Game Guides

10 Indispensable Abilities to Unlock ASAP in Starfield

A skill for every occasion


Starfield has an elaborate progression system, more in-depth than anything Bethesda has done before. It’s a massive game, so it’s only fitting that your skill system equals that.

With 82 different skills to choose from, all of which have four tiers to unlock, it can be hard to know what to focus on first. You likely won’t be able to unlock all of Starfield’s skills on a first playthrough, even if you spend copious amounts of time sidequesting and exploring. Each level grants you one skill point, and each tier of a skill requires one point to unlock. That means you’d need to get to level 328 to unlock everything, if that’s even possible.

You’re better off focusing on a specific playstyle or branch of the skill tree. For example, rather than investing in all of the weapon bonuses, pick either Ballistics or Laser weapons and then entirely focus on those for combat. Or maybe you want to play a stealth character, so you’d want to invest in all the stealth-based skills like pickpocketing.

With that in mind, there are a few crucial skills that are worth investing in for any playthrough.

Boost Pack Training (Tech)

A boost pack makes getting around Starfield much easier.


Boost Packs are a major feature of Starfield, essentially functioning as a jetpack that lets you move around quickly, reach high areas, and avoid enemies in combat. You can’t use them at all unless you invest in the Boost Pack Training skill. You should get the first tier at the very least as it enables this major feature, but if you find yourself using Boost Packs a lot you can invest in higher tiers to give them more fuel and make them more useful.

Weight Lifting (Physical)

Weight Lifting should absolutely be one of the very first skills you unlock, as it’s what you need to bump up your carrying capacity. Starfield has a ton of different resources you’ll need for crafting and outpost construction, and you’ll constantly find your character overloaded as you’re exploring and gathering items. You can store things in your ship’s cargo hold, but having Weight Training means you won’t have to travel back to dump your items as often.

Security (Tech)

Lockpicking has always been a staple in Bethesda games. If you want to open anything beyond a Novice lock, you’ll need to invest in the Security skill, which will let you take on more challenging locks, and store more auto attempts for breaking said locks as well. While lockpicking isn’t absolutely essential, you will often stumble upon containers that can have valuable goodies, and cracking a lock can often be an alternate solution to a quest or story moment.

Piloting (Tech)

If you want a new ship, make sure to unlock Piloting.


Piloting is a useful skill to have as it allows you to use thrusters on your ship and improves ship handling, but the third and fourth tiers are the most useful. These tiers allow you to pilot B-Class and C-Class ships, which are generally better-equipped, have larger cargo holds, and allow you to assign more crew members. A nicer ship will drastically improve your entire experience in Starfield. Just be prepared to destroy a lot of ships in combat, as that’s what’s required to level up Piloting.

Surveying (Science)

Most planets in Starfield have a number of animals and plants that can be scanned, teaching you about them while also awarding experience. The hard part is that initially you only have a scan range of 10 meters, but Surveying increases that incrementally with each tier, and also gives you a zoom function in the scanner. Each tier increases your scanner range by 10 meters, so if you’re interested in surveying planets or using the scanner at all, it’s a wise one to unlock early.

Medicine (Science)

Between environmental hazards on planets, pirates, and creatures, it’s fair to say your health is going to take a beating in Starfield. Medpacks are going to be your best friend. Investing in the Medicine skill makes your healing items restore more health, which means you’ll likely use fewer of them. A win-win.

Persuasion (Social)

Persuasion can help open up a lot of avenues for quests.


Starfield almost always gives you a non-violent option for completing quests, and that usually involves a bit of Persuasion. Easily one of the most important skills in the entire game, Persuasion gives you the ability to take on conversation challenges to convince NPCs, and higher tiers will make your Persuasion checks more likely to succeed. Being able to talk your way out of situations can lead to some tremendous rewards.

Negotiation (Social)

Negotiation goes hand-in-hand with Persuasion, especially if you’re looking to play a character that takes the non-violent approach. This skill opens up the bribery option in dialogue, often letting you pay off characters to achieve your goals. Combined with Persuasion, this can make it a lot easier to talk your way out of a sticky situation.

Pistol Certification (Combat)

Pistols pack a surprising amount of punch in Starfield.


Pistols are a great combat option early on in Starfield, because they’re highly versatile and easy to find ammo for. Until you have access to more towns and a tidy sum of credits, you’ll likely be scavenging ammo everywhere you can. Because pistols are so plentiful early on, it’s definitely worth investing in Pistol Certification to increase your damage and reload speed. While things like rifles and shotguns might seemingly pack more punch, don’t underestimate the power of Starfield’s handguns.

Lasers (Combat)

Similarly to pistols, ammo for laser weapons is plentiful in Starfield. This is another valuable combat option that can be especially deadly when you use it combined with your Pistol Certification skill and laser pistols.

Starfield launches on September 6 for Xbox and PC.

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