Character progression in Starfield is a matter of gaining experience and leveling up, which in turn provides you with a number of skill points that can be spent in the game’s five skill trees. In this guide we’ll cover how leveling works as well as what each skill does.
Every Spacefarer gets three Starting Skills based on their background. These are always tier one, rank one skills.
You gain one skill point each time you level up. These skill points can be spent to purchase skills. Skills in the higher tiers must be unlocked by purchasing skills in the lower tiers. All skills and ranks cost exactly 1 skill point.
To unlock additional ranks of a particular skill, the player must complete a series of challenges using that skill.
Skills appear as badges, like NASA mission patches. Each tree’s badges have a different shape and color scheme, so you quickly see which tree a particular skill belongs to.
The Skill Trees
There are five skill trees in Starfield, each with four tiers of skills:
We’ll go look at each skill tree in its own section below.
The physical skill tree contains skills related to athleticism, wellbeing, and bodily control. Here are the physical skills we currently know about:
Boxing: Boxing enhances your effectiveness with unarmed attacks, increasing their damage and reducing the O2 costs of power attack and running.
Fitness: This skill increases your lung capacity so you use less O2 when exerting yourself.
Stealth: Stealth is a common feature in Bethesda games, and Starfield is no different. This skill adds a Stealth Meter to your UI. It also makes you more difficult to detect and increases the damage you do with sneak attacks.
Weight Lifting: Another common feature of Bethesda games is limited carrying capacity. This skill allows you to carry more stuff around so you can pick up all the sandwiches.
Wellness: This skill very simply increases your health so that you’re more durable.
Gymnastics: If you remember the Acrobatics skill from Oblivion, this is basically the same thing except in Zero-G. You can move faster, jump farther, and take less fall damage.
Nutrition: This skill enhances the effects of food and drink items.
Pain Tolerance: This skill reduces the physical damage you take, including from ballistic weapons.
Cellular Regeneration: This skill increases your chances of recovering from injuries without using medicine.
Decontamination: This skill improves your ability to recover from infections without using medicine.
Martial Arts: This skill improves your effectiveness with unarmed attacks in various ways, including increasing crit chance while unarmed, and giving a chance to disarm enemies when using a power attack.
Concealment: This skill makes your sneaking more effective, making it harder to be detected while doing so. It also enhances the damage of sneak attacks.
Neurostrikes: This skill grants your unarmed combat some crowd control, allowing unarmed attacks to potentially stun and knock down enemies.
Rejuvenation: Rejuvenation allows you to regenerate health when you’re not in combat. Higher ranks will also allow you to regenerate in combat.
The social skill tree contains skills related to charisma, trade, and thievery. Here are the social skills we currently know about:
Commerce: This skill allows you to be more efficient with your money, allowing you to buy items for cheaper, and sell them for more.
Gastronomy: This skill improves your food and drink crafting, allowing you to research additional recipes.
Persuasion: Every good RPG needs a Persuasion skill. This one improves your chances of succeeding with certain dialogue challenges.
Scavenging: This skill will allow you to find extra money and items from containers.
Deception This skill causes ships to automatically surrender to piracy demands, while also making their contraband scans less effective.
Diplomacy: You can pacify enemies with the Diplomacy skill so they chill and stop attacking you for a while.
Intimidation: Diplomacy’s evil twin – make your enemies fearful so they run away and stop attacking you for a while.
Isolation: This skill increases your weapon damage and damage resistance when you don’t have a companion or crew. A great buff if you prefer to go it alone.
Negotiation: This skill gives you the option to bribe people during speech challenges. Higher ranks reduce the cost to bribe someone.
Instigation: Continuing the theme with Diplomacy and Intimidation, Instigation lets you force your enemies to attack each other so they stop attacking you for a while. (If you played Skyrim, you may recognize these three traits as basically the same as the Calm, Fear, and Fury spells.)
Leadership: Leadership enhances your companions, making them more effective in and out of combat.
Outpost Management: This skill allows you to have additional cargo links, robots, and even crew members at outposts.
Manipulation: This skill allows you to essentially puppeteer NPCs for a short while.
Ship Command: This skill increases the number of active crew members you can have at one time.
Xenosociology: This skill allows you to mind control alien creatures. Options include pacify, flee, frenzy, and control.
The combat skill tree contains skills related to weapons and fighting. Here are the combat skills we currently know about:
Ballistics: This skill improves your proficiency with Ballistic weapons.
Dueling: Dueling improves your effectiveness with melee weapons.
Lasers: This skill increases the damage you do with laser weapons.
Starship Engineering: This skill allows you to repair your ship systems faster, and gives them more damage mitigation.
Automated Weapon Systems: This skill increases the damage of your ship’s automated weapons and lowers the cost to use them in Targeting mode.
Boost Assault Training: This skill causes nearby enemies to take damage when you use your boost pack. It also improves your effectiveness while boosting.
EM Weapon Systems: Increases the damage of your ship’s EM weapons and lowers the cost to use them in Targeting mode.
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I love RPGs, sandboxes, survival, and sim games. Anything that lets me build and decorate or just has a really good story. I've spent hundreds of hours in Bethesda games and even more time modding them. I also play a lot of World of Warcraft.