Starfield skills

Make sure you select the best Starfield skills on your playthrough, with our complete list of Starfield skills and how to get them.

Starfield skills are the building blocks for your character. While your equipment, faction allegiance, and weapon choices will have a significant impact on gameplay and the story, the biggest changes you can make to your character are through the skills you select at the start of the game and when you level up.

Each skill has four ranks which require skill points to unlock, though higher ranks also require you to complete a gameplay challenge.

There are 82 Starfield skills in total split between five categories: Physical, Social, Combat, Science, and Tech.

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Here is a list of every Starfield skill:

  • Aneutronic Fusion

    • Category Type Science
    • Summary

      Increases your ship reactor’s power output.

  • Armor Penetration

    • Category Type Combat
    • Summary

      This skill allows your attacks to ignore enemy armor.

  • Astrodynamics

    • Category Type Science
    • Summary

      This skill improves your grav drive range and reduces fuel costs.

  • Astrophysics

    • Category Type Science
    • Summary

      When scanning a planet, gain the chance to discover traits and other planetary information.

  • Ballistics

    • Category Type Combat
    • Summary

      The Ballistic skill increases your proficiency with weapons that deal physical damage.

  • Boost Pack Training

    • Category Type Tech
    • Summary

      Make more efficient use of your boost pack by ranking up this vital skill.

  • Botany

    • Category Type Science
    • Summary

      The Botany skill boosts the resources you get from plants.

  • Boxing

    • Category Type Physical
    • Summary

      The Boxing skill increases damage of unarmed attacks while also reducing O2 consumed.

  • Cellular Regeneration

    • Category Type Physical
    • Summary

      This skill increases your chance to recover from injuries.

  • Chemistry

    • Category Type Science
    • Summary

      The Chemistry skill grants you access to powerful chemical recipes that can grant massive stat bonuses.

  • Commerce

    • Category Type Social
    • Summary

      Allows you to buy items for less and sell them for more

  • Concealment

    • Category Type Physical
    • Summary

      The Concealment skill will make it much harder for enemies to detect you, even when you aren’t crouching.

  • Crippling

    • Category Type Combat
    • Summary

      Allows you to down enemies more effectively.

  • Deception

    • Category Type Social
    • Summary

      This skill causes stronger ships to surrender, and decreases the effectiveness of contraband scans.

  • Decontamination

    • Category Type Physical
    • Summary

      Decontamination allows you to recover from illnesses and conditions much faster with each incremental rank.

  • Demolitions

    • Category Type Combat
    • Summary

      The Demolitions skill is centered around the use of explosive devices like the Frag Grenade, and increases the amount of damage you can deal, as well as how large the explosion will be.

  • Diplomacy

    • Category Type Social
    • Summary

      Diplomacy lets you de-escalate a hostile situation.

  • Dueling

    • Category Type Combat
    • Summary

      The Dueling skill gives a damage boost to all melee weapons such as the combat knife and the Rescue Axe.

  • EM Weapon Systems

    • Category Type Tech
    • Summary

      Improves the damage of EM ship weapons and reduces cost in targeting mode.

  • Energy Weapon Systems

    • Category Type Tech
    • Summary

      Improves the damage of energy ship weapons and reduces cost in targeting mode.

  • Engine Systems

    • Category Type Tech
    • Summary

      Increase your ship’s top speed and improves boosting.

  • Environmental Conditioning

    • Category Type Physical
    • Summary

      Environmental Conditioning increases your resistance to environmental damage.

  • Fitness

    • Category Type Physical
    • Summary

      The fitness skill increases oxygen available.

  • Gastronomy

    • Category Type Social
    • Summary

      The Gastronomy skill is centered around cooking and brewing, which will grant you stat boosts and healing.

  • Geology

    • Category Type Science
    • Summary

      Geology grants resource bonuses when mining.

  • Gymnastics

    • Category Type Physical
    • Summary

      The gymnastics skill increases your mobility and decreases fall damage.

  • Heavy Weapons Certification

    • Category Type Combat
    • Summary

      The Heavy Weapons Certification skill improves your ability to handle heavy weapons like the microgun and various rocket launchers.

  • Incapacitation

    • Category Type Combat
    • Summary

      This skill increases damage from EM weapons.

  • Instigation

    • Category Type Social
    • Summary

      You can force a target NPC to attack their allies.

  • Intimidation

    • Category Type Social
    • Summary

      The Intimidation skill allows you to force NPCs into fleeing, even if they’re a higher level than you when you reach higher skill ranks.

  • Isolation

    • Category Type Social
    • Summary

      Increases damage and damage resistance when you have no crew or companions.

  • Lasers

    • Category Type Combat
    • Summary

      Increases damage from lasers.

  • Leadership

    • Category Type Social
    • Summary

      The Leadership skill boosts the rate at which you form relationships with companions and crew members.

  • Manipulation

    • Category Type Social
    • Summary

      Allows you to force NPCs to obey commands.

  • Marksmanship

    • Category Type Combat
    • Summary

      Increased critical hit chance when using non-automatic ranged weapons.

  • Martial Arts

    • Category Type Physical
    • Summary

      Increases the lethality of unarmed and melee attacks.

  • Medicine

    • Category Type Science
    • Summary

      The Medicine skill improves how much healing you receive from healing items.

  • Negotiation

    • Category Type Social
    • Summary

      Allows you to bribe NPCs in speech challenges.

  • Neurostrikes

    • Category Type Physical
    • Summary

      Chance to stun enemies when using unarmed attacks.

  • Nutrition

    • Category Type Physical
    • Summary

      The Nutrition skill improves the effects of food and drink items.

  • Outpost Engineering

    • Category Type Science
    • Summary

      Allows for the construction and research of better outpost modules.

  • Outpost Management

    • Category Type Social
    • Summary

      Additional cargo links, robots and crew can be placed at outposts.

  • Pain Tolerance

    • Category Type Physical
    • Summary

      Reduces physical damage dealt.

  • Particle Beams

    • Category Type Combat
    • Summary

      Particle beam weapons do more damage.

  • Payloads

    • Category Type Tech
    • Summary

      The Payloads skill grants an immediate boost to the amount of resources and trade goods you can ferry around the Settled Systems in your ship.

  • Persuasion

    • Category Type Social
    • Summary

      The Persuasion skill makes it easier to pass speech checks, and convince NPCs to listen to you.

  • Piloting

    • Category Type Tech
    • Summary

      Piloting lets you maneuver better, and pilot advanced ships.

  • Pistol Certification

    • Category Type Combat
    • Summary

      The Pistol Certification skill boosts the damage you deal with pistol-type weapons.

  • Planetary Habitation

    • Category Type Science
    • Summary

      Allows for the construction of outposts in extreme environments.

Placeholder image for Rejuvenation
  • Rejuvenation

    • Category Type Physical
    • Summary

      Allows for health regeneration.

  • Research Methods

    • Category Type Science
    • Summary

      Decreases resource cost of crafting and researching.

  • Robotics

    • Category Type Tech
    • Summary

      The Robotics skill increases the amount of damage you deal to Robotic enemies.

  • Scanning

    • Category Type Science
    • Summary

      You can detect inorganic resources on planet and moon surfaces and more information about ships in space.

  • Scavenging

    • Category Type Social
    • Summary

      Find extra loot when searching containers.

  • Security

    • Category Type Tech
    • Summary

      The security skill allows you to bypass a variety of locks using a digipick.

  • Sharpshooting

    • Category Type Combat
    • Summary

      Increases critical damage when using ranged weapons.

  • Shield Systems

    • Category Type Tech
    • Summary

      Increase your ship’s shield capacity.

Placeholder image for Shield Systems
  • Ship Command

    • Category Type Social
    • Summary

      Increases the amount of active crew members you can have.

  • Shotgun Certification

    • Category Type Combat
    • Summary

      Shotgun Certification makes you deadlier with shotgun weapons, and requires you to kill enemies with a shotgun in order to rank up.

  • Sniper Certification

    • Category Type Combat
    • Summary

      The Sniper Certification skill makes you more proficient at using scoped weapons by reducing the sway when aiming.

  • Spacesuit Design

    • Category Type Science
    • Summary

      You can research and craft improved spacesuit, helmet and pack mods.

  • Special Projects

    • Category Type Science
    • Summary

      You can research and craft rare manufactured components at an industrial workbench.

  • Starship Design

    • Category Type Tech
    • Summary

      Allows you to install improved ship modules.

  • Starship Engineering

    • Category Type Tech
    • Summary

      Ship systems repair faster, increases damage mitigation.

  • Stealth

    • Category Type Physical
    • Summary

      The Stealth skill provides a boost to all damage you inflict while undetected.

  • Surveying

    • Category Type Science
    • Summary

      Improves the hand scanner’s range and adds an optional zoom.

  • Targeting

    • Category Type Combat
    • Summary

      Improves accuracy when not aiming down the sights

  • Targeting Control Systems

    • Category Type Tech
    • Summary

      Allows you to lock onto enemy ships faster and target-locked ships will fire slower.

  • Theft

    • Category Type Social
    • Summary

      The Theft skill boosts your ability to pickpocket, and increases the pool of items you can steal from an NPC’s inventory.

  • Weapon Engineering

    • Category Type Science
    • Summary

      You can craft and research improved weapon mods at a research lab.

  • Weight Lifting

    • Category Type Physical
    • Summary

      Increases maximum carry weight.

  • Wellness

    • Category Type Physical
    • Summary

      The Wellness skill increases your health pool.

  • Xenosociology

    • Category Type Social
    • Summary

      The Xenosociology skill gives the player the ability to control alien creatures, such as making them flee, or commanding them to perform a specific task.

  • Zoology

    • Category Type Science
    • Summary

      Gain more resources from creatures without hurting them and gain information from them using the scanner

You get your first three skills from the beginning by choosing from the different Starfield backgrounds during character creation.

When you level up, you will earn skill points which you can use to upgrade existing skills or purchase new skills.

Each Starfield skill tree is divided into four tiers, with higher tiers requiring a set amount of skill points to be spent on lower tier skills within that skill tree.

What are the best Starfield skills?

Your choice of Starfield skills will ultimately depend on how you choose to play the game, but there are certainly some options that are more widely useful than others.

The Ballistics skill is especially useful as an early pick, since so many of the weapons you pick up in the game’s first act are likely to deal ballistics damage. Persuasion is another Starfield skill that’s useful in a wide variety of situations, and will often save you from difficult combat encounters or time-consuming extra steps in Starfield missions.

Wellness and Medicine are also some of the best Starfield skills to choose early on, since extra health is always useful.

What are the best Starfield skills for my build?

If you’re looking for which specific skills you need to harness to achieve the build of your dreams, we’ve got you covered. Below you can find advice on which of the various skills to opt for across a selection of builds. Just keep in mind, you can eventually unlock all the skills through various New Game Plus playthroughs, but it’s still a good idea to prioritize certain skills to get your build off the ground before the main quest becomes too daunting.

Stealth builds – For stealth builds, you should prioritize skills like Theft, Security, Persuasion, Scavenging, Stealth, and Fitness. These five are a great place to start as they give you access to digipicking and pickpocketing, while also making it more likely for you to get through tricky conversations without things evolving into a gunfight.

Social builds – Social builds are all about human interaction, so the Diplomacy, Commerce, Persuasion, Deception, and Manipulation skills all come into play. If you’re particularly combat averse, Instigation and Intimidation also help to turn enemies against each other or force them to flee.

Melee builds – If you’re opting for the hands-on approach to combat, the important skills are Martial Arts, Crippling, Dueling, Boxing, and Neurostrikes. It’s also a good idea to pick up the Pain Tolerance and Wellness skills early on to keep you fighting against enemies with high HP.

Samurai build – While the necessary Ronin background gives you access to skills such as Dueling, Scavenging, and Stealth, the ideal samurai also needs to be equipped with Wellness, Gymnastics, Pain Tolerance, and Martial Arts.

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