I Made The Ugliest Starfield Ship Ever Just To Unlock A Perk

I might not be as good a Starfield pirate as I thought. I tried my best, don’t get me wrong. But for all my Piloting perks and murdering innocents to loot their spacecraft, for all the cubes of wine I drank in lieu of decent rum, I recently realised that I know nothing about shipbuilding.


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Shipbuilding is a core part of the pirate’s life. If nothing else, you need shielded cargo to complete delicate smuggling missions that get your contraband through United Colonies checkpoints without being detected. I managed to find a sympathetic technician who would sell me that smuggler’s cache, but when it came to installing a Comspike and Conduction Grid, I got it all wrong.

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Spoilers for the Crimson Fleet quest follow.

I’ve upgraded my ship quite a lot in my time in Starfield. I’m roleplaying a pirate, I’d be remiss to raid the seven solar systems in a ramshackle hunk of junk. But for the most part, I’ve just bought upgrades. New guns and engines are automatically attached to your spacecraft when you buy them from vendors, and once I’d saved up enough to buy a battleship for myself, I happily upgraded it this way. I also dived into the shipbuilder proper for a couple of cosmetic changes, but it mostly involved swapping weapon positions because I couldn’t work out what else to do.

Starfield Birds Eye View Of Ship On Planet

There’s no shipbuilding tutorial, and I missed a crucial point of how to add new modules. So, when the Crimson Fleet asked me to install a Comspike and Conduction Grid in order to access Kryx’s Legacy and the greatest payday the pirate fleet has ever seen. Except, I couldn’t find these modules that I’d worked so hard to gather. I knew it would be somewhere in the shipbuilding menu, but I just couldn’t work out where.

It’s worth noting at this point that I reviewed Starfield, so I was playing all this before the game came out in early access, and before any guides had been published. I couldn’t scour TheGamer’s guides for the answers. That was my downfall.

I figured that I needed the rank four Shipbuilding perk to complete the mission, which says it allows you to install “experimental modules”. Now, I don’t know if this is true or not, but I do know I needed to add no fewer than 50 unique modules to my ship in order to max out the perk and, in my eyes, get the Comspike.

Starfield shipbuilder

This is where I turned to our guide writers for help. While they weren’t doing the Crimson Fleet quest so likely couldn’t help with the Comspike, they would be able to tell me if I was missing something with shipbuilding. Turns out I was missing something big.

If you click in the fresh air surrounding your ship on the blueprint, it brings up a menu of potential additions you can make to your ship. From captain’s quarters to landing gear, from alternative cockpits to bigger shield generators, this menu has everything you could ever need. Shipbuilding suddenly clicked, and I set to work spending a fortune on every upgrade I could think of for my spacecraft.

Not wanting to mess with my main ship, the big boy with its shielded cargo and immense carrying capacity, I set to work on the Frontier, the first ship in the game that Barrett kindly lends you. I spent half a fortune on weapon emplacements, engines, and shields, and didn’t make much progress. So I started buying the cheap stuff.

starfield ugly ship-1
Look at this hideous beast

Habitation modules, corridors, and rooms of various sizes are the most economical way of leveling up the Shipbuilder perk. I made the Frontier three times its original length by adding three storeys of mismatched rooms – the modules had to be unique, remember – and fitted anything I could onto them. Portholes, check. Radiators, check. Random struts meant for building ships from scratch? Check. The Frontier is now the ugliest ship I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen some horrors in my hours exploring the galaxy.

So, level four perk in hand, I returned to The Key, the Crimson Fleet’s base of operations. Its own Technician Jasmine Durand was ready to help me install the modules, and I had a realisation. Did I need to do all that work and spend all those credits upgrading my ships at all, or did I just need to learn how to add modules in the first place and scroll along to the Comspike?

I’ll never know, and I’m not going out of my way to find out. My headcanon is that Ian, my pirate rook, wanted to learn the ins and outs of shipbuilding before embarking on such a dangerous quest. And besides, I did come out of it with one positive: the ugliest ship in the galaxy. Sorry, Barrett.

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