Cyberpunk 2077 does not feature fixed classes, so your RPG character build will largely depend on how you distribute your Attribute Points, Perk Points, and which Skills you choose to level through use. While the system is fluid, your choices shouldn’t be taken lightly: what you choose to invest into will significantly affect your experience and resetting your specs isn’t cheap. This guide will focus on the Character Attributes in Cyberpunk 2077, how you earn additional points, what Attributes you can invest them into and why, and how those Attributes might enhance or limit your character and your playthrough.
The five Cyberpunk 2077 character attributes are:
Going along with the main story, completing side jobs, leveling your skills, and taking on gigs: all of these will earn your character experience. Experience will give you Attribute points (and Perk points) to invest. But, why worry?
Well, Attributes in Cyberpunk 2077 are the bedrock of your character build. They will also affect your gameplay in other small ways (that do add up).
Here’s a summary of what individual Attributes can do for you:
Each Attribute will give you passive bonuses per each point you invest into them.
They will unlock Attribute-related dialogue lines in your playthrough.
They will allow you to use weapons and cyberware that require a certain Attribute level.
They will literally open doors for you in Night City.
They will regulate the maximum level to which you can upgrade Skills under their umbrella.
Finally, they will allow you to unlock higher level of Perks (except for one special Perk that can only be unlocked by reaching highest level of the Skill it’s under).
We will explore each of these benefits in this guide, walk you through each Attribute individually, and help you get the most out this system.
Let’s get the confusing part out of the way first.
What do Attributes do to Skills do to Perks do to… what?
Here’s the quick of it:
Attributes themselves give you passive bonuses per level (see individual Attributes listed later in this guide).
Attributes set a cap level for your Skills. Skills are leveled through use.
Attributes unlock high-level Perks. All Perks except for one (that is, one for each Skill) are unlocked by increasing your Attribute level.
And here’s an example:
If you have 14 points in your Intelligence Attribute…
Intelligence Attribute itself will increase your starting cyberdeck RAM capacity by 56%, your base quickhack damage by 7%, and your base quickhack duration by 14%.
You can level Breach Protocol and Quickhacking to level 14 through use, unlocking their special Skill Progression Bonuses for each level.
You can purchase Perks under both Breach Protocol and Quickhacking that require level 14 or below, which is a long list that stops at Efficiency perk for Breach Protocol and Plague for Quickhacking.
(Reaching level 20 in Intelligence will not grant you access to Buffer Optimization for Breach Protocol or Master RAM Liberator for Quickhacking. Only leveling those Skills themselves would do so).
In other words, you will often start your planning and your point allocation with Attributes. In fact, that’s where the game has you start, and that’s the topic of our next section.
After you pick your character’s Lifepath and customize their appearance during the process of character creation, you will be presented with the Starting Attributes for your character.
No matter what Lifepath you pick, you will start with 3 points in each of the five Attributes, and you have seven additional points to distribute, up to 3 per Attribute. You cannot go below the starting value of 3 in any of the Attributes.
What Attributes should you start with?
It will depend on your character build. If you aren’t sure about how you want to play yet (or you want to test things out first), the game does not punish you for doing a balanced build. See “List: Bonuses to Attributes” below for a quick overview of what different Attributes are good for, factoring in general bonuses from Perks and Skills.
Bottom line, this early on you can invest a little extra into either Technical Ability or Body to ensure that most of the doors aren’t closed for you early on. Intelligence can round that up by allowing you to hack a few doors, but it isn’t as important.
Leveling, Planning Ahead
Sure, Cyberpunk 2077 doesn’t tend to punish balanced builds. The ability to re-spec is available: Legendary Progression Shard, Tabula E-Rasa, is available from any ripperdoc in the city. Does that mean that you don’t need to worry all that much? First of all, the game also heavily rewards specialized builds, and there are several reasons to plan for one. Second of all, that re-spec shard costs 100,000E$, so that’s not something you should be counting on until mid-game onward (which is a long time).
Third of all, yes — realistically, the current level cap in the game is 50, which means that you will have 49 extra Attribute points to invest on top of your starting build (you start with a sum of 22, but you only are in control of 7). With that you can’t max out all of your Attributes — you can only max out 3 at best — so you should know which areas you are prioritizing ahead of time.
Aside from Experience, there is no other known way to acquire perks.
But, this is what our guide here is for! To help you plan we traced passive upgrades back to their Attributes in the section directly below.
After you are done with this section, scroll down to study unique features of each Attribute in detail.
List: Bonuses to Attributes
(The list was adapted, with some changes, from Cyberpunk 2077 – The Complete Official Guide by Piggyback.)
This list takes into account common bonuses granted by Perks and Skills under each Attribute.
Unlock special dialogue lines: All Attributes.
Technical Ability and especially so Intelligence tend to be most useful in dialogue.
Inventory carry capacity:Body.
Crafting and upgrading:Technical Ability and Intelligence.
Intelligence crafting focuses solely on components used in hacking.
Quest actions and exploration pathways:Body, Technical Ability, and Intelligence.
This will probably have the highest effect on your playthrough experience. Technical Ability or Body will open up most of the doors for you.
Movement speed, agility, reaction time: Reflexes.
Proficiency with fists, blunt weapons, shotguns, and machine guns: Body.
Grapple, monowire: Cool.
Proficiency with rifles, SMGs, handguns, and blades: Reflexes.
Proficiency with grenades and Tech weapons:Technical Ability.
Crit Damage: Body.
Cold Blood (stacked buff generated in combat that grants bonuses for all builds): Cool.
This list can serve as a quick starting point for your build. Yet, it can be hard to grasp a full experience of playing a certain build simply from assuming what they might be able to do on a high level. We suggest you look over our Perks guide and our Skills guide to form a more complete picture and, more importantly, start trying things out for yourself.
Below you will find each of the five perks described in detail within their individual sections.
The Body Attribute modifies Athletics, Annihilation, and Street Brawler skills.
“Body determines your raw physical power.”
Stats: Health and Stamina
Increases per level:
First level allows you to force open doors;
STARTING FROM LEVEL 3, each level:
Add 5 Health Points;
Add 3 Stamina Points;
Increase damage with fists and Gorilla Arms by 3;
Increase damage with melee weapons by 1.5%;
Decrease movement penalty while grabbing an enemy and wielding an HMG by 6%;
Increase movement while grappling an enemy and enemy grapple duration by 5 sec.
Where would your typical Strong Solo build be without their focus on the Body Attribute? This Attribute is your gateway to blunt weapons, bare-knuckle fighting (probably Gorilla Arms for the best effect!), shotguns, and machine guns, but it’s also the best way for you to add to your Health and Stamina, general combat ability, and tankiness. Of course, investing into the Attribute won’t give you all of the benefits itself — you will need to look into Annihilation, Athletics, and Street Brawler and their corresponding Perks and decide which parts of them suit you the most.
This Attribute and the route it will lead you down towards has a lot to offer for both Non-Lethal playthroughs (see Street Brawler), as well as very much lethal ones (see Annihilation). Athletics can offer general combat and tanky endurance bonuses for any build. Finally, having a high number in this Attribute will unlock a few interesting dialogue options for you (although they won’t do all that much for you), but, more importantly, it will help you deal with a lot of locked doors that are holding you back (if you don’t want to go the Tech or Intel route).
The Intelligence Attribute modifies the Breach Protocol and Quickhacking skills.
“Intelligence determines your netrunning proficiency.”
Stats: Cyberdeck RAM
Increases per level:
Increase cyberdeck RAM capacity by 4%;
Increase quickhack damage by 0.5%;
Increase quickhack duration by 1%.
A must-have for a Netrunner build, especially if you are trying for a Combat Netrunner whose primary method of dealing damage and inflicting debuffs is through hacking. Intelligence is at the center of Quickhacking proficiency and damage, RAM capacity, and Breach Protocol efficiency. No matter what type of a Netrunning build you are trying to pursue, you will likely find use for both the Quickhacking and Breach Protocol, although it’s quite understandable if you develop a favorite.
Breach Protocol comes with a little hacking mini-game which you may or may not enjoy, but beyond RAM cost decrease you might like its multi-target debuff system. Also, who can say no to a little supplemental income from datamining some vending machines? Quickhacking, however, will probably be your most frequently used hacking method in the field, letting you take out both your enemies and their surveillance system. At a few points in the game, Quickhacking can open some additional doors for you. You will need a cyberdeck for most of the remote hacking you will do (including multi-target debuffs), but interacting with access points directly (say, to datamine for some hacking resources and eddies), can be done by any build.
If you invest extra points into Intelligence, you will be able to pick extra paths of progression in a couple of your quests, be it obtaining extra information or striking a deal with a hostile NPC.
The Reflexes Attribute modifies Handguns, Blades, and Assault skills.
“Reflexes determine your maneuverability.”
Stats: DPS and Crit Chance
Increases per level:
Increase overall movement speed;
Increase your passive Evasion from enemy attacks by 1%;
Increase Crit Chance by 1%;
Increase damage from Mantis Blades by 3.
This is the primary attribute of the Fast Solo and Stealth Solo (also known as “Cyberninja”) builds, offering increases to movement speed and attack speed, Crit Chance, and solidifying your proficiency with Revolvers and Pistols, Rifles and Submachine Guns, and Blades. While the Attribute itself will increase your overall movement speed, Evasion, and Crit Chance, you will have to specialize with one of the three weapon sets to benefit most from leveling Reflexes.
If you like Revolvers and Pistols, you can level the Handguns skill. Meanwhile, Assault skill is how you level your proficiency with Rifles and Submachine Guns. Obviously, Blades deals with all things Blades and that skill will lead you to creating your badass high-DPS katana-wielding cyberninja with a powerful Bleeding status you can inflict on your doomed foes.
While Reflexes will allow you to note some things in your conversations with characters, don’t expect it to do all that much for you (often you will get an annoyed retort). If you don’t use any weapons listed in this category, investing into Reflexes might be a bit of a waste. What you might be looking for in general bonuses here you are likely to find in Athletics under Body Attribute, minus all of the speed bonuses.
The Technical Ability Attribute modifies Crafting and Engineering skills.
“Technical Ability represents your technical know-how. It allows you to unlock doors and use Tech weapons.”
Increases per level:
Increase your Armor by 5%.
A must-have for a Techie build. That is, a Techie build so-called for its crafting and upgrading capabilities, along with a high advantage in fighting mechanical enemies and a proficiency in grenades and Tech weapons (as opposed to a TTRPG-inspired version of Techie, since the full-focus original version was scrapped by the developers). However, Technical Ability’s crafting, passive armor increase, and ability to open most locked doors in Night City will go along with most of the builds.
There are certainly great bonuses for leveling your Engineering skill if you use grenades and enjoy using Tech weapons. You can start assaulting large groups of enemies with exciting (and explosive) ease if you invest into this skill.
The other skill under this Attribute is Crafting. While you will likely be obtaining a lot of your gear through loot, you will get much more out of disassembling your low-cost junk items than selling them, so why not craft some ammo and consumables? Above all, upgrading your weapons will come very handy at harder levels, if you keep sticking to some favorites. Crafting is a bit more tricky — without investing Perk points you won’t be able to craft rarer items, so check what schematics you have and consider your current equipment before you continue investing those. (Important note: do not invest into the Scrapper perk that comes with automatic disassembling of junk items if you don’t want to miss out on selling 750E$ jewelry junk items.)
Technical Ability will unlock a few dialogue options here and there for you (most often they won’t have much consequence), but it will be most useful in handling closed doors around Night City, if you don’t rely on your Body Attribute for that.
The Cool Attribute modifies Ninjutsu (previously Stealth), and Cold Blood skills.
“Cool determines your resilience, composure and effectiveness in operating from stealth.”
Stats: Crit Damage, Resistances, Detection Time
Increases per level:
Increase Crit Damage by 2%;
Increase all Resistances by 1%;
Increase stealth damage by 10%;
Reduce the speed at which enemies detect you in stealth by 0.5%;
Increase monowire damage by 3.
Cool Attribute has two sides to it. Because of its Stealth skill it’s a must-have for a stealthy build, like a Stealthy Netrunner, but its Cold Blood skill can be very useful for multi-target combat and resisting damage. In other words, Cool encourages both the non-combat and combat approaches for your character, and there are some extra things to be said about Cold Blood and its general surprising usefulness, which we cover in our Skills Guide.
Cool comes with Crit Damage and sneaking proficiency increases, high damage resistances, and time bonuses for grapple. Aside from all things sneaking and sneak attacks, poison and throwing knives are a staple of the Stealth skill, giving you a lot of damage-dealing and finishing capabilities should you be detected. It’s will become a central asset of any stealthy build.
Cold Blood skill, meanwhile, rewards you taking on several enemies at a time and defeating each target quickly, giving you stacks that provide you with powerful and customizable (through Perks) bonuses that help you continue taking down one enemy after another. Because of that it’s a great skill for headshot snipers. Yet, the stacks of Cold Blood provide so many bonuses that can be fine-tuned to any skill and Cold Blood is a skill that technically levels itself, it can work out well for any build.
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Dedicated contributor at EIP Gaming and a part-time collector of books she will never have time to actually read. Jumps on the newest releases just as quickly as on the uncovered dusty collections from the basement. For her, shiny graphics can never be an excuse to not have a polished player experience or an immersive story.