Various stealth builds have long been popular in the flagship franchises developed by Bethesda Games Studios, and given the significant gameplay similarities between those games - especially Fallout 4 - there’s no reason to expect Starfield will be any different. With the addition of skill challenges, however, leveling up skills isn’t as easy as it used to be. This page will provide some tips leveling the skill in Starfield, including strategies for quickly completing the Stealth skill challenges at each rank.
What Does the Stealth Skill Do In Starfield?
If you’ve played an Elder Scrolls or Fallout game that launched in the past twenty or so years, you’re probably fairly familiar with the stealth system in Starfield. Assuming you have at least one rank in the Stealth skill you can enter stealth mode by pressing [B], after which you’ll be able to move around undetected by other characters and creatures. This is useful for sneaking into and through areas undetected, picking locked objects and pockets without repercussions, and landing sneak attacks on enemies. This assumes, of course, you remain undetected, something which can prove surprisingly difficult to do if you haven’t invested any ranks in the Stealth skill. The noise you make (hence the speed at which you move while sneaking) and the enemy’s line of sight both play a role in how difficult it is to remain hidden, and one of the primary things the Stealth skill does is make it more difficult for enemies to detect you. At max rank, you’ll be twice as difficult for enemies to detect, and you’ll gain a +20% bonus to sneak attack damage with suppressed weapons - both welcome boons for prospective snipers, space ninjas, kleptomaniacs and general ne’er-do-wells.
How to Level Up Stealth Quickly in Starfield
As with most skills in Starfield, after purchasing the first rank of the Stealth skill you must complete a challenge to become eligible to unlock higher ranks. In this case, you must perform a number of sneak attacks (10, 20 and 50, depending on the rank). Neither the effectiveness of the attack nor the threat posed by the enemy matter for incrementing this challenge, you merely have to be undetected when you perform an attack. Ranged sneak attacks are much easier to pull off, but it’s still tedious having to hunt down 85 enemies just to rank up your Stealth skill. Fortunately there’s a bit of a shortcut we can take.
First, there’s no need to actually fuss over proper hostiles - any wildlife will do, including the stony xenobiology skittering about on (the first moon you land on after getting your ship during the game’s first main quest). There’s no need to waste ammo, nor should you resort to melee attacks, the good old you (hopefully) dragged out of the mines with you is actually a decent weapon for this task. Just enter stealth mode, track an unsuspecting alien critter, and when you’re close enough, shoot it with your mining laser. Not only does this increment the stealth challenge counter, it can do so several times per enemy… perhaps due to a quirk of how the game counts the weapon’s continuous stream of damage? In any event, with any luck you’ll increment the challenge counter several times per enemy. In addition, the enemies you should be preying on are all fairly weak, and this consumes no ammo.