Bethesda’s latest, the interstellar epic Starfield, is absolutely packed with quests and other side content. It’s the studio’s most ambitious game to date, and could conceivably keep a player busy for many hundreds of hours. There is, however, one major side quest that should be done fairly early on. The game’s setting in the Settled Systems is massive and complex, and being dropped into the world can be a bit overwhelming. Signing up for the United Colonies Vanguard, however, will help orient the player character in the game world, with an early quest that provides much needed background information.

Like many RPGs, particularly those developed by Bethesda prior, Starfield provides the player with a character that is almost entirely a blank slate. Appearance, background, name, pronouns, and pre-existing proficiencies can all be selected in character creation, letting players create an avatar onto which they can graft their own personality, or form an entirely new one to roleplay. This does wonders for player agency, but the relatively brief introductory mission culminates in the player character being thrown into the Settled Systems at large with very little idea of the powers that be. Luckily, “Supra et Ultra” is readily available to partially remedy the ignorance.

Related: “An Instant Classic”: Starfield Review

A man in a gray and orange uniform stands in front of a large sign showing a star rising over a planet from orbit. The sign reads,

Without getting into story specifics, Starfield players will be introduced to two major organizations very early in the city of New Atlantis – Constellation, the driving force behind the main story, and the United Colonies, one of the two largest political factions in the Settled Systems. New Atlantis is the United Colonies’ capital city, with its government operating out of the MAST building. For the first main quest following the introduction to Constellation’s members, companion Sarah Morgan will accompany the player character to the MAST building to inquire about a lead on another artifact.

Enter Commander Tuala, leader of the United Colonies Vanguard, a civilian fleet designed to promote security throughout the UC and reward its members with citizenship. Tuala points Constellation in the right direction for the main quest, but he’s also the inception point for the UC Vanguard quest line, one of the most significant in the game. Even if players don’t want to embark on a path to UC citizenship right away, the first quest in the line, “Supra et Ultra” is worth the short time it’ll take to complete. “Supra et Ultra” feels intentionally available near the beginning of Starfield to grab as many curious players as possible, that way it can impart some important context.

“Supra et Ultra” Provides A Brief History Of Starfield’s Settled Systems

A screenshot of a piece of artwork in Starfield depicting the Colony War. In all red, black, and white silhouette, spaceships firing weapons fly above a battle between soldiers, mechs, and aliens known as Xenoweapons. In the very center, a mech is picking up a roaring Xenoweapon.

The UC Vanguard storyline itself is quite interesting, but it’s opening quest, “Supra et Ultra,” is especially beneficial to all new Starfield players. Signing up for the Vanguard puts the player character through an orientation in which they pass through an exhibit hall that recounts the most significant events in the recent history of the Settled Systems. Players are introduced to the formation of the United Colonies, the founding of the Freestar Collective, and the still mysterious origins of House Va’ruun. All three had widespread effects on the Settled Systems through violent conflicts – the Narion War, the Colony War, and the Serpent’s Crusade.

It’s not the most in-depth history lesson, but it provides an important background for players to be aware of when navigating all facets of interstellar life in Starfield. Pieces of such information can be put together without completing “Supra et Ultra,” but having the overarching backstory put so plainly near the beginning of the game helps immensely when reading texts and conversing with NPCs throughout. Being dropped so unceremoniously into the Settled Systems can be disorienting at the beginning of Starfield, but starting the UC Vanguard story and doing the “Supra et Ultra” quest helps clear up many of the game’s overarching affiliations.

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