As much as humanity has advanced in the universe of Starfield, it has yet to eliminate conflict. While not ideal for the characters, it does mean you as the player get plenty of excuses to enjoy different forms of combat, stealth, persuasion, and other interactions to accomplish your goals. There’s a wide suite of tools for your character to learn, and while you start off with only three skills based on which Background you picked, you’re not limited to just those. You can dive deep into one category, or spread yourself out among them all, but either way, you’re going to need XP to level up and get more points to invest. This RPG rewards you with XP for doing almost anything, but not in equal amounts. If you want to level up fast in Starfield, here are the most efficient ways to earn XP.
No sense ignoring the obvious. Quests will dish out the highest XP payouts of any single activity in Starfield. Main quests specifically have the biggest rewards, but are obviously limited to how many there are within the main storyline. If you want to power-level before doing other content, mainlining these missions is the fastest way. However, if you are looking to beef yourself up for the main quest, then you will want to rely on the other methods.
Sidequests come in second behind main quests in terms of earning XP. These are categorized in your journal as Faction and Misc missions and usually should be prioritized in that order for more XP. Faction missions will obviously require you to join and do missions for a specific faction, of which there are plenty in Starfield. Once you’re a part of a Faction, much like a Guild in Skyrim, you will get a sort of mini-story arc within that group composed of multiple quests. Doing these not only makes the grind more interesting and offers some variety, but adds more lore and options for you to explore in the game. Misc missions also tend to be multipart, but more contained. These are usually picked up by talking to certain people and inquiring about their issues.
While technically listed under your quest log as Missions, we have to put them in a lower tier than the other types of quests. These are your most generic, almost randomly generated-feeling quests. Across the various hubs in Starfield, you will find different kiosks, and the first you will likely see is in the basement of The Lodge. By looking at them, you will be presented with a list of missions you can take for different payouts, while earn ingXP on the way. It isn’t much, but you can stack up an entire list of them to bang out in a single trip without doing too much thinking. Still, you can maximize your time by choosing ones that involve fighting to get XP for each kill, as well as discovering new locations if they take you somewhere new.
Negotiation is a big mechanic that has the option to be used (assuming you have the skill) in the majority of main missions, and even quite a few Faction and Misc missions too. These open up a little minigame where you can attempt to persuade a key character of something, most of the time involving avoiding a fight. While you do earn a bit of XP for succeeding in a persuasion argument, it is dwarfed by the amount you can get by fighting and killing just two or three goons. If you have the choice between fighting and talking, just go in guns blazing to rack up that XP.