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How to Earn Money Quickly in Starfield - Grinding Bounties for Credits

Nathan Garvin

Money makes the world go ’round. The saying is as true in the futuristic setting of Starfield as in reality. More money will allow you to purchase better weapons and armor, more/better ship components, purchase a house (or pay off the one you already purchased, if you have the "Dream Home" iconDream Home Trait, and potentially bribe NPCs when the need arises. This page will provide some tips and strategies for farming credits in Starfield.

Best Way to Farm Credits in Starfield - Bounties

The answer we hit upon might not be satisfying or glamorous, but the most consistent way to fatten your wallet in Starfield is by selling plunder. Guns (especially rare and/or modified ones) and armor sell for a lot of credits, potentially thousands each, and while the average is in the hundreds, it still adds up quickly, especially when you clear randomly generated outposts occupied by a dozen or so spacers, pirates, mercenaries, or other ne’er-do-wells.

(1 of 4) Join the Freestar Rangers to gain access to their bounty board,

How to Join the Freestar Rangers and Find Bounties

While this may seem time-consuming and straight-forward, there are some pitfalls and complications to be aware of that, if planned for, can make the process much faster. To farm human enemies for their equipment you’ll want to be able to find them quickly - you can touch down on random planets and roam around scanning for map markers, looking for installations that might house ruffians, but suffice to say this will take a while, and isn’t very efficient. Instead, you should try to make your way to "Akila City" iconAkila City (Cheyenne system, planet Akila) - you will come here during the main quest "The Empty Nest" iconThe Empty Nest, and it’s worth beelining to this point in the game as you’ll be able to join the Freestar "Ranger" iconRangers after resolving a bank robbery.

Whether you actually care about the Freestar Ranger faction doesn’t really matter, we don’t need to progress the questline far to get what we want. After resolving the bank robbery during The Empty Nest/Job Gone Wrong enter The Rock and talk to "Emma Wilcox" iconEmma Wilcox and she’ll direct you to the Freestar Rangers Mission Board, a terminal on the second floor of The Rock where you can pick up bounties. This typically includes two quests tasking you with hunting down some outlaw/gang leader found in some base, complex or installation on some random planet somewhere. Not only do these bounties pay a few thousand credits each for killing your target, but they provide a freeform quest that guides you directly to a base of hostiles that you can farm, which will result in you accumulating much, much more money than the actual bounty will. Needless to say, finding these enemy bases via a quest and being able to travel there by simply entering the main menu and holding down [X] is much easier than searching for them on your own. You can also pick up a third bounty each visit that tasks you with destroying a pirate ship, if you’re confident in your ship’s combat capabilities - it’s not as lucrative as clearing an enemy base is, but it’s also much quicker.

Farming Bounties - Upgrading Your Ship and Hauling Cargo

Now that you can run bounties, it’s time to talk about some other complications and time sinks. Starfield is archaic in many ways, one of which being its focus on encumbrance and inventory management. Your farming efficiency will be impacted by how much loot you can carry and by how much you can store on your ship at a time. Bringing a companion (you’ll have a few available if you advance the main questline to the point where you start The Empty Nest) will allow you to hand off some gear to them, but buying ranks in the "Weight Lifting" iconWeight Lifting skill will give you a very welcome +100kg carrying capacity boost. Likewise, the "Payloads" iconPayloads skill will boost your ship’s cargo hold capacity by up to +50%, but buying more/better cargo holds will also boost this to a satisfactory degree without burning skill points.

Getting your ship upgraded to a certain degree is going to be essential, as well. As mentioned on our [Ship Building page], upgrading your ship(s) is something of a money pit. You’ll want better grav drives and maybe a second fuel tank to facilitate the travel these bounties will require, and bigger/more cargo holds to stash all the loot you’ll be bringing in, but this adds mass, and mass lowers your top speed, mobility and jump range, which requires better engines, and if you plan to hunt pirates (an occupational hazard, let’s be honest) you’ll also want more/better weapons and an upgraded shield, and consequently a superior reactor (which also has the added benefit of improving your hull). You have to spend money to make money, and that’s true to a degree in Starfield, but once you’ve upgraded your ship to the point where you have the following you should be good:

  • Three or four particle beam weapons - the "Disruptor 3300 Electron Beam" iconDisruptor 3300 Electron Beam (2,205 credits each) should suffice.
  • 15+ Jump Range, the closer to 20 the better (the grav drive you need isn’t set in stone - your ship’s mass will drop your Jump Range, so the more massive your ship, the better grav drive you will need).
  • 100+ fuel (slap on two bottom-tier fuel tanks or one slightly more expensive fuel tank - the mass/credits cost of this won’t be significant).
  • Enough cargo capacity to haul your plunder (again, this will vary depending on your ship’s mass and what engines you’re using - get as much as you can without tanking your mobility).

You have some wiggle room with the exact stats and design of your ship, and while this will eat up a good number of credits, it’s an investment that pays for itself. Also keep in mind that you need to balance all these hauling considerations with combat skills - if you can’t kill enemies quickly and easily, hauling their loot back is the least of your problems. Granted, you can drop the difficulty to make the farming process itself quicker and easier, but then internet randos might tease you for making a grind in a single player game more mindless, and we can’t have that. Anyways, focus on your weapon skill(s) of choice and keep your gear updated and you should be fine. You’ll gain plenty of XP while doing this, which will fuel your investment in various skills and potentially unlock new, more efficient ship components. Of course, your enemies will get stronger as you level up, but this also means they drop better gear and give more XP, which makes farming money faster. It’s a virtuous cycle, one fans of Bethesda Games Studios games should be well aware of by now.

(1 of 4) As a secondary form of income, be on the lookout for contraband.

Contraband and Other Bounty Farming Loot

While the primary target when it comes to farming bounty targets are their valuable arms and armor, there are other items you’ll find littered around enemy bases. These bases are generally going to be randomized (you’ll see the same dungeon several times during this process), they often contain a skill book, which you should be on the lookout for (if you miss it, don’t worry - the same skill book will respawn at different iterations of enemy outposts), locks to pick, and loot lying around in general. Most of this varies from junk to moderately interesting, but you can also potentially score contraband as you clear enemy outposts. These items are marked by a yellow icon, and while incredibly valuable (they tend to be worth 8,000-10,000+ credits each, although the vendor will only pay you around 1/5th their value, same as any other item), they’re also… well, contraband. When you enter most civilized areas you’ll end up scanned by the port’s law enforcement, and unless you take steps to avoid it, the contraband will be detected.

Well, we don’t want to forfeit this delicious (albeit supplemental) source of income, but getting a bounty ourselves is somewhat counterproductive. We need to find a, shall we say, receptive vendor, with lax security standards. Fortunately such a person in such a place exists within easy traveling distance, if you know where to look. Travel to the Wolf system (to the right of the Sol system) and dock at "The Den" iconThe Den. No security checks, and the "Trade Authority" iconTrade Authority vendor there will happily buy your contraband without fuss. Just remember to offload any accumulated contraband at The Den before going to other, less open-minded places to sell the rest of your haul.

Now that you know a fine way of building up your financial reserves, check out these related pages for more information on topics covered here:

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Guide Information
  • Platforms,
    PC, XB X|S
  • Genre
    Action Adventure, Action RPG, Shooter
  • Guide Release
    30 August 2023
  • Last Updated
    18 October 2023
    Version History
  • Guide Author

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Starfield is an action role-playing game from Bethesda Game Studios set in a futuristic interpretation of space exploration and colonization. Earth has long been abandoned, but there are plenty of other planets in different star systems where humans have ventured and settled. You have the freedom to create your own character with a unique background, but the main story will take you through a series of adventures as you uncover more information about mysterious artifacts which create gravitational anomalies. Along the way, you can build and customize your own space ship, establish your own outpost, befriend and romance new companions, and more. As a Bethesda game, you can also expect to see a lot of creative mods which have the potential to change your experience of the base game, or take it in an entirely new direction.

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