How to dock in Starfield and board ships

How to dock in Starfield and board ships

Starfield dock board

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Knowing how to dock in Starfield lets you board ships, loot them, and even steal them for yourself if you’re so inclined. However, even if you’re not planning on hostile ship takeovers, knowing how to board is important for missions, as you’ll spend plenty of time heading to various orbital stations and manned satellites in Starfield. Attaching yourself to stations is surprisingly simple, but docking with a moving, hostile ship requires a special targeting skill to take out your target’s engines before you can even consider boarding. I’ll explain the process of how to dock with and board ships in Starfield below.

How to dock with ships in Starfield and board them

Starfield dock board

(Image: © Bethesda)

In general, to dock with a ship in Starfield, you need to get within 500 meters of it and then follow the ‘Dock’ button prompt (X on an Xbox controller). This works for any stationary ship or orbital station such as the Starfield Almagest or the Eye. However, if you intend on boarding an enemy starship while it’s flying, you’ve got to disable it first by doing the following:

  1. Acquire the Targeting Control Systems skill, one of the Starfield skills on Tier 1 one of the Tech tree, at least at rank 1.
  2. Get into combat with the ship you want to board.
  3. Power up weapons and keep the ship ahead of you. A “targeting” meter will build up at the bottom of the screen.
  4. When the meter is full, you can press X to target specific systems of the ship. Use left and right on the D-Pad to select “Engines”.
  5. Fire weapons on the engines until they are non-functional. How long this takes will vary based the power of your armaments and the target ship’s resilience.
  6. If the enemy ship breaks target lock with fancy flying, repeat steps 3-5. Be careful not to completely destroy it!
  7. Once the ship’s engines are destroyed, it will become immobile. Be careful – it can still fire on you.
  8. Get within 500 meters of the enemy craft and hold X, when prompted, to dock with it as normal.
  9. You will now be docked with the ship, as you would a regular spaceport, and have the option to board the ship.

At this point you’ll have free rein of the enemy craft, with your Starfield companions joining you. However, the occupants are not going to be happy about any of this. If you’re stealing the ship you’ll have to kill everyone before you can get in the seat and claim the ship, we’ve got a separate guide on how to steal ships in Starfield if you want to claim your new ride permanently. 

If you’re on board for more altruistic reasons, usually because there’s a hostage to be saved well, you’ll still have to kill all other hostiles, but you’ll usually find the captive in the cockpit waiting to be rescued. Remember not to clear out the cargo or captain’s locker if they are, as they’ll see you and it’ll count as stealing. Anything else on the ship out of their line of sight is fare game for uninterrupted theft though. Once you’re done with whatever you want to accomplish and aren’t thinking about keeping this ship, you can head back to the airlock to get back to your own ship.

© GamesRadar+. Not to be reproduced without permission

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Joel Franey is a writer, journalist, podcaster and raconteur with a Masters from Sussex University, none of which has actually equipped him for anything in real life. As a result he chooses to spend most of his time playing video games, reading old books and ingesting chemically-risky levels of caffeine. He is a firm believer that the vast majority of games would be improved by adding a grappling hook, and if they already have one, they should probably add another just to be safe. You can find old work of his at USgamer, Gfinity, Eurogamer and more besides.

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