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Earliest XP & Income Outposts Walkthrough
By briantherunner
How to quickly build up an efficient XP & Income producing outpost without any skill requirements as soon as you finish the tutorial section. The sooner you get an early outpost setup the sooner you can start generating extra XP & credits while playing the main game content. Lessons learned from my own trial and error in the early game.
HUGE UPDATE: Sleeping in a bed for in-game time will cause all extractors to mine and will fill them all up so you can make quicker than I expected infinite money this way by sleeping 48 UT (universal time - not local) hours to reset vendors will also refill the ore storage at your base. It seems like resting even 15-20 hours UT is enough to max all storage though cargo links are not instant as the transport ship must land to transfer resources (though it will be accelerated gains there as well). The time passed while sleeping differs for each planet, but you can see the conversion from local to universal time in the sleep menu. Doing this I can get 15K by hitting up the 3 main vendors in New Atlantis - the yellow Kiosk on the landing pad, the Jemison Mercantile, and Trading Authority in the Well (also UC Distribution in Commercial District for another 5K), though Neon Core has all the merchants in the same zone for easier access. It is easier with a large cargo hold (+Payload skill) so you can avoid being encumbered as you can sell directly from the ship hold (however, you cannot die from overencumbered CO2 damage and can sleep it off, so if ship cargo is lacking you can carry it yourself). I can rest multiple times in a row to collect ore multiple times, but the original goal was to collect ore once in a while for the extra money while playing the game naturally rather than printing money. Not having to ever worry about money again is nice.

The goal is to create a very simple early game outpost that can generate income in the form of a constant flow of resources while playing the game. The purpose is to get more lucrative resources early on so you can earn additional money by selling them in New Atlantis to fund whatever else you want in the game (most likely starships, ammo, and equipment/weapons).

While outposts are entirely optional content that can be very time consuming and resource intensive it is still possible to create an effective outpost early without diving deep into the outpost mechanics. I am walking you through how to setup your own automated mining operation that will collect valuable ores early for selling when money and resources are short on hand that you can expand and grow later on if you desire. The tricky part is finding the right location to setup a mining outpost because there are a lot of pitfalls not explained in game, but that I discovered through trial and error.

Update after beating game and over 150 hours: My guide was created during the Early Access period originally and I have learned a lot more about outposts since then. I have realized that an Outpost is best used to generate XP primarily and income as a side benefit because XP is so vital in this game to unlock important skills earlier. So use outposts to accumulate resources for unlimited crafting XP and the byproducts can then be sold. Just keep building more and more storage and linking them in a daisy chain (each storage to the next) after maximizing production with extractors. All resources in storage within an outpost are available for use in crafting at any station within the outpost so it doesn't even need to be in your inventory. First outpost should focus on crafting Adaptive Frames using Aluminum and Iron because they are needed to build more storage. Make sure to craft Alien Tea (membrane + water for distilled water + fiber at cooking station) for the XP boost and sleep in the bed (preferably with romantic companion for +15% instead of +10% XP boost). The best time conversion is Venus so landing there and resting within your ship will pass 100 UT for every local hour and fill all storage quickest. Make sure to craft everything yourself, since using the Outpost fabricators does not grant any XP. Keep gathering various ores to craft at the industrial workbench until you can make an AMP Outpost in the mid to late game (because it requires Botany). Going to add more to the guide for those doing NG+ or new playthroughs on how I have been approaching the early outposts.

Location, Location, Location
Most important first step is finding a planet with worthwhile resources for mining, this will require scanning various planets and moons to find the correct ores that sell the best and that are accessible without special late game skills in the Science tree or Research projects. Obviously you should start in the system where New Atlantis is located, Alpha Centauri, and the first system you start the tutorial in Narion system.

There are 5 tiers of minerals in the game represented by colored diamonds in the periodic table images in game: Common (no diamonds), Uncommon (1 blue diamond), Rare (2 purple diamonds), Exotic (3 yellow diamonds), and Unique (4 green diamonds). What we are looking for is Exotic Minerals that have 3 yellow diamonds in the image because I haven't found the highest tier, unique - 4 green diamonds, in the early systems.

The problem is scanning a planet (hold R when in orbit) will only show the locations of the common, lowest tier resources that sell for the minimum. When you view an ore in your inventory you will see the base value, but when you go to sell it in any store you need to divide by 8, such that your initial sell price is 12.5% of the base value. As such the common and uncommon are typically selling for 1 credit each and you will never make money quickly due to the weight of the ores adds up quickly for little gain. The rares at best sell for 3 credits so better but not really lucrative still. The exotic tier is where it is at:

Ore (symbol) / Base Value / Sell Value / Weight
Plutonium (Pu) / 64 / 8 / 1.6 <- best value per ore you can find early
Dysprosium (Dy) / 56 / 7 / 1.4 <- lower value, but also lower weight than Pu
Europium (Eu) / 40 / 5 / 1.0 <- lower weight makes this store more efficiently
Ytterbium (Yb) / 38 / 5 / 1.2 <- higher weight and lower value than Eu so not good
Antimony (Sb) / 30 / 4 / 0.8 <- decent ratio
Palladium (Pd) / 25 / 3 / 0.7 <- might as well deal with a rare ore at this point
Note: Anything else Exotic is likely a gas or liquid which don't seem to sell as well to make it worthwhile so focus on the top 3 Ores

On the planet survey screen the resources you are looking for the two letter symbol and the 3 yellow diamonds. However, once you scan the planet you need to check a couple things before attempting to build an outpost because there are restrictions without a late game skill called Planetary Habitation such as Temperature cannot be Deep Freeze or Inferno, the Atmosphere cannot be Toxic or Corrosive (see skill description). You can always check by landing and pressing the scanner (F) and then press (R) to build an outpost signal and an message will appear if you cannot build yet on that planet/moon.

Some early locations (first two systems in the game) are the following:
1) Narion System - Grimsey (Plutonium)

2) Alpha Centauri System - Voss (Dysprosium)

3) Narion System - Andraphon (Europium)

I don't think the planets resources are randomized based on other people mentioning these as good planets on reddit, but it is hard to find the resources because you have to blindly search without the level 3 of the scanning perk:

So when trying to find the exotic resource you purposely land in locations that border multiple biomes to maximize the number of resources you can get. It seems resources tend to get grouped together based on the biome or region where the higher tiers are mixed in with the regular. Though it is possible to find small pockets of resources outside of the scanned area. I have gotten up to 6 different resources in the same outpost. When you try to build an outpost (scan with F and then press R for outpost) it will tell you which resources you will get based on the location so just run around periodically checking the area around you for resources:

This part can be frustrating, but if you find a decent spot you can still put down an outpost for free and unlock it as a fast travel spot even if you don't build anything yet. It is also easy to delete outposts you don't use. One important note: Make sure you stay away from Points of Interest on the map because there is a no-build zone around all POI of around 200m in every direction
Building the Mining Outpost
Building an Outpost requires a lot of resources in the long run, but early on you only need a small selection of ores to get it started, and then you can always expand later on. You are going to need a ton of common and uncommon resources for the basic buildings they are easy to find in the open using the scanner while exploring a planet, but it actually pretty effective to buy the early resources in New Atlantis since these resources are cheap and that can help you get missing resources faster.

I would recommend tracking the missing resources using the R key when you have something selected in the outpost building screen so it will mark it when you go to the stores. The stores that sell resources in New Atlantis are Jemison Mercantile in the Starport and the Trade Authority found underground in the "Well" which can be reached by elevator just behind Jemison Mercantile on the left wall on the way to NAT. Additionally, you can buy and sell resources at the UC Distribution Center building in the Commercial District. You are going to need tons of Iron and Aluminum in particular so it might be worthwhile creating an mining outpost to get them. You will also need to craft some materials at the Industrial Workstation (there is one in the Lodge basement where there is also unlimited storage for your crafting materials) such as Adaptive Frames.

Once you find an outpost spot with multiple resources the key is to switch to build mode (press F for scanner, then R for outpost) and switch to the bird's eye view (press V). It doesn't say but you can zoom out with the mouse by moving the mouse up / down (not the scroll wheel). Select the appropriate extractor and it will highlight the zone you can build them, if the zone is cut off by the outpost boundaries for the exotic ore, delete your outpost and reposition it closer to the vein to maximize your extractors. Extractors have a circle around them where you cannot place another extractor so always build as close to the edge of the colored zone as possible to fit the most extractors.

At minimum your mining outpost will require the following:
Ore Extractors - 5 Iron (Fe), 2 Tungsten (W), and 4 Aluminum (Al)
Solar Array - 2 Beryllium (Be), 3 Copper (Cu), and 4 Aluminum (Al) OR
Wind Turbine - 2 Cobalt (Co), 3 Nickel (Ni), and 5 Aluminum (Al)
based on what gives more power in that situation and which you can afford
Solid Storage - 6 Iron (Fe), 3 Adaptive Frames, and 5 Aluminum (Al)
Note: Make Adaptive Frames at the Industrial Workbench (3 Fe & 4 Al) for (1 Fe & 1 Al) each.
So you can see how Iron (Fe) and Aluminum (Al) are vital to getting started and you could build those extractors first in other outposts to get started.
I also recommend building one storage crate (4 Structural & 2 Aluminum) under decorations (thematically there is a contraband variant) to specifically store contraband you find since most places will scan for it, but you can safely store it in your outpost for later.

An example of a later stage Dyposium Mining Operation is:
In this picture I was able to fit a maximum of 13 Dyposium extractors, each connected to a solid storage. I get a Dyposium every 80 seconds currently and the storage holds a max of 54, so I am earning 13x7=91 credits every 80 seconds and it maxes out after 72 minutes of playing time. So while I am doing other things, I can collect ore worth 4,914 credits every 72 minutes. I built a landing pad in my base so I can jump out collect all the ore (being overencumbered) and jump back in due to low gravity pretty easily and buy out the whole Trade Authority kiosk in New Atlantis starport.

Note: I have since doubled the storage containers by linking each of the existing storage containers to another to increase the amount of time to fill all storage, which means doubles the ore output when sleeping and just sleeping longer to max it out. I am sure you can unlock better storage later with skills/research, but this is early game still. So these mining outposts can start small and scale up over time to maximize gain efficiency. Since traveling and sleeping take game time it usually takes a lot less time to max out storage when playing the game than my original estimates above since that is leaving the game idle for 72 minutes.
Important Tips and Tricks
1. When mining resources with the cutter you can speed it up by about 4x if you hold the zoom (right mouse) as you press left mouse. Otherwise mining can feel slow.

2. In Artifact locations (i.e. like the first artifact) there will be an exotic mineral called "Caelumite" that is worth the most of any ore I have encountered in game at 264 base, so 33 per ore and it only weighs 0.3. The problem is I don't think you can mine this passively on planets, which is why I didn't mention it above. Use tip 1 to mine it so much faster!

3. Store excess resources or gear that you cannot fit in your cargo hold in the lodge basement where there are multiple containers and ammo cases with infinite space (earliest access and easy fast travel) and you can use your companion to carry max resources by using the T button to transfer all resources. Also, don't bother storing resources the dream house or other player housing because you have to craft containers with significant resources cost for limited storage (10 for small, 150 for large) and they don't link anywhere. Outposts are superior for storage because the payload skill in the Tech tree increases the cargo size of all storage containers within your outposts, but does not impact containers in player housing. Also outpost storage can be used at any crafting station within the outpost. In my personal opinion, the player housing is useless except for decoration and displaying your stuff (which you can also do in outposts for cheaper).

4. The Trade Authority (in person, not the yellow kiosk) is the "fence" where you can sell stolen (red tag) and contraband (yellow tag). You might also be able to sell to their ships in orbit if you come across them randomly (though quite frequently around the major city hub orbits). For contraband the best place to sell before shield cargo holds is the "Den" Space station in the Wolf system because there are no patrols that will catch you and there is a Trade Authority vendor with 11K there.

5. Prioritize getting a ship with a larger cargo hold (and Payload skill) for holding resources and items you wish to sell because you have access to your ship hold in crafting and sell screens. You also do not need to be inside your ship to transfer cargo from your inventory - as long as you are within 250m you can transfer to and from the ship cargo from the menu (keyboard shortcut is H then F), so transfer sooner when encumbered. Store anything you wish to keep long term in the Constellation Lodge basement or other containers like ship crew members that are not followers and captain's storage in the cockpit.

6. Get the 1st level of commerce right away because while it only gives a 10% buff to selling so you go from selling only 12.5% of base value to 13.75%, which seems small, but adds up quickly over the long term. Also, the upgrades only give additional 5% per skill point so the first level is the biggest gain you can do first thing.

7. To get early ships without disabling them in space (requires Targeting skill to lock on engines or EM weapons) is look for ships landing randomly on planets while exploring and to run in without killing all the enemies on the ground (since the ships tend to leave after all ground forces are dead) and just kill everyone inside, sit in the pilot chair and take off. This is how I got my early cargo ships. Note: Some friendly ships can be stolen, but usually requires security skill or killing friendlies that will anger your companion if one of the core constellation followers.

8. Surveying the entire planet or moon (find all resources and traits) will cause all resources gains to come in faster as a bonus (in addition to the experience and survey data to sell). The barren planets are easy to survey without plant and animal life.

9. You can research robots 1 early on without skill requirements to unlock a sanitation robot which will boost ore production by 10% in the outpost. You can also research performance enhancement 1 right away to unlock AMP, which is worth crafting for the movement speed bonus.

10. You can build a bed even outside an airlock and sleep in it for the 10% exp boost (up to 15% if the companion following you is being romanced). Sleeping even 1 hour restores all HP and grants the XP bonus. Remember that only Universal Time (UT) matters for vendors restocking every 48 hours and for resource extractors so conversion from local to UT matters significantly.

11. You can keep moving while encumbered forever since even though you take CO2 damage you cannot die from it as you keep about 10% health minimum. But you cannot sprint or fast travel while encumbered and the screen will flash red due to low health. Once you sell your ores and aren't encumbered you can sleep at any bed for just one hour to get all your health back. Also, Personal Atmosphere is your friend and will give you full oxygen even if way overencumbered.

12. Main perks of early outpost - collecting infinite resources for crafting XP & selling, storing contraband safely, taking care of bounties remotely (build bounty computer), storing extra companions you don't need on your ship (2 per crew desk up to 3 max without skills), extra bed for sleep 10% XP bonus and free healing, you can pick up the radiant quests if you build a mission board, build a fully customized base with all crafting stations (which are linked to storage) and you can switch/modify/upgrade your ship with the big landing pad.
The best early outpost - Your first outpost each game
The first outpost you build really needs to gather Aluminum (Al) and Iron (Fe) to fund all future outpost construction and it seems pretty clear among the Starfield community the best early outpost is Bessel III-b a moon in the Bessel System.
Getting the right spot is tricky so I recommend using a video walkthrough, but essentially there is a spot where 3 biomes intersect and you want to land on the mountain edge.

In the end you are rewarded with a very strong starter base loadout:

The main benefit of this particular base is the sleep conversion rate:

You might want to save before landing in case you mess up and land in the wrong place since the game saves every landing spot you have done and it makes the UI messy even if both landing spots are in the same zone.

If you are very early in the game you just need to focus on buying tungsten for the extractors because once you build them you have enough resources to build everything else. The Cobalt and Nickel make it easy to scale up with wind turbines and with an industrial workbench you can make adaptive frames for solid storage. You can sleep to get resources to keep building.

There are a number of Youtube videos that can show you how to find this outpost location. I unfortunately don't know who found it first so I don't know who to give credit to or whose video to promote, but this has been my go-to spot for my first outpost since.

The main reason this outpost is so great is that you can sleep to refill all storage quickly and then craft Adaptive Frames with Aluminum (Al) and Iron (Fe) for XP and to create more storage as well as Isocentered Magnets with Nickel (Ni) and Cobalt (Co) for XP & Money. Next, I recommend creating outpost(s) to get Beryllium (Be) and Copper (Cu) for Tau Grade Rheostat for XP as well because Isocentered Magnets and Tau Grade Rheostats can be combined to make Comm Relays for more XP. At least getting that early XP really helps to unlock the basically mandatory skills for Boost Pack, Weight Lifting, Piloting, Target Systems, Payloads, etc.

The main thing is doing all crafting yourself for the XP as the credits are secondary here and make sure you have the XP bonuses active. I recommend before crafting to sleep in a bed at least one hour for the 24 minute +10% (possibly +15% with romantic companion) and to drink Alien Tea for the 15 minute +2% XP buff. Unfortunately, the various food buffs for XP gain do not stack at all so don't bother trying to use them all.

You can easily craft Alien Tea without research at the cooking station by making Distilled Water with Membrane and Water (which you can get at your first outpost) and then using the Distilled Water plus Fiber. Make sure to tag these at the cooking station and simply buy Membrane, Fiber, Argon, Toxin, and Metabolic Agents every chance you get to then turn around and craft Alien Tea and AMPs for the XP and to use in game for XP and movement boosts. You will thank me later if you do this early on in a new game or NG+.
My favorite XP farm so far - AMP
AMP only requires one research at the research station (Enhance 1 - no Chemistry skill required) to create one of the best drugs in the game because it has weight 0.10 for base value 100 -> sells for 12-15 credits each. Also, AMP is super useful given we don't have land vehicles because it boosts movement speed and jump height, so worthwhile keeping for general use as well. While this can be crafted early game it cannot be mass produced without the Botany skill.

This is no longer early game because it is locked behind the Botany skill (tier 2 - must unlock 4 science skills first), but once you have that I find it to be the most lucrative because high value for low weight and AMP is invaluable for moving around in the game. It requires getting Argon, Toxin, and Metabolic Agent. These are all easily found in the Frozen Mountains biome on the planet Jemison (where New Atlantis is). However, I recommend unlocking the Botany skill before attempting this as I learned you will have to rescan the plants again to unlock the plants materials in the Outpost Greenhouses even if you do 100% scan the required flora before unlocking the skill (plus the skill speeds up the process).

This requires more set-up because you have to scan the flora ~8 unique times to unlock for the outpost. The plants you are looking for are:

After that you just need to create an outpost where there is Argon and Water. Craft Argon and Water extractors plus Greenhouses and you can stock up on the AMP ingredients for crafting. You can store the output from the Greenhouses in solid storage as well to accumulate for crafting in bulk.

I recommend before crafting to sleep in a bed for the 24 minute +10% (possibly +15% with romantic companion) and to drink Alien Tea for 15 minute +2% XP buff. Unfortunately, the various food buffs for XP gain do not stack at all so don't bother trying to use them all.

Just sell the end result at your preferred vendor location for profit and favorite the rest for use by your character when you need to get somewhere faster.
Mojave Ranger Oct 11, 2023 @ 2:44pm 
Thanks for the guide.
briantherunner  [author] Sep 14, 2023 @ 6:13pm 
I still haven't found a better way to make steady income with minimal effort (after the initial set-up frustrations). I was hoping my walkthrough would help others be less frustrated in the process since it took many hours of trial and error to figure this out and it seems it has helped some people. Definitely not necessary - you can still make a fair amount of money just playing the main and faction quests without doing outposts at all. I am a statistician for my career so I did enjoy crunching the numbers and trying to maximize my profits for time spent. First time doing a guide for steam and only because the guides online lacked any real details.
briantherunner  [author] Sep 14, 2023 @ 6:13pm 
Just responding to various comments all at once. I agree it is frustrating that there isn't a truly passive way of making money. Either you need to run between quest boards and random locations for the repeatable quest rewards, steal ships and then registering takes away most of the profit margin, or sell things you pick up so you are spending a lot of time in menus. My goal was to find a reliable way to use the in game systems to set-up income because I really wanted to build my own custom spaceship and experiment with various guns without worrying about running out of money constantly because it takes a lot of time to build up credits, but can be very easy to spend it all.
Edmundeath Sep 13, 2023 @ 6:38pm 
I'm not trying to disagree in anyway. I just don't know how effective this all is without really testing stuff. There is a way to instantly restore then harvest resources. You can spam it really fast. It's a late game thing. I wonder how that compares.
HozzMidnight Sep 13, 2023 @ 4:34pm 
I hate how the game does jack shit to teach you about crafting, ship building or outposts. That said, what is the point of all this? The outposts I mean. Just money? Because I have not needed money since like level 10.
eauclaire Sep 13, 2023 @ 9:14am 
When mining resources with the cutter you can speed it up by about 4x if you hold the zoom (right mouse) as you press left mouse.

BEST TIP EVER!!!! Amazing guide too, 10/10 thank you
Grape Ape Sep 12, 2023 @ 3:26pm 
AndrewD86 Sep 12, 2023 @ 12:14pm 
Worked on this a bit more and have a pretty efficient system now.
My outpost has 8 Dys extractors, each linked to 10 solid storage boxes. I collect, sleep 24h twice, and collect again. Within 10 minutes at the outpost I've collected 12,000 units of Dys.

Then for selling, I just keep all of the Dys in my personal inventory (overburdened) and go to the Trade Authority shop in the well at New Atlantis. They can buy 11,000 worth of your supply at a time. Sell, then sit on the bench right next to the desk and wait 24 hrs, then repeat until all of your supply is sold.

Haven't timed it yet, but think I'm making well over 100,000 credits/hr.
Ravushimo Sep 12, 2023 @ 7:22am 
just fyi you can go to neon, you have 1 vendor with 11k, one with 5k close to that and trade kiosk on landing pad with another 5k
AndrewD86 Sep 11, 2023 @ 8:00am 
Great walkthrough, but as others have mentioned it's far from passive. The biggest bottleneck is finding vendors with enough credits. What I've been doing is fast travel to Jemison but NOT landing. Switch to scanner and press E to hail various ships. Each one usually has around 2,000-5,000 credits on hand and will buy your supply. Only sell them up to the maximum credits they have, as you won't get paid for any more. Doing this I can offload about 1,000 Dysporium in 5 minutes among 2 or 3 ships, without having to land.