Get these 5 skills immediately in Starfield

Starfield — a masked character with a colorful, hooded outfit in electric blues and pinks.
(Image credit: Bethesda)

If you're a seasoned Bethesda RPG enjoyer, you won't be surprised by how little Starfield holds you by the hand. You're let loose in your very own spaceship fairly quickly, free to serve, plunder, and swindle your way across the settled systems at your leisure. You're also left to your own devices with the Starfield skills screen, a galactic smorgasbord of 82 abilities and upgrades organized under five skill trees.

Most of those skills are locked at first, but even the 25 Tier 1 skills available immediately present a daunting choice, but there are a few standouts that are simply way more useful than the others, or enable basic mechanics that Bethesda probably should've just enabled from the jump.

After spending a few dozen hours experimenting with skills in Starfield, I settled on five skills that you should unlock as soon possible:

  • Boost Pack Training
  • Targeting Control Systems
  • Stealth
  • Persuasion
  • Security

Boost Pack Training

Starfield — A screenshot showing the different ranks and benefits of the Boost Pack Training skill.

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Tier 1 | Tech
If you're wondering why your double jump is still a single jump despite strapping on a boost pack, it's because boost packs literally don't work in Starfield until you spend a skill point on Boost Pack Training. Boost packs aren't technically required to get around in Starfield, but many combat spaces feel like they're designed with double jumps in mind. Rank 1 of the skill simply allows you to use boost packs, but following ranks will make them consume less fuel and recharge faster.

Targeting Control Systems

Starfield — A screenshot showing the different ranks and benefits of the Targeting Control Systems skill.

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Tier 1 | Tech
The game doesn't really explain this anywhere unless you go looking for it, but Starfield has its own V.A.T.S.-like targeting system for spaceship battles. It's called Targeting Mode, and you can't use it until you spend a skill point on Targeting Control Systems in the Tech tree. Targeting mode allows you to slow down time and target individual systems on an enemy ship to disable—ballistics, shields, engines, etc. Very useful when you need to disable the enemy's weapons to give your shields a chance to recover.


Starfield — A screenshot showing the different ranks and benefits of the Stealth skill.

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Tier 1 | Physical
Trying to swipe a ripe apple chunk from someone else's fridge and wondering where the "Hidden" indicator from Fallout and Skyrim went? It's hiding, ironically, in the Stealth skill. Unlike Boost Pack Training, investing just one point in Stealth does a lot more than just enable the stealth meter: it also makes you 25% harder to detect when sneaking, and makes suppressed weapons deal 5% more sneak attack damage. It's basically the starter kit to actually make stealth useful in Starfield.


Starfield — A screenshot showing the different ranks and benefits of the Persuasion skill.

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Tier 1 | Social
Unless you're intentionally roleplaying someone who always makes a bad impression, one of the most useful skills to get early on is Persuasion. Persuasion comes up a lot in Starfield quests, often at an impasse where you can either do a favor for someone, or convince them to let you skip that and just give you what you want. You can actually make speech checks without investing points in this skill, but you'll strike out nearly every time. The first 10% boost from Rank 1 goes a long way in making Persuasion a viable problem solver.


Starfield — A screenshot showing the different ranks and benefits of the Security skill.

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Tier 1 | Tech
I don't know about you, but I hate finding locks that I'm too dumb to pick in Bethesda RPGs. Starfield has a new lockpicking minigame (they're called "digipicks" now), but they're gated by difficulty the same as ever. You're only able to digipick "Novice" locks by default, so if you want dibs on a lot of good loot early on, invest at least one point in Security to get access to "Advanced" locks.


Starfield guide: Our hub of advice
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Starfield mods: Space is your sandbox

Morgan Park
Staff Writer

Morgan has been writing for PC Gamer since 2018, first as a freelancer and currently as a staff writer. He has also appeared on Polygon, Kotaku, Fanbyte, and PCGamesN. Before freelancing, he spent most of high school and all of college writing at small gaming sites that didn't pay him. He's very happy to have a real job now. Morgan is a beat writer following the latest and greatest shooters and the communities that play them. He also writes general news, reviews, features, the occasional guide, and bad jokes in Slack. Twist his arm, and he'll even write about a boring strategy game. Please don't, though.