, but improves your energy weapons.
There are also T3 and T4 Tech skills that boost particle beam weapons, EM weapons, missile weapons (again), and automated turrets.
Which crew to use on your ship in Starfield
The importance of adding the best available crew to your current ship should not be underestimated. Especially earlier in the game, they can add their abilities to the ones you don’t have yet, improving your chances in space battles while also chipping in with useful (and sometimes less useful) comments during battles.
Related: Starfield Crew Assignment on Outposts and Ships, Explained
Crew can be added and removed as long as you’re currently landed at a spaceport or similar location. Simply pull up the main character menu, select the ship menu, and click the Crew button at the bottom of the screen (or press C). If you’ve added these guys to your crew, they’re great candidates to assign to your ship. Also, note that you can increase the number of crew spaces available by adding habs to your ship.
- Andreja (follow the main storyline): Energy Weaapn Systems (Rank 2).
- Andromeda Kepler (hired at The Broken Spear, Cydonia): Aneutronic Fusion (Rank 1), Piloting (Rank 1).
- Barrett (follow the main storyline): Starship Engineering (Rank 4), Particle Beam Weapon Systems (Rank 3).
- Gideon Aker (hired at The Viewport, New Atlantis): Ballistic Weapon Systems (Rank 2), Missile Weapon Systems (Rank 2).
- Omari Hassan (hired at The Hitching Post, Akila City): Shield Systems (Rank 3), Starship Engineering (Rank 1).
- Sam Coe (follow the main storyline): Piloting (Rank 4), Payloads (Rank 2).
- Vasco (follow the main storyline): Aneutronic Fusion (Rank 1), EM Weapon Systems (Rank 1), Shield Systems (Rank 1).
Hiring a crew member costs 15-20k Credits unless they’re part of a quest line when they’ll usually join for free. You can halve this cost by passing a Persuasion skill check (so save first!).
How to get a better ship in Starfield
If you want a very early upgrade to the Frontier, you can complete the Mantis sidequest which will reward you with the Razoeleaf. It’s not a great ship but definitely a step up, while also only requiring the basic [piloting ability you start the game with. You start the quest at any time by finding the Secret Outpost! Data slate by looting a Spacer corpse It’s not on a specific one, but you should get it in one of the early main missions.
The easiest way I’ve found to get a really great ship relatively early on is by completing the Over Designed mission. This becomes available from Walter Stroub after you complete the All That Money Can Buy main storyline mission (just talk to him afterward). This will reward you with either the Kepler R or Kelper S, a great ship needing Rank 4 Piloting skill to fly.
For more Starfield information check out Best Pistols in Starfield and Starfield Habs Guide – Best Habs and Features, Explained here at MyFullGames!