There are a variety of weapons to experiment with in Starfield, both on-foot and via ship. From the tried-and-true ballistic weapons, to more obscure methods of attack such as bludgeoning others with boxes, you can space dust your enemies in various ways. There is one class of weapons in Starfield that tends to cause some confusion, however, so we’ll cover how EM weapons work in the game and what exactly these things do.
How do EM weapons work in Starfield?
EM stands for electro-magnetic, so that should immediately provide a hint. EM weapons in Starfield work to incapacitate organic enemies and do extra damage against robots.
You’ll notice there are various scenarios where the non-lethal option is actually quite useful, though it won’t seem like it when you first start playing the game. For example, killing civilians or “the good guys” will upset most of your Companions. EM weapons are a nice little work around for avoiding negative consequences in morally-challenging situations.
In other cases, temporarily stunning enemies can be easier than outright killing them. The effect gives you time to deal with larger groups of baddies, heal up, or just escape the fight instead. As already mentioned, EM weapons will seriously mess up robot enemies, too.
If you’d like to get your hands on an EM weapon, one of the missions in the UC Vanguard questline provides a free EM Equinox. Here’s how to join the UC Vanguard, which will also set you on the path for buying a house in New Atlantis. Laredo Firearms in Akila City also sells the Novablast Disruptor if you’d like to just purchase an EM weapon with no fuss.
Don’t forget there’s also a dedicated skill tree just for EM weapons called Incapacitation. Like other Combat skill trees, you can increase damage dealt with this weapon type. Rank 1 increases damage by 5%, Rank 2 increases to 10%, Rank 3 increases to 15%, and Rank 4 retains 15% plus a chance to deal an extra 300% EM damage. Once you unlock Rank 4, consider using high fire rate EM weapons for a higher likelihood to trigger that massive damage buff.
EM weapons also come on ships
Ships are the best opportunity to add EM weapons to your Starfield arsenal since it will do work against every enemy ship with disruptor damage to various systems. For example, you might disable their weapons, shields, or engines. Combine this with the Targeting Control Systems skill in the Tech skill tree and you’ll cripple enemy ships in no time.
Just like with handheld EM weapons, you can also upgrade ship EM weapons via the dedicated EM Weapon Systems in the Tech skill tree. Rank 1 increases damage by 10% and reduces targeting cost by 15%. Rank 2 increases damage by 20% and reduces targeting cost by 30%. Rank 3 increases damage by 30% and reduces targeting cost by 45%. Lastly, Rank 4 adds a chance to immediately disable enemy ship engines. Consider the possibilities.
Check out our extensive guide coverage if you want more tips on playing Bethesda’s massive new space adventure. Starfield is available via Steam and Game Pass for PC.