All Starfield skills: Categories, tiers & skill trees explained

All Starfield skills: Categories, tiers & skill trees explained
Images via Bethesda

Written by 

Tarran Stockton


5th Sep 2023 12:10


Starfield skills are an essential part of the game and we've got a list of all of them here. It's important to know which are the best skills to get first, as well as what kind of skills you can obtain down the line.

Starfield is a brand-new role-playing game from Bethesda Game Studios and with a new IP, comes a whole new way to handle progression throughout the game. While there are plenty of ways to customise your character during your playthrough, your skills will be a constant that you can alter every time you level up.

So, if you want to think early on how you'll level your protagonist, check out all of the Starfield skills, how they work, and what you should get first.

How do skills work in Starfield?

an image of levelling up and earning a skill point in Starfield
Click to enlarge

Skills in Starfield give you passive buffs or award you special abilities that make your character unique. You'll start the game with three skills based on your character background, and then you can earn new skills as you progress.

There are a total of 82 skills in the game, which all fall under one of five categories: Physical, Social, Combat, Science, and Technology.

Each category also has four tiers of skills that are unlocked sequentially. To unlock all the tiers in a skill category, you will need to invest the following amount of points into skills belonging to that category:

How to level up skills in Starfield

an image of the Intimidation skill in Starfield
Click to enlarge

Each time you level up, you will earn a skill point to use on one of the Starfield skills, allowing you to unlock a completely new one or upgrade a rank for a skill you already have.

However, to level up a skill you already have, you will first need to complete the challenge associated with it, which unlocks the next rank.

As there is no level cap in Starfield, you can theoretically gain all the skills in the game and level them up to the max, though you will need to reach level 328 to achieve this.

All Starfield skills

Below, we'll cover all Starfield skills by category, breaking down each skill and what they do in-game. 

Physical skills

an image of the Physical skills in Starfield
Click to enlarge

Skill (Tier) Effect
Boxing (Tier 1) Unarmed attacks do more damage, and power attacks use less oxygen
Fitness (Tier 1) Increases your maximum oxygen
Wellness (Tier 1) Increases your maximum health
Weightlifting (Tier 1) Increases total carrying capacity
Stealth (Tier 2) Adds a stealth meter, makes you more difficult to detect when sneaking, and increases sneak attack damage
Pain Tolerance (Tier 2) Reduces the physical damage you take
Nutrition (Tier 2) Makes food and drink more effective
Gymnastics (Tier 2) Unlocks new physical effects like a combat slide, and improves your stability in Zero G
Environmental Conditioning (Tier 2) Increases resistance to Environmental damage

All Starfield skills continued below...

Skill (Tier) Effect
Energy Weapon Dissipation (Tier 2) Reduces the energy damage you take
Cellular Regeneration (Tier 3) Increases chance to recover from injuries naturally
Decontamination (Tier 3) Increases chance to recover from infections naturally
Martial Arts (Tier 3) Unlocks new effects during unarmed combat
Neurostrikes (Tier 4) Gives you a chance to stun enemies
Rejuvenation (Tier 4) Regenerate health outside of combat
Concealment (Tier 4) Unlocks new effects during stealth

Social skills

an image of the Social skills in Starfield
Click to enlarge

Skill (Tier) Effect
Commerce (Tier 1) Increases selling prices and lowers purchasing prices
Theft (Tier 1) Unlocks pickpocketing and increases chance to succeed
Persuasion (Tier 1) Increases chance of success to persuade someone
Scavenging (Tier 1) Increases chance to find extra currency or items when searching containers
Gastronomy (Tier 1) Can craft special types of food and drink
Deception (Tier 2) Increases chance of ships surrendering to piracy demands, and reduces the chance of an enemy contraband scan to succeed
Diplomacy (Tier 2) Unlocks the ability to force an NPC to stop fighting
Intimidation (Tier 2) Unlocks the ability to force an NPC to flee
Negotiation (Tier 2) Unlocks bribery options in speech and reduces bribery cost

All Starfield skills continued below...

Skill (Tier) Effect
Isolation (Tier 2) Increases weapon damage and damage resistance for each Spacesuit and Helmet equipped when you have no companions or crew
Instigation (Tier 3) Unlocks the ability to force an NPC to attack their allies
Leadership (Tier 3) Unlocks new effects for companions
Outpost Management (Tier 3) Unlocks additional options for existing Outposts
Manipulation (Tier 4) Unlocks the ability to force an NPC to obey your commands
Ship Control (Tier 4) Increases amount of active crew members
Xeniosociology (Tier 4) Unlocks the ability to force alien creatures to take certain actions

Combat skills

an image of the Combat skills in Starfield
Click to enlarge

Skill (Tier) Effect
Ballistics (Tier 1) Increases Ballistic weapon damage
Dueling (Tier 1) Increases Melee weapon damage
Lasers (Tier 1) Increases Laser weapon damage
Pistol Certification (Tier 1) Increases pistol damage
Shotgun Certification (Tier 1) Increases shotgun damage
Demolitions (Tier 2) Increases explosion radius and damage
Heavy Weapons Certification (Tier 2) Increases heavy weapon damage
Incapacitation (Tier 2) Increases EM weapon damage
Particle Beams (Tier 2) Increases particle beam weapon damage

All Starfield skills continued below...

Skill (Tier) Effect
Rifle Certification (Tier 2) Increases rifle weapon damage
Marksmanship (Tier 3) Increases critical hit chance
Rapid Reloading (Tier 3) Increases reload speed with weapons
Sniper Certification (Tier 3) Increases sniper weapon damage and reduces sway
Targeting (Tier 3) Increases accuracy when not aiming
Armor Penetration (Tier 4) Reduces the effects of armour on your attacks
Crippling (Tier 4) Increases the chance to down an enemy from an attack
Sharpshooting (Tier 4) Increases critical damage to certain limbs

Science skills

an image of the Science skills in Starfield
Click to enlarge

Skill (Tier) Effect
Astrodynamics (Tier 1) Increases the efficiency of grav jumping
Geology (Tier 1) Increase the resources you gain from surface objects
Medicine (Tier 1) Restore additional health faster with medicine items
Research Methods (Tier 1) Reduces resources required to craft items and complete research projects
Surveying (Tier 1) Adds zoom to the hand scanner and increases scan distance
Botany (Tier 2) Increase the resources you gain from plants
Scanning (Tier 2) Detect more resources on planet and moon surfaces, and learn from ship scans
Spacesuit Design (Tier 2) Unlocks the ability to craft better spacesuits and pack mods
Weapon Engineering (Tier 2) Unlocks the ability to craft better weapon mods

All Starfield skills continued below...

Skill (Tier) Effect
Zoology (Tier 2) Increases the resources you gain from creatures
Astrophysics (Tier 3) Increases scan range and chance to discover a trait when scanning
Chemistry (Tier 3) Unlocks the ability to craft better chems
Outpost Engineering (Tier 3) Unlocks the ability to research and construct better outpost modules
Special Projects (Tier 4) Unlocks experimental research projects and unlocks the ability to craft better manufactured components
Planetary Habitation (Tier 4) Unlocks the ability to build outposts on less-habitable planets and increases maximum number of outposts
Aneuronic Fusion (Tier 4) Increases the extra units of power produced by the ship reactor

Technology skils

an image of the Technology skills in Starfield
Click to enlarge

Skill (Tier) Effect
Ballistic Weapon Systems (Tier 1) Increases Ballistic ship weapon damage
Boost Pack Training (Tier 1) Unlocks the ability to use boost packs and increases their efficiency
Piloting (Tier 1) Unlocks high class ships and improves ship flying
Security (Tier 1) Allows you to hack more secure locks and use more auto attempts
Targeting Control Systems (Tier 1) Unlocks ship targetting and reduces time it takes to lock onto ships
Energy Weapon Systems (Tier 2) Increases Energy ship weapon damage
Engine Systems (Tier 2) Increases the top speed of ships and their boost time
Payloads (Tier 2) Increases ship cargo hold carrying capacity
Shield Systems (Tier 2) Increases ship shield capacity

All Starfield skills continued below...

Skill (Tier) Effect
Missile Weapon Systems (Tier 3) Increases ship missile weapon damage
Particle Beam Weapons Systems (Tier 3) Increases ship particle beam weapon damage
Starship Engineering (Tier 3) Increases ship repair speed and damage mitigation
Starship Design (Tier 3) Unlocks the ability to install better ship modules
Robotics (Tier 3) Increases damage to robots and turrets, and unlocks the ability to force robots to take certain actions
Automated Weapon Systems (Tier 4) Increases automated ship weapon damage
Boost Assault Training (Tier 4) Increases efficiency of boost packs and unlocks new abilities
EM Weapon Systems (Tier 4) Increases EM ship weapon damage

The best Starfield skills to get first

A character with customisable skills in Starfield.
Click to enlarge

Starfield obviously has a lot of skills to obtain, but certain skills are best to get first, with one of the best skills to get first being Weight-Lifting.

The Weight-Lifting skill is extremely helpful early on as it lets you carry more gear. When you're not sure what kinds of items or resources you need, you'll probably end up hoarding lots of stuff. Weight-Lifting can offset this by giving you more carry capacity.

Another excellent early skill in Starfield to pick-up is Security, as this lets you unlock harder locks. You'll encounter lots of locks across the Settled Systems, so it's best to get this early so you don't miss out on any good loot that might be inside.

Boost Pack Training is another great one. You can use Boost Packs to gain more mobility and break your fall if you jump from a great height. This is very helpful for exploration.

Generally, going for skills that increase your weapon damage is a good idea. However, it's best to wait until you know what kind of weapons you like before you commit to these skills. You might start with Lasers but find out you prefer using Shotguns.

That's all for our coverage of the Starfield skills, and now you know all the skills and skill trees in the game, what you should get first and how categories and tiers work.

For more Starfield guides, stick with GGRecon. Alternatively, take a look at the Starfield system requirements to see how well you can run the game.

Tarran is a Senior Guides Writer at GGRecon. He previously wrote reviews for his college newspaper before studying Media and Communication at university. His favourite genres include role-playing games, strategy games, and boomer shooters - along with anything indie. You can also find him in the pit at local hardcore shows.

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