Starfield is big. If you don’t know that by now, you will once you boot up the game and are greeted with an expansive galaxy that you can explore to its fullest almost immediately. This is daunting as you’re also pummeled with quests, systems, lore, and an endless waterfall of loot.
So, where do you start? Do you go to New Atlantis and join up with Constellation, dive right into the main story, or make a break for Akila or Neon? And what do you do when you get there? With so many options presenting themselves all at once, we’ve decided to offer you our advice on where you should start.
Bethesda’s Advice For Tackling Starfield
Before we get into what we recommend you should do, we want to share how Bethesda advised us to play through:
Between the main Constellation mission, faction missions, crafting, customization, ship and outpost building, surveying planets, exploration…it can be tempting to rush the experience – to do and see as much as possible in the given time. But it will take many hundreds of hours to come anywhere close to seeing and doing everything Starfield has to offer. We encourage you instead to slow down. Immerse yourself in the experience. Go off the beaten path. Enjoy the scenery. Wander to distant star systems. Starfield rewards patience and curiosity.
We played through this way and adored our experience. Each member of our staff unintentionally went a different route, discovering exciting locations, engaging with different factions, and finding new parts of the game to fall in love with.
Still, being allowed to free-roam a galaxy may be too much for some players.
Where Should You Go First in Starfield?
While you start in an Argos Extractor’s mining facility, you’ll quickly leave the planet and be pointed toward Jemison. More specifically, you’ll be on your way to New Atlantis, Bethesda’s largest city to date. But you don’t have to go there, and I actually recommend you don’t.
New Atlantis is very large and overwhelming. It’s as if you are let out of your house for the first time and walk into New York City. So, to get yourself acquainted with Starfield’s systems (questing, shipbuilding, exploration), we recommend you head to Cydonia, a mining colony on Mars.
Mars is in the Sol system, which is a neighboring star to Alpha Centauri, and it should be named on your star map already. Cydonia appears as an icon on Mars’ surface, making it easy to pinpoint and land on.
Why Go To Cydonia First?
Cydonia is small yet very dense. You won’t get lost or overwhelmed as easily as you would in a place like New Atlantis, Neon, or Akila. It’s also one of the most quest-heavy locations, meaning you won’t run out of activities anytime soon.
Cydonia also does a great job introducing players to its systems, like eavesdropping to pick up quests, diving into caves, mining resources, and clearing out enemy camps. It also has several chain shops that will appear in other settlements so you can get acquainted with them. But most importantly, Cydonia’s quest shows players how even the smallest quests can affect the entire galaxy.
Two quests, in particular, display the power you have over the settled systems. The first is Red Tape Blues, given to the player by Trevor Petyarre. This shows how most questlines have branching conclusions and how your choices affect characters, governments, etc. The second is Space Frog From Outer Space, given to players by Renee in the residential area. While this quest seems silly at first, completing it will impact the entire universe, but we won’t spoil how.
Where Do You Go Next?
If you’re looking to ditch Cydonia and live a more fulfilling life among the stars, we suggest you talk to Mitch Benjamin. He is a rather nerdy fellow who lives in Cydonia and will ask you to track down some of his favorite space novels. This will require you to leave the planet and visit several other large settlements where you can repeat the same questing loop as on Cydonia.
Fly to Hopetown, talk to every NPC, complete all the quests, and then deliver the book you picked up to Mitch Benjamin. He will gladly accept your help to retrieve another, which will likely be on a completely different planet with a completely different settlement.
Mitch will eventually direct you to most of the cities/quest hubs in the left portion of the galaxy, which should provide you with tens of hours of gameplay to start.
What Should You Avoid?
A quick answer for what you should stay away from for a good chunk of time is anything that requires a lot of credits or resources. These are things you will accumulate over time organically, and the systems that require them can be frustrating for those who aren’t well-equipped.
This includes ship-building, base-building, and modding weapons & armor. These are very complex systems that are a lot of fun to play with, but only when you’ve got enough materials to access all of their functions. Shipbuilding is the most enticing, as you’ll use your ship quite a bit to go from place to place, but it’s a very costly practice and can be frustrating if you don’t have the credits to really enhance your spacecraft.