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Should you do ‘Into the Unknown,’ ‘The Empty Nest,’ or ‘Back to Vectera’ first in Starfield?

Starfield’s first major quest divergence has a clear choice

A player stared down a long hallway in Starfield Image: Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks
Ryan Gilliam (he/him) has worked at Polygon for nearly seven years. He primarily spends his time writing guides for massively popular games like Diablo 4 & Destiny 2.

Early on in Starfield, the story opens up to offer not one but three main quests to choose from — “Into the Unknown,” “The Empty Nest,” and “Back to Vectera.” Sarah and the Constellation crew will give you these once you complete “One Small Step” and “The Old Neighborhood,” and while you do have to do all three of them to proceed with the plot, there is one that you should absolutely do before the others.

“Into the Unknown” sends you to a space station in Jemison’s orbit. “The Empty Nest” connects you with a Firefly extra. And “Back to Vectera” directs you, well, back to Vectera — where Starfield begins. While you do have to do all three of them to proceed with the plot, there is one that you should absolutely do before the others.

In this Starfield guide, we’ll help you choose between the “Into the Unknown,” “The Empty Nest,” and “Back to Vectera” main quests in Starfield.

Why you should do ‘Into the Unknown’ first

If you want to instantly improve your experience in Starfield, “Into the Unknown” is the clear winner of these three quests. Prioritize doing it over the other two because...

[Ed. Note: The rest of this post contains spoilers for Starfield.]

The Starfield artifacts orbit one another with perfect balance Image: Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks via Polygon

When you reach the climax of “Into the Unknown,” you’ll get space superpowers. Formally called powers, they’re the equivalent of Skyrim’s Dragon Shouts.

The first power you get is Anti-Gravity Field, an area-of-effect move that causes nearby enemies to levitate for a few seconds, allowing you to get some cheap shots in. It’s a pretty neat combat trick, and will probably save your bacon more than once. But, even better than Anti-Gravity Field, finishing “Into the Unknown” opens up the ability to find even more powers out in the starfield of Starfield.

Of the three quests, this is the only one that opens up a major mechanic. And while it’s totally fine to do it second or even third (as multiple Polygon staffers did), it’s the only mission you’ll be kicking yourself for doing late when you realize that you could’ve had neat space powers for the last 20 hours.

‘The Empty Nest’ or ‘Back to Vectera’ is up to you

A space ship in Starfield prepares to land on Vectera Image: Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks via Polygon

As for “The Empty Nest” and “Back to Vectera,” there’s no real reason to do one over the other.

If we had to choose, we’d do “Back to Vectera” second, as you can recruit Supervisor Lin, Heller, and Barrett to your crew over the course of the quest, if you make the right dialogue choices. “The Empty Nest,” meanwhile, will let you recruit Sam Coe, who is a cool guy and basically just Timothy Olyphant from Deadwood but in space (which I guess is just Cobb Vanth from The Mandalorian), but if you plan on building Outposts early on, three crew members is better than one.

Ultimately, you’ll be fine with whatever order you end up going with on these quests. But if you’re asking, “Into the Unknown” should be your first priority once you get this batch of quests.

Once you finish all three of these missions, you’ll be off on a high-flying corporate adventure with the “All That Money Can Buy” quest.

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