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Starfield backgrounds

We have a detailed breakdown of all Starfield backgrounds so you can build the ultimate Spacefarer with the best starting skills and bonuses.

The role of Starfield backgrounds is to provide your Spacefarer with a set of starting skills for their journey, and to add some unique dialog options as you explore the Settled Systems. Choosing the best Starfield background can make it easier to advance through the Starfield main quest, earn Credits, and even convince criminals to leave you alone.

Every Starfield background and their skills:


Unlike Starfield traits, backgrounds don’t come with negative side effects and won’t align you with any Starfield factions, but your chosen background will be reflected in certain NPC interactions. Backgrounds are important if you’re trying to create specific Starfield builds, so choose carefully.

What’s the best Starfield background?

The best overall Starfield background is the Combat Medic. The starting skills for this background include Wellness and Medicine, which will help you breeze through early combat encounters and patch yourself up when wounded. You’ll also have Pistol Certification to boost your damage output with the handguns that you pick up during the early game.

However, there are other options for brilliant backgrounds depending on your style of play. Those who prefer to sneak in the shadows can benefit from the Cyber Runner background, which confers the Stealth, Security, and Theft skills. Or, if you’re more concerned with dogfighting in the depths of space, the Long Hauler background might be a better pick, providing you with skills in Piloting, Ballistic Weapon Systems, and Weight Lifting.

The best Starfield backgrounds ranked

If you’re still having a tough time deciding on which of the 21 options to opt for, we’ve ranked all the available backgrounds. These are based on our impressions of the game and testing different skillsets, so if you disagree, head over to our Starfield forum to let us know what you think.

Screenshot of the Starfield cyberneticist background for Starfield backgrounds guide

What are the best Starfield backgrounds for my build?

If you’re trying to achieve a specific build, you need to start from the minute the game asks you to select your background. So, we’ve put together this list of a few of the builds we’ve created and what backgrounds work best with them.

Stealth builds – The obvious option for stealth builds is the Cyber Runner background, with all the skills we mentioned in the opening of this article. However, there are some alternatives. The Gangster background includes the Theft skill, with the addition of Boxing if pickpocketing goes amiss. Or there’s the Ronin route, which is the only alternative background to Cyber Runner that includes the Stealth skill.

Social builds – There is a clear favorite for the best Starfield background when it comes to social builds, and it’s the Diplomat. Equipped with Persuasion, Commerce, and Wellness skills, this option is ideal for making your way around the galaxy without ever pulling a trigger or launching yourself at someone with a Rescue Axe in hand.

Melee builds – Melee builds benefit from backgrounds like Chef, which has the Dueling skill, or the brawling Bounceroption, which comes with the Boxingskill.

Samurai build – If you’re aiming to become a space samurai, the only real option is the Ronin background. This background comes with the Stealth, Dueling, and Scavenging skills, providing the basis for your future as a science-fiction swordsman.

That’s our guide to Starfield backgrounds. For more assistance making your way through Bethesda’s latest epic RPG, check out our Starfield map hub, including interactive versions of the Akila City Map, Neon map, Cydonia map, and more on the way.