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Cyberpunk 2077 guide: Best builds and Perks to unlock right away

Be all that you can be, V

Image: CD Projekt Red/CD Projekt

There are plenty of ways to go about your business in Night City. One way to personalize your experience in Cyberpunk 2077 is by choosing the right type of character build.

Between the five different Attributes you can choose from, the handful of Skill trees, and dozens of Perks, it can be confusing to decide on what to pick. In this Cyberpunk 2077 guide, we’ll show you what to choose so you can create the type of build to match your play style.

Note: With various patches changing numerous aspects of Cyberpunk 2077 since release, the advice on this page is likely out of date. If you were wondering what’s changed since launch, read our Cyberpunk 2077 Phantom Liberty review, which also covers the 2.0 update.

Attributes, Skills, and Perks

In our guide on Attributes, Skills, and Perks we explain how all three systems work in tandem. By choosing to level up certain Attributes and Skills, you can work toward unlocking the right Perks for the builds you want.

  • Attributes affect your base stats and abilities. As you level up, you gain Attribute Points to bolster your capabilities in a broad sense. For instance, leveling up your Body Attribute adds five health points per level, and each increase in your Technical Ability Attribute boosts your armor by 5%.
  • Skills are a group of talents or abilities related to an Attribute. As you perform actions relevant to a Skill, like hacking or running, you’ll level up different Skills. As those level up, you’ll gain rewards related to those actions.
  • Perks are nested within each Skill, and they are either passive buffs or new abilities. Leveling up your character or increasing a Skill’s level through your actions grants you Perk Points, which unlock new abilities.

All three of these systems work together to help you create the type of build you want. Below we’ll recommend some Attributes to bolster and which Perks to choose.

Shooter build

A screenshot of the Perk and Skill trees in Cyberpunk 2077
Shooters should focus on Reflexes
Image: CD Projekt Red/CD Projekt via Polygon

If you want to go into encounters guns blazing in Cyberpunk 2077, then you’ll want to put your Attribute Points into Reflexes and Technical Ability. Boosting your Reflexes will help increase your critical damage output. Technical Ability will increase your effectiveness with powerful Tech weapons while also letting you craft new gear.

Here’s are the Perks you should unlock for a shooter build:

Reflexes Attribute / Assault Skill tree

  • Eagle Eye and Bullseye work in tandem to increase your gun handling and damage output while aiming down sights.
  • Executioner deals 25% damage to enemies who have over 50% health. This is great for just about any weapon, as your opening assault will be stronger no matter what weapon you use. For more powerful weapons, like shotguns and sniper rifles, you’ll get a much more powerful opening shot.

Reflexes Attribute / Handguns Skill tree

  • O.K. Corral is a great complement to the Executioner perk. This Ability lets you deal 50% more damage with handguns to enemies with below 25%. Combined these two perks will let make you stronger all throughout a combat encounter.
  • On the Fly is worth picking up if you plan on using the combo of perks above with two weapons. This perk lets you draw and holster pistols and revolvers 25% faster. So if you plan on starting a combat encounter with a stronger weapon to maximize your output with Executioner, then switching to a handgun to finish the job with the O.K. Corral’s benefits, you’ll want this perk.

Hacker build

A screenshot of the Perk and Skill trees in Cyberpunk 2077
Hackers are going to need good Intelligence
Image: CD Projekt Red/CD Projekt via Polygon

In the world of Cyberpunk 2077, technology is both a tool and a weapon. Players who want to hack — the game refers to them as netrunners — should focus on increasing the Intelligence Attribute. The more Intelligence you have, the more RAM is available to you to use your hacking skills. Think of your RAM capacity like magic points in a role-playing game. The more RAM you have, the more hacking skills you can use.

Before you decide to play as a hacker, be sure to complete Cyberpunk 2077’s “The Gift” quest. This quest rewards you with the Ping quickhack. This Ability is an essential tool for players who want to be a netrunner. When you use Ping on an enemy or piece of technology like a camera, it will reveal all enemies and devices in the surrounding area. A successful Ping will mark all enemies and devices in close proximity, giving you a powerful look at what’s going on around you.

A screenshot from Cyberpunk 2077
Pinged enemies are red. Devices are green.
Image: CD Projekt Red/CD Projekt via Polygon

Once you receive the Ping quickhack, make sure to go to your Inventory > Cyberware > Mods to equip it. Ping is one of the most useful tools for a netrunner build and you should make sure you grab it as soon as the mission is available.

These are the Perks worth unlocking for a netrunner build:

Intelligence Attribute / Breach Protocol Skill tree

  • Mass Vulnerability is a strong way to open combat encounters as it reduces physical resistance for all enemies by 30% for three minutes.

Intelligence Attribute / Quickhacking Skill tree

  • I Spy is worth getting as early as you can. It reveals other netrunners who are attempting to hack you. Getting hacked by one of them during combat is both frustrating and dangerous. Unlock this skill as soon as you can so you can sniff out rival netrunners and stop them from being a dangerous nuisance.
  • Biosynergy is useful because it allows you to cover four units of RAM every 60 seconds. This is an especially important perk if you plan on using Ping before a combat encounter. You may want to Ping an area to see what’s around you, then hack some cameras and look around. While assessing threats, the Biosynergy perk will passively regain your precious RAM. Once you’ve scouted an area, you should have your RAM recharged and ready to use for disabling, distracting, or attacking targets.
  • Hacker’s Manual is perfect for those who want to craft quickhacks instead of buying them.

Stealth build

A screenshot of the Perk and Skill trees in Cyberpunk 2077
Want to be stealthy? Then be Cool.
Image: CD Projekt Red/CD Projekt via Polygon

Playing a stealth build requires making use of physical and cybernetic abilities to stalk enemies. If you want to make it through the game by sneakier and non-lethal means, then consider boosting your Cool Attribute. There are also other Skills from other Attributes worth considering.

Here are the Perks you’ll want to use for a stealth build:

Cool Attribute / Stealth Skill tree

  • Crouching Tiger is an essential Perk because it increases your movement speed while sneaking by 20% to start. Sneaking is the best way to move around unnoticed and it’s how you’ll need to move if you want to take out enemies from behind without a sound.
  • Silent and Deadly is the perk you want if you have to use a gun. However, this perk only boosts the damage of your silenced weapons only when you are sneaking.
  • Dagger Dealer is a unique perk as it adds a new combat Ability: throwing knives. If you don’t want to mess with guns or melee weapons, then get this perk.

Intelligence Attribute / Breach Protocol Skill tree

  • Big Sleep is disables all cameras around you for a set period of time. If you don’t want to waste a ton of RAM manually disabling all cameras around you so you can sneak freely, pick up this perk.

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