All the Starfield skills we know about so far

Starfield factions
(Image credit: Bethesda)

Starfield skills let players level up a range of character attributes for their character. Physical ability, combat, social, science, tech and other skills can all be upgraded and improved with experience as you play. 

There are a lot of skills and abilities for players to unlock and improve with a system that sees you levelling up through a combination of gaining XP and completing challenges in Starfield. It's an interesting system that mixes a traditional unlocking structure with performance based upgrades earned by doing the thing you've unlocked.  

It's a curious mix of systems that seems to channel a range of older Bethesda RPG progressions so let's take a look in more detail as the Starfield skills system and what you can do.

All Starfield skills revealed so far

Starfield skill are broken up into five core categories: 

  • Physical
  • Social
  • Combat
  • Science
  • Tech

Starfield skills all list

(Image credit: Bethesda)
Cities in Starfield

Starfield cities

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Explore the biggest Starfield cities here!

Physical covers elements like carrying capacity and endurance, Social impacts your dialogue options, Combat covers weapon skill, damage and so on, while Science and Tech covers things like lock picking, base buildings, crafting, spaceship mods and so on. 

You actually get a head start on skills before you even starting playing with Starfield backgrounds and starting skills which let you pick a character type - medic, chef, diplomat etc - that comes with three skills already unlocked. You also pick some Starfield Traits when you're making a character, which act like perks with very specific pros and cons to choose between. 

We've seen the following Starfield skills in the most detail so far, detailing what they do and how to upgrade them once unlocked: 

  • Ballistics (Combat)
    • Rank 1/4: Ballistic weapons do 10% more damage (challenge unknown)
    • Rank 2/4: Ballistic weapons do 20% more damage (challenge unknown)
    • Rank 3/4: Ballistic weapons do 30% more damage (challenge unknown)
    • Rank 4/4: Ballistic weapons do 40% more damage (challenge: kill 250 enemies with a ballistic weapon)
  • Demolitions (Combat)
    • Rank 3/4: Explosives do 30% more damage and have a 30% larger radius (challenge: kill 125 enemies with explosives)
  • Heavy Weapons Certification (Combat)
    • Rank 4/4: Gain 30 Damage Resistance when aiming down sights with a heavy weapon (challenge: kill 250 enemies with a heavy weapon)
  • Marksmanship (Combat)
  • Particle Beams (Combat)
  • Rapid Reloading (Combat)
    • Rank 4/4: Gain a chance to reload your weapon twice as fast as normal (challenge: reload 150 empty magazines)
  • Sniper Certification (Combat)
    • Rank 1/4: Scoped weapons are steadier and have less sway
  • Targeting (Combat)
    • Rank 3/4: Greatly increased accuracy and range when shooting without aiming (challenge: kill 125 enemies without aiming)

Leveling up in Starfield explained

Starfield skills all list

(Image credit: Bethesda)
Starfield crafting

Starfield crafting and research

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Learn about Starfield crafting and research and how you can build your own weapons here!

The skill system in Starfield is based on a combination of skill points and in-game challenges. Game Director Todd Howard explained by saying, "You can unlock new skills as you level up, and then you rank those skills up by using them and completing challenges". 

So, in practice, levelling up earns you skill points which can unlock a skill, which you then level up by completing related challenges. 

Skills are also organised into tiers which themselves need unlocking. So you'll need to gain access to tier 2 skills and so on to reach the more valuable abilities they contain as you level up.

Joel Franey
Guides Writer

Joel Franey is a writer, journalist, podcaster and raconteur with a Masters from Sussex University, none of which has actually equipped him for anything in real life. As a result he chooses to spend most of his time playing video games, reading old books and ingesting chemically-risky levels of caffeine. He is a firm believer that the vast majority of games would be improved by adding a grappling hook, and if they already have one, they should probably add another just to be safe. You can find old work of his at USgamer, Gfinity, Eurogamer and more besides.

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