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The Outer Worlds skills: every skill detailed

Here are the skills you can invest in while playing The Outer Worlds, and the buffs that come with each one


The Outer Worlds skills are one of the first things you’ll come across when creating your character. What skills you choose to invest in are essential as they’ll shape the outcome of fights and give you all the dialogue options you need to squirm out of tricky scenarios. They also synergise nicely with The Outer Worlds perks and companion perks – all the things you’ll need to be thinking about if you’re looking to create the best The Outer Worlds builds.

The Outer Worlds skills are grouped into a core skill which splits off into a set of specialised skills. There are seven core skills in total and 18 specialised skills for you to unlock and upgrade if you’d like to acquire passive and active bonuses. The core skills are related to the specialised skills and upgrading the former boosts the effectiveness of the latter.

In this The Outer Worlds skills guide, we’ll go over each core skill, the specialised skills they affect, and the bonuses you can pick up from levelling each of them up. We’ll also round up the best these skills, too. Here are the Outer World skills in full.

The Outer Worlds skills are


Melee skills improve your critical hit chance while wielding handheld weapons.

One-Handed Melee

Increases critical hit chance while using one-handed melee weapons.

  • 20 Points – unlocks power and sweep attacks
  • 40 Points – unlocks tactical time dilation (TTD) location hit effects
  • 60 Points – boosts one-handed melee weapon reach by 30%
  • 80 Points – one-handed melee weapon TTD drains 50% slower
  • 100 Points – power and sweep attack’s chance to stun increases by 25%

Two-Handed Melee

You guessed it, this one increases critical chance with two-handed melee weapons.

  • 20 Points – unlock power and sweep attacks
  • 40 Points – unlock TTD Location Hit Effects
  • 60 Points – two-handed melee weapon attacks are unblockable
  • 80 Points – two-handed melee weapon TTD drains 50% slower
  • 100 Points – power and sweep attack chance to knockdown jumps up by 25%


These skills improves your weapon sway and critical hit chance while using ranged weapons.


Gives you a higher chance of getting a critical hit while decreasing handgun sway.

  • 20 Points – unlocks TTD location hit effects
  • 40 Points – 50% boost to handgun critical damage
  • 60 Points – minimum armour penetration damage increases by 10%
  • 80 Points – debuffed enemies have a 20% higher chance to take critical damage
  • 100 Points – critical hits with a hand cannon ignore 100% of armour

Long Guns

Bumps up critical chance and decreases sway when using long guns.

  • 20 Points – unlocks TTD location hit effects
  • 40 Points – long guns critical damage takes a nifty 50% increase
  • 60 Points – long guns headshot / weak spot damage gets a 20% boost
  • 80 Points – unlocks an ability called Deadly Focus, which eliminates weapon sway for five seconds after each kill
  • 100 Points – long gun critical hits ignore 100% of armour

Heavy Weapons

Increases critical chance and decreases sway when using heavy weapons.

  • 20 Points – unlocks TTD location hit effects
  • 40 Points – heavy weapons critical damage increases by 50%
  • 60 Points – 30% increase to heavy weapons reload speed
  • 80 Points – unlocks an ability called heavy weapon frenzy, which ups rate of fire by 30% for three seconds when you land a critical hit
  • 100 Points – heavy weapon critical hits ignore 100% of armour

The Outer Worlds companion fighting a rapidon


You’ll want to invest in these skills to improve your ability to avoid damage.


Increases your dodge distance and reduces harmful status effect durations.

  • 20 Points – unlocks the ability to leap, or dodge forward to put it another way
  • 40 Points – dodge recovery speed increases by 100%
  • 60 Points – gain a nifty 30% boost to your armour rating for five seconds after each dodge
  • 80 Points – pick up a 50% damage buff to your next melee attack after dodging
  • 100 Points – hit a weak spot five seconds after dodging and there’s a 50% chance it’ll ignore your enemy’s armour stat


This specialisation increases your armour rating, though only when you’re using a melee weapon.

  • 20 Points – blocking just before you get hit staggers your attacker
  • 40 Points – weapon durability loss from locking is reduced by 25%
  • 60 Points – walk speed while blocking increases 100%
  • 80 Points – no weapon durability loss if you pull off a perfect block
  • 100 Points – perfect blocks weaken opponents, increasing the damage they take by 100% for five seconds


For the smooth-talking Han Solo wannabe, this skill gives you more dialogue options and causes foes to cower in fear during combat.


Unlocks dialogue options in game that are kinder than the alternatives.

  • 20 Points – human foes have a 20% chance to cower in fear for three seconds after you hit them for the first time
  • 40 Points – cower duration increases to seven seconds
  • 60 Points – enemies who cower take a 50% hit to their armour
  • 80 Points – humans have a 10% higher chance to cower
  • 100 Points – When a Human cowers, you gain +25% armour for ten seconds


More dialogue options of a dishonest sort.

  • 20 Points – 15% chance automechanicals will slowly attack other enemies instead of you for ten seconds
  • 40 Points – scramble duration lasts for seven more seconds
  • 60 Points – scrambled automechanicals attack at their normal speed
  • 80 Points – automechanical scramble chance increases by 10%
  • 100 Points – scrambled automechanicals take 30% more weak spot damage


Unlocks more dialogue options for those who want to be a big bully.

  • 20 Points – 20% chance creatures will become terrified and flee for ten seconds after you kill one of them
  • 40 Points – terrify’s area of effect increases by 100%
  • 60 Points – terrified creatures movement speed reduced by 30%
  • 80 Points – creatures have a 10% higher chance of becoming terrified
  • 100 Points – terrifying a creature boosts critical chance by 5% and critical damage by 25%


You’ll want to invest in these skills if you’re looking to sneak past security and hack more terminals.


Reduces detection range while crouched, increases NPC awareness decay, and bumps up your sneak attack damage.

  • 20 Points – attacking unaware enemies while crouched deals bonus damage
  • 40 Points – gives you the ability to steal from humans while crouching
  • 60 Points – increases your movement speed while crouched by 25%
  • 80 Points – sneak attack weak spot damage jumps up by 20%
  • 100 Points – sneak attacks ignore 50% of the target’s armour


Hack terminals and vaults quicker while requiring less bypass shunts to do so.

  • 20 Points – unlocks the ability to sell goods to vending machines
  • 40 Points – unlocks access to vending machines’ restricted items
  • 60 Points – hack automechanicals and turn them off for three seconds
  • 80 Points – reduce Automechanical detection range by 30%
  • 100 Points – allows you to hack Automechanical from 5m away


Locks require less magpicks and can be unlocked faster.

  • 20 Points – doors and containers requiring one magpick to unlock are free to open
  • 40 Points – find 25% more bits in containers
  • 60 Points – gain some insight what is inside of locked containers
  • 80 Points – lockpicking speed increases to be nearly instant
  • 100 Points – your chances of finding a pristine item increases by 100%



Tech is a bit of a catch all term, but these skills boost your medical, science, and engineering skills.


Increases amount the Inhaler heals and increases duration of effects.

  • 20 Points – unlocks the second drug mixing slot for your inhaler
  • 40 Points – unlocks the third drug mixing slot for the inhaler
  • 60 Points – hostile effect duration on targets increases by 50%
  • 80 Points – unlocks the fourth drug mixing slot for the Inhaler
  • 100 Points – do 20% more damage against humans


Investing in Tech leads to more plasma and shock weapon damage, alongside an improvement in science weapons’ special effects.

  • 20 Points – improves your weapons and armour in the workbench
  • 40 Points – tinkering with them costs 50% less
  • 60 Points – increases corrosion and n-ray damage by 25%
  • 80 Points – tinkering cost for science weapons is capped
  • 100 Points – tinkering cost is further reduced by 90%


Investing here allows you to repair your weapons and armour by using fewer parts.

  • 20 Points – repair weapons and armour in the inventory
  • 40 Points – breaking down weapons and armour leads to a 20% chance to extract a basic mod
  • 60 Points – 20% chance that the items you repair will become pristine, which increases their value and durability
  • 80 Points – breaking down weapons and armour has a 10% chance to extract a rare mod
  • 100 Points – Automechanicals take 20% more damage


Working on your leadership skills will improve your companions’ health and their combat abilities.


Your companions deal more damage.

  • 20 Points – command companions to do their special attacks
  • 40 Points – companions gain another 20% to their armour rating
  • 60 Points – companion skill bonus to player skills increases by 100%
  • 80 Points – companions gain a 20% critical hit chance for five seconds after killing an enemy
  • 100 Points – all companion ability cooldowns reduced by 20% when one of them kills an enemy


Gives the maximum health of your companions a boost.

  • 20 Points – the Inhaler heals you and your companions, though only by 30% of the healing effect
  • 40 Points – companion’s critical damage increases by 25%
  • 60 Points – companions get an extra 25% of the Inhaler’s healing effect
  • 80 Points – your party gains 50% armour rating and damage for ten seconds if one of your companions are downed
  • 100 Points – companions get 50% of their health back if they kill an enemy


The Outer Worlds best skills


Not only is this one the best The Outer Worlds skills, but it’s also the most fun, too. Being able to persuade, lie, or intimidate your way through the game allows you to open various story avenues – some have a more significant impact on the story, while others will change the way an NPC interacts with you. One side-mission involves persuading a son to return to his mother. If you don’t have any dialogue skills, you’ll be coaxed into helping come up with a lie, so he doesn’t have to. If you have enough persuasion or intimidation, though, you can convince him to return to her.

It’s a handy skill in combat, too, as it forces various enemies to either cower or attack each other. Plenty of areas in The Outer Worlds are stuffed with foes, so having something to thin these fights out – or avoid them entirely – ends up being much welcomed.


The critical skill here is hack as it allows you to open more chests, vaults, and doors without using up too much equipment. The Outer Worlds is stuffed to the brim with various rooms that hold all kinds of special equipment – so you’ll be making use of this more than you think.

Having to use fewer magpicks is nifty, too, as carrying too much equipment leaves you encumbered, which means you can’t sprint or fast travel – it’s a hassle, basically.


Investing in leadership is another handy way to give yourself some support in fights. The more you invest, the more buffs your companions get for chipping in with combat, from healing themselves to upping their critical hit chance. Companions getting a share of your healing is handy, too.

And there you have it, all The Outer Worlds skills detailed, alongside some suggestions what we believe the best Outer Worlds skills to be. What skills you go for will depend on the party you choose to run with, as they offer they have their specialist skills, so you may not want to overlap. Regardless, we hope this guide helps.