5 best builds in Starfield, ranked

What are the best builds in Starfield?
Starfield Respec Guide How To Reset Skills And Skill Points Abilities
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Unlike SkyrimStarfield doesn’t have classes and therefore doesn’t have the ideal “best builds.” That said, there are still skills, weapons, and ways to craft your character to make them the best. With that in mind, here are the five best builds in Starfield.

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Note: All the best builds in Starfield include the best weapons. Check out our guide to learn what the best weapons are in Starfield.

What are the best builds in Starfield?

  1. Shotgun build
  2. Sniper/stealth build
  3. Persuasion build
  4. Solo build
  5. Melee build

Though there are a lot of good builds in Starfield, the five that stand out are the shotgun build, sniper/stealth build, persuasion build, solo build, and melee build. Each of these builds play differently than the others, but they are all incredibly fun when done right.

Note: After picking from the best Backgrounds and best Traits, the best builds in Starfield rely most on the best skills.

Best shotgun build in Starfield

Starfield Best Weapons

Screenshot: PC Invasion

  • Best Background
    • Soldier
  • Best Traits
    • Terra Firma, Wanted, Extrovert
  • Best skills
    • Physical
      • Fitness, Wellness, Gymnastics, Pain Tolerance, Energy Weapon Dissipation, Rejuvenation
    • Social
      • Intimidation, Manipulation, Xenosociology
    • Combat
      • Ballistics, Shotgun Certification, Rapid Reloading, Targeting, Armor Penetration, Crippling
    • Science
      • Medicine
    • Tech
      • Boost Pack Training, Robotics, Boost Assault Training
  • Best weapons
    • Shotguns – Pacifier
  • Best armor
    • Anything with the highest stats and perks that focus on close-range damage reduction.

The shotgun build in Starfield is the best build in the game because you’ll dispatch enemies quickly and have fun doing it. All of the choices listed above will help you craft the best shotgun build in Starfield. But since Starfield is a roleplaying game with many elements besides just combat, you can look into other Backgrounds, Traits, and skills to make this shotgun build work for you.

The Soldier Background starts you off with Fitness, Ballistic, and Boost Pack Training which are all skills we’ll need anyway. Plus, it’s a good roleplaying option for the rough and rowdy shotgun build. Terra Firma, Wanted, and Extrovert all give you combat bonuses which is what we want to focus on in this build.

The selected Physical skills focus on increasing your health, stamina, and damage resistance while giving you the ability to slide and recover health when out of combat. The three Social skills allow you to control enemies in combat.

Combat is the skill tree we focus on most with this build and all the choices give you damage resistance and damage buffs. The Medicine skill in Science allows us to heal faster and for more. Lastly, the Tech skills allow us to deal more damage to robots and give our Boost Pack the ability to deal damage.

My favorite shotgun is Pacific — I think it’s the best — but use whatever you like. As far as armor goes, we don’t care about weight or how noisy it is. Always equip whatever has the highest stats and preferably something with good combat perks.

Note: If you want to find the best weapons and armor early and get a free ship, you need to play this side mission.

Best sniper/stealth build in Starfield

Starfield Best Rifle

Screenshot: PC Invasion

  • Best Background
    • Cyber Runner
  • Best Traits
    • Terra Firma, Wanted, Introvert
  • Best skills
    • Physical
      • Fitness, Wellness, Stealth, Pain Tolerance, Concealment, Rejuvenation
    • Social
      • Scavenging, Theft, Negotiation, Isolation
    • Combat
      • Ballistics, Rifle Certification, Marksmanship, Rapid Reloading, Sniper Certification, Armor Penetration, Sharpshooting
    • Science
      • Medicine
    • Tech
      • Boost Pack Training, Security, Robotics
  • Best weapons
    • Sniper Rifle – Beowulf
  • Best armor
    • Anything that is light but still has good stats.

This sniper/stealth build is incredible in Starfield. If you like playing a sneaky character that excels in combat and can get into any lock, this is the build for you.

We start with Cyber Runner because it gives us something cool to roleplay and it gives us Stealth, Security, and Theft right out of the gate. From there, Terra Firma and Wanted make us better in combat, and Introvert is the best option here because this build works best when you don’t have a companion. Or you can go the Extrovert route and use the best companions, particularly Andreja because she’s great at Stealth.

For Physical, we’ll always want Fitness and Wellness, but Stealth is the obvious choice too. Pain Tolerance and Rejuvenation help to keep your health high, but Concealment is an obvious choice here because it makes your ranged sneak attacks do 2.5x more damage. You can also go the sneaky melee route and do 4x damage with Concealment.

The Social skills I’ve picked lean into the sneaky archetype with Scavenging and Negotiation, and if you’re going with Introvert, Isolation gives you +20% weapon damage and +30 damage resistance for equipping a helmet and spacesuit when you don’t have a companion.

Just like the shotgun build, the sniper/stealth build focuses on the Combat skill tree. The three that are necessary if you’re sniping are Marksman which will increase your crit chance by 3%, Sniper Certification which makes your scoped weapons sway less, and Sharpshooting to increase headshot critical damage by 50%.

Medicine is great for the Science skill tree and you can go even further there if you want to be a researcher. Along with the two other skills, Security is required for this build to lean into the sneaky lockpicking archetype.

The best sniper rifle that I’ve found is Beowulf, but I also like Magshot and Lawgiver. For armor, you’ll want something that’s light above all else.

Best persuasion build in Starfield

Starfield Persuasion Explained

Screenshot: PC Invasion

  • Best Background
    • Diplomat
  • Best Traits
    • Taskmaster, Empath, Extrovert
  • Best skills
    • Physical
      • Fitness, Wellness, Pain Tolerance, Rejuvenation
    • Social
      • Commerce, Persuasion, Deception, Diplomacy, Intimidation, Negotiation, Instigation, Leadership, Manipulation, Ship Command, Xenosociology
    • Combat
      • Ballistics, Rapid Reloading
    • Science
      • Medicine
    • Tech
      • Boost Pack Training, Security, Robotics
  • Best weapons
    • Hopefully none, but whatever you like best. I prefer shotgun or pistol.
  • Best armor
    • Anything that has persuasion perks.

The persuasion build in Starfield is excellent if you want to avoid combat entirely. While you’ll need to fight eventually, this build focuses specifically on talking your way out of everything.

This persuasion build works best with the Diplomat Background because it gives you Persuasion, Commerce, and Wellness and something fun to roleplay.

The best Traits are Taskmaster, because it leans into the leadership thing and makes sure your ship is always repaired when you have crew members, Empath, which increases your companion’s combat effectiveness if you do what they like (just avoid what they dislike), and Extrovert to get more health and stamina when you have a companion.

For the Physical skill tree, we’ll just focus on the basic stuff, but you can add more to it. Social is what we focus on with this build. All the “-ation” skills allow you to control NPCs in one way or another. We’ll want Ship Command to increase your crew size, Leadership so you can romance companions faster, and of course, Persuasion.

Combat is not our forte, but pour more skills into it as you see fit. Same with Science: if you want to lean into the researcher role, go for it. And finally, it’s the same with Tech. If you want to lean into the pilot role, put more skills into Tech.

Hopefully, you don’t need to use a weapon, but use something civilized like a pistol. Lastly, any armor is good, something with medium weight, but look for anything that gives you persuasion perks.

Solo build

Are There Vehicles In Starfield Travel Exploration For Locations Fast Travel

Screenshot: PC Invasion

  • Best Background
    • [FILE NOT FOUND]
  • Best Traits
    • Alien DNA, Introvert, Terra Firma
  • Best skills
    • Physical
      • Fitness, Wellness, Weight Lifting, Stealth, Pain Tolerance, Rejuvenation
    • Social
      • Theft, Scavenging, Isolation
    • Combat
      • Ballistics, Lasers, Rapid Reloading, Crippling
    • Science
      • Medicine, Research Methods
    • Tech
      • Boost Pack Training, Security, Robotics
  • Best weapons
    • Many Ballistic weapons (or Laser weapons) like one Rifle, one SMG, one Machine Gun, and one Shotgun.
  • Best armor
    • Sneaky and light or heavy and tanky.

If you’re dead set on navigating the stars alone, then the solo build is the one for you. There are hundreds of ways to build this one and they are all effective, but this is how I’d do it.

I think starting out with the [FILE NOT FOUND] Background is an excellent choice if you want to be an off-the-radar explorer. [FILE NOT FOUND] starts you with Wellness, Ballistics, and Piloting which are all great skills to start with.

Alien DNA is too good a roleplaying trait for the solo build not to include. With it, you have higher health and stamina, but healing items aren’t as effective. You have to have Introvert for this build, obviously. And Terra Firma is one of the best Traits in general to give you more stamina on land.

Since the solo build can basically be whatever you want, feel free to dive into any skills you want. The necessary ones for this build are Weight Lifting to carry more stuff since you’ll be alone, Isolation to take and deal more damage without companions, and Medicine to counterbalance Alien DNA.

With this build, you’ll want many guns because you’re kind of a jack-of-all-trades in combat. And for armor, you can lean into something sneaky or go heavy and high damage resistance.

Best melee build in Starfield

Starfield Best Melee Weapon

Screenshot: PC Invasion

  • Best Background
    • Ronin or Bouncer
  • Best Traits
    • Alien DNA, Wanted, Terra Firma
  • Best skills
    • Physical
      • Fitness, Wellness, Boxing (for unarmed), Stealth, Gymnastics, Pain Tolerance, Martial Arts, Rejuvenation
    • Social
      • Theft, Persuasion, Intimidation
    • Combat
      • Dueling, Demolitions, Armor Penetration
    • Science
      • Medicine
    • Tech
      • Boost Pack Training, Security, Robotics
  • Best weapons
    • A great melee weapon like Barrow Knife or no weapon at all.
  • Best armor
    • Something lightweight but that can also take.

Lastly, the melee build in Starfield can be really good and fun when done right.

If you want to use melee weapons and be a bit sneakier, then go with the Ronin Background. If you want to be more of a brute that uses their bare hands, go with Bouncer. Alien DNA, Wanted, and Terra Firma are all combat-focused and they are the best Traits to go with for this build.

Gymnastics is a great skill to help you slide up to enemies to take them out. Stealth is also very useful for sneak attacks. Martial Arts is the most crucial in the Physical skill tree because it increases your unarmed and melee weapon critical chance by 15%.

Pick whatever you want in the Social skill tree, but I think Intimidation makes the most sense. The most essential skill in the Combat skill tree is Dueling because it makes your melee weapons deal 25% more damage and you take 10% less damage when wielding a melee weapon.

Just like with the other builds, pick whatever Science and Tech skills you’d like, but Medicine and Boost Pack Training are mandatory.

The best melee weapon that I’ve found is Barrow Knife, but you can also make a great unarmed fighter in Starfield. Too bad there aren’t Khajiits. For armor, get something that can take a punch but it’s super heavy.

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Author
Noah Nelson
From his early days of blog-style music, movie, and game reviews to working as the Esports Writer at Coastline Community College, Noah Nelson now works fulltime as a Staff Writer for Attack of the Fanboy and PC Invasion. He has been helping gamers everywhere with Destiny 2 god rolls, Warzone 2 DMZ missions, and collectibles in any indie game for over a year and a half. His Bachelor's Degree in English Rhetoric and Composition with a minor in Journalism from CSULB has shaped him to be a strong writer and editor. His fondest gaming memory is playing Sly Cooper 2 after begging his mom (for hours) to play it before his birthday and he still cries myself to sleep remembering the time he accidentally saved over his 99% completion save file in Kingdom Hearts 2.