Cyberpunk 2077 is a massive action RPG with plenty of mechanics within. Everyone is probably well aware of what attributes and perks do for V, but one area that is not explored well is skills. Skills are passive traits representing abilities both in and out of combat, and come packing with sweet rewards if you are prepared for it. But how do you level them up fast? Here is a quick guide to explain that all.
What are Skills?
Skills are passive bonuses that level up as you play Cyberpunk 2077. You can get a full rundown of what each skill does in our Attributes and Skills guide, but for the purposes of leveling them up, they follow the Elder Scrolls style of progression; the more you use a skill, say shooting handguns or stealth takedowns, the more your skill levels up. CD Projekt Red made this pretty simple, offering you 20 skill levels for the 12 skills found in the game.
All of your skills are tied into your perk trees, which are tied into your attribute scores, but are not governed by skill progression. So to unlock perk points, you need to level up your attributes, not skills. Also note that higher attribute scores make it easier to utilize skills, as they help unlock the perk trees for better passive bonuses and abilities.
How to Level Up Skills in Cyberpunk 2077
The simple answer to leveling up your skills quickly is through repetition. You want a skill up fast, you can do that through constant use. For some skills like breach protocol, you simply need to hack into everything, from cameras to vending machines, to get a few points. For stealth, you need to sneak and do silent takedowns, and the various weapon perks just simply use your weapon of choice. Crafting can level up real quick by breaking down every single spare weapon, piece of armor, and item you pick up on the streets.
Other skills are a bit more unique. Annihilation, for example, gains level ups if you use shotguns and machine guns, while the engineer skill levels up through the use of Tech-based weapons only. Athletics levels up passively the more you slide, dash, jump or climb obstacles, but you can help it along by also punching enemies and objects and literally jumping and climbing every ledge you possibly see around Night City. Finally, quickhack is all about quickhacking in battle against enemies.
So here is a quick breakdown on how to level up your skills in Cyberpunk 2077:
- Annihilation - Use shotguns, heavy and light machine guns.
- Assault - Use submachineguns, assault and sniper rifles.
- Athletics - Run, climb, jump, dash, and punch enemies.
- Blades - Use katanas, knives, and mantis blades.
- Breach Protocol - Use breach protocol on machines to hack or datamine.
- Cold Blood - Activate the Cold Blood ability.
- Crafting - Craft and upgrade your equipment.
- Engineering - Use tech weapons.
- Handguns - Use handguns and revolvers.
- Quickhacking - Quickhack enemies when in combat or stealth.
- Stealth - Sneak, do enemy takedowns, and hide bodies.
- Street Brawler - Use blunt weapons and your fists.
The most obtuse skill here is Cold Blood, which requires a single point of investment in the Cold Blood perk to activate it. Once you do, every time you take down an enemy you get a stack, which makes your movement speed slightly faster. Activating Cold Blood (the perk) slowly levels up Cold Blood (the skill).
Fastest Way to Level Up Skills
So how do you do these fast? One way is to pick a weapon or play style and just focus on it throughout the game. If you do a few hours of side content in Act 1, you can probably hit level 5-6 in your desired skills before heading into Act 2, for example. To that end, you will need to participate in a ton of gig quests, NCPD encounters, and side missions to help with the leveling.
One thing of note is that the enemy types you fight can yield different gains for skill progression. It has been noted that combat drones and robots offer higher skill gains than most human gang members do, especially at lower levels. So some players have taken to committing crimes to summon a three-star police presence, which in turn spawns the combat robots.
One exploit that helps level up combat skills quick is to kill or knock out civilians right near a store or shop, then shoot down as many robots as possible before you run into the shop, which causes the wanted level to disappear. You can save, rinse, and repeat this until you get all the skill levels you need, though this only helps for combat-oriented skills.
The big question now is why should you level up skills? For the most part, it comes down to the benefits they offer, which include bonuses to various stats related to your skill, and perk points. There are a total of 81 perk points earned through skill progression across all 12 skills, making them valuable commodities for player progression with their perks.
So that's how you level up your skills fast in Cyberpunk 2077. Hopefully this makes the practical use of skills easier to understand in the game. So make sure to do side content, and rinse and repeat a bit to level up your preferred skills so that by the end of the game you are a powerful netrunner merc in your own right.
Good luck leveling skills and staying safe in Night City.
Make sure to check out our guides hub for more guides and information on Cyberpunk 2077.