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Starfield: The 10 Best Early Game Skills

There are a few skills in Starfield that are particularly beneficial in the early game, while other skills don’t become useful until much later on. Naturally, you’ll want to invest your skill points wisely, especially since there’s no option to respec in Starfield. With that in mind, we’ll be going over the 10 best early game skills to get in Starfield.

How to Get Skill Points & Higher Ranks in Starfield

You’ll get three starting skills from your character background. Any additional skills must be unlocked by spending a skill point, which you’ll earn each time you level up.

Unlocking higher ranks of individual skills requires completing challenges, which you won’t be able to start working on until you unlock the first rank. On top of this, putting a certain number of points into lower tier skills is required to unlock the higher tiers.

Taking all of that into consideration, you may want to look at what higher tiers and ranks you’d like to aim for and let that guide some of your early choices.

10 Best Early Skills in Starfield, Ranked Good to Essential

For our list, we’ll focus on skills that offer the greatest benefits right out of the gate. We’ll rank the 10 best early game skills in Starfield, starting with a few that are nice to have and working our way up to one skill that is practically a requirement.

Starfield Starting Skills Social Tree
The Social skill tree. | Image: Bethesda Game Studios / Sarah Arnold

Targeting Control Systems

Several of the skills on this list unlock gameplay options that will otherwise be unavailable to you, and this is one of those skills. The Targeting Control Systems skill will allow you to target specific systems on enemy ships.

While space combat is more likely to be something you’ll do in the later parts of the game, this is still a very nice feature to have even early on – especially if you’re planning to make space combat a priority.

Learning the rank 1 skill will also allow you to start working on challenges for the higher ranks, and you’ll definitely want to unlock those if frequent dogfights are in your long-term plans. The higher ranks will allow you to lock on faster and increase the damage you do to targeted systems.

Targeting Control Systems - get it early to start unlocking the higher ranks for dogfights.
The Targeting Control Systems skill. | Image: Bethesda Game Studios / Sarah Arnold


Your character in Starfield has an oxygen meter that acts as a kind of stamina bar, supplying the energy you need to sprint and perform power attacks. The Fitness skill makes this pool of energy a little bigger, which is especially useful if you’re attempting a melee build, but is a great option for other builds as well.

Extra oxygen will also help you get back to your ship when you’re overburdened with loot without having to stop and recover quite so often.

Fitness - one of the best early skills in Starfield for melee characters.
The Fitness skill. | Image: Bethesda Game Studios / Sarah Arnold


Credits are pretty abundant in Starfield, but it never hurts to have more. The Scavenging skill will give you a nice early game boost to your income, and learning rank 1 will let you work on unlocking the higher ranks, which will add ammo and aid items to your loot as well.

Rank 4 is particularly useful if you plan to do a lot of harvesting and crafting, as it will let you highlight tracked resources when using the scanning tool.

Scavenging - a great skill to help you bolster your supply of credits.
The Scavenging skill. | Image: Bethesda Game Studios / Sarah Arnold


Theft is another skill that unlocks a new gameplay option. Unlike in Skyrim and Fallout 4, pick-pocketing in Starfield isn’t available by default. You have to learn the Theft skill before the option will appear when targeting NPCs.

So if you’re hoping to steal everyone’s sandwiches, this is where you should start. Moreover, unlocking rank 1 will allow you to start working on the challenges to unlock higher ranks, which will definitely help you in the long run if you plan to pickpocket your way across the Settled Systems.

The increased chance of success makes a huge difference, and being able to pickpocket holstered weapons adds a lot of valuable loot to the list of things you can steal.

Theft - oddly enough, you can't even pickpocket in Starfield without this skill.
The Theft skill. | Image: Bethesda Game Studios / Sarah Arnold


You’ll have a lot of opportunities in Starfield to talk your way out of trouble or avoid a fight with the right words, and the Persuasion skill will help you do that.

When you choose a [Persuade] option in dialogue, you’ll have to complete a mini-game where you have a limited number of chances to convince the NPC by selecting from a variety of dialogue options. Some of these options give you more points toward your goal, but those options have a lower chance of succeeding.

So while there will always be some luck involved, having some degree of the Persuasion skill can allow you to take your chances on those higher-risk options that are more likely to put you over the top. Without this skill, you may find yourself having to fight your way out of a lot of situations.

Persuasion - you can often talk your way out of situations in Starfield, and this skill makes it a lot easier.
The Persuasion skill. | Image: Bethesda Game Studios / Sarah Arnold


There are several options for early game weapon skills, but the Ballistics skill has the broadest applications. Most weapons you find early on will be ballistic weapons, and choosing this skill will improve the damage of all of them, as opposed to Pistol Certification or Shotgun Certification, which only apply to that one type.

This makes even more sense in the very early game where you’ll find yourself running out of ammo and having to switch weapons more frequently.

Ballistics - one of the best skills for increasing your damage early on in Starfield.
The Ballistics skill. | Image: Bethesda Game Studios / Sarah Arnold


While you can sneak without this skill, it will be very difficult to do so successfully because you won’t have a stealth meter.

Rank 1 unlocks the meter, which allows you to see when you’re in danger of being spotted. It also makes you better at sneaking and even gives you some extra sneak attack damage.

If you plan to take a stealthy approach to combat in Starfield, this skill is a must. Taking it early will also allow you to unlock the higher ranks sooner, increasing both of those great bonuses and eventually allowing you to open doors undetected.

Stealth - being sneaky is REALLY hard without this skill.
The Stealth skill. | Image: Bethesda Game Studios / Sarah Arnold

Boost Pack Training

Here we have another skill that unlocks a new gameplay option. While you can wear any kind of pack and benefit from its stats, you can’t use any of your boost pack abilities without this skill.

Boosting allows you to jump higher and farther, especially on planets with lower gravity. Acquiring this skill will allow you to start completing the challenges to unlock the higher ranks, which will eventually let you boost across vast distances and do some crazy maneuvering in the air.

Boost Pack Training - getting this skill early will allow for a lot more navigation later on.
The Boost Pack Training skill. | Image: Bethesda Game Studios / Sarah Arnold

Weight Lifting

“Running while encumbered will quickly drain your oxygen!” This message will likely plague you in Starfield, and it doesn’t really get better as the game goes on – you’ll always want more carrying capacity.

There is loot everywhere, and we know you’ll want to pick it up. Your companions can help, but only so much, and storage space is at a premium, especially when you’re just starting out.

The Weight Lifting skill will increase your carrying capacity by a modest amount, but more importantly, it will allow you to start working on unlocking the higher ranks, which will increase it a lot more.

Weight Lifting - one of the best early skills to get if you're a pack rat.
The Weight Lifting skill. | Image: Bethesda Game Studios / Sarah Arnold


Out of all the skills in Starfield, there is one that every character should have – Security. Without this skill, you’ll only be able to pick novice-level locks. Higher level locks will be completely inaccessible.

Not having this skill will keep you out of many doors, computers, and chests in the game, depriving you of a lot of loot and preventing you from taking certain routes and approaches to missions. Plus, solving the little digipick puzzles is just plain satisfying.

Learning the first rank of Security will let you start completing challenges to unlock the higher ranks, which will make picking locks significantly easier. The blue rings acquired with rank 2 of the skill will help you narrow down your options, making the harder locks significantly easier to pick. At rank 4 you’ll be able to eliminate unneeded keys entirely.

You’ll also be able to bank more auto attempts with each rank, which will allow you to instantly pick a lock every now and then. This will help reduce the tedium later in the game when you start to get tired of picking locks.

Security - the Best Early Skill to get to in Starfield.
The Security skill. | Image: Bethesda Game Studios / Sarah Arnold

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Thanks for reading! We hope this guide has helped you choose some skills to give you the best possible early start in Starfield. If you have any questions, leave a comment below, and be sure to subscribe to High Ground for more useful guides!

Happy gaming!


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