How Starfield skills work

Starfield skills grant you the ability to continue customising your character over the course of the game using a hybrid of Skyrim and Fallout's skill systems

Wondering which Starfield skills are right for your character? Todd Howard claims that the studio’s new skill system “combines the best” from Bethesda’s previous games, and we’re inclined to agree. While Starfield’s release date hasn’t been finalised, it’s never too early to start customising your character for the acclaimed studio’s upcoming RPG.

After choosing your spacefarer’s background and traits, Starfield skills are your go-to for shaping how you’ll navigate combat, diplomacy, and survival in the long term. These skills are split into five separate paths: Physical, Social, Combat, Science and Tech, and are unlocked through a combination of spending skill points and completing challenges.

Each unlocked skill can then be ranked up a maximum of four times (although different skills have different max ranks) by completing challenges – and each rank will confer a new stat buff. These are fairly straightforward and involve using the weapon or mechanic associated with each skill, much like in Skyrim. It’s worth noting that, from what Bethesda has teased so far, it appears ranks don’t auto-unlock the moment you complete a challenge; you must also spend skill points in order to ascend to a higher rank and earn its associated reward.

Of course, what we saw at the Xbox and Bethesda showcase offered a glimpse of the potential that skills have to offer, so this guide is far from complete. However, we hope it’ll give you a good sense of the variety you can expect from the Starfield skills system.

Here are the Starfield skills:

  • Physical
  • Social
  • Combat
  • Science
  • Tech

Physical

No information yet.

Social

No information yet.

Combat

Ballistics

“Centuries of conflict have proven that when it comes to threat elimination, few things stack up to the reliable power of combustion.”

  • Rank 1: Ballistic weapons do 10% more damage
  • Rank 2: Ballistic weapons do 20% more damage
  • Rank 3: Ballistic weapons do 30% more damage
    • Challenge: Kill 250 enemies with a ballistic weapon
  • Rank 4: Ballistic weapons range is increased by 30%

Demolitions

  • Rank 1: No information yet
  • Rank 2: No information yet
    • Challenge: Kill 125 enemies with explosives
  • Rank 3: Explosives do 30% more damage and have a 30% larger radius
  • Rank 4: No information yet

Heavy Weapons Certification

  • Rank 1: No information yet
  • Rank 2: No information yet
  • Rank 3: No information yet
    • Challenge: Kill 250 enemies with a heavy weapon
  • Rank 4: Gain 30 Damage Resistance while aiming down sights with a heavy weapon

Marksmanship

  • No information yet

Particle Beams

  • No information yet

Rapid Reloading

  • Rank 1: No information yet
  • Rank 2: No information yet
  • Rank 3: No information yet
    • Challenge: Reload 150 empty magazines
  • Rank 4: Gain a chance to reload your weapon twice as fast as normal

Sniper Certification

“Only a trained sniper truly understands all the elements necessary to patiently and effectively neutralize a target at excessive range.”

  • Rank 1: Scoped weapons are steadier and have less sway

Targeting

  • Rank 1: No information yet
  • Rank 2: No information yet.
    • Challenge: Kill 125 enemies without aiming
  • Rank 3: Greatly increased accuracy and range when shooting without aiming

Science

No information yet.

Tech

No information yet.

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Eagle-eyed viewers may have also spotted a further skill tucked away among Starfield’s ship customisation menu. Starship Design appears to be a required skill for purchasing and equipping certain ship modules, but until Bethesda reveals the full Starfield skill tree, it’s unclear exactly which category of skills this belongs to.

If you’re inclined to dump your skill points into Combat, have a gander at our list of confirmed Starfield guns to get a sense of which best suits your play style. Alternatively, if you’re itching to explore everything the Settled Systems have to offer, check out our Starfield ship design primer so you can take to the skies in style. Or, if you prefer to keep your boots firmly on the ground, take a look at the cities and religions you can expect to discover in Bethesda’s shiny new space game.

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