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Starfield Ships explained

Everything we currently know about Ships in Starfield.

starfield yellow and grey fighter ship on landing pad
Image credit: Bethesda

Ships in Starfield are arguably one of the most, if not the most, crucial parts of space travel. With your ship you can venture to new systems, land on and explore new planets, and commit an act of piracy or two if you want to. Your ship is your home among the millions of stars, your biggest weapon, and you can customise it to look how you want it to. You can even recruit a crew to run it and have your companions live on board.

With the Starfield early access release date rapidly approaching, excitement about the action RPG is building. Your journey begins 280 years after humans first set foot on Mars and humanity has settled quite comfortably in space. Which parts of space you go to and which planets you explore are pretty much up to you, but you'll need a good Ship to be able to survive out there.

With that in mind, here's everything we know so far about Ships in Starfield from the June 2023 Starfield Direct.

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If you’d like more help in your galactic adventures, visit our Starfield guides, tips and tricks page.

Buying and Repairing Ships in Starfield explained

Buying a Ship and then knowing how to repair it are probably two of the most important things to know in Starfield. From the June 2023 Starfield Direct, we learned quite a few details about this.

Buying a Ship

Every Space Port has a Ship technician. When you find a Port's technician, you can speak to them to see which Ships they have in stock and you can scroll through them to find one that you want to buy. Ships cost Credits, which is the currency in Starfield.

You might prefer a Speedy Fighter ship that's suited to Bounty Hunting and rapidly making your way through the stars, or you might want a Space Freighter that's perfect for transporting cargo and even smuggling contraband. You can upgrade and customise your Ships too, so if you see one with base stats that you like but aren't overly fond of its style then you can always change it, but we'll talk more about that later on.

starfield space freighter cargo ship on landing pad
Image credit: Bethesda

Also, if you end up having a Ship in your inventory that you don't want any more, you can always sell it to a Technician at any Space Port.

Repairing your Ship

In the Direct, we learned that it is also possible to make repairs to your Ship quickly by speaking to a Technician in a Space Port. It seems as though that if your ship is damaged, a conversational option for repairing your ship will appear when speaking to the Technician. This option will also tell you how many Credits it will take to repair.

starfield repairing ship with space port technician conversation menu
Image credit: Bethesda

Customising and Upgrading Ships in Starfield explained

As we mentioned earlier, you are free to customise and upgrade your Ships in Starfield. Fortunately, the Direct went into detail about this, so here's everything we currently know about ship customisation and upgrades.

You can customise and upgrade the following parts of your Ship:

  • Cowling
  • Shield Generator
  • Fuel Tanks
  • Grav Drive
  • Weapons
  • Engines
  • Cockpit
  • Hab
  • Reactor
  • Cargo Hold
  • Bay
  • Landing Gears
starfield frontier ship customisation
Image credit: Bethesda

You can pretty much customise and upgrade the entirety of your Ship, you can add things to your ship to change its overall silhouette such as adding a piece of Cowling, or you can change the function of your ship by adding a better Cargo Hold. You can also upgrade the Grav Drive to increase the distance that your Ship will travel when it Space Jumps, which will open up more of the Galaxy for you.

That's not where the customisation options end, you can also change the colouring of the exterior of your ship so you can make it as bright or as stealthy as you want it to be.

starfield frontier ship colour customisation menu
Image credit: Bethesda

How to customise and upgrade your ship

There are two ways you can customise and upgrade your ship in Starfield. The first and quickest way is to upgrade individual systems such as weapons to give an overall boost to its stats.

The second, and more in depth, way of upgrading your ship is to enter the Ship Builder mode. In this mode you can change pretty much anything about your ship including your ship Systems, the layout and the look of the Ship. You can pull your ship apart and rearrange the modules to completely change how your ship looks.

starfield ship builder adding nova cowling
Image credit: Bethesda

It's important to keep in mind that the parts you add and upgrades you do to the ship will effect the Ship's stats and can change what you can do inside the ship. For example: if you add another Hab to your ship, you'll be able to hold more crew.

You can add crafting modules, modules for storing and displaying weapons, living quarters, a control room and even a mess hall to make sure your crew is well fed. Also, it's worth noting that different manufacturers in Starfield have unique designs and styles for you to add to your ship so it can be worth shopping around to find the right look for you.

Ship combat in Starfield explained

Your ship isn't just there to look good, it's also there to keep you safe as you explore space as you're not alone out there and not everyone you encounter will be happy to see you. There are a few hostile factions that you are likely to come across, and fighting them to get away safely or to claim their ship is a big part of space travel.

starfield ship mid-flight from 2023 direct
Image credit: Bethesda

Ship to Ship combat

Now, surviving Ship to Ship combat isn't just about how good of a pilot you are in Starfield (though your skills in this area will inevitably be crucial), but it's also about how you use your Ship.

starfield rerouting ship power menu
Image credit: Bethesda

When you know you're headed for a fight, adjusting your ship's individual systems may give you the edge you need to come out on top and not get blown to pieces.

For example, adding more power to your engines will make your ship faster so you can out-manoeuvre enemies, or putting more power into the Grav Drive will shorten the time it takes to make a jump if things get too heated. Putting more power to weapons and shields is also a good option - you will know your ship best, so following your instincts on which systems to direct power to can save you.

Also, if you have the 'Targeting Control Systems' skill you can target specific parts of an enemy ship which can disable their weapons to stop their attacks, damage their grav drive so they can't get away or even remove their shielding so you can take them out in a few brief hits.

starfield targeting control systems skill in action ship combat
Image credit: Bethesda

Once an enemy ship is destroyed you can loot it from the safety of your own ship.

Boarding combat

However, from the 2023 Direct, it's clear that staying in your Ship isn't the only way you can attack an enemy ship. If you want to claim their ship as your own, you can dock your ship onto an enemy one and board it to take on the crew face to face.

Starfield, the player is inside an enemy ship holding their weapon up as they move forward
Image credit: Bethesda

Once you defeat everyone on board, the ship is yours and is added to your fleet. You can then access it from any space port.

Ship encounters in Starfield explained

Aside from facing hostile factions and battling to the death, there are other Ship encounters you can have while exploring in Starfield. You can board a ship simply to say hello, in the Direct you meet a Grandma who has invited you over for food, or you can talk from ship to ship to trade or learn valuable information.

You can encounter celebrities on a cruise ship that's gallivanting around to rub shoulders with the richest of the rich and the elite of Starfield high society. Also, you can dock at massive battleships to meet the crew inside and see what benefits are on offer.

You can also decide to be a pirate, but that will probably end in ship to ship combat so get ready for a fight if you do.

starfield pilot in ship cockpit
Image credit: Bethesda

That's everything we currently know about Ships in Starfield, but it does seem like your creativity may be your only limit!

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