Friday, February 18, 2022

Horizon Forbidden West Guide – Staple Skills You Should Unlock First

Platform: PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4
Publisher: PlayStation Studios
Developer: Guerrilla Games
Release: <time datetime="2022-02-18T12:00:00Z" class="datetime">February 18, 2022</time>
Rating: Teen

Horizon Forbidden West introduces six skill trees: Hunter, Warrior, Survivor, Trapper, Infiltrator, and Machine Master. Each contains numerous abilities that allow players to sculpt the Aloy of their liking. Whether she’s a melee-focused butt-kicker or a stealth-oriented machine hacker, there’s no wrong answer in terms of what you choose. It can, however, be paralyzing to know where to start. 

Though it’s ideal to focus on maximizing one or two trees, each has staple abilities that every player should have, no matter their playstyle. The best part is these essential skills are inexpensive (costing a single skill point) and sit among the first batch of available traits, making them easily accessible. 

So, before you travel entirely down the rabbit hole of a particular skill tree, invest the first few hours into cherry-picking these must-have abilities. 


Hunter focuses on improving Aloy’s primary form of offense: her bow. Her chief ability is Concentration, AKA the ability to slow time and zoom in for more precise shots. You’ll always use this, so you should improve it as quickly as possible.

Concentration Regen: reduces the ability’s cooldown so you can use it again faster. 

Deep Concentration: prolongs the state of Concentration by making its meter deplete more slowly.

Valor Surge Master: build up Valor faster. You’ll need this resource to execute the game’s new Valor Surges, an assortment of powerful special moves embedded within each skill tree.  


Forbidden West improves and broadens Aloy’s prowess with her staff. Though less vital than her bow, there are plenty of times you’ll need to battle foes up close and personal, so you should at least have these skills under your belt:

Nora Warrior: an easy four-hit combo string that ends on a powerful heavy strike.

Block Breaker: a short combo that shatters an opponent’s block. 

Melee Damage: boosts the damage of light and heavy attacks. 

Critical Strike +: critical strikes deal more damage.


Survivor revolves around healing and durability. Forbidden West’s mechanical and human adversaries can be very challenging, and Aloy drops fast if you’re not careful. Best to buff her up early with these introductory talents.  

Low Health Regen: automatically regain health faster while below 25% vitality.

Low Health Defense: resist more damage while below 25% health. 

Medicine Capacity: carry more healing berries. 

Potion Proficiency: potions restore more health and can be consumed faster. 

Valor on Impact: gain Valor when hit by enemies. 


As the name implies, Trapper lets you get better at creating, placing, and disarming traps. Using traps isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but there are still a few general perks you’ll want to have, just in case.

Quick Trapper: place traps on the field faster. 

Nimble Trapper: craft traps, potions, and tools faster. 

Skilled Salvager: recover more and higher quality materials when disarming traps and tripwires. 


Sneaky players will want to pay a lot of attention to the stealth-focused Infiltrator tree. However, those who prefer to go loud will still enjoy these skills for the inevitable times keeping quiet becomes necessary. This is especially true when hunting skittish or aggressive machines for their unique parts. It can be much easier to surgically detach valuable components undetected instead of trying to do the same in a full-blown fight where you risk killing the machine and losing those parts for good. 

Silent Strike +: silent attacks deal more damage

Silent Strike Heal: recover health performing silent attacks. 

Stealth Tear +: detach machine parts more easily while in stealth.  

Quiet Movement: move quieter to reduce detection. 

Low Profile: reduce your visibility to enemies.  

Machine Master

This tree is all about hacking and manipulating machines to your advantage. Again, this tree is more niche, but you’ll override a machine sooner or later – either to use as a mount or as a combat partner – so you may as well be prepared. 

Mounted Damage: take less damage while mounted.

Lasting Override: machines stay overridden longer.

Machine Damage: overridden machines deal more damage. 

Heavy Lifter: move faster while using a heavy weapon. This applies to big guns such as laser turrets. You’ll be thankful you grabbed this skill when trying to use the powerful weapon you separated from a Slitherfang or Thunderjaw.

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