Cyberpunk 2077 Guide – Leveling Up, Experience, and Attributes Explained
As you begin to take the reigns of V in Cyberpunk 2077, either as a dusty nomad, dirty street kid, or soulless corpo, you’ll find yourself presented with dozens of options every time you level up. It's all a bit overwhelming and it can be difficult to see exactly where to spend your points, and what is worth spending points on.
This guide will walk you through the leveling system of Cyberpunk 2077, and give a few examples of where you spend some of your skill points early in the game.
Other Cyberpunk 2077 guides: Tips and Tricks to Get Started; Street Cred and How to Become a Legend of Night City
When you level up, you’ll be awarded some Attribute points. Perk points are unlocked a little differently, but we’ll get to that in a moment. These attribute points really change your character level by level and need to be spent wisely in order to survive in the more dangerous regions of Night City.
Attributes are like your governing abilities, like your strength, dexterity, and intelligence in Dungeons and Dragons, or SPECIAL in the Fallout series. In Cyberpunk 2077, these attributes are Body, Reflexes, Technical Ability, Intelligence, and Cool.
Body affects your physical strength and endurance. Reflexes are your hand-eye coordination. Technical Ability is your understanding of machines. Intelligence governs your ability to interface with computers. Cool manages your stealth, as well as charisma.
Every point you put in these attributes will increase your skills in the areas they govern. They will also give you access to unique routes, dialogue options, and possibilities that you otherwise would not be able to use. This can be anything from unlocking a window with your Technical Ability, turning off the security cameras with Intelligence, smashing open a door with Body, or talking your way out of trouble with Cool. Each of these attributes maxes out at 20, but you won’t have enough attribute points to max them all out in one playthrough, so you’ll have to specialise in whichever playstyle you’d like.
Perk Points, on the other hand, are unlocked by improving your skill proficiencies. Skills are the various things you can do with the attributes. So for instance, the Cool skills are Cold Blood and Stealth. Improving your skill proficiency is done by simply using that skill in gameplay. So if you’re sneaking through a hostile area, you might unlock a perk point as your stealth improves this unlocks a perk point. Likewise, using a handgun will improve your handgun skill while sprinting will improve your athletics.
The other skills are as follows: Body has Annihilation, Athletics, and Street Brawler. Reflexes has Assault, Blades, and Handguns. Technical Ability includes the Crafting and Engineering skills. Intelligence governs the Breach Protocol and Quick Hacking skills. And Cool has, as mentioned before, Cold Blood and Stealth.
You can see what level your skill proficiency is at on the attributes change. These skills can be leveled up to match your attribute score, but cannot go higher. This means that if you’ve only got 3 points in Body, you can only improve your athletics skill to level 3.
Like a scientist dissecting the atom would say, the perk is the smallest part that makes up the attribute. These are passive buffs and bonuses that are tied to the skills, that are subsequently tied to the attributes. When you have a perk point, you can upgrade a perk but opening the attribute and scrolling through the skills to find a perk you want. Reflex perks for instance can improve your damage output with specific skill weapons like Assault rifles, pistols, or swords. There’s more than just damage output though as some perks might improve reload time and even more depth beyond that.
In Cyberpunk 2077, perks are used to help pinpoint and improve the method you prefer to play. But before you spend them all on submachine gun bonuses, it’s worth looking at all the different ones available under every attribute. Body/Athletics for instance can improve your health pool and stamina which can be useful for literally everyone, even if they don’t want to build a bruiser.
To put it simply, attributes and perks are point-based systems that you can choose and unlock as your progress through Cyberpunk 2077. Skills is the mechanic that ties these two systems together and is improved organically by simply playing in a way that makes use of those skills.
For the most part, it’s easy enough to work out what character you would like to make from simply looking at the attributes. When it comes to choosing specific perks, it's up to the player to see what they want to do and how they find themselves playing the game. But there are three archetypes that you can use as the basis for your V.
The suave gunslinger wants points in Cool/Cold Blood and Reflexes, with perks in whatever weapon you prefer. This will allow V to keep their head in a firefight with some of the Cold Blood perks and talk your way out of situations with the general Cool conversation options. In Reflexes, V will be a master of their chosen weapon, able to do as much damage as possible when guns are drawn.
The secretive netrunner will need the most points in Technical Ability/Engineering and both Intelligence skill trees. With these, you can hack anything, or anyone, and maybe even take down whole organisations without stepping foot in the door. This build would also benefit from a few points in Cool/Stealth though, for situations where you have to get a little closer.
The final archetype is the heavy hitter. This will revolve around the Body/Athletics and Reflexes attributes, with specialisation in whichever weapons you want to use to do the talking. There's no need to hack or be sneaky as the heavy hitter, so you can focus on taking and dishing out a lot of damage. High Body will also allow you to intimidate enemies sometimes if you’re growing tired of cutting them in half with bullets.
Bonus Build: Ninja. Of course you can build a ninja in Cyberpunk 2077. All you need is to pump Cool/Stealth and Reflexes/Blades to create an effective ninja. Add in some ripper doc upgrades that can get you up above the street level and you’ll be a shadow blazing through Night City.
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