Starfield: How to trade with ships

Starfield ship approach
(Image credit: Windows Central)

Forget to stock up on supplies before leaving a planet?

In Starfield, while there are major cities and communities to explore that offer dedicated shops, you'll also be traveling through space. That means that you'll often be unable to directly access any merchants and will instead need to rely on what you can scavenge. 

You've also got the option of trading, which allows you to make some quick credits or grab essential resources. Here's how to trade with other ships in Starfield.

How to trade with ships in Starfield

You've got some options when engaging in trade dialogue. (Image credit: Windows Central)

In order to trade with another ship, you need to approach them and hail them. If they respond, you'll normally see the option to try trading right at the top of the dialogue box. From there, you'll be able to sell and buy. Something to keep in mind when trading is that the selection of items for sale tends to be more limited than most shops, while the type of ship you trade with determines what will be on offer.

For example, if you're trading with a settler ship, you shouldn't expect them to have much in the way of apparel, weapons, or aid supplies, but they might have a lot of different resources you can buy. 

Ships also usually don't have as many credits on-hand as planetary merchants. If you're looking to offload some stuff but want to get the full value for your loot, try to see if there's anything you can buy first in order to maximize your purchase efficiency. 

While you can trade with most ships in Starfield, there are a handful of exceptions. UC warships won't trade with you (and usually won't engage in extended conversation) while GalBank vessels will talk to you, but will not allow you to trade and get irritated if you insist, and so on. It'll take some time, but you'll quickly learn to identify the ships that are most likely to engage in some pleasant business transactions.

Speaking of business transactions, you also have the option of attempting a five-finger discount and trying to act like a space pirate, demanding valuables. You might be successful in your attempt, but piracy is not condoned in the Settled Systems, and you'll have a bounty put on your head by the faction controlling that region of space.

Mercantile profit awaits

It'll start slow, but as you continue trading, setting up outposts, and expanding your fleet of ships, you'll soon have a steady flow of credits going into your account, meaning you can buy whatever you want. Always keep an eye out for traders, though, as they may be carrying that one elusive resource you just haven't been able to get hold of so far. 

Starfield is now available on Xbox Series X|S and Windows PC. As Bethesda Game Studios' first title as part of the Xbox first-party group, it's also available on Xbox Game Pass.

Samuel Tolbert
Freelance Writer

Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.