The Outer Worlds Character Skills Guide

The Outer Worlds Character Skills Guide

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The Skills in The Outer Worlds will give you special actions you can perform during the battle (such as slowing down time for tactical targeting or leaping towards your opponents), as well as some special dialogue options that will grant you alternative plot progressions, uncover interesting information, and award XP. Meanwhile, some skills can help you utilize a unique strategy towards combat, such as the enhanced buffing provided by an upgraded inhaler or effective companion assaults due to the leadership bonuses.

There are seven core skills (Melee, Ranged, Defense, Dialog, Stealth, Tech, Leadership) to invest points into, with a number of specialized skills under each.

For example, core skill Stealth has Sneak, Hack, and Lockpick as specialized skills under it.

Points placed in a core skill will increase specialized skills up to rank 50. After rank 50 of a core skill category is achieved, you can add points directly to specialized skills in order to upgrade them, up to 100 total.

Ranking specialized skills to 20 (Novice), 40 (Competent), 60 (Adept), 80 (Expert), and 100 (Master) points will unlock their special effects, which we will break down in this guide.

 

outer-worlds-skills-character-creation

 

It’s the second step in the Character Creation process, preceded by Attributes and followed by Aptitude.

During character creation, the player is given 2 points to spend into core skills and specialized skills.

Each point spent into the core skill during character creation adds +10 to the rank points of all of the specialized skills related to it. This is a unique case: upon levelling up during the game you will typically get only 10 points total to invest across all of your categories, one point at a time.

 

outer-worlds-level-up-skills

 

Upon levelling up you will be given 10 points to invest into your skill categories. Before you reach level cap at 30 you should accumulate 300 skill points total (that you can always respec using the Respecification Machine on your ship.)

The global structure of skill point investment will always apply: you can invest points within a core skill only up to rank 50. After that you will need to invest into the specialized skills individually.

You will be unable to undo point allocations after confirming your changes unless you respec your character. The Outer Worlds tutorial pop-ups will explain the new features you might have unlocked as a result, which you might want to pay attention to the first time you play.

Affected by Attributes

Each specialized skill in The Outer Worlds is directly regulated by the levels of two of the character’s Attributes (listed in this guide under “Affected by Attributes.”)

The Attributes give a direct numerical bonus to the specialized skill they correspond to:

  • Below Average ▼: -3 rank points
  • Average ⁃: +0 rank points (default starting value is 6)
  • Good ▲: +3 rank points
  • High ▲▲: +7 rank points
  • Very High ▲▲▲: +12 rank points

We cover this correlation in more depth in our Attributes guide, under the “Skill-Oriented Distribution” section.

the outer worlds melee

Melee skills improve Critical Hit Chance with handheld weapons.

Tactical Time Dilation will be unlocked by all of your weapon skills, starting with the Novice rank. However, advancing the two Melee skills will unlock the Location Hit Effects and eventually decrease the drain by 50%. During the TTD mode you can try hitting different locations in the bodies of your enemies with different types of weapons to achieve unique crippling effects (Cripple, Weaken, Bleed, Blind, etc.).

If you are going for hack-and-slash, TTD will be less interesting to you. Look to 2-Handed for the inarguably impressive unblockable attacks at the Adept level or pick 1-Handed if you prefer speed of attack. Note that even if you don’t use Power and Sweep attacks often, taking this skill to the Master rank will benefit your Crit Chance for the weapon of choice.

Melee Weapon Skill

The 1-Handed Melee skill increases Critical Hit chance with 1-Handed Melee weapons.

Affected by Attributes:

Strength and Dexterity

Affects:

  • ▲ 1-Handed Melee Crit Chance
1-Handed Rank
20 – Novice
40 – Competent
60 – Adept
80 – Expert
100 – Master
Unlocks
Unlock Power and Sweep Attacks
Unlock TTD Location Hit Effects
1-Handed Melee Weapon Reach +30%
1-Handed Melee Weapon TTD Drain -50%
Power and Sweep Attack Chance to Stun +25%

Melee Weapon Skill

The 1-Handed Melee skill increases Critical Hit chance with 1-Handed Melee weapons.

Affected by Attributes:

Strength and Temperament

Affects:

  • ▲ 2-Handed Melee Crit Chance
2-Handed Rank
20 – Novice
40 – Competent
60 – Adept
80 – Expert
100 – Master
Unlocks
Unlock Power and Sweep Attacks
Unlock TTD Location Hit Effects
2-Handed Melee Weapon attacks are unblockable
2-Handed Melee Weapon TTD Drain -50%
Power and Sweep attack chance to knockdown +25%

outer-worlds-ranged-skill

Ranged skills improve your Weapon Sway, and Critical Hit Chance with ranged weapons.

With ranged weapons you will probably be targeting Weakspots (unless you took your Perception to 0) to inflict extra damage upon hit, as well as Locational Effects to inflict conditions. You can use a Quick Melee ability to knock back your enemies with your ranged weapon, should they get too close, so you don’t have to necessarily be a sniper build, especially with Heavy Weapons. All three types of guns will ignore Armor at Master rank, but Long Guns can become a very good one-shot-kill chainers if you keep investing into them due to their Expert rank ability.

Ranged Weapon Skill

The Handguns skill decreases Weapon Sway while firing one handed firearms, and also increases Critical Hit chance with those weapons.

Affected by Attributes:

Dexterity, Perception

Affects:

  • ▲ Handgun Crit Chance
  • ▼ Handgun Sway
Handguns Rank
20 – Novice
40 – Competent
60 – Adept
80 – Expert
100 – Master
Unlocks
Unlock TTD Location Hit Effects
Handgun Critical Damage +50%
Minimum Armor Penetration Damage +10%
Debuffed Enemy Critical Chance +20%
Handgun Critical Hits ignore 100% Armor

Ranged Weapon Skill

The Handguns skill decreases Weapon Sway while firing one handed firearms, and also increases Critical Hit chance with those weapons.

Affected by Attributes:

Intelligence and Perception

Affects:

  • ▲ Handgun Crit Chance
  • ▼ Handgun Sway
Long Guns Rank
20 – Novice
40 – Competent
60 – Adept
80 – Expert
100 – Master
Unlocks
Unlock TTD Location Hit Effects
Long Guns Critical Damage +50%
Long Guns Headshot / Weakspot Damage +20%
Deadly Focus: No Weapon Sway for 5s after each kill
Long Gun Critical Hits ignore 100% Armor

Ranged Weapon Skill

The Heavy Weapons skill decreases Weapon Sway while firing heavy firearms, and also increases Critical Hit chance with those weapons.

Affected by Attributes:

Strength and Perception

Affects:

  • ▲ Heavy Weapon Crit Chance
  • ▼ Heavy Weapon Sway
Heavy Weapons Rank
20 – Novice
40 – Competent
60 – Adept
80 – Expert
100 – Master
Unlocks
Unlock TTD Location Hit Effects
Heavy Weapons Critical Damage +50%
Heavy Weapons Reload Speed +30%
Heavy Weapon Frenzy: Critical Hits increase Rate of Fire +30% for 3s
Heavy Weapon Critical Hits ignore 100% Armor

the outer worlds body attributes

Even without any investment into this skill you can double-click jump button to dodge in a direction. Investing points into the Dodge skill will allow you to leap (dodge forward, essentially) to quickly close the distance on an enemy. The rest of the bonuses improve your dodge and give you armor and damage bonuses from using it, which can come useful later in the game if you move around in the field. Furthermore, if you are a tank build having the Armor Rating from the Block skill can make a significant difference in your ability to absorb damage.

Defense Skill

The Dodge skill increases the distance traveled when Dodging and reduces the duration of harmful status effects.

Affected by Attributes:

Dexterity and Perception

Affects:

  • ▲ Dodge Distance
  • ▼ Harmful Status Effect Duration
Dodge Rank
20 – Novice
40 – Competent
60 – Adept
80 – Expert
100 – Master
Unlocks
Unlock the ability to Leap (dodge forward)
Dodge Recovery Speed +100%
Dodge Protection: +30% Armor Rating for 5s after every Dodge
Dodge Force: After Dodging, your next Melee Attack gains Damage +50%
Dodge Penetration: After Dodging, your next Weak Spot hit within 5s has 50% chance to Ignore Armor

Defense Skill

The Block Skill provides bonus Armor Rating while holding a melee weapon and can allow a Perfect Block (unlocked at 20).

All melee weapons can block, but this skill will give you a chance to stagger your opponent and generally improving the skill to make it more effective and less damaging to your weapons.

Affected by Attributes:

Strength and Dexterity

Affects:

  • ▲ Armor Rating while using a Melee Weapon
Block Rank
20 – Novice
40 – Competent
60 – Adept
80 – Expert
100 – Master
Unlocks
Perfect Block: Block just before you get hit to Stagger your attacker
Weapon Durability Loss from Blocking -25%
Walk Speed while Blocking +100%
No Weapon Durability Loss on a Perfect Block
Perfect Blocks weaken opponents, increasing the damage they take by +100% for 5s

outer-worlds-dialog-skill

Dialog skills improve your ability to talk with NPCs, both in and out of combat.

This skill tree also unlocks combat dialogue, which is a passive chance to inflict debilitation on the enemies you attack. You can force your Human opponents to cower, make Automechanicals attack other targets, or make Creatures you attack flee for a brief period of time. Your highest Dialog skill will also affect the Vendor prices in the game, which can make a difference if you need to restock often. Also note that investing a bit into the Dialog skills from time to time will allow you to avoid battle and unpleasant situations with the NPCs in the game due to the additional dialog options available to you aside from Bribing. The Outer Worlds will force you to make a lot of quest choices in the game and pleasing everyone without any effort will not be an option.

Dialog Skill

The Persuade skill is used in conversations and also has a chance to inflict Cower (crippling fear) when you first damage a Human target.

Affected by Attributes:

Intelligence and Charm

Persuade Rank
20 – Novice
40 – Competent
60 – Adept
80 – Expert
100 – Master
Unlocks
Cower: Humans have a 20% chance to cower in fear for 3s after the first time you hit them
Cower Duration +7s
Cowered Target’s Armor -50%
Human Cower Chance +10%
When a Human cowers, you gain +25% Armor for 10s

Dialog Skill

The Lie skill is used in conversations and has a chance to inflict Scramble (slowly attack allies) on an Automechanical when attacking you.

Affected by Attributes:

Charm and Temperament

Lie Rank
20 – Novice
40 – Competent
60 – Adept
80 – Expert
100 – Master
Unlocks
Scramble: 15% chance Automechanicals will slowly attack other enemies instead of you for 10s
Scramble Duration +7s
Scrambled Automechanicals attack at their normal speed
Automechanical Scramble Chance +10%
Scrambled Automechanical Weakspot Damage +30%

Dialog Skill

The Intimidate skill is used in conversations and has a chance to inflict Terrify (flee a short time) on nearby Creatures when you kill one.

Affected by Attributes:

Strength and Charm

Intimidate Rank
20 – Novice
40 – Competent
60 – Adept
80 – Expert
100 – Master
Unlocks
Terrify: 20% chance Creatures will become Terrified and flee for 10s after you kill one
Terrify’s Area of Effect +100%
Terrified Creature Movement Speed -30%
Creature Terrify Chance +10%
Terrifying a Creature gives 10s Crit Chance +5% and Critical Damage +25%

the outer worlds sneak

Stealth skills improve your ability to get through and around security.

Sneaking is a good alternative to tank-oriented skills if you plan on participating in combat actively. You can use tall grass, rocks, or other cover while sneaking to hide from enemies. This can allow you to sneak past some of your enemies or sneak up to them to initiate combat. Investing into Sneak will also increase damage of your Sneak Attack, which will become pretty impressive as you keep leveling it up – this can make a significant difference if this is your style of play.

Hacking will alleviate some of your Carrying Capacity issues, since you will be able to sell to the Vending Machines (which you will encounter pretty often), as well as make you an even more effective opponent against Automechanicals.

Lockpick’s Novice unlock will significantly reduce your costs of looting, since you will encounter quite a few of low-level locks, while finding more bits in containers will go along with your Engineering skill. Note that the Master rank in this skill will result in you always finding Pristine Items upon unlocking containers.

Stealth Skill

The Sneak skill reduces your detection range while crouched, increases NPC awareness decay, and allows Pickpocket and Sneak attacks (below).

Affected by Attributes:

Dexterity and Temperament

Affects:

  • ▼ NPC Awareness Decay Rate
  • ▲ Sneak Attack Damage
Sneak Rank
20 – Novice
40 – Competent
60 – Adept
80 – Expert
100 – Master
Unlocks
Sneak Attack: Attack unaware enemies while crouched to deal bonus damage
Pickpocket: Steal from humans while sneaking
Crouch Move Speed +25%
Sneak Attack Weakspot Damage +20%
Sneak Attacks ignore +50% of the target’s Armor

Stealth Skill

The Hack skill reduces the hacking time and number of Bypass Shunts needed for hacking, and can allow you to Hack an Automechanical (below).

Affected by Attributes:

Intelligence and Charm

Hack Rank
20 – Novice
40 – Competent
60 – Adept
80 – Expert
100 – Master
Unlocks
Unlock the ability to sell goods to Vending Machines
Unlock access to Restricted Items in Vending Machines
Hack Automechanicals: Turn them off for 3s
Automechanical Detection Range -30%
Hack Automechanical Distance +2.5m (5m)

outer-worlds-lockpicking

Stealth Skill

The Lockpick skill reduces the unlock time and number of Magpicks needed for picking locks.

Affected by Attributes:

Dexterity and Perception

Lockpick Rank
20 – Novice
40 – Competent
60 – Adept
80 – Expert
100 – Master
Unlocks
Doors and Containters requiring 1 Mag-Pick to unlock are free to open
Find +25% more Bits in containers
Lockpick Preview: See what is inside locked containers
Lockpicking speed is increased to be nearly instant
Find Pristine Item Chance +100%

the outer worlds engineering

Tech skills improve your knowledge of bodies, tools, and the universe.

The inhaler represents the consumables system in The Outer Worlds and the Medical skill line will improve its effectiveness. The emergency medical inhaler, however, is generally available to all characters (consuming 1 Adreno to give you a health boost when you have an especially low health). Improving it will give you extra slots to create powerful buffing combos in the field (such as increase in health, resistance, regeneration, battle skills, or armor) and with Master rank you can get a +20% damage versus Humans.

Science is the skill you can use to level up the lower-level weapons you got attached to (albeit the more you need to Tinker it to get it to the higher level, the more costly it will become), and it will increase the damage you will deal with one of the most powerful weapons in the game: Science Weapons.

Invest into Engineering to be able to repair your gear without going to the workbench and be able to extract mods during the break-down process (as opposed to just buying them) to improve your weapons and armor.

outer-worlds-consumables

Tech Skill

The Medical skill increases the Heal Amount provided from items in the Inhaler, increases the duration of effects, and opens extra slots.

Affected by Attributes:

Intelligence and Temperament

Affects:

  • ▲ Heal Amount granted by the Medical Inhaler
  • ▲ Effect Duration from items slotted in the Medical Inhaler
Medical Rank
20 – Novice
40 – Competent
60 – Adept
80 – Expert
100 – Master
Unlocks
Unlock the 2nd Drug Mixing Slot for the Inhaler
Unlock the 3rd Drug Mixing Slot for the Inhaler
Hostile Effect Duration on Targets +50%
Unlock the 4th Drug Mixing Slot for the Inhaler
Damage Bonus vs Humans +20%

Tech Skill

The Science skill increases damage of Plasma and Shock damage weapons. Science also improves the special effects for Science Weapons. Higher Science skill unlocks the ability to Tinker any weapon or armor in the Workbench, increasing their power.

Affected by Attributes:

Intelligence and Charm

Affects:

  • ▲ Plasma Damage
  • ▲ Shock Damage
  • ▲ Science Weapon Effects
Science Rank
20 – Novice
40 – Competent
60 – Adept
80 – Expert
100 – Master
Unlocks
Tinker: Improve your weapons and armor in the Workbench
Tinkering cost -50%
Corrosion Damage +25% N-ray Damage +25%
Tinkering cost for Science Weapons is capped
Further Reduce Tinkering Cost to -90%

Tech Skill

The Engineering skill reduces the Armor parts and Weapon parts needed to repair your equipment.

Affected by Attributes:

Perception and Temperament

Engineering Rank
20 – Novice
40 – Competent
60 – Adept
80 – Expert
100 – Master
Unlocks
Field Repair: Repair Weapons and Armor in the Inventory
Break down weapons and armor for a 20% chance to extract a Basic Mod
20% chance items you Repair will become Pristine, increasing Value and Durability
Break down weapons and armor for a 10% chance to extract a Rare Mod
Damage vs Automechanicals: +20%

Leadership skills improve companion health and their abilities in combat.

Companions are a worthy investment in The Outer Worlds. They provide combat support, their skills can enhance yours, they increase your Carrying Capacity, and the Inspiration skill upgrades will unlock their special combat abilities. With the combined power of Inspiration and Determination you can have a very powerful army while laying back and debuffing your enemies with your Dialog passives. Inspiration’s Novice unlock is important here, since it will unlock your character abilities.

Leadership Skill

The Inspiration skill increases the damage inflicted by your companions.

Affected by Attributes:

Strength and Charm

Affects:

  • ▲ Companion Damage Bonus
Inspiration Rank
20 – Novice
40 – Competent
60 – Adept
80 – Expert
100 – Master
Unlocks
Companion Abilities: You can order Companions to do special attacks
Companions gain +20% Armor Rating
Companions Skill Bonus to Player Skills: +100%
Inspired Precision: When Companions kill an enemy, the party gains Critical Hit Chance +20% for 5s
When Companions kill an enemy, All Companion Ability Cooldowns -20%

Leadership Skill

The Determination skill increases the maximum health of your companions.

Affected by Attributes:

Intelligence and Temperament

Affects:

  • ▲ Companion Maximum Health
Determination Rank
20 – Novice
40 – Competent
60 – Adept
80 – Expert
100 – Master
Unlocks
The Inhaler heals you and your companions, but they get 30% of the healing effect
Companion Critical Damage: +20%
Companions get an additional 25%  of the Inhaler’s healing effect
Resolve: If a Companion is downed, the party gains +50% Armor Rating and Damage +50% for 10s
When Companions kill an enemy, they gain 50% Health
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