I’m sure you’re up to date on what you need to do in general and which Companions are good for which adventures by now. That’s the only prerequisite of following this guide. If you’re absolutely new and the first thing you did after installing the game is come here, then I recommend you read the Companions guide first: Who is the best Companion in The Outer Worlds?
Note that this guide includes spoilers for things that might be hard to find/do otherwise. These start with a warning. You can safely skip those sections to have an untainted experience.
You’ll find 7 skill groups in The Outer Worlds. All of these have skills within them. This can confuse you, later on, so let’s get down to what skills are the best.
Engineering, Lockpick, and Persuade are arguably the best skills in the game. They allow you to accomplish missions better and faster.
Science is also useful. Getting Science to level 40 ensures that upgrading your weapons is cheaper later.
A good build for most players can be: Locks and Ranged level 20; Stealth and Hack both 40; and ultimately both Science and Engineering also at level 40. This build will allow you to pickpocket effectively, sell to vending machines, Basic Mods, and field repair, as well as unlock tinkering while halving its cost.
Inspiration at level 60 is important to get Companion skill bonuses doubled.
Note that skills can be changed anytime, so you’re free to experiment.
- Melee: increases critical hit chance with melee weapons. Includes: 1-Handed Melee; 2-Handed Melee
- Ranged: improves weapon sway and critical hit chance with ranged weapons. Includes: Handguns, Long Guns, Heavy Weapons
- Defense: increases damage avoidance. Includes: Dodge, Block
- Dialog: improves the ability to talk with NPCs. Includes: Persuade, Lie, Intimidate
- Stealth: increases your ability to go unnoticed around security. Includes: Sneak, Hack, Lockpick
- Tech: improves your knowledge of tools and the universe in general. Includes: Medical, Science, Engineering
- Leadership: improves Companion health and ability. Includes: Inspiration, Determination
There are three main attributes: Body, Mind, and Personality. Each one has a couple of sub-attributes that impact several skills.
Intelligence and Perception are both vital to unlocking some interesting dialog options. Never trade them down for skill points. It’s easy to undervalue the Dialog skills, but over time you’ll find out how important they are, so you’re recommended to keep that in mind and keep Dialog skills leveled up.
Especially if you’re not a melee combat player, you might even want to max Intelligence and Perception first.
Wait, what do you mean by trading them down?
In the game, all attributes start on “Average”. You can choose to make one “Below Average”, which will weaken said attribute but give you an additional attribute point that you can assign elsewhere. Every point you add in an attribute will take it a level higher from Average. You can assign up to 3 points per attribute, making them Good, High, and finally Very High.
All attributes and what they impact:
- Strength (Body): increases melee weapon damage and the weight you can carry; impacts 1-Handed Melee, 2-Handed Melee, Heavy Weapons, Block, Inspiration, and Intimidate.
- Dexterity (Body): increases melee attacking speed as well as ranged weapon reloading speed; impacts 1-Handed Melee, Handguns, Dodge, Block, Sneak, and Lockpick.
- Intelligence (Mind): increases critical hit bonus damage (not the chance); impacts Long Guns, Persuade, Hack, Medical, Science, and Determination.
- Perception (Mind): improves the damage bonus from Headshots and Weakspots; impacts Handguns, Long Guns, Heavy Weapons, Dodge, Lockpick, and Engineering.
- Charm (Personality): improves Companion ability cooldowns and Faction Reputation; impacts Persuade, Lie, Intimidate, Hack, Science, and Inspiration.
- Temperament (Personality): improves the base health regeneration; impacts 2-Handed Melee, Lie, Sneak, Medical, Engineering, and Determination.
Grab those freebies
Exploration is at the heart of The Outer Worlds. Don’t leave any crate, dark alley, building surrounding, and door unchecked. As long as people around you aren’t directly looking at you, you will get away with picking locks.
These items will be very useful over time.
Picking locks also gets you XP, even if you’re playing someone who doesn’t steal. Unlocking doors and crates are important in The Outer Worlds.
Hidden loot is all over the place. Talking to all NPCs that have a name will increase your chances of running into some great stuff from plasma rifles to cool gear.
Stealing will not give you negative effects if you’re not caught. Leverage that to its max. Breaking down weapons you don’t need is also important, as it gives you ammo. Additionally, looting is more recommended if you’re struggling with ammo.
Spoiler alert: You can get a great early game boost with an item in Edgewater. Just behind the Edgewater Landing Pad, you can find a unique melee weapon that can be game-changing in your combat.
Leverage Tactical Time Dilation
Tactical Time Dilation or TTD for short is The Outer World’s most underrated combat stat. TTD essentially slows time down while displaying armor level, HP, Faction, and class for all enemies.
You have to leverage TTD correctly to make the most of the game. This is especially important if you’re not a natural when it comes to headshots and find yourself in trouble during fights.
Here’s the strategy with TTD:
Completely ignore killing enemies ASAP. Instead, focus on injuring them. Even hitting the legs of an enemy will injure them. Doing this takes them out of the fight. As TTD starts, just look around. Scoping around during TTD will make it persist for longer. If you move or shoot during TTD, it’ll be over way sooner. Use this time to just scope around and evaluate enemy weaknesses.
Once TTD is over, capitalize on the information you gain.
There’s plenty of room for Flaws
Don’t be afraid of Flaws. At first, they might appear horrific effects, but they’re not (at least some of them).
Flaws are negative effects that will be permanently applied to your character. Applying a Flaw will give you an additional perk point. You can only have 3 Flaws (increases to 4 on Hard difficulty and 5 on Supernova).
The prompt to either take or ignore the Flaw will come automatically when you perform certain actions repeatedly. See The Outer Worlds Wiki for a list of all Flaws and how to get them.
Spoiler alert: Three Flaws in The Outer Worlds are worth getting. These have minimal negative effects, which makes them a good way to add new perks. Here’s how to get them in the easiest possible way:
- Far Sighted (-10 melee weapon skills): Groundbreaker. Take the elevator down from Engineering. Clean up the mantipedes swiftly, swap to your melee weapon, and take damage for a bit. Just when things could get nasty, move away and back up the elevator to the very entrance. Wait a while as the blindness fades and you’ll probably get the prompt for Far Sighted.
- Cynophobia (-2 Perception and -1 Temperament): Just south of the ship you can find some raiders and Canids by a grave. Clean up the Canid Howler, then let the Alpha hit you for around 10 minutes. Healing in between might be necessary.
- Acrophobic (-1 Dexterity, -1 Perception, and -1 Temperament): It’s the easiest of the lot. Just jump off the cliff by the second marauder batch you meet in the game. Healing up by sleeping on the bed in between passes is important.
Note that it usually takes a while for the Flaw prompt to appear even though you’ve stopped being hurt completely. Also, put your Companions in defensive mode (Companion page – Inventory – last tab) otherwise they can interfere. Getting more than one Flaw after doing one of the above is also possible, and you might not want it, so it’s better to hard save before you begin farming for Flaws
Remember, it’s about fun!
The Outer Worlds is an engaging game. It’s meant to be enjoyed without the worries of “what’s the most efficient game plan” and “what’s the strongest build”. Invest points in what you think is cool. Every player is different, and it’s not hard to find players who go off the beaten path and create builds that aren’t just suitable for their playstyle but at the same time fairly effective as well.
Don’t forget to experiment and go with the flow – investing points and upgrading gear as you like, without following any larger game plan.
The endgame isn’t about becoming the strongest. It’s all about making your choices, enjoying the quests, and finishing (or failing) interesting adventures. There are so many possibilities that you’ll never run out of options.