As players begin exploring the vast ocean of outer space, they may be wondering – what are the best skills to unlock first in Starfield?

With 82 skills to choose from spread across five distinct categories, picking the right skills for you may seem like a daunting task.

Thankfully we’ve put together a list of some of the best skills that we think will help you out the most in the early stages of the game and beyond.

The player sitting in their ship in Starfield

What Skills Should You Unlock First in Starfield?

The first skill you should unlock in Starfield is Boost Pack Training. This is because it will unlock the ability to use Boost Packs, significantly improving your traversal capabilities for exploration.

Here are all the skills you should prioritize unlocking early on in Starfield:

As these are early unlocks, we are prioritizing Tier 1 skills only as you’ll need to invest at least four skill points into Tier 1 of any category before being able to access Tier 2. The above skills are the best to unlock in Starfield’s early game.

Starfield Exploration

It’s important to note that you will immediately unlock three skills depending on the Background you choose when creating your character.

We recommend starting with the [File Not Found] background, as it immediately unlocks the Wellness, Ballistics, and Piloting skills.

Here are the effects of each of the skills from the [File Not Found] Background:

  • Wellness – Increases your maximum health
  • Ballistics – Increases Ballistics weapon damage
  • Piloting – Improves ship maneuverability and the option to pilot better ships

For more info, check out our full guide on the best Background to pick in Starfield.

Here’s a more detailed look at some of the best skills to unlock first in Starfield:

Boost Pack Training

Boost Pack Training is one of the most important skills to unlock early on as it allows you to unlock and use your Boost Pack when exploring.

Without it, we imagine Starfield would be pretty slow going, especially without the option to use any sort of vehicle when traversing planetside.

In fact, Bethesda’s very own Pete Hines emphasized just how important the skill is in a Starfield Discord Q&A:

The first allocated skill point in Boost Pack Training is essential for unlocking the Boost Pack, while the subsequent ranks improve its capabilities.

Starfield Third-Person Protagonist


As with many Bethesda Game Studios games before it, we imagine the Persuasion skill will be extremely important to invest in early on.

Put simply, Persuasion will increase your chances of successfully persuading the NPCs you interact with. This will have a significant impact on how certain quests play out and will likely lead to interesting dialogue options that you would not otherwise have access to.

Persuasion is essential for those who want to experience every facet of Starfield’s narrative and questing experience.

Barrett talking to the player in Starfield

Weight Lifting

What’s a Bethesda game without a weight limit? We’ve all been there, trotting around a bandit hideout, mindlessly filling our pockets with treasures and trinkets, when we suddenly find ourselves ‘over-encumbered’.

Thankfully there’s a skill for that. Weight Lifting increases your character’s carrying capacity, allowing you to stuff your bag with more goodies than ever before. This is a required upgrade early on for all the hoarders and kleptomaniacs out there.

Starfield Walking on a Planet


The Scavenging skill increases your chances of finding extra credits when looting containers in Starfield. Early on, you’ll find yourself struggling to earn large amounts of credits quickly.

Stumbling upon a little extra cash is a great little boost in the game’s initial stages before you make it big in the galaxy.

Starfield Interior Storage

Combat Skill of Your Choice

Tier 1 of the Combat category adds a number of damage boosts to a variety of the main weapons you’ll likely be using in the game.

Dumping a few skill points into your favorite weapon type isn’t a bad idea, as it will give you a flat 10% damage increase in its first rank.

What’s more, Rank 4 of each of the skills in Tier 1 all have a unique effect. These are listed below:

  • Ballistics Rank 4: Ballistic weapons range is increased by 30%.
  • Dueling Rank 4: Melee kills heal you for 10% of your health.
  • Lasers Rank 4: Laser weapons have a 5% chance to set a target on fire.
  • Pistol Certification Rank 4: Pistol kills grant +25% critical hit chance for 5 seconds.
  • Shotgun Certification Rank 4: Shotgun kills grant a small chance to stun additional targets with shotguns for a limited time.
Starfield First-Person Combat

What Are the Best Starfield Skills?

The best Starfield skills are likely to be those that focus on streamlining combat encounters, improving movement, expanding upon exploration, and improving your Social skills for more dialogue options.

Check out our guide for a detailed look at all 82 Starfield skills and what they do.

These are some of the skills that we consider to be the best in the game:


  • Science Skill Tier 1
  • Rank 1:
    • Increase grav jump range of jump drives by 15%.
  • Rank 2
    • Reduced fuel cost of jump drives by 15%.
  • Rank 3:
    • Increased grav jump range and reduced fuel cost of jump drives by 30%.
  • Rank 4:
    • Reduced fuel cost of jump drives by 50%.

This ability increases the capability of your ship’s grav drive, so you can jump further distances while out in space. As there are over 1000 planets to explore in the game, we think an improved grav drive will come in very handy indeed when out exploring the Solar System.

Ship using grav drive in Starfield


  • Science Skill Tier 3
  • Rank 1:
    • You can scan the moons of your current planet. You have a 10% chance to discover a trait when scanning
  • Rank 2
    • You can scan any planet or moon in this system. You have a 20% chance to discover a trait when scanning.
  • Rank 3:
    • You can scan any planet or moon within 16 Light Years. You have a 30% chance to discover a trait when scanning.
  • Rank 4:
    • You can scan any planet or moon within 30 Light Years. You have a 50% chance to discover a trait when scanning.

Astrophysics increases your chances of discovering new Traits when scanning moons in Starfield. Traits are optional passive effects with positive and negative features attached to each.

They will seriously affect your gameplay, so finding more of them early on is a good idea if you want more freedom of choice.

Boost Pack Training

  • Tech Skill Tier 1
  • Rank 1:
    • You can now utilize boost packs.
  • Rank 2
    • Using a boost pack expends less fuel.
  • Rank 3:
    • Boost pack fuel regenerates more quickly.
  • Rank 4:
    • Doubles previous bonuses.

Boost Pack Training is probably the most essential skill to unlock early on in Starfield. It unlocks access to your Boost Pack, increasing your traversal and maneuverability significantly when exploring the galaxy.

Combat Skills

Most of the Combat Skills listed so far include specific weapon Certifications, which gives a flat damage boost to the weapon of your choice. It goes without saying how useful these will be as you go about the Galaxy shooting space bandits and the like.

We recommend spending your skill points on damage boosts that upgrade your most frequently used weapon types.

The player standing next to Sam Coe from Starfield


  • Social Skill Tier 3
  • Rank 1:
    • Companions gain affinity 25% faster.
  • Rank 2
    • Companions have 50 more health and 50kg more carrying capacity.
  • Rank 3:
    • Companions will occasionally heal you when you get low health.
  • Rank 4:
    • Doubles the bonuses of Combat and Companions. Companions have a chance to pick themselves up from a downed state.

Although we may not know exactly all the perks that come with each companion, we bet that gaining faster affinity for them will be very good in the long run. It will likely have implications for certain quests.

Investing heavily into leadership will improve the health and combat capabilities of your companions, as well as giving them a chance to heal you while in combat.


  • Social Skill Tier 1
  • Rank 1:
    • 10% increased chance of success when persuading someone.
  • Rank 2
    • 20% increased chance of success when persuading someone.
  • Rank 3:
    • 30% increased chance of success when persuading someone.
  • Rank 4:
    • 50% increased chance of success when persuading someone.

Persuasion is a no-brainer for Bethesda fans. It’s been a staple skill of many of their most popular games, and we imagine it won’t be any different here.

Focusing on Persuasion will improve your speech and, in turn, will open up more dialogue options in quests and when bartering with vendors.

Using persuasion on an NPC in Starfield


  • Tech Skill Tier 1
  • Rank 1:
    • You can attempt to hack Advanced locks, and 2 auto attempts can be banked.
  • Rank 2
    • You can attempt to hack Expert locks, and 3 auto attempts can be banked. Rings now turn blue when the pick can be slotted.
  • Rank 3:
    • You can attempt to hack Master-level locks, and 4 auto attempts can be banked.
  • Rank 4:
    • Expend a digipick to eliminate keys that aren’t required to solve the puzzle. 5 auto attempts can be banked.

Would it even be a Bethesda RPG without some sort of lockpicking mechanic? Being able to open more difficult locks will grant access to more loot. We all want more loot.

Staff Writer
Passionate gamer and writer, Alpay has been featured on GamingIntel,, and TheGamer. When not writing, he delves into virtual worlds, enjoys high-concept TV shows, and splurges on Steam sales.