Starfield Tips: How To Complete Vanguard Piloting Simulator Exams

To join the UC Vanguard faction in Starfield, you will have to take a piloting exam in a simulator and we can help you ace it.

The UC Vanguard is a faction players can join pretty early on in Starfield as they are visiting New Atlantis. Being the “police” of the United Colonies, the UC Vanguard is composed of your typical larger-than-life do-gooders. If you wish to join the UC Vanguard faction, you will have to enter a simulation to show your skills. This Starfield Vanguard piloting exam can be quest frustrating if you aren’t good with spaceship combat.

How to take the Starfield Vanguard piloting exam

As mentioned before, joining the UC Vanguard requires some prerequisites to be cleared first, primarily 2 quests i.e., “Supra et Ultra” and “Grunt Work”. The Vanguard pilot exam is the main focus of the “Supra et Ultra” quest.

To begin this quest, you must speak with Commander John Tuala at the UC Vanguard base, located in the MAST organization building in New Atlantis. After speaking with him, he will offer you to join the Vanguard so take him up on it. There are various perks to joining the United Colonies in Starfield including discounts from select UC Vanguard-affiliated vendors, additional credits by undertaking faction missions etc.

After you have concluded your chat with him, you will need to head to the Orientation Hall below via elevator where you will find two ‘Vanguard Registration’ terminals which you can interact with to sign up on the recruitment enlistment form.

With that done, make your way to the Vanguard pilot simulator area. While you can ignore the various displays in the orientation hall, taking the time to listen and observe the various exhibits can shed some very interesting insights into the history of the world of Starfield.

In any event, whatever you choose, eventually you will end up at the ‘Piloting Simulation Chamber’. Keep going straight and take the left staircase. Once at the top of the staircase, take another left and head straight towards the simulation pod.


Enter the pod and you will find yourself in a faithful replica of a spaceship’s pilot chamber, with an empty pilot seat overlooking an impressive, simulated recreation of space.

Sit on the pilot seat to initiate the Starfield Vanguard piloting simulator exam.

Tips to complete the Vanguard Piloting Exam

The piloting simulator exam in Starfield is relatively straightforward. You will have to defeat a wave of different opponents, with each wave stronger than the last, while making sure you yourself do not die. Of course, being simulated, your ship being destroyed simply results in failure rather than actual death, and you are free to retry as many times as you want, with no penalty.

In any event, there are a total of 6 waves. However, for the sake of the quest, you only need to clear up to the 3rd wave, at which point you will be notified that you have cleared the trial and are free to continue or leave.

Continuing is rather lucrative since you can get some nice credit bonuses by clearing the waves beyond the 3rd. The 5th and 6th waves give you 10,000 and 20,000 credits respectively.

The wave distribution for the Vanguard piloting simulator exam is as follows:

  • Wave 1: 1x Tier 1 Ship
  • Wave 2: 2x Tier 2 Ships
  • Wave 3: 2x Tier 3 Ships
  • Wave 4: 1x Tier 4 Ships
  • Wave 5: 4x Tier 5 Ships
  • Wave 6: 5x Tier 6 Ships

The higher difficulty waves can get quite overwhelming if you let the numbers get to you, but there are a couple of tips to take advantage of the enemy AI and mitigate the difficulty somewhat. Follow our tips and you should be able to complete the Starfield Vanguard simulator exam in no time.

Lock on immediately

Simply hover your aim reticle over an enemy ship in the distance for a few seconds to lock on. Each of your shots will now connect and you can whittle down the enemy ship’s HP to zero in a matter of seconds.

This is especially effective if done from a considerable distance when the enemy ships first spawn, also allowing you to focus more easily on the remaining ship(s) in the multi-enemy waves.

Pick the right moments to boost

When enemy ships end up shooting at you from a considerable distance behind, don’t run. Instead, turn around sideways or do a free flip until you’re facing them. Once you are, commit to your boost while they continue closing in on you to quickly get out of their line of fire and end up behind them.

The AI is relatively slow to react so even after you course correct to face the enemy ships from behind, they tend to still fly in the same direction for a bit, giving you time to shoot at them without worrying about return fire. You can potentially take 1 or 2 down just like this, depending on how many ships were previously tailing you.

If they are behind you, rather than try running, turn around and head straight towards them. Exchanging fire is ideal but the main goal is to quickly let them pass you by, turn around and attack them from behind with no return fire.

Aim for enemy missile barrage

Occasionally, enemy ships will also lock onto you and a warning prompt will indicate a targeted missile barrage heading towards you. However, you can manually aim to take out each individual missile, effectively nullifying the attack before it even damages you.

Be sharp and look for the visual and audio cues for these missile barrages and get rid of them ASAP to improve your longevity, especially for the later waves.

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