Backgrounds are an important part of character creation in Starfield. They tell you where your character came from and what skills they’ve learned, setting you up to decide your character’s future. Any Background can be justified in the right build, especially if the player’s main concern is roleplaying. That said, some Backgrounds stand out as inferior choices, especially where combat is concerned. Like other Bethesda RPGs, Starfield often boils down to combat in the end, regardless of the choices you make, so it pays to be prepared. If you’ve already taken one of these Backgrounds, you’ll be fine. If you haven’t, it’s worth knowing which Starfield Backgrounds to avoid.
Beast Hunter sounds great, and to be fair, it kind of is, at least when it comes to roleplaying. Touching down for the first time on an unknown world, stalking the local wildlife, and taking down your prey is fun. The downside is that the skills this Background offers don’t support one another very well. Fitness and Ballistics have some synergy, but they’re not the most useful combo. Gastronomy, on the other hand, is a black sheep skill that doesn’t have a proper place in most builds. There just aren’t enough complementary skills to support it. Until Bethesda or modders change that, Gastronomy will always feature in the worst Starfield Backgrounds.
As you might guess, Gastronomy is the biggest issue with the Chef Background. You’ll find food pretty much everywhere you go in Starfield. Bars, spaceships, and even pirate dens are full of delicious goodies. On one hand, that’s great because it means the player has constant access to the small buffs and healing that food provides. On the other hand, access to huge amounts of food makes Gastronomy less useful, not more. Dueling is okay, although melee is underwhelming in general. Scavenging is a decent skill and has some synergy with Gastronomy, especially for loot goblins; it’s just not enough to redeem one of the worst Starfield Backgrounds.
For people who enjoy making their own fun in open-world games, starting an outpost can be great. Starfield’s endless expanses of wilderness are perfect for gathering resources and living the quiet life. Not everyone wants to rush to the game’s ending, after all. If that’s the roleplay experience you want, the Homesteader Background is fine. For everyone else, this is a Background to avoid. Geology doesn’t matter much when you can just buy resources. The zoom feature that Surveying provides is a comfy QoL feature, but that’s not enough to justify the early-game skill point. Weight Lifting is another feature that will appeal to loot goblins, but handing excess gear to companions is a better solution.
Gastronomy once more rears its head in the Pilgrim Background. The combination of Gastronomy, Scavenging, and Surveying is useful for resource collection and minor buffs but not much else. The main issue with the Pilgrim Background is that its skills simply don’t offer substantial upgrades compared to other options. It’s hard to justify investing in Pilgrim and Surveying’s zoom function when you could instead take Targeting Control Systems and learn to disable enemy ships. Unless your roleplaying plans demand you choose Pilgrim, it’s one of the worst Starfield Backgrounds. That said, scavenging a pile of bullets and food is fun, at least.
What does sculpting have to do with space exploration? Almost nothing, it turns out. Despite its name, the Sculptor Background doesn’t even have much to do with sculpting. Geology is an underwhelming skill and the main problem with this Background. The other two skills provide at least some value. Medicine is helpful but unnecessary, thanks to Starfield’s casual difficulty and the abundance of healing items. Persuasion, admittedly, is great. Still, one solid skill is not enough to redeem a lackluster Background, and Sculptor needs more than Persuasion to save it. Undoubtedly, someone will find a build to make it shine, but until then, it’s a Starfield Background to avoid.
Starfield is available for PC and Xbox Series X/S.