Starfield is finally on our horizon and early access is now live! The game launches on Xbox Series X|S and PC (with Game Pass) on September 6 – or on September 1 with the Starfield Premium Edition, Starfield Premium Edition Upgrade, or the Starfield Constellation Edition – and we at Xbox Wire have been lucky enough to play it early. This is an enormous game, full of overlapping systems, mysteries, and mechanics.
We’re sure you want to know more and, in the spirit of getting you ready to play it yourself, we’ve put together a series of articles focused on getting you out into the galaxy prepared for what’s to come. Allow us to present Starfield Starters, a four-part, spoiler-free guide to some of the game’s most important, complex, and lesser-known features – and how to succeed with them.
Creating your character isn’t quite the first thing you do in Starfield, but it’s close. So, what better way to launch the Starfield Starters series than with a guide to creating your perfect starship captain?
Character customization is where you will name your character, design their physical appearance, select a background (your occupation, not a wallpaper), and optionally choose up to three traits. The process is straightforward and not unlike your typical character customization feature, and Bethesda is known for having some of the best.
There are generally two methods to designing your character’s physical appearance. One involves spending hours to painstakingly pore over every option, carefully tweaking each setting right down to the color temperature of your complexion and the amount of dirt on your face (yes, that’s an option). The other technique is to opt for one of the forty existing profiles, so you can hop right into the game and start exploring this beautiful new frontier. Either method is acceptable.
Creating your character is extremely easy and intuitive, but there are some tips and tricks to know in advance, that may save you from having to restart the process (or saving up enough credits for the in-game plastic surgeons located in major hub cities). This guide will help ensure you’re aware of everything you need to know.
TIP: Starfield will create a saved game file labeled Vectera – Vectera Level 1 just before you enter the character customization screen. If you want to go back and redo your character without having to replay through the introduction, you can reload this file.
TIP: You can have multiple character profiles. When you select load from the options menu, there is an option to select the character you want to load.
From the Biometric ID tab, you initially select a character from one of the forty available profiles. These vary in age, gender, and appearance and can be used as-is or as a base model to customize further in the other sections.
In the body section, you will have a few different options to work with. The first is a circular scale allowing you to choose between degrees of muscular, thin, and heavy physiques. Selecting a dad bod won’t impact your stamina – so no pressure to create a crossfit champion. You can choose that if you’d like, but for my build, I started in the center and moved it up a click or two on the muscular scale. And maybe a tad on the thin side while we’re at it. I mean, if I’m imagining myself as bounty hunter off exploring the galaxy, I might as well be thin and muscular while I’m at it. They say spacesuits add ten pounds, so keep that in mind. From here, you can choose your body type, walk style, and skin tone to perfect your overall look.
The face section has by far the largest number of customization options and allows you to modify several different facial features. Some of these options even include the option to refine the setting, providing even more precision to your character’s customization. There are far too many individual facial settings (over 30) for me to cover each one individually, especially since the quantity and types vary depending on the body type you select, but suffice it to say you have a plethora of customizations to explore. These options are clear and depend on personal preference, so have fun tinkering!
Here’s where things start to get more unexpected. The background portion of your personal record is essentially your occupation and starting skills, and one of the few things you’re absolutely required to choose before finalizing your character. There are 21 different backgrounds to choose from – 20 are identified, but there is also a unique one that is named [File Not Found] for those looking for a character with a more mysterious past.
Each background type includes three starting skills, and some of these skills are available in different backgrounds (for example, the Bounty Hunter and Soldier both have Boost Pack Training as one of their starting skills, which is necessary to start jetpacking around).
One of the biggest takeaways I hope you get from this guide pertains to those skills. When you first start playing Starfield and you’re browsing the background section of the character customization screen, you won’t have access to the skill tree yet, which includes the specific benefits of each skill. Instead, you will see a brief summary of that skill. The specific benefit of a starting skill is revealed after you pick it and start the game.
The key thing to know is that certain abilities are locked behind skills – you won’t be able to use a boost pack without a point in Boost Pack Training, and you won’t get a stealth meter if you haven’t invested in Stealth. If you definitely want to be able to access these from minute one, pick a background that contains them.
My best advice would be to focus on the kind of roleplaying you want to do when choosing your background, as opposed to picking based on specific skills. The flexibility of Starfield’s skill tree is such that you’ll be able to take any path you choose and allocate a skill point to any ability you want fairly quickly, so if there’s a backstory you like, but the skills don’t feel quite right for your playstyle, don’t worry! It won’t be long until you can pick up the ones you like (and we’ll cover skills in more detail later in our Starfield Starters series).
The other area where your background comes into play is with dialogue options. Depending on the conversations you have, your background choice may be referenced, and sometimes you’ll be provided with a dialogue option fitting your background – and some of these can change the course of conversations significantly. It’s always a pleasure to see your background pop up in the dialogue menu, and knowing you’re getting an experience that fits your particular path, so choose yours with care.
Traits are optional and you can select up to three of them from a list of seventeen. They’re designed to add a little flair to your character’s story, should you choose one or more of them. If you have big plans to own your own mansion in Starfield, the Dream Home trait may be the one for you, but it comes with a hefty 125,000 credit mortgage that has to be paid weekly.
Paying a big mortgage sounds too much like real life for me, so I passed on that one, but I did like the tribute to The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion’s Adoring Fan with the Hero Worshipped trait. It took all of a few days of in-game time before this fellow showed up standing right behind me. I didn’t even hear him come into the room, and the unintended jump scare made me think I was going to have to change my spacesuit. I won’t share the details of his fate in my game, but let’s just say you have… options with how to respond to your overly passionate follower.
Aside from their stat changes, traits can also appear as additional dialogue options during conversations. I put my United Colonies Native trait to good use and now I get free drinks at a local bar. Some traits are incompatible with others (for example, you can’t select the Introvert and the Extrovert traits), and there are traits with both positive and negative effects. Think of these as roleplaying choices – some traits may lead you to certain locations a little earlier than you otherwise might have expected, and others may actively cause you difficulties, but offer you extra stories to tell as a result. That said, you may soon discover the impact of a trait isn’t always permanent, if you have the credits to spend. We’ll let you discover the results for yourself.
We’re Almost There
You have your physical appearance done, your background and optional traits selected, so all that’s left to finish up and begin your journey is naming your character and selecting your pronouns if you need to change them.
Your character’s default name is Player and you will have to enter a name in order to continue (yes, you can name your character Player if you want, but you will still have to type it in the box). One neat thing – many common names are included in the Starfield’s files, and picking a recognized one will have your robot companion VASCO actually refer to you by name throughout the game. Once all that is done, your journey begins!
Space is Calling
If you thought that was the end of Customizing Your Perfect Captain, it’s actually only the beginning. You’ll soon be choosing what apparel to wear, spacesuits and helmets to equip, weapons to carry, spaceships to captain, and so much more! We’ll be covering several of these Starfield topics in future installments of Starfield Starters.
Starfield Premium Edition
Starfield Standard Edition
Starfield Premium Edition Upgrade
Watch the Starfield Official Live Action Trailer
Play Starfield Now with Early Access
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