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Priority Skills: What Skills to Get Early On

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Horizon Forbidden West gives players access to new skill trees that allow Aloy to unlock helpful passive skills and active Weapon Skills to be used in combat. It can be both daunting and confusing to choose and decide which skills to invest early on. In our Priority Skills guide, we will discuss some of the best skills to get as early as possible to give you a better overall experience.

How to Learn Skills

By default, all skill trees are available. To learn a skill, you’ll need to spend Skill Points. You’ll earn these points whenever Aloy levels up, completes quests, and other activities. You’ll gain a lot of skill points as long as you clear various activities available, making it possible to gain access to these skills early on. Aloy can only level up to LV50; after reaching that max level, she won’t be able to get any skill points from leveling up so you’ll have to rely on optional activities and quests to earn skill points.

Another note is that there’s no re-spec option so once you’ve allocated your skill points to a skill node, you can’t undo that action. Thankfully, you don’t have to worry since you can get all the skills (including the Weapon Technique upgrades) in one playthrough by completing most of the side activities and optional quests.

Lastly, each Valor Surge can be upgraded up to three times to further increase their effectiveness. You don’t need to do that early on but if you find yourself using a specific Valor Surge in a regular basis (based on your comfortable playstyle), then by all means, upgrade that valor surge to make your life easier.

Choosing the Priority Skills

We will list down some of the most essential skills that you should get as early as possible. Since all skill trees are already available from the start, it’s easy to mistakenly learn a skill that you won’t be using that much early on. After getting these skills, you can freely allocate as you please. Take note that some skills have second variants down the line; learning them again will upgrade the skill’s level, increasing their effectiveness. When you have the capability to do so, make sure to get these skills’ upgrades when you can.

We won’t be listing Weapon Techniques on this page. To know which Weapon Techniques should be upgraded first, please refer to our dedicated page about the topic.

Priority Hunter Skills

The Hunter skill tree further enhances Aloy’s efficiency in ranged combat. You can also further improve Aloy’s key ability, Concentration, weapon stamina, and even resource management.


Concentration slows down time when you’re aiming with a ranged weapon, allowing you to adjust your aim and land more accurate shots. The concentration gauge gets depleted as you use the skill but will regenerate automatically once you stop using it. This skill increases your Concentration gauge, allowing you to use the ability longer at a time.

Deep Concentration

The skill will slow down the Concentration gauge and further increase your time in using it. Since Concentration is Aloy’s key ability, being able to use it longer is great “quality of life” upgrade.

Concentration Regen

As soon as you deactivate Concentration, the gauge will automatically regenerate. This skill speeds up the recovery time, allowing you to use Concentration more often, in between activation and deactivation.

Ammo Expert

This skill is incredibly useful as it allows you to craft more ammunition from the same amount of resources. You’ll be crafting ammo frequently anyway, especially in the heat of the battle so why not have the convenience of crafting more for the same amount of materials?

Workbench Expert

This skill allows Aloy to use any workbench to craft ammo with a lesser amount of materials. This is invaluable since you’ll be able to maximize the resources you have at hand. There’s also a lot of workbenches scattered in the game anyway, from shelters to major settlements so there’s really no excuse for missing out on this wonderful “quality of life” upgrade.

Priority Survivor Skills

This skill tree improves Aloy’s ability to heal and even enable her to resist more damage especially at low health, increasing her survivability. It’s great to get most of the skills in this skill tree eventually but you should consider getting the following skills first.

Potent Medicine

This skill enables medicinal berries to heal more HP quickly. This should be the first skill that you should get as you’ll need to heal up regularly during and after a fight. After learning this skill, make sure to upgrade it as well.

Medicine Capacity

This skill increases the amount of medicinal berries you can carry in your pouch. This works hand-in-hand with Potent Medicine, giving Aloy a quick and easy access to reliably heal her HP especially during the heat of battle.

Plant Forager

This is another great skill to have since it doubles the amount of plant materials or berries that you collect per plant. Foraging for medicinal plants is essential to keep your stock of medicinal berries full so this skill is invaluable and always going to be useful for the entirety of your game, especially in sections of the game where medicinal plants are scarce.

Potion Proficiency

This skill enables Health Potions to provide more healing and makes all potions quicker to use/consume. Medicinal berries are generally okay but for situations that will require large amounts of HP to be recovered almost instantly, you can’t beat Potions in that regard. Furthermore, Health Potions in the game overheal as well, giving Aloy an extra layer of HP before her normal HP bar gets damaged again. The game also has other potions that provide different buffs so with this skill learned, Aloy can drink them faster and activate their effects quicker.

Valor on Impact

Valor surges are exceptionally useful and can get you out in dire situations. Normally, you’ll earn valor by landing attacks. With this skill learned, you’ll gain some valor whenever you take damage, giving you an opportunity to use your Valor Surge sooner than normal.

Priority Warrior Skills

This skill tree improves Aloy’s melee combat prowess, giving her access to powerful combos and weapon techniques. Melee combat is quite effective against human enemies since they’re agile and smaller. Learning skills from this skill tree will depend on the player’s overall game style.

If you find yourself relying heavily on your ranged weapons early on (as most players will), you can consider learning skills from the Warrior skill tree a bit later in the game, after learning the skills we described above. If you prefer to get down and dirty, you can consider learning these skills first.

Block Breaker

Break an enemy’s guard with R1-R1-R2, leaving them vulnerable for a follow-up attack.

Nora Warrior

Perform a combo with R1-R1-R1-R2 that is capable of knocking down small machines and staggering larger ones.

Resonator Blast

This skill allows you to “prime” a target for a more devastating explosion. Keep striking an enemy with melee attacks to build up your spear’s energy. Once fully charged, press R2 to leave a large energy ball on the target. Shoot that ball with your bow to detonate it, dealing massive damage.

Melee Damage

This skill directly increases your damage with light and heavy melee attacks.

Critical Strike

Deal more damage with your critical strike. Knock down or stun an enemy, get near and press R1 to perform a critical strike.

After learning these priority warrior skills, you can progressively unlock their upgrades or new combos/ melee movesets.

Priority Trapper Skills

This skill tree improves Aloy’s efficiency in crafting, placing, and even removing traps. This is quite important in the long run and especially potent in thinning down enemy numbers or softening up tough machines without immediately engaging them in combat.

Quick Trapper

This skill allows you to deploy Traps faster. This is also the first skill of the skill tree so you’ll have to learn it anyway.

Skilled Salvager

Allows you to get more and higher quality resources when dismantling Traps and Tripwires. This includes traps that you have deployed but not triggered or used.

Trap Limit

This is a passive skill that permanently increases the number of Traps and Tripwires you can deploy on the field at any given time.

Food Duration

Food buffs are a very welcome addition to the game. This skill improves the duration of the buffs and stat bonuses obtained from consuming food.

From hereon, you can decide which Trapper Weapon Techniques or Valor surges you would like to learn, depending on your progress in the game and your playstyle.

Priority Infiltrator Skills

This skill tree enhances Aloy’s stealth capabilities. Stealth is integral in HFW’s combat, and makes it easier to clear entire rebel camps without too much resistance or get close enough to unwary machines to override.

Silent Strike

This is the first skill of the skill tree and enabled Aloy to sneak behind enemies and execute them with a silent strike. This is perfect for picking off human enemies one by one without alerting their allies.

Stealth Ranged

This skill increases your ranged Impact damage against unaware enemies.

Silent Strike Heal

Recover health when using Silent Strike.

Quiet Movement

Move more quietly, reducing the chance of detection by enemies.

Low Profile

Reduces your visibility to enemies.

Quiet Spear

Melee attacks are quieter, lessening the chance of being detected by nearby enemies.

Silent Strike Gain

Replenish weapon Stamina and Valor when using Silent Strike. This is incredibly useful when using Sharpshot Bow Weapon Techniques (Focused Shot, Double Notch) to pick off vulnerable enemies from a distance.

You can carefully work on the upgraded versions of these skills to make Aloy a lot more stealthier. This will help immensely in clearing rebel camps and breaking off enemy sight/detection in general combat.

Priority Machine Master Skills

This skill tree improves Aloy’s combat capability to deal with machines like increased duration machines stay overridden, improved health for overridden machines, and using heavy weapons. This skill tree also gives access to Spike Thrower weapon techniques, which is an incredibly potent weapon against any type of machine.

Mounted Defense

Lessens damage taken while mounted. This is the first skill so you have no choice but to get this.

Lasting Override

Increases the time a machine remains overridden.

Machine Health

Overridden machines have more health.

Machine Damage

Overridden machines deal more damage

Machine Elemental

Overridden machines deal more elemental damage. This is applicable to certain machine variants that have elemental attacks (fire, ice, acid, etc)

Efficient Repair

Repair damaged overridden machines for less amount of shards.

Override Subroutines

This is a very important skill to get since it allows you to set a machine to be aggressive or defensive while overriding it. Machines in defensive subroutines will follow you around and attack only nearby enemies. If the machine is mountable, you can ride it and be able to summon/call for it (almost) anywhere. Aggressive subroutine makes the overridden machine seek for things to fight, making it a great decoy and raiding unit to whittle down enemy numbers or soften up a big target.

After learning the skills above, try to get their LV2 equivalent (except for Efficient Repair). As you learn more skills from other skill trees, try to get the skills for Heavy Weapon movement and Part Breaker Valor surge. The latter makes Aloy a perfect machine hunter, capable of tearing more components, improving scrap drop, and increasing machine weak spot damage.

That concludes our Priority Skills Guide for Horizon Forbidden West. We hope that these information helps you in your exploration and adventure. For more content regarding Horizon Forbidden West, please refer to our online guide here at Supercheats.

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