Best Starfield skills to get early – our top picks

Best Starfield skills to get early – our top picks
Alex Raisbeck Updated on by

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Your Starfield skills are one of the most important parts of your character, as they are in any Bethesda RPG. Levelling up the right ones can take your playthrough in wildly different directions. Whether that’s maintaining a strong, rounded build, or bee-lining certain skills to specialize in specific parts of the game, having a good knowledge of skills will help you plan things out.

As well as the skills themselves, you’ll want to check out some of the Starfield traits and Starfield backgrounds, as these can also have a big impact on your Starfield skills and your approach to the game. But for now, let’s take a look at all of the available skills to level up in Starfield.

Starfield skills: The skills menu showing all of the available tech skills.

How many skills are in Starfield?

There are 82 skills that are available in Starfield. Each skill is categorized into one of five different categories. Here is a list of all of the categories:

  • Combat
  • Physical
  • Science
  • Social
  • Tech
Starfield skills: The Combat skill tree in the skill menu.

Combat

Combat skills are focused on your proficiency with weapons of all types. Levelling up these skills will make you more capable of using your weapons and dishing out damage to enemies. The confirmed combat skills are:

SkillRank 1Rank 2Rank 3Rank 4
BallisticsBallistic weapons do 10% more damageBallistic weapons do 20% more damageBallistic weapons do 30% more damageBallistic weapons range is increased by 30%
DuelingMelee weapons do 25% more damage. Take 10% less damage while wielding a melee weaponMelee kills make you run 20% faster for 10 secondsMelee weapons do 50% more damage. Take 15% less damage while wielding a melee weaponMelee kills heal you for 10% of your health
LasersLaser weapons do 10% more damageLaser weapons do 20% more damageLaser weapons do 30% more damageLaser weapons have a 5% chance to set a target on fire
Pistol CertificationPistols do 10% more damagePistols do 25% more damagePistols do 50% more damagePistol kills grant +25% critical hit chance for 5 seconds
Shotgun CertificationShotguns do 10% more damageShotguns do 20% more damageShotguns do 30% more damageShotgun kills grant a small chance to stun additional targets with shotguns for a limited time
DemolitionsThrowing grenades now shows a trajectory arc. Explosions have a 25% larger radiusExplosives do 25% more damageReduce damage taken from explosives by 25%All previous bonuses are doubled
Heavy Weapons CertificationHeavy weapons do 10% more damageHeavy weapons do 20% more damageHeavy weapons do 30% more damageGain 25% Physical resistance while aiming down sights with a heavy weapon
IncapacitationEM weapons do 5% more damageEM weapons do 10% more damageEM weapons do 15% more damageEM weapons have a 15% chance to do 300% EM damage
Particle BeamsParticle beam weapons do 10% more damageParticle beam weapons do 20% more damageParticle beam weapons do 30% more damageParticle beam weapons have +5% crit chance
Rifle CertificationRifles do 10% more damageRifles do 20% more damageRifles do 30% more damageReload rifles 30% faster while you’re standing still
MarksmanshipIncrease critical hit chance with non-automatic ranged weapons by 3%Increase critical hit chance with non-automatic ranged weapons by 8%Increase critical hit chance with non-automatic ranged weapons by 15%Critical hits using a non-automatic ranged weapon without a scope do double damage and those with scopes knock down enemies on the next shot
Rapid ReloadingReload Ballistic weapons 30% fasterReload Energy and EM weapons 30% fasterReload Particle Beam weapons 30% faster. 50% chance to avoid getting interrupted while reloadingChance on hitting enemies to increase reload speed for all weapons by 50% for 15 seconds
Sniper CertificationScoped weapons are steadier and have less swayYou can hold your breath longer with scoped weaponsHeadshots while aiming with a scoped weapon have a +25% critical hit chanceScoped weapons do 50% more damage while using the scope
TargetingIncreased accuracy and range when shooting without aiming. Marks up to one enemy within 25m that damages youNotably increased accuracy and range when shooting without aiming. Marks up to two enemies within 50m that damage youGreatly increased accuracy and range when shooting without aiming. Marks up to three enemies within 75m that damage you10% chance to disarm targets hit when shooting without aiming. Marks up to four enemies within 100m that damage you
Armor PenetrationAttacks ignore 15% of a target’s armorAttacks ignore 30% of a target’s armorAttacks ignore 50% of a target’s armorEnemy armor is decreased by 25% for 6 seconds
CripplingHuman enemies have 30% increased chance to enter a downed state after taking enough damageHumanoid enemies have a 50% increased chance to not naturally recover from a downed stateHuman enemies now can enter a downed state earlierPrevious ranks now apply to all enemy types. You now do 100% more damage to downed enemies
SharpshootingIncrease headshot critical damage by 50% with ranged weaponsIncrease critical damage to enemy legs by 50% with ranged weaponsIncrease all critical damage to enemies by 50% with ranged weaponsRanged critical hit kills increase your critical hit chance with all ranged weapons by 25% for 20 seconds
Starfield skills: The Physical skill tree in the skill menu

Physical

Physical skills improve your character’s physical attributes. This ranges from things like strength and HP to your ability to move quietly and even cook food. The confirmed physical skills are:

  • Boxing – Increases unarmed attack damage
  • Cellular Regeneration – Increased chance to recover from injuries naturally
  • Concealment – Become harder to detect and increase sneak attack damage
  • Decontamination – Increases infection recovery chance
  • Energy Weapon Dissipation – Reduces Energy damage
  • Environmental Conditioning – Gain resistance to certain environmental status effects
  • Fitness – Increases available oxygen
  • Gastronomy – Can craft specialty food and drinks using new ingredients you find
  • Gymnastics – Gain the ability to combat slide, take less fall damage, and gain movement bonuses in zero gravity
  • Martial Arts – Increased crit chance with melee attacks
  • Neurostrikes –Gain the chance to stun enemies with unarmed attacks
  • Nutrition – Food and drink are more effective
  • Pain Tolerance – Reduces Physical damage
  • Rejuvenation – Increased health regeneration outside of combat
  • Stealth – Increases sneak attack damage, and decreases chance of detection
  • Weight Lifting – Increases carry capacity
  • Wellness – Increases maximum HP through activity and good nutrition habits
SkillRank 1Rank 2Rank 3Rank 4
BoxingUnarmed attacks do 25% more damage. 25% less O2 used when using a power attackUnarmed attacks do 50% more damage. 50% less O2 used when using a power attackUnarmed attacks do 75% more damage. While in a fight and unarmed, running consumes 30% less O2Unarmed attacks do 100% more damage and have a chance to knock down opponents
FitnessYou have 10% more oxygen availableYou have 20% more oxygen availableYou have 30% more oxygen availableSprinting and power attacks now use significantly less oxygen
StealthAdds a Stealth Meter. You are 25% more difficult to detect when sneaking. Suppressed weapons do an additional 5% sneak attack damageUpgrades the Stealth Meter. You are 50% more difficult to detect when sneaking. Suppressed weapons do an additional 10% sneak attack damageUpgrades the Stealth Meter. You are 75% more difficult to detect when sneaking. Suppressed weapons do an additional 15% sneak attack damageYou are 100% more difficult to detect when sneaking. Suppressed weapons do an additional 20% sneak attack damage. Doors you interact with while in stealth no longer alert enemies
Weight LiftingIncrease total carrying capacity by 10 kilogramsIncrease total carrying capacity by 25 kilogramsIncrease total carrying capacity by 50 kilogramsIncrease total carrying capacity by 100 kilograms. Gain 50% resistance to stagger
WellnessIncrease your maximum health by 10%Increase your maximum health by 20%Increase your maximum health by 30%Increase your maximum health by 40%
Energy Weapon DissipationEnergy damage is reduced by 5%Energy damage is reduced by 10%Energy damage is reduced by 15%25% chance to reflect energy damage back to an attacker when your health is below 50%
Environmental ConditioningGain 10 resistance to Airborne environmental damageGain 10 resistance to Thermal environmental damageGain 10 resistance to Corrosive and Radiation environmental damageReduced chance to gain afflictions from environmental damage sources
GymnasticsUnlock the ability to combat slide. Take 15% less fall damageMove faster in Zero-G. Take 20% less fall damageBecome more stable when firing in Zero-G. Take 30% less fall damage. Replenish some O2 after mantlingIncreased jump height. Run faster after combat sliding or mantling
NutritionFood and drink are 10% more effectiveFood and drink are 20% more effectiveFood and drink are 30% more effectiveFood and drink are 50% more effective
Pain TolerancePhysical damage is reduced by 5%Physical damage is reduced by 10%Physical damage is reduced by 15%5% to ignore physical damage when your health is low
Cellular RegenerationSlightly increased chance to recover from injuries naturallyModerately increased chance to recover from injuries naturallyNoticeably increased chance to recover from injuries naturally20% chance of not gaining an injury when you otherwise would
DecontaminationSlightly increased chance to recover from infections naturallyModerately increased chance to recover from infections naturallyNoticeably increased chance to recover from infections naturally20% chance of not gaining an infection when you otherwise would
Martial Arts15% increased chance to crit with a melee or unarmed attack15% increased chance to disarm an opponent with a melee or unarmed power attackWhile unarmed or wielding a melee weapon, take 10% less damageReflect 50% damage back when blocking a melee or unarmed attack
ConcealmentYou no longer set off enemy mines. Ranged sneak attacks do 2.5x normal damage and your melee sneak attacks do 4x normal damageRunning while sneaking doesn’t affect stealth. Ranged sneak attacks do 3x normal damage and your melee sneak attacks do 5x normal damageYou gain a Chameleon-like ability when completely still and sneaking. Ranged sneak attacks do 3.5x normal damage and your melee sneak attacks do 8x normal damageEngaging stealth causes distant enemies to lose you. Ranged sneak attacks do 4x normal damage and your melee sneak attacks do 10x normal damage
Neurostrikes10% chance to stun an NPC with an unarmed attackUnarmed attacks now do additional EM damage20% chance to stun an NPC with an unarmed attackAfter stunning an enemy, you also knock down any enemies within close range
RejuvenationSlowly regenerate health outside of combatRegenerate health more quickly outside of combatRegenerate health much faster outside of combat. You can now slowly regenerate health while in combatRegenerate health even faster outside of combat. You can now regenerate health quickly while in combat
Starfield skills: The Science skill tree in the skill menu

Science

Science skills span a wide range of things, including creating medicines, building outposts, astrophysics, and more. Science skills will likely play a large role in the game’s crafting mechanics and the gathering of resources. The confirmed science skills are:

  • Aneutronic Fusion – Increases power produced by ship reactors
  • Astrodynamics – Decreases Grav Drive capability
  • Astrophysics – Increased chance of finding new traits while scanning moons of your current planet
  • Botany – Get more resources from plants and increases flora scan speed
  • Chemistry – Craft improved chems and research additional chems at a research lab
  • Geology – Increases ore scan speed
  • Medicine – Medical training increases Med Pack healing
  • Outpost Engineering – Build advanced outpost modules
  • Planetary Habitation – Gain the ability to build outpost on increasingly extreme planets, and increases the number of outposts you can build
  • Research Methods – Reduces resources required to complete research projects
  • Scanning – Gain ability to detect increasingly rarer inorganic resources
  • Spacesuit Design – Gain the ability to craft and research improved spacesuit, helmet, and pack mods
  • Special Projects – Gain the ability to research new projects at a Research Lab
  • Surveying – Increases the zoom and scan distance of your scanner
  • Weapon Engineering – Gain the ability to craft and research improved weapon mods
  • Zoology – Gain more resources from creatures and harvest from them without harming them
SkillRank 1Rank 2Rank 3Rank 4
AstrodynamicsIncrease grav jump range of jump drives by 15%Reduced fuel cost of jump drives by 15%Increased grav jump range and reduced fuel cost of jump drives by 30%Reduced fuel cost of jump drives by 50%
GeologyGet more common and uncommon inorganic resources from surface objectsGet more rare inorganic resources from surface objectsGet more exotic inorganic resources from surface objectsOccasionally harvest additional rarer resources from surface objects
MedicineMed Packs, Trauma Packs, and Emergency Kits restore 10% additional Health 10% fasterMed Packs, Trauma Packs, and Emergency Kits restore 20% additional Health 20% fasterMed Packs, Trauma Packs, and Emergency Kits restore 30% additional Health 30% fasterMed Packs, Trauma Packs, and Emergency Kits restore 50% additional Health 50% faster, and have a chance to cure an affliction
Research MethodsResources required to craft items and complete research projects is reduced by 10%Resources required to craft items and complete research projects is reduced by 20%Resources required to craft items and complete research projects is reduced by 40%Sudden developments during research are twice as common. Resources required to craft items and complete research projects is reduced by 60%
SurveyingAdds an optional zoom to the hand scanner, and scan distance is increased by 20 metersAdds another level of zoom to the hand scanner, and scan distance is increased by 30 metersAdds another level of zoom to the hand scanner, and scan distance is increased by 40 metersAdds another level of zoom to the hand scanner, and scan distance is increased by 50 meters
BotanyGet more common and uncommon organic resources from plants, learn additional info about them from the scanner, and allows some plants to be cultivated at your outpostsGet more rare organic resources from plants, and learn information about them more quickly using the scannerGet more exotic organic resources from plants, and learn information about them more quickly using the scannerOccasionally harvest additional rarer resources from plants, and learn information about them more quickly using the scanner
ScanningYou can detect uncommon inorganic resources on planet and moon surfaces, and more information about ships in spaceYou can detect rare inorganic resources on planet and moon surfaces, and more specific information about ships in spaceYou can detect exotic inorganic resources on planet and moon surfaces, and gain better combat information about ships in spaceYou can detect unique inorganic resources on planet and moon surfaces, and gain a complete list of cargo on ships in space
Spacesuit DesignYou can craft improved spacesuit, helmet, and pack mods, and research additional mods at a Research LabYou can research and craft superior spacesuit, helmet, and pack modsYou can research and craft cutting-edge spacesuit, helmet, and pack modsConstruction of spacesuit, helmet, and pack mods occasionally doesn’t cost resources
Weapon EngineeringYou can craft improved weapon mods at a Weapon Workbench, and research additional weapon mods at a Research LabYou can research and craft superior weapon modsYou can research and craft cutting-edge weapon modsYou can research and craft master-level weapon mods
ZoologyGet more common organic resources from creatures and harvest from them without harming them, learn additional info about them from the scanner, and allows you to produce animal resources at your outpostsGet more uncommon organic resources from creatures, and learn information about them more quickly using the scannerGet more rare organic resources from creatures, and learn information about them more quickly using the scannerOccasionally harvest additional rarer resources from creatures, and learn information about them more quickly using the scanner
AstrophysicsYou can scan the moons of your current planet. You have a 10% chance to discover a trait when scanningYou can scan any planet or moon in this system. You have a 20% chance to discover a trait when scanningYou can scan any planet or moon within 16 Light Years. You have a 30% chance to discover a trait when scanningYou can scan any planet or moon within 30 Light Years. You have a 50% chance to discover a trait when scanning
ChemistryYou can create improved chems, and research additional chems at a Research LabYou can research and create superior chemsYou can research and create cutting-edge chemsCrafting chems occasionally triples the amount created
Outpost EngineeringYou can construct improved outpost modules, and research additional modules at a Research LabYou can research and construct superior outpost modulesYou can research and construct cutting-edge outpost modulesOutpost modules now cost 50% fewer resources to build
Aneutronic FusionShip reactors produce 1 extra unit of powerShip reactors produce 2 extra units of powerShip reactors produce 3 extra units of powerShip reactors produce 5 extra units of power
Planetary HabitationYou can build outposts on planets with extreme temperatures (Deep Freeze and Inferno). Increase the maximum number of Outposts you can build by 4You can build outposts on planets with extreme pressure. Increase the maximum number of Outposts you can build by 8You can build outposts on planets with toxic or corrosive atmospheres. Increase the maximum number of Outposts you can build by 12You can build outposts on planets with extreme gravity. Increase the maximum number of Outposts you can build by 16
Special ProjectsYou can research experimental projects at a Research LabYou can craft rare manufactured components at an Industrial WorkbenchYou can craft exotic manufactured components at an Industrial WorkbenchYou can craft unique manufactured components at an Industrial Workbench. Outpost extractors have a chance to produce additional resources
Starfield skills: The Social skill tree in the skill menu

Social

Social skills determine how well you communicate with others. This affects trading items, leading your crew, persuading and intimidating other NPCs, and more. The confirmed social skills are:

  • Bargaining – Buy items for less and sell for more
  • Commerce – Reduced prices when buying and increased prices when selling
  • Deception – Increased chance to deceive NPCs. Contraband scans become less effective
  • Diplomacy – Force a target NPC to not attack you temporarily
  • Gastronomy – Gain the ability to craft more food and drinks
  • Instigation – Force a target NPC to join you temporarily
  • Intimidation – Force a target NPC to flee from you temporarily
  • Isolation – Increased damage and damage resistance when without a companion or crew
  • Leadership – Companions gain affinity faster
  • Manipulation – Force a target NPC to obey your commands
  • Negotiation – Gain access to bribery. Bribes cost fewer credits
  • Outpost Management – Additional cargo links, robots, and crew at outposts
  • Persuasion – Increases success chance for speech challenges
  • Scavenging – Find more credits while looting
  • Ship Command – Increases number of active crew you can have on your ship
  • Theft – Increases pickpocketing success chance
  • Xenosociology – Force a target NPC to stop fighting
SkillRank 1Rank 2Rank 3Rank 4
CommerceBuy for 5% less and sell for 10% moreBuy for 10% less and sell for 15% moreBuy for 15% less and sell for 20% moreBuy for 20% less and sell for 25% more
GastronomyYou can craft speciality food and drinks, and research additional recipes at a Research LabYou can research and craft gourmet food and drinksYou can research and craft food and drink delicaciesCrafting food and drinks occasionally doesn’t use up resources. You can research and craft exotic recipes
Persuasion10% increased chance of success when persuading someone20% increased chance of success when persuading someone30% increased chance of success when persuading someone50% increased chance of success when persuading someone
ScavengingThere’s a chance you’ll find extra credits when searching containersThere’s a chance you’ll find extra ammo when searching containersThere’s a chance you’ll find extra aid items, like Med Packs or chems, when searching containersTracked resources will get highlighted when using the hand scanner
TheftUnlock the ability to pickpocket targets10% greater chance to successfully pickpocket30% greater chance to successfully pickpocket50% greater chance to successfully pickpocket. Can now pickpocket holstered weapons
DeceptionShips 10% stronger will automatically surrender to piracy demands. Enemy contraband scans are 10% less effectiveShips 20% stronger will automatically surrender to piracy demands. Enemy contraband scans are 20% less effectiveShips 30% stronger will automatically surrender to piracy demands. Enemy contraband scans are 30% less effectiveShips 50% stronger will automatically surrender to piracy demands. Enemy contraband scans are 50% less effective
DiplomacyYou can force a target NPC at or below your level to stop fighting for a whileYou can force a target NPC up to 10 levels higher than you to stop fighting for a whileYou can force a target NPC up to 20 levels higher than you to stop fighting for a whileYou can force target NPCs to permanently stop fighting (unless they’re attacked again)
IntimidationYou can force a target NPC at or below your level to flee for a limited timeYou can force a target NPC up to 10 levels higher than you to flee for a limited timeYou can force a target NPC up to 20 levels higher than you to flee for a limited timeIntimidated targets now flee for substantial amount of time
IsolationDo +10% weapon damage and gain 15 Damage Resistance for each Spacesuit and Helmet equipped when you don’t have a companion or any crewDo +20% weapon damage and gain 30 Damage Resistance for each Spacesuit and Helmet equipped when you don’t have a companion or any crewDo +30% weapon damage and gain 45 Damage Resistance for each Spacesuit and Helmet equipped when you don’t have a companion or any crewDo +40% weapon damage and gain 60 Damage Resistance for each Spacesuit and Helmet equipped when you don’t have a companion or any crew
NegotiationYou now have access to Bribery in speech challengesReduces bribery cost by 25%Reduces bribery cost by 50%Occasionally, bribery won’t cost any money
InstigationYou can force a target NPC at or below your level to attack their allies for a limited timeYou can force a target NPC up to 10 levels higher than you to attack their allies for a limited timeYou can force a target NPC up to 20 levels higher than you to attack their allies for a limited timeEnemies affected by Instigation will attack their allies until they are dead
LeadershipCompanions gain affinity 25% fasterCompanions have 50 more health and 50kg more carrying capacityCompanions will occasionally heal you when you get low healthDoubles the bonuses of Combat and Physical Crew Skills on Companions. Companions have a chance to pick themselves up from a downed state
Outpost ManagementAdditional cargo links can be placed at outpostsAdditional robots can be constructed at outpostsAdditional crew can be assigned at outpostsOutpost extractors produce twice as fast
ManipulationYou can force a target NPC at or below your level to obey commands for a limited timeYou can force a target NPC up to 10 levels higher than you to obey commands for a limited timeYou can force a target NPC up to 20 levels higher than you to obey commands for a limited timeManipulated targets now obey commands for a substantial amount of time
Ship CommandYou can have up to four active crew membersYou can have up to five active crew membersYou can have up to six active crew membersYou can have up to eight active crew members
XenosociologyYou can force a target alien creature up to 10 levels higher than you to flee for a limited timeYou can force a target alien creature up to 10 levels higher than you to stop fighting for a limited timeYou can force a target alien creature up to 10 levels higher than you to attack their allies for a limited timeYou can force a target creature up to 10 levels higher than you to obey commands for a limited time
Starfield skills: The Tech skill tree in the skill menu.

Tech

Tech skills involve your use of the game’s technology. While this will mostly be useful for piloting your spaceship, it also allows you to develop your ship, use robots, and hack security systems. The confirmed tech skills are:

SkillRank 1Rank 2Rank 3Rank 4
Ballistic Weapon SystemsBallistic ship weapons have 10% increased damage and cost 20% less to use in Targeting ModeBallistic ship weapons have 20% increased damage and recharge 15% fasterBallistic ship weapons have 30% increased damage and recharge 30% fasterBallistic ship weapons do 50% more damage to individual systems
Boost Pack TrainingYou can now utilize boost packsUsing a boost packs expends less fuelBoost pack fuel regenerates more quicklyDoubles previous bonuses
PilotingYou can now utilize ship thrustersIncreased ship turning rate and maneuverabilityUnlock the ability to pilot Class B shipsUnlock the ability to pilot Class C ships
SecurityYou can attempt to hack Advanced locks, and 2 auto attempts can be bankedYou can attempt to hack Expert locks, and 3 auto attempts can be banked. Rings now turn blue when the pick can be slottedYou can attempt to hack Master-level locks, and 4 auto attempts can be bankedExpend a digipick to eliminate keys that aren’t required to solve the puzzle. 5 auto attempts can be banked
Targeting Control SystemsUnlocks ship targeting functionallyTime to lock onto enemy ships is reduced by 15%. Target-locked ships fire at you 25% slowerTime to lock onto enemy ships is reduced by 30%. You have a 10% increased chance of critically hitting a target-locked shipTime to lock onto enemy ships is reduced by 60%. Deal 20% increased system damage in targeting mode
Energy Weapon SystemsEnergy ship weapons have 10% increased damage and cost 15% less to use in Targeting ModeEnergy ship weapons have 20% increased damage and cost 30% less to use in Targeting ModeEnergy ship weapons have 30% increased damage and cost 45% less to use in Targeting ModeEnergy ship weapons recharge 30% faster
Engine SystemsYour ship’s top speed is increased by 10%Ship boosts last longer and the cooldown is shorterYour ship’s top speed in increased by 20%While boosting, all enemies disengage the player and can only reacquire them as a target after the player stops boosting
PayloadsShip cargo holds have 10% more capacityShip cargo holds have 20% more capacityShip cargo holds have 30% more capacityShip cargo holds have 50% more capacity
Shield SystemsYour ship has 20% increased shield capacityYour ship has 40% increased shield capacityYour ship has 60% increased shield capacityYour shields will occasionally resist 100% of all damage received
Missile Weapon SystemsShip missile weapons do 10% more damage, and their Targeting mode cost is reduced by 20%Ship missile weapons do 20% more damage, and their Targeting mode cost is reduced by 40%Ship missile weapons do 30% more damage, and their Targeting mode cost is reduced by 60%Ship missiles have 20% increased Range, Travel Speed, and Reload Speed
Particle Beam Weapon SystemsShip particle beam weapons do 10% more damage, and Targeting mode cost is reduced by 10%Ship particle beam weapons do 20% more damage, and Targeting mode cost is reduced by 20%Ship particle beam weapons do 30% more damage, and Targeting mode cost is reduced by 30%Increased critical hit chance with ship particle beam weapons
RoboticsYou deal 10% more damage to Robots and Turrets. You can force a target robot up to 10 levels higher than you to stop fighting for a limited timeYou deal 20% more damage to Robots and Turrets. You can force a target robot up to 10 levels higher than you to flee for a limited timeYou deal 30% more damage to Robots and Turrets. You can force a target robot up to 10 levels higher than you to attack their allies for a limited timeYou can force a target robot up to 10 levels higher than you to obey commands for a limited time
Starship DesignAllows the installation of improved ship modulesAllows the installation of superior ship modulesAllows the installation of cutting-edge ship modulesAllows the installation of experimental ship modules
Starship EngineeringAll ship systems repair 10% fasterShip systems have 25% increased damage mitigationAll ship systems repair 25% fasterOccasionally, repairing one block of a system will repair the entire system
Automated Weapon SystemsAutomated ship weapons do 10% more damage and reduce all targeting mode costs by 20%Automated ship weapons do 20% more damage and reduce all targeting mode costs by 30%. Your ship takes 20% less damage while in targeting modeAutomated ship weapons do 30% more damage and reduce all targeting mode costs by 40%. Increases crit chance against targeted sub-systems by 20%Ship turret weapons recharge 40% faster and do 20% more damage to targeted sub-systems
Boost Assault TrainingNearby enemies take damage when you boost and have a chance to catch on fireChance to knockdown nearby enemies when you boostAiming down sights while boosting will let you hover in place. Fuel is still expended until emptyWhile hovering, time slows down and the world moves 70% slower around you
EM Weapon SystemsEM ship weapons have 10% increased damage and cost 15% less to use in Targeting ModeEM ship weapons have 20% increased damage and cost 30% less to use in Targeting ModeEM ship weapons have 30% increased damage and cost 45% less to use in Targeting ModeEM ship weapons have a small chance of instantly disabling enemy engines
Starfield skills: The Security skill ranks in the skill menu.
Starfield skills: The Security skill ranks in the skill menu.

How do you level up skills in Starfield?

Every time your character levels up, you receive a skill point which can be used to unlock or level up a skill. Each skill has a set of ranks, which can be unlocked by completing progressively more difficult challenges. You can receive XP to level up your character through almost anything, from combat to using your individual skills themselves, like hacking locks to level up Security, or reloading empty magazines to level up Rapid Reloading.

Levelling up these skills will subsequently provide you with more benefits. Sticking with Security, at rank 1, you’ll be able to disable advanced locks and store two auto attempts, while rank 2 will let you disable expert locks and store three auto attempts, then master-level locks etc. The higher you rank up each skill, the more useful they will be.

Additionally, while there isn’t a skill tree per se, there is a hierarchy of skills with each skill being placed on a specific tier. In order to unlock certain higher-tier skills in a specific category, you will first need to level up the corresponding skills on the tiers below it. For example, you may need to rank up your Diplomacy skill before you can unlock Xenosociology. The number of skill points you need to spend to unlock each tier are:

  • Tier 1: 0 skill points
  • Tier 2: 4 skill points
  • Tier 3: 8 skill points
  • Tier 4: 12 skill points

Best Starfield skills to get early on

Right from the start of the game, you have access to 25 different skills, which is quite a lot to choose from before you’ve even got to grips with any of the game’s mechanics. While all of them are useful in their own right, there is a selection that we think is an absolute must if you’re looking to get off to the best start exploring the Settled Systems.

The best Starfield skills to get early on are:

  • Fitness (Physical) – When you’re not flying through space, you’ll be running around on planets and moons, and for that you need oxygen. Fitness will increase the amount of oxygen you have, and while it may not seem like a lot, that extra oxygen really adds up over time.
  • Weight Lifting (Physical) – When you’re over-encumbered, you can’t fast travel, and all movement reduces your oxygen. You don’t want to be stuck throwing away valuable loot just because you didn’t upgrade your carrying capacity. Get a couple of Weight Lifting ranks and you’ll thank us later.
  • Persuasion (Social) – You will come across speech challenges a lot in Starfield, and upgrading it will make your life so much easier. It lets you avoid combat with strong enemies, convince quest NPCs to help you out, and get information out of even the most tight-lipped of NPCs. At least one point in Persuasion is a must, but we’d recommend even more later in the game.
  • Theft (Social) – Theft can be a decent way of making a few credits early on or getting a few rare items, but it will be extremely useful in quests. There are all sorts of missions requiring you to get an item from an NPC by persuading them or failing that, by killing them. Thieving gives you an easy third option if you fail your persuasion but still want to try and avoid a firefight.
  • Boost Pack Training (Tech) – Boost packs are a necessity when it comes to exploring, as they give you such a useful movement option, both in exploration and combat. But even with one equipped, you need to have at least one point in this skill before you can use your boost pack, so get this immediately.
  • Security (Tech) – Everywhere you go, you’re going to come across chests and containers that are locked. Unlocking these will provide you with credits, materials, and most importantly, you can get some very powerful early-game guns and armour. Added to that, you can unlock locked doors, and hack computer systems, too. Upgrade Security as early as possible, and just make sure you’ve got enough Digipicks.

Before you start upgrading any other skills, we would recommend getting these skills first as they will give you the fastest access to a wide variety of important content. Out of all of these, we would prioritize Persuasion, Boost Pack Training, and Security above all others. Choosing a  background that comes with one or more of these traits will give you a great starting position.

For more help starting you star hopping journey, check out our Starfield tips and tricks, the best Starfield ships, the best Starfield reactor, the New Atlantis, Akila, and Neon shop locations, how to pick locks, where to get Digipicks, and where to find Jemison Mercantile in the UC capital.