Starbound Comprehensive Guide

Starbound Comprehensive Guide by camelCasing

So you’ve updated to Upbeat Giraffe, or maybe you’ve just started playing. You’re trying to follow the quests, but one thought reigns supreme in your mind: What the f$!# am I supposed to do?

Never fear, adventurers. Camel’s got you covered. You can get through this game without having to use cheats, but it may take a bit of guidance sometimes.

Planet Progression:

The types of ores you can find on a planet depend on the planet’s environment and threat level, which is in turn decided by the star it orbits. I’ll cover the full details in a moment, but the gist of your progression here is going to be Gentle -> Eccentric -> Radioactive -> Frozen -> Fiery.

A couple consistent factors to note: All stars will have an access point for the Outpost, so don’t worry about setting that as your home or anything. Nearly all stars will have at least one Moon, and I’m pretty sure the ones that don’t are a bug, not an intended feature. Planets in all tiers seem to produce coal, and I’m pretty sure you can find diamonds everywhere, though they’re more common on more dangerous planets.

Gentle Stars:

The first type of star is the white Gentle Star. This is where your starting planet will be. There are two main types of planets that orbit Gentle Stars; Desert planets and Forest planets. Planets will always be “Mostly Harmless” which means monsters and NPCs will be weak. Gentle Star planets will have coal, copper, iron,silver, and gold.

Desert planets will have sand in the desert biome, and oil in the tar biome, both of which will be important. Sand is used for an early Outpost quest to make glass, and oil will be necessary for turning iron into steel.

Eccentric Stars:

Next up will be orange Eccentric Stars, which contain planets with both “Mostly Harmless” and “Moderate”threat levels. The Moderate ones are what concern us. Check the planet’s description before going to it, as cold/hot/radioactive planets will kill you pretty quickly if you don’t have the right Nanosuit equipped.

Moderate threat planets can contain largely the same things as Mostly Harmless ones, but are slightly tougher and have the important addition of titanium. Mine it to your heart’s content. These systems will also be the first time you can run across Ocean planets, which are my personal favourites for mining on.

Radioactive Stars:

Once you have your Radioactive Nanosuit for protection, you can tackle the yellow Radioactive Stars. Most of these planets will be heavily irradiated, and will have a threat level of “Risky.” Again, check your planets before beaming down, the only environmental threats you can handle right now are radioactivity and non-breathable atmosphere. Extreme temperature will still kill you.

Risky radioactive planets have one very notable feature for progression: Uranium. On top of being a potential fuel source, you will need it to craft with titanium to make durasteel, the next material for weapons and armour.

Frozen Stars:

The blue Frozen Stars are next on our list, once you have the Cold-Protection Nanosuit. As always, verify your threats before beaming down. Right now you’re looking for “Dangerous” threat-level planets that are dangerously cold. These planets are the first place you can find rubium, aegisalt, and violium ores, which are red, green, and purple, respectively.

Rubium and its later counterpart, cerulium, follow the path of the Manipulator, and produce staff weapons and armour that is very weak but has massive energy reserves. It can also produce one and two-handed guns, but these differ from the ones made out of aegisalt and violium only aesthetically.

Aegisalt and ferozium are on the path of the Accelerator. They produce armour of moderate strength and energy capacity, along with one and two-handed guns, and quick one-handed blades for use as a sidearm.

Finally, violium and impervium are along the Separator path. These will produce armours that have very low energy levels, but are incredibly resilient. You can also make the usual one and two-handed guns, along with all kinds of one and two-handed melee weapons, all of which are very powerful.

Fiery Stars:

The barren planets of a red Fiery Star will be your final stop, once you have the Heat-Protection Nanosuit. These “Extreme” threat level planets are very dangerous, often covered in magma, and also the only place to find the final ore, solarium. Solarium stars have a few uses on their own, but are primarily used to create the cerulium, ferozium, and impervium alloys.

Whew, that’s a lot! Right now biomes are locked to specific types of planets, which are in turn locked to a specific threat level and star. If you’d like a little more variety in your end-game, I heavily endorse the Mysterious Stars Mod by Broconut. It adds stars that can spawn all types of planets at the maximum level (“Insane” threat level) so you can be challenged, loot, build, etc. all on a planet of your choice.

Quest Progression:

By now you’re probably wondering, “Camel, where am I supposed to get these Nanosuits you’re talking about? And why is my ship so tiny and pathetic?” Don’t worry. I’ve still got you, little starfarer. Up next are the Outpost quests that are the bulk of how you progress in Starbound.

These will be divided into the Story Quests and the Side Quests; Story Quests I’ll talk a little more about, as they’re a bit tougher and some helpful tips go a long way. Side quests, on the other hand, are largely fetch-quests, and I’ll give you just a brief overview of what you’re looking for and where it will be.

Important: To progress you will need to do ALL QUESTS. None are optional in the long run, as they’re all prerequisites for later ones.

If you don’t seem to have access to a quest, odds are you haven’t yet completed all the other available quests. Do so

Story Quests:

Erchium Mining Facility:

This quest becomes available once you have at least one piece of Steel armour, and will be the means for you to fix your ship’s FTL drive, enabling stellar travel. You should have full steel armour, and either a one-handed weapon and shield or a two-handed sword for this mission. I would also advise stocking up on meat, bandages, and if possible, red stim packs. The pulse-jump tech would be advisable.

You will beam down to the entrance of a lunar mining facility, and must make your way through and down. The facility is mostly very dark, you cannot break or place blocks, and you will need to activate switches to progress. Use your flashlight, and explore! Take out the monsters and make your way into the depths.

Once you reach the boss, you will be in a room with it, four switches, and a laser cannon. Do not attempt to attack the Erchium Horror directly, it will insta-kill you. Your goal is to flip all four switches to power up the laser cannon, then activate it. Three hits like this will be needed to kill the Horror, in true classical game fashion. The beams in each stage will periodically turn off while the Horror spawns a Moontant below it to fight you.

The first stage will have two beams that move slowly, so you should have no trouble firing the first shot.

The second stage has four beams that move a fair bit faster. This is where things get tricky. Use pulse-jump wisely, try not to take fall damage, and if you need to move through a beam, do so while shielding or parrying with a two-handed sword.

The third stage has only two spots that are safe: Directly above and below the Horror. Two pairs of two beams will cross on each side this time, making it very difficult to get the switches. If need be, wait until the Horror shuts off the beams to spawn a Moontant, then make a run for a switch and get back to the safe spot.

Once you’ve hit it three times, the Horror will be defeated. Congratulations, that’s the first boss down! Progress to the right to finish the quest and pick up some loot. Once you have the grappling hook (or rocket boots)and Morph Ball tech, consider coming back here and exploring a little more. There might be a secret to find…

Talk to S.A.I.L. to repair your FTL drive, fuel up, and have at the galaxy!


Starting this will require at least one piece of Titanium armour, but you should have a full set, along with a titanium or equivalent weapon. The mission is very straightforward, just advance and kill penguins until Dreadwing’s UFO aggros you, and kill him. He’ll shoot pretty much constantly, along with doing some dives, ground smashes, and occasionally spawning some hired help, so keep your regen going and hit him whenever he’s in range.

If you’re having a lot of trouble with Dreadwing, an exploity method can be used to take him down. If you stop just short of where he notices you, you can use CTRL to move your screen right and be able to aim at Dreadwing with a ranged weapon without him aggroing you. Just peck away at him with your strongest gun, and collect the spoils afterwards.

Don’t forget to grab at least one piece of the UFO’s debris! It’s essential for turning in the quest back at the Outpost.

This will net you the Processor, allowing you to make the Robotic Crafting Table to open up new crafting options.


Drop down to the bottom of an ocean, gather 300 kelp from the tall stalky things at the bottom (you have to chop them like trees) and then turn it in for the Radioactive Nanosuit.

I’m not kidding, it is actually a simple one.

Floran Party:

This mission will require you to have at least one piece of Durasteel armour to begin. You’re really going to need full Durasteel gear and a lot of regen stuff for this. I would also advise Pulse Jump and Energy Dash for dodging. A ranged weapon for picking enemies off where they can’t get to you would be a good plan too.

This missions is both very straightforward, and pretty tough. It’s just you, a lot of bloodthirsty Florans, some monsters, and a number of surprisingly well-laid traps. Take it slow, be cautious, and make good use of your techs to dodge.

The boss of this mission is a super-tough Floran in golden armour, accompanied by two of his weaker lackeys. Take them out with your usual flair in their arena, and make your way back to the Outpost after picking up your loot to press the Floran who gave you the mission into forking over a Cold-Protection Nanosuit.

Mechanical Testing:

Starting this one is going to require at least one piece of either Aegisalt, Rubium, or Violium armour. I’ll be honest, just make the full Violium set. It restricts your energy pool a lot, but this boss will pretty much crush you in one hit if you’re wearing Rubium gear. Bring a shield or a two-handed sword so that you can block, and be familiar with using your techs to dodge.

This is the simplest but probably toughest mission. You just go right, drop down, and fight a robot. The hard part? He punches, dashes, flames, and sprays lightning.

At the very start, he will switch between using a Punch, easy to avoid or parry, and a Dash. The Dash involves him walking to one side of the arena, and then quickly dashing across to the other side, damaging you if he hits you and stunning himself for a bit against the far wall. Use this time to get in free hits.

Once you’ve hurt him a bit, he’ll add Overload to his rotation. For this move he goes to the middle of the room, floats up, and sprays energy blasts all over the place. These don’t hurt much and your shield can take them, but they add up. Use this time to land some hits while blocking if you’re using a shield, or dodge, parry, and use regen items if you’re two-handing it.

After some more damage, he’ll add the Flamethrower to his cycle. This is a lot of low-damage hits, very fast, and will set you on fire. Make sure you have red stim packs running, block what you have to, and dodge as much as possible. If you can get high with a grappling hook during this move, he can’t aim it very far up.

When his health is getting lower, the Dash move will change. Now he’ll move to one side, sprint to the other, then sprint back and stun himself against the wall he started at.

When you finally beat this penguin’s mech into the dirt, head back to the outpost to claim your final Heat-Protection Nanosuit, allowing you to go get Solarium.

Side Quests:

There are a lot of side quests in Starbound, and most of them merit little-to-no explanation, so these will just be covered in point form.

  • Bugs: Swing the Bug Catching Net at one of the bugs on any planet. They look like little pixels with wings, basically.
  • A Fair Trade, Fill ‘Er Up, Stirred Not Shaken: Go to a forest planet, find a coffee bean, make it into coffeee with the coffee machine at the outpost, go to a desert planet, get sand, make it into glass, make that into a glass coffee mug, make steel, and finally make a Spoon with the steel. Turn all of these things in for a measly blank tech card.
  • Butcher, Baker, Widow Maker: Bake a cake! Milk and eggs can be bought at the outpost, sugar and wheat can be harvested from forest planets. Mix it up into a cake at the Wooden Cooking Table.
  • Looking Good and Dressing Well: Get a cool jacket for the floran. Just about every non-avian clothing vendor ever will sell these for pretty cheap.
  • The Funny Pages: His script is in the bathroom trashcan at the outpost. Where it belongs.
  • The Under Side: This is pretty much the only optional quest in the game, but it gets you a cool mask. Use climbing ropes to get down to the bottom of the rock the outpost is on, and give the dude down there 10 climbing ropes.
  • Contributing to Society: Give a diamond, get a tech card!
  • Early Days: Give ten copper, get a gun. Easy peasy.
  • …: Talk to the untalkative glitch twice. That’s it, honest.
  • Taking Out the Trash: Take the trashbag to your furnace, you’ll have an option to smelt it into ashes. Turn those in to complete.
  • Time for a Celebration: Gunpowder is made from coal.
  • A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts: Most ocean planets have palm trees. Chop one down, and it’ll drop 2-3 coconuts.
  • Taking Flight, Makin’ Paper, Liftoff!: Talk to the floran scholar, bring him unrefined wood, and then make some of your own paper out of unrefined wood. A paper plane is your reward.
  • One Small Step: Moon emblems are found commonly in Avian Tomb dungeons. They depict a crescent moon and a bird, and are circular.
  • The Good Book: The Glitch Codex is commonly found in Glitch Castles and Cities. The image the Glitch gives you shows what it looks like.
  • Pest Problem: Cheese can be bought at the outpost, and an upgraded matter manipulator can be used to gather Poison from one of many sources.
  • This is my Song!: String’s made at the Yarn Spinner using Plant Fibre.
  • A Bone to Pick: The bone the Floran is looking for is the tall upright one with all the carvings on it. Inspecting it will say something about a hunt and a Floran that died.
  • Golden Ducky: These are pretty common in all Avian settlements.
  • Jail House Rock: Find a USCM Penal Colony, and make your way to the middle to deactivate the shield generator, allowing you to collect the stone sign. The generator is at the top of a tower.
  • Mazebound: Hug the right wall, you’ll get out eventually.
  • Sharpening Up: This is a random drop from monsters at higher threat level planets. Just persist, you’ll get one.
  • X Marks The Spot: Avian Airships contain a Treasure Map in the captain’s quarters.
  • Fried and Battered: Fish is a drop from fish. Surprise! Cook it at a campfire.
  • Pale Blue Dot: Glitch Globes are found in just about all Glitch areas.
  • Bark Life: Bones can be found in Bone mini-biomes, or as a drop for harvesting Boneboo plants in deserts.
  • Hylotl’s Best Friend: Make some Red Dye with 15 red petals and a block of glass, then combine that with 25 planks to make a kennel. You’ve helped Hylotl house is only friend.
  • Joker and the Thief, Audience of One pt1 and pt2: Find an orange (common in most villages) and turn it in for the nose. Talk to the outpost NPC who saw the performance, then lie through your teeth to the Hylotl for an accordion.
  • Leap for the Stars and On Paper Wings: Blue stim packs are a common drop, but if you’re having trouble, hit up an Apex Lab. Make the wings out of six paper and ten planks.

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