Space combat can be fun in Starfield, with multiple methods and options for taking down enemy ships. You can destroy a ship, leaving nothing but scrap behind, or disable a ship’s engines to steal it. If you’re struggling with this aspect of the game after getting a ship, here is our complete Starfield starship combat guide.
As thrilling as the dogfighting in Starfield can be, you can often struggle against more powerful ships if you’re new to these mechanics. In these intense situations, learning to target separate components on the enemy ship, docking the ship, and using thrusters can be a lifesaver. So, keep reading further to learn more about Starfield's Starship combat and features.
Managing Starship Power Distribution
Space Combat has a surprising amount of complexity when we get down to the core mechanics. Every ship will have stats you can optimize with advanced shipbuilding. However, the core mechanics will remain the same.
You will have a set amount of energy to manipulate and redirect between multiple systems. Here is a list of all the systems and what they do.
Laser weapon damage and recharge rate
Ballistic weapon damage and recharge rate
Missile damage and recharge rate
Engine maximum speed
Shield strength and recharge rate
Jump charge rate
The key to using these systems effectively is diverting power to where it's needed in the middle of combat. This can take a bit of getting used to. Build a powerful ship with our advanced shipbuilding guide to get the most mileage out of space combat.
Best Skills and Traits for Starship Combat
The best skills for spacefighting are all in the Tech skill tree. Here are some of the best skills you can get for dogfighting in Starfield. Click on them to learn more.
- Ballistic Weapon Systems
- Targeting Control Systems
- Energy Weapon Systems
- Engine Systems
- Shield Systems
- Missile Weapon Systems
- Particle Beam Weapon Systems
- Automated Weapon Systems
How to Target Engines
Targeting the enemy ship’s engine is crucial to docking and hijacking the ship. This approach is much better than outright destroying the ship, allowing you to add the ship to your fleet. However, you need to unlock the Targeting Control System skill before you can start targeting engines.
Once you have the Targeting Control System skill in your arsenal, place your crosshair on the enemy ship and stay still for the target lock-on mechanic to trigger. Once locked on, you can switch between different components on the enemy ship to attack each one individually. Ensure you’re locked onto the engine, then press X (Xbox) or R (keyboard) to start targeting the engine until it’s destroyed.
Destroy all the engines on the ship one by one, and then you’ll be ready to move on to the next step.
How to Board Ships in Starfield
Once you’ve utilized the Targeting Control System to turn off all the engines on the enemy ship, you’re ready to board it. Get close to the ship and interact with it by pressing Y (Xbox) or R (keyboard) to dock the ship.
When you dock the ship, you must remove all the enemies before you can control it. Reach the cockpit of the ship and deal with the captain. Finally, you’re ready to take control of the ship. You can loot all the resources inside and sell the ship for some extra credits. Better yet, you can register the ship at a spaceport and make it a part of your fleet. If you’re lucky, it might be a good ship for smuggling.
How to Use Thrusters
If you want to double your ship combat and space travel fun, use thrusters on your ship for increased mobility. You can unlock thrusters by getting the Piloting skill. All you need to do is hold down the spacebar (keyboard) or RB (Xbox) and use movement keys while flying to use your ship's thrusters.
With the thrusters, not only does your ship’s maneuverability become tons of fun, but you can also use it as an evasive ability while dogfighting in Starfield.
That covers all the basics of piloting a starship and how to deal with space combat. While you're here, you can also check our guides for the best weapons, spacesuits, and outpost locations. Also, check our ships hub for everything related to Starships.
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For more articles like this, take a look at our Starship Guides page.