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The Outer Worlds
Strategy Guide

First Published: 25-10-2019 / 00:00 GMT
Last Updated: 17-11-2019 / 20:47 GMT
Version: 0.1 (????) 18-11-2019 / 10:27 GMT

The Outer Worlds Guide

14 hrs ago · Guide Information · Version History

Character Creation

Skills

Skills influence gameplay perhaps more than any other factor in character creation, determining your competence at a wide arrange of tasks. As you invest points in skills, many skills will yield passive bonuses (critical hit chance for weapon skills, sneak attack damage for Sneak, healing amount for Medical, companion health for Determination, etc.), and every twenty points invested will earn you a special unlock bonus (20 - NOVICE, 40, - COMPETENT, 60 - ADEPT, 80 - EXPERT and 100 - MASTER). While some skills only have the special unlock bonus (Persuade, Lie, Intimidate, Hack, Lockpick and Engineering), they tend to be used fairly regularly in normal gameplay, being checked during dialogue, or when you find a computer you can hack or lock you can pick. Only your base skill score counts when it comes to special unlock bonuses - skill boosts from consumables, companions or gear does not.

Skills are grouped together in related categories, two to three skills per category, and unlike attribute categories, skill categories actually serve some gameplay purpose. At first you’ll invest skill points earned during character creation (and subsequently during level ups) on these skill categories rather than directly on the skills themselves, increasing all the skills in that category. For example, if you invest skill points in the Stealth tree it’ll improve the Sneak, Hack and Lockpick skills simultaneously, with one expended skill point being sufficient to increase two or three skills at a time. Once a skill in a category hits 50 it’ll stop gaining points when you invest in said category, forcing you to instead invest in that skill directly. Suffice to say, this system makes it relatively easy to hit 50 in many skills, but difficult to get any skills to 100. Your starting skill values are equal to six plus (or minus!) a bonus based on your attributes (see table below) in addition to which you’ll get to distribute two ten point bonuses to any two skill categories, and perhaps a one point bonus depending on which Aptitude you pick.

Attribute GradeStarting Skill
Below Average-3
Average+0
Good+3
High+7
Very High+12

The primary way you’ll increase your skills are by, of course, leveling up. Each time you level up you’ll get to assign ten skill points to a skill category and/or individual skills (if said skill is 50 or higher). Since the level cap in the game is 30, you’ll end up with 290 skill points to invest, which is is clearly not enough to max everything. That said, you can further boost skills with equipment (many suits of armor or helmets add between +5 to +10 skill points to a specific skill or skill category) or by taking companions with you (each companion has three skills they’re proficient in, and you’ll receive a bonus to these skills equal to 25% of your companion’s skill score). These bonuses can be increased by the Armor Master perk and the ADEPT bonus unlock (60 skill points) for the Inspiration skill, respectively; taken together this could constitute a bonus of over 50 points to the affected skills, which is obviously a massive boost. Keep in mind that gear and companion bonuses will not affect unlocked bonuses, but the passive bonuses for skills and the ability to pass skill checks will be enhanced.

With all that out of the way, lets get to the skills themselves!

Note: You can respec your character by using the Vocational Competence Respecification Machine onboard the Unreliable. Doing so will allow you to reallocate skill points earned by leveling up (but not the first two ten point bonuses you assign during character creation, nor your Aptitude bonus, if applicable). Doing this costs an increasing number of Bits each time you respec - 500, 1,000, 2,000, 4,000, etc.

1-Handed Melee

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

The 1-Handed Melee skill affects your damage output (via improved critical hit chance) with one-handed melee weapons, including the Claw Rake, Hatchet, Shears, Spade, Sentry Saber, Stun Baton, Officer’s Spine, Plasma Cutter, Vortex Mace, Impact Hammer and related variants Compared to two-handed weapons, one-handed weapons tend to attack faster, but deal less damage, although their TTD costs are similar.

The NOVICE, COMPETENT and ADEPT skill unlocks are all worth shooting for, if you plan to use 1-Handed Melee weapons regularly. If you’re particularly fond of TTD, you may want to boost as high as EXPERT, but reaching MASTER rank is a hard sell for all but the most dedicated 1-Handed Melee weapon users.

SkillEffectBase Skill Unlocks
0+0% 1-Handed Melee Crit Chance--
10+27.3% 1-Handed Melee Crit Chance--
20+57.6% 1-Handed Melee Crit ChanceNOVICE: Unlock Power and Sweep Attacks
30+87.9% 1-Handed Melee Crit Chance--
40+118.2% 1-Handed Melee Crit ChanceCOMPETENT: Unlock TTD Location Hit Effects
50+148.5% 1-Handed Melee Crit Chance--
60+178.8% 1-Handed Melee Crit ChanceADEPT: 1-Handed Melee Weapon Reach +30%
70+209% 1-Handed Melee Crit Chance--
80+239.4% 1-Handed Melee Crit ChanceEXPERT: 1-Handed Melee Weapon TTD Drain -50%
90+269.7% 1-Handed Melee Crit Chance--
100+300% 1-Handed Melee Crit ChanceMASTER: Power and Sweep Attack Chance to Stun +25%

2-Handed Melee

The 2-Handed Melee skill increases Critical Hit chance with 2-Handed Melee weapons.

The 2-Handed Melee skill affects your damage output (via improved critical hit chance) with one-handed melee weapons, including the Pickaxe, Trip Blade, Telescoping Staff, Security Blade, Tremor Cleaver, Inferno Scythe and related variants Compared to one-handed weapons, two-handed weapons tend to attack slower, but deal more damage, although their TTD costs are similar.

The NOVICE, COMPETENT and ADEPT skill unlocks are all worth shooting for, if you plan to use 2-Handed Melee weapons regularly. If you’re particularly fond of TTD, you may want to boost as high as EXPERT, but reaching MASTER rank is a hard sell for all but the most dedicated 2-Handed Melee weapon users.

SkillEffectBase Skill Unlocks
0+0% 2-Handed Melee Crit Chance--
10+27.3% 2-Handed Melee Crit Chance--
20+57.6% 2-Handed Melee Crit ChanceNOVICE: Unlock Power and Sweep Attacks
30+87.9% 2-Handed Melee Crit Chance--
40+118.2% 2-Handed Melee Crit ChanceCOMPETENT: Unlock TTD Location Hit Effects
50+148.5% 2-Handed Melee Crit Chance--
60+178.8% 2-Handed Melee Crit ChanceADEPT: 2-Handed Melee Weapon Reach +30%
70+209% 2-Handed Melee Crit Chance--
80+239.4% 2-Handed Melee Crit ChanceEXPERT: 2-Handed Melee Weapon TTD Drain -50%
90+269.7% 2-Handed Melee Crit Chance--
100+300% 2-Handed Melee Crit ChanceMASTER: Power and Sweep Attack Chance to Stun +25%

Handguns

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

The Hanguns skill affects your damage output (via improved critical hit chance) with handguns, including the Light Pistol, Revolver, Bolter Pistol, The Vermin, Auto-Mag Pistol weapons and related variants Handguns are universally short-to-mid-range semi-automatic weapons that are somewhat lacking in diversity, especially compared to Long Guns.

Both the NOVICE and COMPETENT skill unlocks are fairly useful, although the ADEPT and EXPERT skill unlocks are far more situational and not something for anybody who has decided to focus on Handguns. That said, the MASTER skill unlock is potent enough for dedicated pistoleros to aspire to, especially if you’re any good at pulling off headshots regularly.

SkillEffectBase Skill Unlocks
0+0% Handgun Crit Chance, +0% Handgun Sway--
10+27.3% Handgun Crit Chance, -4.5% Handgun Sway--
20+57.6% Handgun Crit Chance, -9.6% Handgun SwayNOVICE: Unlock TTD Location Hit Effects
30+87.9% Handgun Crit Chance, -14.6% Handgun Sway--
40+118.2% Handgun Crit Chance, -19.7% Handgun SwayCOMPETENT: Hangun Critical Damage +50%
50+148.5% Handgun Crit Chance, -24.7% Handgun Sway--
60+178.8% Handgun Crit Chance, -29.8% Handgun SwayADEPT: Minimum Armor Penetration Damage +10%
70+209% Handgun Crit Chance, -34.8% Handgun Sway--
80+239.4% Handgun Crit Chance, -39.9% Handgun SwayEXPERT: Debuffed Enemy Critical Hit Chance +20%
90+269.7% Handgun Crit Chance, -45% Handgun Sway--
100+300% Handgun Crit Chance, -50% Handgun SwayMASTER: Handgun Critical Hits ignore 100% Armor

Long Guns

The Long Guns skill decreases Weapon Sway while firing rifles and other long guns, and also increases Critical Hit chance with those weapons.

The Long Guns skill affects your damage output (via improved critical hit chance) with long guns, including the Sawed-Off Shotgun, Light Assault Rifle, Assault Rifle, Hunting Rifle, Tactical Shotgun, Plasma Rifle, Dead-Eye Assault Rifle, Plasma Carbine weapons and related variants Long Guns are an incredibly diverse group of weapons useful for close-quarters combat (shotguns), mid-range combat (assault rifles) and long-range combat (hunting rifles), consisting of single-shot, semi-auto and fully automatic weapons. Whatever situation you’re in, there’s a Long Gun suited for it.

Despite Long Guns being the only weapon class you really need, its skill unlocks aren’t all that different from Handguns and Heavy Weapons. The NOVICE and COMPETENT skill unlocks are universally useful, while ADEPT and MASTER skill unlocks are both worth getting if your aim is decent - especially if you’re a sniper, as that headshot damage is quite nice.

SkillEffectBase Skill Unlocks
0+0% Long Gun Crit Chance, +0% Long Gun Sway--
10+27.3% Long Gun Crit Chance, -4.5% Long Gun Sway--
20+57.6% Long Gun Crit Chance, -9.6% Long Gun SwayNOVICE: Unlock TTD Location Hit Effects
30+87.9% Long Gun Crit Chance, -14.6% Long Gun Sway--
40+118.2% Long Gun Crit Chance, -19.7% Long Gun SwayCOMPETENT: Long Gun Critical Damage +50%
50+148.5% Long Gun Crit Chance, -24.7% Long Gun Sway--
60+178.8% Long Gun Crit Chance, -29.8% Long Gun SwayADEPT: Long Guns Headshot/Weakspot Damage +20%
70+209% Long Gun Crit Chance, -34.8% Long Gun Sway--
80+239.4% Long Gun Crit Chance, -39.9% Long Gun SwayEXPERT: Deadly Focus: No Weapon Sway for 5s after each kill
90+269.7% Long Gun Crit Chance, -45% Long Gun Sway--
100+300% Long Gun Crit Chance, -50% Long Gun SwayMASTER: Long Gun Critical Hits Ignore 100% Armor

Heavy Weapons

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

The Heavy Weapons skill affects your damage output (via improved critical hit chance) with heavy weapons, including the Light Machine Gun, Grenade Launcher, Shock Cannon, Heavy Machine Gun, Flamethrower, Plasma Launcher weapons and related variants Heavy Weapons can largely be divided into three types: short range, sustained fire weapons (Shock Cannon and Flame Thrower), sustained fire, mid range (Light Machine Gun and Heavy Machine Gun) and indirect fire (Grenade Launcher and Plasma Launcher), with the two launchers being few of the area-of-effect weapons in the game. Heavy weapons can deal tremendous damage, but are fairly unwieldy and consume ammo at an impressive rate.

SkillEffectBase Skill Unlocks
0+0% Heavy Weapons Crit Chance, +0% Heavy Weapons Sway--
10+27.3% Heavy Weapons Crit Chance, -4.5% Heavy Weapons Sway--
20+57.6% Heavy Weapons Crit Chance, -9.6% Heavy Weapons SwayNOVICE: Unlock TTD Location Hit Effects
30+87.9% Heavy Weapons Crit Chance, -14.6% Heavy Weapons Sway--
40+118.2% Heavy Weapons Crit Chance, -19.7% Heavy Weapons SwayCOMPETENT: Heavy Weapons Critical Hit Damage +50%
50+148.5% Heavy Weapons Crit Chance, -24.7% Heavy Weapons Sway--
60+178.8% Heavy Weapons Crit Chance, -29.8% Heavy Weapons SwayADEPT: Heavy Weapons Reload Speed +30%
70+209% Heavy Weapons Crit Chance, -34.8% Heavy Weapons Sway--
80+239.4% Heavy Weapons Crit Chance, -39.9% Heavy Weapons Sway EXPERT: Heavy Weapon Frenzy: Critical Hits Increase Rate of Fire +30% for 3s
90+269.7% Heavy Weapons Crit Chance, -45% Heavy Weapons Sway--
100+300% Heavy Weapons Crit Chance, -50% Heavy Weapons SwayMASTER: Heavy Weapon Critical Hits Ignore 100% Armor

Dodge

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

Dodge is an… interesting skill. Despite the name, this skill can be just as offensive in nature as defensive, and the main feature of the skill doesn’t unlock until you invest 20 points in it. Once you do you’ll gain the NOVICE skill unlock, Leap, which will allow you to propel yourself forward by pressing the jump button again shortly after jumping - mashing the jump button works. While the game describes this as "dodging forward", you can leap in any direction, which may coincidentally help you avoid attacks. You can, however, use leap to propel yourself forward, which will make it easier to close with enemies in melee combat, although you shouldn’t expect to cover whole lot of ground per leap - a downside which can be ignored because you can spam leaps.

In addition to unlocking leap, investing in this skill will increase your dodge distance (although it should be noted that +40.1% of "not that far" is still not that far) and reduce the duration of harmful status effects, which is… fine. Clearly this skill’s strengths lie in its skill unlocks, not its passive bonuses.

As mentioned earlier, the NOVICE skill unlock the leap ability, which is the whole point of the Dodge skill. The ADEPT unlock skill will further bolster leap by giving you a +30% bonus to Armor after a dodge, while the EXPERT skill will boost the damage of your next melee attack by 50% after a dodge. If you’re investing in a melee build, Dodge is worth investing in for the EXPERT unlock ability alone, if not… probably not.

SkillEffectBase Skill Unlocks
0+0 Dodge Distance, +0% Harmful Status Effect Duration--
10+3.6% Dodge Distance, -4.5% Harmful Status Effect Duration--
20+7.7% Dodge Distance, -9.6% Harmful Status Effect DurationNOVICE: Unlock the ability to Leap (dodge forward)
30+11.7% Dodge Distance, -14.6% Harmful Status Effect Duration--
50+19.8% Dodge Distance, -24.7% Harmful Status Effect Duration--
60+23.8% Dodge Distance, -29.8% Harmful Status Effect DurationADEPT: Dodge Protection: +30% Armor Rating for 5s after every Dodge
70+27.9% Dodge Distance, -34.8% Harmful Status Effect Duration--
80+32% Dodge Distance, -39.9% Harmful Status Effect DurationEXPERT: Dodge Force: After Dodging, your next Melee Attack gains Damage +50%
90+36% Dodge Distance, -45% Harmful Status Effect Duration--
100+40.1% Dodge Distance, -50.1% Harmful Status Effect DurationMASTER: Dodge Penetration: After Dodging, your next Weak Spot hit within 5s has a 50% chance to Ignore Armor

Block

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

Block is fairly self-explanatory, investing in this skill will increase your Armor Rating while using a melee weapon as well as improving your ability to block via skill unlocks. Obviously if you’re not investing in a melee skill or another, you need not bother with Block. If you are, however, the Armor Rating is enough reason to throw some points into Block.

With the NOVICE skill unlock you’ll gain the ability to perform perfect blocks, staggering attackers if you block just before an enemy attack lands. The durability preservation at COMPETENT isn’t all that impressive, but the ability to move faster while blocking at ADEPT is a welcome boost.

SkillEffectBase Skill Unlocks
0+0 Armor Rating when using a Melee Weapon--
10+2 Armor Rating when using a Melee Weapon--
20+4 Armor Rating when using a Melee WeaponNOVICE: Perfect Block: Block just before you get hit to stagger your attacker
30+6 Armor Rating when using a Melee Weapon--
40+8 Armor Rating when using a Melee WeaponCOMPETENT: Weapon Durability Loss from Blocking - 25%
50+10 Armor Rating when using a Melee Weapon--
60+12 Armor Rating when using a Melee WeaponADEPT: Walk Speed while Blocking +100%
70+14 Armor Rating when using a Melee Weapon--
80+16 Armor Rating when using a Melee WeaponEXPERT: No Weapon Durability Loss on a Perfect Block
90+18 Armor Rating when using a Melee Weapon--
100+20 Armor Rating when using a Melee WeaponMASTER: Perfect Blocks weaken opponents, increasing the damage they take by +100% for 5s

Persuade

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

One of the Dialog skills, Persuade will be checked frequently while conversing with other characters, allowing you schmooze others. It also has a combat component, giving you a 20% to cause human enemies to Cower the first time you damage them. This is unlocked as NOVICE skill unlock, and the other skill unlocks expand on it, although frankly if an enemy cowers, you’ll probably be able to take them out before they recover. We’re personally content to get this (and other Dialog skills) to 50 and let gear and companions do the rest.

SkillEffectBase Skill Unlocks
0----
10----
20--NOVICE: Cower: Humans have a 20% chance to cower in fear for 3s after the first time you hit them
30----
40--COMPETENT: Cower Duration +7s
50----
60--ADEPT: Cowered Target's Armor -50%
70----
80--EXPERT: Human Cower Chance +10%
90----
100--MASTER: When a Human cowers, you gain +25% Armor for 10s

Lie

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

One of the Dialog skills, Lie will be checked frequently while conversing with other characters, allowing you to deceive others. It also has a combat component, giving you a 15% to cause automechanical enemies to slowly attack other enemies for 10s. This is unlocked as NOVICE skill unlock, and the other skill unlocks expand on it. We’re personally content to get this (and other Dialog skills) to 50 and let gear and companions do the rest.

SkillEffectBase Skill Unlocks
0----
10----
20--NOVICE: Scramble: 15% chance Automechanicals will slowly attack other enemies instead of you for 10s
30----
40--COMPETENT: Scramble Duration +7s
50----
60--ADEPT: Scrambled Automechanicals attack at their normal speed
70----
80--EXPERT: Automechanical Scramble Chance +10%
90----
100--MASTER: Scrambled Automechanical Weakspot Damage +30%

Intimidate

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.

One of the Dialog skills, Intimidate will be checked frequently while conversing with other characters, allowing you bully and threaten others into compliance. It also has a combat component, giving you a 20% to Terrify creatures causing them to flee for 10s when you kill a nearby creature. This is unlocked as NOVICE skill unlock, and the other skill unlocks expand on it. We’re personally content to get this (and other Dialog skills) to 50 and let gear and companions do the rest.

SkillEffectBase Skill Unlocks
0----
10----
20--NOVICE: Terrify: 20% chance Creatures will become Terrified and flee for 10s after you kill one
30----
40--COMPETENT: Terrify's Area of Effect +100%
50----
60--ADEPT: Terrified Creature Movement Speed -30%
70----
80--EXPERT: Creature Terrify Chance +10%
90----
100--MASTER: Terrifying a Creature gives 10s Crit Chance +5% and Critical Damage +25%

Sneak

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

Sneaking is incredibly useful in The Outer Worlds, allowing you to bypass enemies undetected or land devastating sneak attacks. Whether you want to fight or not, sneak will help you out, and naturally being able to sneak well will help you get at various bits of loot - whether by pickpocketing it from characters, or by snatching it from a container when you’re unobserved. That said, sneaking isn’t all that complicated in this game, and even with a low sneak score you’ll be able to get away with quite a bit of mischief, making the Sneak skill more worth investing in for its combat passives, like sneak attack damage and enemy awareness decay rate - both of which you’ll want to boost if you plan to do any sniping.

The NOVICE skill unlock allows you to perform sneak attacks while crouching, which is such a good way to start almost every fight in the game that it’s hard not to recommend for every character. At COMPETENT you’ll be able to pickpocket items from characters (the difficulty requirement is almost always low, but a higher Sneak score will reduce the time it takes, making you far less likely to get caught). ADEPT rank will allow you to move faster while crouching, making it easier to bypass enemies or get into position for a sneak attack. EXPERT gives a welcome bonus to sneak attack weakspot damage, and MASTER causes your sneak attacks to ignore 50% of a target’s armor. There are no dud skill unlocks in this skill tree, and a sneaky/sniper character may well want to max it out.

SkillEffectBase Skill Unlocks
0-94.3% NPC Awareness Decay Rate, +0% Sneak Attack Damage--
10-80.7% NPC Awareness Decay Rate, +0% Sneak Attack Damage--
20-65.6% NPC Awareness Decay Rate, +14.4% Sneak Attack DamageNOVICE: Sneak Attack: Attack unaware enemies while crouched to deal bonus damage
30-50.5% NPC Awareness Decay Rate, +22% Sneak Attack Damage--
40-35.5% NPC Awareness Decay Rate, +29.5% Sneak Attack DamageCOMPETENT: Pickpocket: Steal from humans while sneaking
50-20.4% NPC Awareness Decay Rate, +37.1% Sneak Attack Damage--
60-5.3% NPC Awareness Decay Rate, +44.7% Sneak Attack DamageADEPT: Crouch Move Speed +25%
70+9.8% NPC Awareness Decay Rate, +52.3% Sneak Attack Damage--
80+24.8% NPC Awareness Decay Rate, +59.8% Sneak Attack DamageEXPERT: Sneak Attack Weakspot Damage +20%
90+40% NPC Awareness Decay Rate, +67.4% Sneak Attack Damage--
100+55% NPC Awareness Decay Rate, +75 % Sneak Attack DamageMASTER: Sneak Attacks ignore +50% of the target's Armor

Hack

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

Computers aren’t exactly rare in the Halcyon system, and sometimes you’ll need some expertise to get them to do what you want - especially when it comes to bypassing security. Essentially every terminal that can be hacked will require you to have a set Hack skill score, as well as a number of Bypass Shunts, the more your Hack skill exceeds the hack difficulty, the fewer Bypass Shunts you’ll need to use and the faster you’ll complete the hack. You’ll also need a certain Hack skill score to access some options while searching through computers. Having a sufficient Hack skill score will ensure you can access various options on terminals, giving you more options for resolving quests and the odd access to loot. If you’re concerned about being able to complete quests for your satisfaction, Hack can be just as important as some of the Dialog skills.

As for skill unlocks, at NOVICE you’ll be able to sell goods at vending machines - a fundamental economic function hidden behind a basic investing in this skill. Another economic function - the ability to buy restricted items (typically including Magpicks and Bypass Shunts) - requires you to reach COMPETENT rank. Getting up to this threshold is a good idea for almost any character. As for the rest of the ranks, they’ll give you the ability to turn off Automechanicals for 3s (ADEPT), better evade Automechanicals with Sneak (EXPERT) and increase the range at which you can hack Automechanicals (MASTER).

SkillEffectBase Skill Unlocks
0----
10----
20--NOVICE: Unlock the ability to sell goods to vending machines
30----
40--COMPETENT: Unlock access to Restricted Items in Vending Machines
50----
60--ADEPT: Hack Automechanicals: Turn them off for 3s
70----
80--EXPERT: Automechanical Detection Range -30%
90----
100--MASTER: Hack Automechanical Distance +2.5m (5m)

Lockpick

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

Far more ubiquitous than computers are containers, which unfortunately bear locks to discourage the misappropriation of valuables. A well-meaning kleptomaniac with a high enough Lockpick skill score and enough Mag-Picks can bypass these locks and get at the juicy loot within. Every locked door or container requires you to have a set Lockpick score to succeed at unlocking it, after which you’ll need an appropriate number of Mag-Picks - the higher your Lockpick score compared to the lock’s difficulty, the fewer Magpicks you’ll expend. Investing in Lockpick will allow you to access locked doors, which may open up alternative ways to complete quests, but most of all being able to access all the locked containers in the game will spoil you with loot. In short, investing in Lockpick is just about the best thing you can do for your wallet in The Outer Worlds.

The NOVICE skill unlock will eliminate the Mag-Pick cost usually incurred by unlocking if the lock would normally cost one Mag-Pick, which will save you countless Mag-Picks throughout the game, assuming your Lockpick is high enough. At COMPETENT you’ll find 25% extra Bits in containers, and at ADEPT you’ll be able to see what is inside containers before picking them so you can decide if it’s worth your time or not. EXPERT rank will allow you to pick locks nearly instantly and at MASTER rank you’ll be more likely to find pristine items. Most of these skill unlocks will help you earn more Bits, which is a dubious bonus - invest in Lockpick in spite of its skill unlocks, not because of them.

SkillEffectBase Skill Unlocks
0----
10----
20--NOVICE: Doors and Containers requiring 1 Mag-Pick to unlock are free to open
30----
40--COMPETENT: Find +25% more Bits in containers
50----
60--ADEPT: Lockpick Preview: See what is inside locked containers
70----
80--EXPERT: Lockpicking speed is increased to be nearly instant
90----
100--MASTER: Find Pristine Item Chance +100%

Medical

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

The passive bonus of the Medical skill increases the effectiveness of your Inhaler, through which all sorts of consumables can be used to provide direct healing (more like quick health regeneration) and/or temporary bonuses. The most basic healing consumable in the game is Adreno (not to be confused with Adrena-Time) which restores 25% of your Health over two seconds. As you invest in Medical you’ll unlock more Inhaler slots into which different consumables can be assigned, be they food, alcohol, or even proper medicine, all of which will be consumed when you use your Inhaler, turning your Inhaler from a source of healing to an item that, at a moments notice can heal and/or provide numerous simultaneous buffs. The most common consumable buffs include increase your Body Attributes by +1, increasing your Personality Attributes by +1, increasing your Mind Attributes by +1, increasing your max Health, increasing your natural Health regeneration (if applicable) and decreasing weapon spray and spread, among other effects. Your Inhaler can - depending on your Medical skill score - be a useful tool, indeed.

NOVICE, COMPETENT and EXPERT skill unlocks all give an additional drug mixing slot for the Inhaler, eventually unlocking up to four slots. The ADEPT bonus will increase the duration of status effects you apply to targets while the MASTER bonus will outright increase your damage versus humans by 20%. All nice bonuses, but like most skills we’re content to invest points to the Tech skill category, unlock the COMPETENT bonus, and let gear and companions make up for the odd Medical skill check that pops up during dialogue.

SkillEffectBase Skill Unlocks
0--
10+9% Heal Amount granted by the Medical Inhaler, +4.5% Effect Duration from items slotted in the Medical Inhaler--
20+19.2% Heal Amount granted by the Medical Inhaler, +9.6% Effect Duration from items slotted in the Medical InhalerNOVICE: Unlock the 2nd Drug Mixing Slot for the Inhaler
30+29.3% Heal Amount granted by the Medical Inhaler, +14.6% Effect Duration from items slotted in the Medical Inhaler--
40+39.4% Heal Amount granted by the Medical Inhaler, +19.7% Effect Duration from items slotted in the Medical InhalerCOMPETENT: Unlock the 3rd Drug Mixing Slot for the Inhaler
50+49.5% Heal Amount granted by the Medical Inhaler, +24.7% Effect Duration from items slotted in the Medical Inhaler--
60+59.6% Heal Amount granted by the Medical Inhaler, +29.8% Effect Duration from items slotted in the Medical InhalerADEPT: Hostile Effect Duration on Targets +50%
70+69.7% Heal Amount granted by the Medical Inhaler, +34.8% Effect Duration from items slotted in the Medical Inhaler--
80+79.8% Heal Amount granted by the Medical Inhaler, +39.9% Effect Duration from items slotted in the Medical InhalerEXPERT: Unlock the 4th Drug Mixing Slot for the Inhaler
90+89.9% Heal Amount granted by the Medical Inhaler, +45% Effect Duration from items slotted in the Medical Inhaler--
100+100% Heal Amount granted by the Medical Inhaler, +50% Effect Duration from items slotted in the Medical InhalerMASTER: Damage bonus vs. Humans +20%

Science

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.

Science is an oddly useful skill - not odd that it’s useful, but useful in perhaps odd ways. Your Science skill score will be tested once in a while during conversation when a display of your knowledge of scientific fact is necessary, but it also provides a bonus to the damage dealt by plasma, shock and science weapons. The latter is a somewhat rare category of unique weapons, but plasma and shock damage can be dealt by almost any weapon provided you apply the appropriate mods, as well as being natively dealt by the Bolter Pistol, Flamethrower, Inferno Scythe, Plasma Carbine, Plasma Cutter, Plasma Rifle, Pulse Hammer, Plasma Launcher, Shock Baton, Shock Cannon, Security Blade weapons and related variants

As for skill unlocks, at NOVICE you’ll unlock the ability to tinker with weapons and armor at a workbench, at COMPETENT you’ll reduce the cost of tinkering to 50%, at EXPERT you’ll cap the tinkering costs of Science weapons (at 1,000 Bits per tinker, unless you have the MASTER skill unlock, in which case it’ll be 200 Bits maximum) and at MASTER you’ll further reduce the costs of tinkering by 90%. As you can see, most the skill unlocks have to do with tinkering, leaving only the ADEPT bonus, which boosts corrosion and N-ray damage by 25% each.

Given that tinkering is one of the main purviews of the Science skill, it deserves some discussion, and fortunately like most aspects of The Outer Worlds, it’s fairly simple. Tinkering with gear allows you to increase their level, and hence stats - typically damage when tinkering with weapons and armor when tinkering with… armor. Each time you tinker with an item it’ll cost Bits, and this cost will increase the more times you tinker with the same item (unless it’s a Science weapon and you have the EXPERT skill unlock). You can only tinker with an item until its level is five higher than your own. Suffice to say, tinkering upgrades your gear at the expense of your money, and reducing these costs will allow you to become even more effective in combat, and heavy investment into Science will allow your Science weapons to remain relevant for longer.

Science, then, is clearly worth investing in… especially if you intend to use Science weapons or regularly deal plasma/shock damage. For long-term use, it’ll also help with the odd Science skill check, but for all of this you really only need a base score of 40-50 - gear and companion boosts can do the rest. This won’t get you the higher-end skill unlocks, but we only bothered tinkering with our weapons and armor several times (stopping when the cost hit 1,000+ Bits), which is an appreciable upgrade, and really all you need considering how quickly new loot will be found. Once you start finding end-game loot you can consider boosting Science to 100, tinkering with gear to your heart’s content, then respecing via the Vocational Competence Respecification Machine. No reason you nee to keep all those skill points in Science after you’ve done what tinkering you wish to do, and it’s almost always considerably cheaper get that 90% tinkering cost reduction than it is to respec afterwards.

SkillEffectBase Skill Unlocks
0+0% Plasma Damage, +0% Shock Damage, +0% Science Weapon Effects--
10+2.7% Plasma Damage, +2.7% Shock Damage, +4.5% Science Weapon Effects--
20+5.8% Plasma Damage, +5.8% Shock Damage, +9.6% Science Weapon EffectsNOVICE: Tinker: Improve your weapons and armor in the Workbench
30+8.8% Plasma Damage, +8.8% Shock Damage, +14.6% Science Weapon Effects--
40+11.8% Plasma Damage, +11.8% Shock Damage, +19.7% Science Weapon EffectsCOMPETENT: Tinkering Cost -50%
50+14.8% Plasma Damage, +14.8% Shock Damage, +24.7% Science Weapon Effects--
60+17.9% Plasma Damage, +17.9% Shock Damage, +29.8% Science Weapon EffectsADEPT: Corrosion Damage +25%, N-ray Damage +25%
70+21% Plasma Damage, +21% Shock Damage, +34.8% Science Weapon Effects--
80+24% Plasma Damage, +24% Shock Damage, +39.9% Science Weapon EffectsEXPERT: Tinkering costs for Science Weapons is capped
90+27% Plasma Damage, +27% Shock Damage, +45% Science Weapon Effects--
100+30% Plasma Damage, +30% Shock Damage, +50% Science Weapon EffectsMASTER: Further Reduce Tinkering Cost to -90%

Engineering

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

Science and Engineering both influence your ability to improve your weapons and armor, and unfortunately for Engineering, Science seems to have gotten the better of the skill unlocks - which is to say nothing of the passive bonuses. Science is for innovating, and Engineering is for maintenance, at least as far as the skills in The Outer Worlds are concerned, and Engineering is suitably used to determine how many Weapon Parts and Armor Parts it takes to repair damaged weapons and armor, and since they needed a related skill and Engineering does little else, a few bonuses related to modding were thrown into the Engineering skill as a consolation prize. Not every bit of tech in the Halcyon cluster has been properly maintained, either, and your Engineering skill score will be checked from time to time when your knowledge of machinery is needed.

The NOVICE skill unlock is quite handy, giving you the ability to repair weapons and armor in your inventory menu without having to find a workbench to do so. Workbenches aren’t exactly rare, but they’re not ubiquitous, either, and this ability will unshackle you from civilized areas and extend your exploration. The COMPETENT skill unlock will give you a 20% chance to get a basic mod when you break down weapons and armor, which you’ll end up doing quite a bit. Unlocking this early will likely result in you getting an absurd number of mods - far more than you could reasonable be expected to ever make use of - which will provide a nice source of Bits if nothing else. This isn’t to say basic mods aren’t worth using - many are - but you’ll likely find plenty of those on the bodies of defeated foes and in containers. ADEPT will give a 20% for items you repair to become pristine, which will increase value and durability of said gear - an interesting bonus, and one easier to obtain and exploit than the MASTER Lockpick skill unlock. EXPERT will give you a 10% chance to break down gear for rare mods, which generally sell for quite a bit more than basic mods (you’ll find plenty of these as you explore, as well) while the MASTER skill unlock increases your damage against automechanicals.

You’ll likely end up boosting Engineering just by investing in the Tech tree for the Science and Medical skills, and all are worth some attention due to the uncommon skill checks for them you’ll encounter. That said, there’s not much incentive to raise the base score of Engineering above 40-50 unless you want to try to turn your favorite gear into pristine versions via the ADEPT skill unlock. A moderate investment into Engineering is enough to keep the consumption of parts to a manageable level (and you’ll break down so, so many weapons and armor in the game, you probably won’t need to worry about it after the first few hours), the rest can be made up with gear and companions.

SkillEffectBase Skill Unlocks
0----
10----
20--NOVICE: Field Repair: Repair Weapons and Armor in the Inventory
30----
40--COMPETENT: Break Down weapons and armor for a 20% Chance to extract a Basic Mod
50----
60--ADEPT: 20% Chance items you Repair will become Pristine, increasing Value and Durability
70----
80--EXPERT: Break Down weapons and armor for a 10% Chance to extract a Rare Mod
90----
100--MASTER: Damage vs Automechanicals +20%

Inspiration

The Inspiration skill increases the damage inflicted by your companions.

Inspiration is one of the more unassuming skills in The Outer Worlds, giving a bonus to companion damage as a passive, and various other companion-related bonuses as skill unlocks. Fair enough, but we’re not keen on relying on AI companions for damage output.

Fortunately there are other reasons to pay attention to the Inspiration skill, notably a few of its skill unlocks. At NOVICE rank you’ll unlock special attacks for your companions, which will improve the usefulness of your companions in combat considerably. If you plan to make use of companions you’ll want to at least unlock this. The 20% Armor Rating bonus for companions is of dubious value, especially if you’re not playing on Supernova difficulty, but the ADEPT skill might be one of the most useful skill unlocks in the game, as it boosts the skill bonuses you’ll get from companions by 100%, doubling the effect from 25% to 50%. Each companion has three skills they specialize in and your own skills will gain a bonus equal to 25% of your companion’s skill scores while they’re actively deployed with you. Since companions can, at the highest levels, have skill scores of between 70-80, getting 50% of this as a bonus to your own skills instead of 25% is a huge boost to skills - perhaps as high as +35 to +40 for up to six different skills instead of the +15 to +20 you’d otherwise get. This, in conjunction with equipped armor, can easily allow you to have functional skill scores of 100+ despite having invested only 50~ points of your own, and is essential if you want to pass most of the skill checks in the game at any given time.

Putting sixty points into Inspiration is quite an investment, but one that is incredibly worthwhile, since it will net you roughly +120 points in skill bonuses.

SkillEffectBase Skill Unlocks
0+0% Companion Damage Bonus--
10+1.8% Companion Damage Bonus--
20+7.1% Companion Damage BonusNOVICE: Companion Abilities: You can order Companions to do special attacks
30+16.3% Companion Damage Bonus--
40+29.4% Companion Damage BonusCOMPETENT: Companions gain +20% Armor Rating
50+46.7% Companion Damage Bonus--
60+68.2% Companion Damage BonusADEPT: Companion Skill Bonus to Player Skills +100%
70+94% Companion Damage Bonus--
80+124.6% Companion Damage BonusEXPERT: Inspired Precision: When Companions kill an enemy, the party gains Critical Hit Chance +20% for 5s
90+159.8% Companion Damage Bonus--
100+200% Companion Damage BonusMASTER: When Companions kill an enemy, All Companion Ability Cooldowns -20%

Determination

The Determination skill increases the maximum health of your companions.

While Inspiration can inspire deeds of valor from your companions, Determination steels their resolve, giving them to grit to stand and fight longer. Flowery language aside, it’ll increase your companion’s max health as a passive bonus.

As for skill unlocks, it’s a grab-bag of effects that usually center around buffing and healing, with the COMPETENT critical hit damage outlier thrown in for good measure. The NOVICE and ADEPT skills cause your Inhaler to heal your companions, too, but sadly there’s no skill unlock for passing around Inhaler buffs. The EXPERT skill unlock will give companions a boost to armor and damage when another companion is downed and the MASTER skill unlock will cause companions to recover 50% of their health when they kill a foe - a not so uncommon occurrence. In any difficulty but Supernova, these bonuses aren’t all that impressive, as there’s no real harm in your companions being downed, aside from perhaps making the fight more difficult. All in all, there’s just not much reason to invest in Determination… aside from what you’ll end up investing into the Leadership tree to boost Inspiration, anyways.

SkillEffectBase Skill Unlocks
0+1 Companion Health--
10+92 Companion Health--
20+193 Companion HealthNOVICE: The Inhaler heals you and your companions, but they get 30% of the healing effect
30+294 Companion Health--
40+395 Companion HealthCOMPETENT: Companion Critical Damage +20%
50+496 Companion Health--
60+597 Companion HealthADEPT: Companions get an additional 25% of the Inhaler's healing effect
70+698 Companion Health--
80+799 Companion HealthEXPERT: Resolve: If a Companion is downed, party gains +50% Armor Rating and Damage +50% for 10s
90+900 Companion Health--
100+1,001 Companion HealthMASTER: When Companions kill an enemy, they gain 50% Health

Guide Information

  • Publisher
    Private Division
  • Platforms
    PC, PS4, XB1
  • Genre
    Role-playing
  • Guide Release
    25 October 2019
  • Last Updated
    17 November 2019
    Version History
  • Guide Author

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