How to fly ships in Starfield

A character flying a ship in Starfield.

A character flying a ship in Starfield.
November 3, 2023: Become an ace pilot as you fly ships in Starfield, which is out now!

Before the start of 2023, we had very little footage we could rely on to figure out things like how to fly in Starfield. Now, we have more than enough. In fact, we've got everything we need. Through a nearly hour-long presentation just a few months before launch, along with our early gameplay experiences, we've seen what we need to see to confidently fly, hijack, and build ships. Here's what we know.

If you think flying in Starfield will just be a matter of driving like you're in a jet car or some sort, think again. It's a whole manual process. And with threats able to approach from all angles, knowing what all those levels, dials, and buttons do will be paramount.

For more on Starfield, read up on why Xbox head honcho Phil Spencer describes the game as "more Oblivion than Skyrim." And for some usual bits of community trivia, learn about the fans helping someone play as their late dad, or the fan-made tabletop RPG. For all guide-related content and answers to popular questions about the game, take a look at our Starfield hub!

How to fly ships in Starfield

As the developers put it in the deep-dive before release, knowing how to fly ships in Starfield is like learning "a complex dance." You more or less have complete control of the art of flying, and you'll need to adjust multiple things on the fly to survive as you jump between planets.

Flying a ship in Starfield starts once you climb abroad, sit in the cockpit, and lift off. That takes you out of the planet's atmosphere and into space.

From there, it's a matter of boosting forward, selecting a warp drive location, and doing whatever you need to do to reach your destination in one piece – including using your ship's laser, missile, and ballistic weapons to shoot down enemy ships that try to take you on.

The system allocation graphic from Starfield.
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At its core, though, flying ships in Starfield means making sense of the power allocation system. With a set number of points spread across various ship systems, finding the perfect time to take power from one area to bolster another is key.

Taking points from your weapons and putting them into the engine can help you get somewhere faster when there's no nearby threat. Likewise, throwing them from the engine into the Grav Drive will speed up the time it takes to warp long distances. For a bit more context into how this all works, the Starfield Direct video had a 5-minute section all about it.

For even more Starfield basics, check out how to heal, how space combat works, how to crouch (which can help you defeat pirates) and some tidbits of the Starfield lore timeline if you're a story-focused kind of space bandit.

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