Scanning Skill: Starfield

Anastasios Antoniadis

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Some might overlook the Scanning skill as secondary to outpost, crafting, social, stealth, and combat, but that would be a grave error. I don’t think any Starfield player considers Scanning a priority early in the game, and it isn’t. But as you progress into the game and are looking for the best places to build outposts for rare resources, I see no way other than maxing out your Scanning Skill. For example, the combination of Planetary Habitation Rank 4 and Scanning Rank 4 has allowed me to find some of the best Star Systems to build outposts on and connect them with Cargo Link modules, creating an efficient supply chain.

There is also another important aspect in terms of quality of life here. Besides the five inorganic resource rarities, Scanning can reveal planet Traits occasionally, saving you exploration time, as I explained in our fast planet scanning guide. I would generally rate Scanning as a great late-game or new game plus skill, and if you plan to do many Constellation Mission Board missions, I think it’s a must-have.

Scanning Ranks and Rank Challenges

RankRank EffectRank Challenge
1You can detect uncommon inorganic resources on planet and moon surfaces, and more information about ships in space.Scan 5 planets or moons.
2You can detect rare inorganic resources on planet and moon surfaces, and more specific information about ships in space.Scan 15 planets or moons.
3You can detect exotic inorganic resources on planet and moon surfaces, and gain better combat information on ships in space.Scan 30 planets or moons.
4You can detect unique inorganic resources on planet and moon surfaces, and gain a complete list of cargo on ships in space.Mastery of this skill.

If you are wondering what unique inorganic resources are, you won’t find those very often (thanks, Sherlock), but they do exist. They are minerals with four-star icons, like Vytinium.

  • No Stars Inorganic Resources: Common
  • 1-Star Inorganic Resources: Uncommon
  • 2-Star Inorganic Resources: Rare
  • 3-Star Inorganic Resources: Exotic
  • 4-Star Inorganic Resources: Unique

You can check the image below to see all five inorganic resource rarities.

Common, Uncommon, Rare, Exotic, and Unique Inorganic Resources
Image: Bethesda/Meta Game Guides

Finally, using your scanner while on your ship will allow you to reveal information about any ships you encounter and even the contents of its Cargo Hold at Rank 4. If you are wondering whether getting a bounty to steal or destroy a GalBank ship is worth it, this may come in handy! As you can see, there is information about the reactor, hull, crew, shield, weapons, power allocation in the ship’s systems, and even the ship’s damage rating and cargo value.

Ship Scanning - Cargo Hold Contents and Ship infromation
Image: Bethesda/Meta Game Guides

How to Add, Remove, and Rank Up Scanning with Console Commands

Starfield offers console commands to add or remove skills for those who want to cut through the grind. To unlock the Scanning skill without lifting a finger, open the Starfield console command window by pressing either the apostrophe (‘ ) or tilde (~) key. Then, input player.addperk 002CFCB1. Repeat this command to sidestep the rank-up challenges, and you’ll be a master scanner in no time.

Need to backtrack? Use player.removeperk 002CFCB1 to remove the Scanning skill altogether

Anastasios Antoniadis
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