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The Outer Worlds guide: Attributes, skills, and perks

Everything you need to know in character creation (and leveling up)

The Outer Worlds character creation and leveling up guide Obsidian Entertainment/Private Division via Polygon

The character creation and leveling up system in The Outer Worlds probably doesn’t work quite like you’d expect from a role-playing game. It’s a little more simple and nuanced, and you need to make (what feels like) big decisions about your character really early in the game. It all makes the process of building your character feel kind of intimidating.

Below, we’ll talk through all the aspects that go into character creation (except for your appearance). We’ll point out the ones that you’ll be able to increase through leveling up and those that are permanent. We’ll also help you with some advice about the most useful (or just our favorite) stats and skills.

Attributes

Attributes in The Outer Worlds are the stats you probably expect from an RPG. These stats that determine what your character is capable of — like how physically strong, nimble, or charismatic you are.

They’re divided into three broad categories: body, mind, and personality. The body stats are strength and dexterity, mind has intelligence and perception, and personality consists of charm and temperament.

While making your character, you have six attribute points to assign to these stats. You can’t change your assignments later, so these choices are permanent. They all start out as average. You can make a stat below average to get an extra attribute point to assign elsewhere. You can assign up to three points in the stats — making them good, high, and very high.

Your stats in these six attributes determine the value of your skills (more on skills below). While you’re deciding what attributes to increase (or decrease), you’ll see a list of the impacted skills on the right. We’ve also listed them in the table below.

The Outer Worlds attributes and associated skills

Attribute group Attribute Skills affected Other stats affected
Attribute group Attribute Skills affected Other stats affected
Body Strength 1-handed melee 2-handed melee Heavy weapons Block Inspiration Intimidate Melee damage Carrying capacity
Body Dexterity 1-handed melee Handguns Dodge Block Sneak Lockpick Melee weapon attack speed Ranged weapon reload speed
Mind Intelligence Long guns Persuade Hack Medical Science Determination Critical damage
Mind Perception Handguns Long guns Heavy weapons Dodge Lockpick Engineering Bonus to extra headshot/weakspot damage
Personality Charm Persuade Lie Intimidate Hack Science Inspiration Companion ability refresh Positive faction reputation reactions Negative faction reputation reactions
Personality Temperament 2-handed melee Lie Sneak Medical Engineering Determination Health regeneration per second
The Outer Worlds attributes and their associated skills Obsidian Entertainment/Private Division via Polygon

Skills

Once you have your attributes set up, you’ll switch over to skills. While your starting level in each skill is determined by your attributes, skills are the actual stats that you’ll be using to interact with your environment. Skills are also where you’ll do all your leveling up.

At the beginning of the game, and until any skills reach 50 points, you’ll be assigning points to the broad categories, like melee and tech. Putting points into the broader categories increase all the stats within.

Every time you level up, you’ll get 10 points to assign to your skills. You can dump all 10 into the same skill every time (but that’s probably not the smartest way to do it). Focus on leveling up the skills you use the most, and the skills you wish you had. Assigning points into your skills lets you make up for anything you lost out on during the attributes phase of character creation.

When your stats reach 50 (not modified by gear or companions), you’ll have to assign points to them individually to increase them further.

Aptitude

An aptitude is a small but permanent aspect of your character. (Even using the Vocational Competence Respecification Machine on the Unreliable later in the game won’t let you choose a different aptitude.) The aptitude you choose will give you a minor bonus to one of your stats. You get a +1 to a skill, take a few percent less damage from a specific type of weapon, or get a greater benefit from consumables.

The Outer Worlds Aptitudes chart

Aptitude Bonus
Aptitude Bonus
“No Discernible Aptitude.” Determination +1
Beverage Service Technician. Drink effect duration +3%
Bureaucrat, Rank 0. Block +1
Cashier, Sub-Grade, Non-Supervisory. Persuade +1
Construction, Electrician Class, Wire Spooler. Shock damage received -3%
Elevator Operations Specialist. Engineering +1
Factory Worker, Conveyor Operator. Dodge +1
Farmer, Dirt. N-ray damage received -3%
Food Additive Tester. Food effect duration +3%
Janitor, Sanitation Class. Corrosion damage received -3%
Tossball Team Mascot. Inspiration +1
Medical Technician, Junior Grade. Medical +1
Safety Inspector. Plasma damage received -3%
Scientist Assistant, Level 0, Class A. Science +1
Sub Sous Chef 1-handed melee +1

You can read our more in-depth guide about aptitudes here.

Perks

The final step in character creation doesn’t happen at the beginning of the game. Periodically, when you level up, you’ll receive perk points that you’ll use to unlock perks.

Perks are bonuses to other stats that don’t really fall into the above categories. These are things like increasing your health, speed, carrying capacity, or the damage you deal with certain weapons.

Which perk is best for you depends on how you play. Look for the perks that will help you the most. If you collect every item (like us) and wind up over your carrying capacity a lot, grab the Pack Mule and Traveler perks that let you carry more and fast travel even while you’re encumbered. If you use the tactical time dilation ability a lot, go for Slow the World or The Reaper.

Flaws

The Outer Worlds character creation stats perks flaws
Flaws will give you penalties to your stats, but earn you perk points.
Obsidian Entertainment/Private Division via Polygon

As you play The Outer Worlds and encounter enemies, you’ll get flaws. These are detrimental adjustments to your stats related to your interactions with enemies. In the image above, you can see that we have robophobia because automechanicals give us the willies.

Flaws are optional. You’ll get a prompt to accept or reject every one. Flaws reduce your stats — sometimes by quite a bit — but you earn a perk point for every flaw you accept.

Keep track of the perks you want. If you think picking up that perk earlier than you’d get it through leveling up is worth the negative impact to your stats, go for it.

Suggested character creation stats

As we mentioned in our beginner’s tips, lockpicking, hacking, and dialog will make the early game a lot easier — and they’re skills you’ll use throughout The Outer Worlds. It’s easy enough to pick up better guns or armor, but a silver tongue is indispensable.

Starting with attributes, make dexterity, intelligence, and charm above average. Put your skill points into stealth (or stealth and one other skill group). For you aptitude, choose Cashier, Sub-Grade, Non-supervisory for the +1 to persuasion.

Those choices are all dexterity- and stealth-heavy, but they also won’t leave you overly vulnerable. With those starting choices, you’ll be able to pick most of the locks on the first planet and snag some useful gear. You’ll also be able to charm (or lie or intimidate) your way through a lot of conversations. Like we said, it’s a safe build, but it’ll teach you a lot about how the game works.

We should note that this is a pretty generic and safe build. You’re not going to be overpowered or underpowered in any one stat or skill, but you’ll be capable in most of them.