In this Starfield Build Guide I’ll be teaching you how to create one of the most powerful builds in the game, the Stealth Sniper! Following the long tradition of Skyrim players making Stealth Archers, we have taken the concept to intergalactic travel in Starfield, and with fantastic success. Read on to find out how to make the most OP build that makes Very Hard play like Very Easy.
Please be mindful that this build contains unavoidable early game spoilers due to showing some combat mechanics you might not be aware of. If you want to avoid all spoilers, read our written guide and don’t go past the section labelled spoiler!
Stealth Sniper – Starfield Build Guide
The Stealth Sniper is a Starfield Build focused around Critical Hits and the damage multipliers from sneak attacks, dealing devastating damage without having to get too close to enemies and staying out of harm’s way most of the time.
This is an excellent build for those of you who want to get more into the combat and ramp up the difficulty, but don’t want to feel like you’re fighting bullet sponges. The damage you will deal is so good that you will get the benefits of hard mode (more legendary enemies), without having to empty entire clips into a single enemy, which can happen if you’re not setup properly or haven’t invested in Combat Skills on higher difficulties.
How to Build a Stealth Sniper Starfield Build
Your first decision will be to select a background and traits for your character. Since this is a stealth-focused build, I suggest you pick one of the following:
Cyber Runner: Gives you Persuasion, Research Methods and Security. Persuasion is an incredibly useful quality of life questing skill that is helpful for any build, while Research Methods will save you a ton of time to unlock useful mods, and Security will enable you to hack into systems. They are all a good match for this build.
Industrialist: Gives you Persuasion, Research Methods and Security. Persuasion is an incredibly useful quality of life questing skill that is helpful for any build, while Research Methods will save you a ton of time to unlock useful mods, and Security will enable you to hack into systems. They are all a good match for this build.
Soldier: Gives you Ballistics, Boostpack Training and Fitness. These are all useful skills as they increase your damage with ballistic weapons, enables you to use your boostpack, and buff your oxygen supply.
Long Hauler: Gives you Weight Lifting, Piloting and Ballistic Weapon Systems. Weight Lifting and Piloting are core needed skills for any player because of the quality of life they deliver. Ballistic Weapon Systems will make your space combat just a tad easier.
Now when it comes to picking traits, there are some big decisions to make based on your intended gameplay. Some of the trait choices are roleplay or quest focused, such as “Kid Stuff”, but I will focus on traits that benefit the build. If you want to pick roleplay traits you can and it won’t really affect your performance, these are just my suggestions for optimization.
- Alien DNA – this gives you a bonus to oxygen and health at the expense of food performance. It’s well worth it in my opinion, particularly during the earlier sections of the game before your build has fully come together.
- Introvert – I usually recommend Extrovert because I love having companions. But for this build your companions will be seen by enemies (even if you’re not pulled out of stealth from it) which can get annoying so I started leaving them behind.
- Terra Firma – I spend most of my oxygen sprinting when exploring planets so this is a must-have for me.
Starfield Build Guide – Stealth Sniper Weapons, Armor & Mods
This is Starfield Build is meant to completely come together at levels 30+, because you are aiming for two of the Master Skills that are only unlocked after spending 12 points is their respective skill trees. For this reason, your weapons and mods will have an impact on your performance as you level up, before things are completely fleshed out, and you should pay close attention to these.
Your first task will be to procure a Rifle or Sniper Rifle that has some quality perks. This can be done by visiting the vendors of the game. An early but very useful place to check out is Rowland Arms or Laredo Firearms in Akila City (Akila – Cheyenne), and the general vendor there as well.
You may get some drops or loot of good weapons as you go, but keep in mind that weapon rarity (the color) doesn’t always mean the weapon is better. The base damage of your weapon is its most important aspect, and that changes based on weapon LEVEL so you want to make sure to keep updating your weapon as you level up.
There are four different rarities in Starfield, and each is inherently related to the amount of Perks the weapon possesses. You will not be able to change, remove, or add Perks to your equipment so you need to make it work with what you find.
- Common – Drops with no Weapon Perks
- Rare – Drops with one Weapon Perk
- Epic – Drops with two Weapon Perks
- Legendary – Drops with Three Weapon Perks
For the Stealth Sniper Build, you’ll want to find the following bonuses, which are available for Rifles:
- Hitman – +15% damage when aiming. You will be aiming all the time so this is a flat % increase to your damage
- Instigating – Deals double damage to targets with full health – This is massive as you’ll be aiming to take things down with one headshot.
- Anti-Personnel – +10% Damage against humans – Most of your enemies will be human so this is a useful flat increase to your damage
- Rapidshot – +25% increase in attack speed – This is nice to have when you’re dealing with legendary enemies that have shields and need more than 1 bullet.
Weapon Mods are also very important for this build, so you will want to spend points into Research Methods and Weapon Engineering to unlock all the mods available. My favorite mods to slot are:
- Suppressor – A must have Mod to reduce the sound made when firing your rifle. If you don’t have this, enemies will hear you and Stealth will be impossible. GET THIS ASAP!
- High Powered – More damage per shot is always good. One shot, one kill is the name of the game, so you want as much damage as you can.
- Extra Large Magazine (or the largest you can find) – This means more shots before reloading. Less useful on standard rifles, but a must have on Sniper Rifles or you’ll be reloading very often.
- Long Barrel – The increased Range is needed to make sure you deal full damage at longer ranges. Increased Accuracy is also nice from this.
- Tactical Grip – The reload speed is nice, since rifles can have long reload speeds. Additionally, Stability is good as well.
- Medium Scope or Long Scope – This is personal preference, depending on your skill. However, Long Scopes will be too zoomed in tight quarters, making Medium the better all-around option, though it won’t be as good as Long in wide open areas.
Space Suit & Apparel
Armor and Apparel do not play a big role in offensive combat, but there are some special ones that you can get and benefit from. For Apparel, I would suggest trying to get one of the ECS uniforms, such as ECS Captain Actionwear as they give you a small % increase to your reload speed.
For your Space Suit and Helmet, you will want to be on the lookout for the following perks:
- Chameleon – Available for Helmets and Spacessuits, lets you blend with the environment when not moving (Similar to what you get from Concealment Skill)
- Mechanized – A quality of life Space Suit perk, gives you +40 carry capacity
- O2 Filter – A helmet perk that gives you -25% Oxygen Consumption, great for sprinting
- Combat Veteran – A helmet perk that reduces incoming damage from human enemies by 15%
Stealth Sniper Skills Guide
When it comes to Skills for this Starfield Stealth Sniper Build, players will likely be very torn about how to progress because there are some quality of life, non combat skills that make other facets of gameplay smooth. For the purpose of this build, I’ll lay out the combat and build skills that you must have, and then mention the extras that you may want to get.
I will assume that you can balance combat advancement with your own questing skills based on how you’re finding the combat and how important that is to you. I will not revisit here how the skill system works in full, you can check our Starfield Best Skills Guide to get the full picture.
Stealth in Starfield works very similarly to other Bethesda games, so most players will be familiar with the concept. Crouch (B) or (Left Control) to enter stealth and stay still to remain undetected. A small bar appears on the top center of your screen that will show “Hidden”. This bar will change colors to yellow and red and become “caution”, “danger” based on whether enemies are close to detecting you or have made you out.
The objective of the Stealth Sniper is to remain hidden all or most of the time. For this purpose, we’ll put points into stealth and eventually make it so we can move faster while crouching without being detected.
While you’re hidden, all of your attacks on enemies will count as “sneak attack” and this will trigger any special effects associated with it. Your companions will not pull you out of stealth, but they are easily seen by enemies and can become a hindrance, so I suggest going into combat alone for the most part.
How to Spend Your Skillpoints
You will not be able to refund skill points or respec your character, so make your choices wisely! You will need to consider a smart combination of combat and quality of life skills, and you will need to level up each skill challenge to progress as well. This means there’s no easy way to tell you “put 1 point here at this level” because your own progress will vary.
Your first order of business will be to begin unlocking and spending 4 points into the “Basic” tier of skills. This means putting points into these Tier 1 Skills, and upgrading them
- Stealth – self explanatory since this is a stealth build!
- Weight Lifting – you will want more carry weight
- Ballistics – Increases your damage done with any ballistic weapons and we’re using ballistic rifles
- Research Methods – Makes your research less costly and more efficient
- Piloting (QOL skill, just 1 or 2 points is enough for most of game)
These skills set up your basic character with two quality of life features, piloting and weight lifting, while enabling you to research a lot more efficiently. Combat-wise, stealth will introduce you to the intended gameplay for the build, and ballistics will buff your damage.
My preferred approach here was to max stealth, weight lifting and ballistics ASAP, with piloting and research lagging behind based on what I needed. If you pick a background with persuasion or hacking just one level can be enough for those for now.
Once I unlocked the Advanced Skills (Tier 2, requires you spend 4 points on tier 1 skills), I put points into:
- Pain Tolerance – This is a flat damage reduction skill for the rare instance when you’re found out. You could take other skills if you wanted, but I prefer to have the security since I made this build for very hard.
- Rifle Certification – This Skill gives you a % increase to your rifle damage, which will compound with all the other bonuses you’re looking to get.
- Weapon Engineering – This Skill will allow you to install better mods on your weapons, and it’s incredibly important that you take it in order to optimize your offense, as you will have to swap weapons when leveling up due to damage degradation.
After Spending 8 points on a category, you will be able to put points into Expert Skills. Aim for:
- Sniper Certification – This Combat skill has an incredibly powerful bonus at rank 4, giving you 50% more damage when using a scope. This is huge and will soon merge with other bonuses to create fantastic numbers.
Once you have spent 12 points on the Physical and Combat categories, you will be able to unlock the master skills. These skills are INCREDIBLY powerful and make the build fully come together. Once you max these, you’ll be able to one-shot enemies 10-20 levels above you without any issues.
- Concealment – One of the most overpowered skills in the whole game, it will make your sneak attacks do 4 to 10 times their normal damage, in addition to giving you chameleon stealth which is very nice.
- Sharpshooting – This incredibly powerful master skill starts off by making your headshot crits with ranged weapons do a fantastic 50% more damage. It ramps up to include leg crits, and all crits, eventually giving you a 25% crit chance buff when you kill an enemy with a ranged critical.
Powers to use with the Stealth Sniper Build
Beware of mild story SPOILERS FROM THIS POINT!
After doing a couple of the main quest steps, you will arrive at a point where you visit a temple and discover your first Power. Powers are special abilities that you gain by completing special events inside Temples spread across the Galaxy. These can have a huge impact on your gameplay, so knowing to go get them early on can save a lot of frustration.
Powers can be acquired in different orders and can be swapped on the fly, so you can adapt to situations and make the best use of them.
For this build, we will be aiming to get the power “Sense Star Stuff” as soon as possible. This power will allow you to cast a sensory net that makes living creatures shine in a special light, allowing you to see them through walls and from good distance. When playing a stealth character, knowing where enemies are is vitally important, so this is a fantastic power to pair with your style.
You can obtain “Sense Star Stuff” by completing Temple Chi in the planet Piazzi IV-C
- Effect: Bind yourself to the particles of creation, sensing the life force of any human, alien, or Starborn
- Temple: Temple Chi
- Location: Piazzi IV-C
- Cost: 15 Power
- Total: 60 Power
Final Tips & Tricks
The key to this build is to manage your early game progression by procuring a rifle with the right bonuses and learn how to use Stealth and Sneak Attacks. If you’re playing on very hard, you’ll want to take a slow and steady approach until you’re familiar with the mechanics.
Leveling up does not take long if you maximize your scanning, crafting and questing, as discovering systems and locations also gives XP. You can also get an XP buff from sleeping in a bed, such as the one available on your ship.
Your general gameplay approach will be to sneak into an enemy base, cast “Sense Star Stuff” and then position yourself to take out each enemy from a distance without alerting others thanks to the Suppressor on your weapon and the distance you will be firing from. This will get easier and easier as you progress this Build and gain more passive damage benefits, especially once you have Concealment.
There are probably a ton of fixed good weapons that players may find that work perfectly for this build, so I’d love to hear about what you have found in the comments, and I’ll add the notes to the written version of this guide for other players to check it out. Make sure you include where you found your loot!
Hopefully you found out Stealth Sniper build useful. Check out more our guides in Starfield Beginner Guide – Best Tips Before You Play and Starfield Skills Guide. For all your Constellation needs head to our wiki.