Starfield - Best Early Upgrades

starfield spacefarer looking over mountains

starfield spacefarer looking over mountains

Starfield has a ton of mechanics and systems that you need to learn to immerse yourself in the game fully. There are many things to discover, craft, and upgrade throughout the game. Getting some of the best early upgrades will make your life much easier, as you’ll find yourself equipped with the tools to tackle any challenge Starfield throws your way.

Starting out in Starfield can be tough, but once you've got your early upgrades sorted out, you can really start enjoying the game. Here are all the best skills, traits, research upgrades, and starship upgrades you should get quickly to make your life easier in Starfield.

Also, check out our list of Starfield tips and tricks if you're starting out in Starfield.

Best Skills to Unlock Early

Starfield has a fairly expansive skill system; some skills completely change how you play the game. Crucial for progress in Starfield; the following are the best skills to unlock early in the game.

starfield skill upgrades tree
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Boost Pack Training

The boost pack is the best traversal tool you can use in Starfield, making it much easier for you to cover large distances while exploring a planet. Therefore, we highly recommend getting the Boost Pack Training skill upgrade early, as it opens up a whole new world of mobility.


Starfield has various dangers that can injure you, but few items to heal you effectively, especially if you have the Alien DNA trait. So, getting the Medicine skill early is essential to get the most out of your healing items by increasing their effectiveness.


Unlocking and upgrading the Persuasion skill increases your chances of successfully passing a persuasion check. You will often come across persuasion checks during dialogue, and this skill can help you experience entirely new story beats and character interactions.

Targeting Control Systems

Getting this skill lets you target individual components of a ship while dogfighting. This skill is crucial as you must target and disable a ship’s engine before hijacking it. So, if you want to steal some ships in Starfield, get the Targeting Control Systems upgrade early in Starfield.

Weight Lifting

Inventory management is a real hassle in Starfield as weapons, armor, and other resources fill up your inventory pretty quickly (Also one reason to hate Starfield). Therefore, we recommend unlocking and upgrading the Weight Lifting skill to increase your carrying capacity.

While all these skills are essentials, ultimately, the skills you want to take will depend on the build you're going for. Be sure to check out our builds hub and find the best skills for your character.

Best Early Traits

You can choose up to 3 traits during the character creation section at the beginning of Starfield. Here are some of the best early traits that you can have.

starfield traits menu
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Dream Home

Dream Home grants you a private home for yourself right from the get-go. Even though you have to pay a hefty mortgage, having a place to rest and store your items is worth the cost. You can safely dump all the excess cargo and items you can no longer carry here. If you're having trouble paying for it, check our Credit farming guide.


Empath is a solid trait that increases your combat effectiveness each time your companion likes your actions. This trait ensures you maintain a high affinity with your companions and gives an added combat buff. It's useful if you're trying to romance a companion as well,

Hero Worshipped

If you can put up with the annoying yammering from the Adoring Fan, Hero Worshipped is a fine trait as it grants you a free partner for your gruelling journey and some free goodies he brings. He's essentially a free mule to carry your items and a meat shield in combat.


Wanted is another solid trait that grants you a damage buff when you’re low on health, helping you get out of tricky situations and pull off a comeback. However, enemies will frequently spawn around you to claim the bounty on your head, so keep that in mind.

Best Early Research Upgrades

You’ll research several projects in the game. Successfully completing a research project grants you valuable rewards you don’t want to miss out on. Here are the best early research upgrades for Starfield.

starfield research upgrades
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Manufacturing 1

If you’re into outpost building and maintenance, then the Manufacturing 1 research option is essential for you. With this project, you’ll learn to build improved modules for your outposts that will help boost productivity.

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Medical Treatment 1

Learning how to cure various status effects and afflictions is important for your survival in Starfield. In that regard, we recommend completing the Medical Treatment 1 research project found in the Pharmacology category.

Old Earth Cuisine 1

From the Food and Drink category, be sure to start with the Old Earth Cuisine 1 research early on. It teaches you the recipes for Reuben and Meatloaf, which are excellent sources of healing that you should stock up on.

Best Early Starship Upgrades

Another important aspect of Starfield is the starships. You'll get into a lot of space combat, and having a capable ship saves you from a lot of frustration. Here are some priorities that you should focus on for your early Starfield ship upgrades.

starfield ship grav drive upgrade in builder
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The Reactor determines the number of points you can allocate to each system. So be sure to focus on getting a Reactor that supports the systems that you want to be using a lot more, such as lasers and shields.


Once your Reactor is set up, focus on Shields next. Space combat can get chaotic, and you can't always avoid damage from multiple starships trying to gun you down. The basic shield systems are weak and take a long time to recharge, so we suggest upgrading early on.


Just focusing on defense will get you nowhere, and lasers should be your priority for offense. Enemy starships have powerful shields that you need to rip through first with laser weapons before you can damage their hull or disable their engines.


Once you're done ripping through enemy shields, missiles and ballistic weapons are your best shot at dealing with some serious hull damage. This one comes down to your preference between either missiles or ballistic weapons. Missiles deal high damage but have low ammo capacity and high recharge times. Ballistic weapons are quicker but deal less damage. Pick one of the two and stick with it early in Starfield.

Cargo Storage

Cargo Storage is important, and you'll start running out of space quickly in Starfield. If you're looking to make some extra credits quickly and want to smuggle contraband, getting those shielded cargo upgrades is a must.

Should I Upgrade the Fuel Tank and Grav Drives?

No, you don't actually have to upgrade the Fuel Tank and Grav Drive to visit new systems. Fuel determines how far you can fast travel within a system before making a stop, and Grav Drives determine the same but for travel between star systems. However, these are not essential upgrades early on, and a FEW extra stops won't ruin your experience.

That concludes our list of the best early upgrades in Starfield. Also, check out our list of the best guns and best armors to get your hands on.

As always, stick with us at the Starfield Portal for everything Starfield!

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