How to Loot Destroyed Ships in Starfield
Image via Prima Games.

How to Get a Free Ship Early in Starfield

I am the captain now.

The starting ship you’re given in Starfield is decent for trying to get used to the game’s flight combat. It has decent speed, its weapons can rip through enemies, and it has all the other features you’d probably want out of a ship. There’s a good chance you’ll want something better, though, and that desire starts quickly. Here’s how to get a free ship early in Starfield.

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Where to Find a Free Ship Early in Starfield

Starfield Targeting Engines
Image via Prima Games.

There are a few ways that you can score yourself an early ship in Starfield. The easiest way to do so is by boarding an enemy ship, killing all crew on board, and hijacking it by getting into the pilot’s seat. To board a hostile ship, you’ll first need to disable its engines. To do this, you’ll need to fire on at the hostile engines directly until a red ENG symbol shows up under their health bar. If you have at least one point in the Tech tree skill Targeting Control Systems, you’ll be able to enter Targeting mode and fire directly at the enemy ship’s engines. Once they’re down, fly within 500 meters of the enemy ship and dock with it.

Related: How to Dock Your Ship in Starfield

Once on board, you’ll need to kill all hostiles in all parts of the ship, and especially in the cockpit. With them all down, sitting in the pilot’s seat will hijack the ship and make it yours. However, not all ships are hijackable right away. If you don’t have enough points in the Piloting skill, you won’t be able to hijack ships that are Class B or Class C. Provided the skill is maxed, though, you’re free to go on a hijacking spree.

Where Can You Earn a Ship Without Hijacking One?

Starfield Mantis Ship
Screenshot by Prima Games

The other method for getting an early ship is to earn one through a side mission of some sort. A great side mission to get an early ship is Mantis, which can be started by reading a Secret Outpost Slate found randomly on the dead bodies of Spacer enemies. When reading the slate, you’ll be asked to go to a secret outpost on Denebola I-B. Completing the mission and raising the Mantis ship out of the outpost will score you the Mantis ship, and it’s easily one of the best you can run in the entire game.

If you’re learning more about ships, check out our guide on how to upgrade your ship in Starfield.

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Shawn Robinson
Shawn is a freelance gaming journalist who's been with Prima Games for a year and a half, writing mainly about FPS games and RPGs. He even brings several years of experience at other sites like The Nerd Stash to the table. While he doesn't bring a fancy degree to the table, he brings immense attention to detail with his guides, reviews, and news, leveraging his decade and a half of gaming knowledge. If he isn't writing about games, he's likely getting zero kills in his favorite FPS or yelling at the game when it was 100% his fault that he died.