core keeper skills guide

Core Keeper Skills Guide

Core Keeper is a survival sandbox game released in 2021 by Pugstorm for Linux and Microsoft Windows. Although still in its early access phase, Core Keeper offers dozens – if not hundreds – of hours of fun for you and your friends. Core Keeper is just as enjoyable in a single-player environment as in multiplayer.

Paired with the beautiful background music, Core Keeper is a game I find myself immersed in easily, sometimes simply enjoying the atmosphere. Core Keeper is one of the few indie games I want to take my time with; thankfully, the game provides the opportunity for relaxed and fast-paced gameplay with its level system and skill trees. Welcome to a Core Keeper Skills Guide.

At a Glance

There are nine different skills in Core Keeper: Mining, Running, Melee Combat, Vitality, Crafting, Ranged Combat, Gardening, Fishing, and Cooking. These skills are passively leveled up as you play through the game and complete their associated mechanics. As you level up each skill, you can gain Talent Points, which can be invested into the various Tiered skills, starting with Tier One and ending with Tier Four.

Most skills also have a background that, when chosen upon character creation, will give you additional starting points in the specified skill.

Earning Skill Points

You gain skill points in each tree by performing their respective actions. After leveling up a skill five times, you’ll gain a Talent Point, which can be used to rank up your different Talents in the Skill Tree. To move on to the next Tier in the Skill Tree, you need to fully rank up a Talent.

As you move throughout the world and go about your business, you’ll naturally earn skill points. However, most of the classes you can pick from will provide some beginning points in your Skill Tree, with the Nomad being the only exception.


Mining is one of the skills that you will passively level up as you progress throughout the game.

core keeper mining skill
Screenshot by Tallis Spalding

Class Bonus

If you want to start your Core Keeper game with a bonus in mining, I recommend taking the Miner class. It will start you with a +3 Mining Skill, a Copper Pickaxe, and +3 Food Rations.

Skill Tiers

Tier One

Efficient Excavation is your first Talent and the only one available in Tier One.

  • For every point you put into it, Efficient Excavation will increase your mining damage by +2%, for a total of +10% extra mining damage. To unlock Tier Two, you must put five points into this Talent.

Tier Two

You will get access to two talents after unlocking Tier Two: Meticulous Miner and Night Vision.

  • For every Talent Point, you put into Meticulous Miner, you will get +5% of a chance to gain additional ore when mining walls that contain ore. This is my favorite Talent in Tier Two and will help you progress through the game slightly faster.
  • Night Vision will let you see ores +2 Tiles away from your sprite for every point you spend on this Talent. This Talent is valuable when you find yourself overwhelmed by the amount of copper you’re finding and trying to hunt down some Tin Ore to start making better tools.

Tier Three

After ranking up either one of the previous talents or both of them, you will gain access to the Tier Three talents: Miner’s Strength, Mine, Mine, Mine!, and Explosives Engineer.

  • Miner’s Strength will take your Mining Damage and add it to your Melee Damage, increasing by 2% for every Talent Point you add. This is great if you find yourself frequently getting into battles and if you prefer to swing your sword around rather than opting for the ranged weapons.
  • Mine, Mine, Mine! will increase your mining speed by 3% for every point. As someone who loves to zip through and not spend forever chipping away at a few walls, this is my favorite of Tier Three mining skills.
  • Explosives Engineer will increase the damage of your explosives by 4% for every Talent Point added. As someone who uses bombs to fight the bosses, this Talent is also a must.

Tier Four

After completing one or all of the previous tiers, the final two talents are unlocked in Tier Four: Pick and Run! and Archeologist.

  • Pick and Run! provides a 4% movement speed boost after breaking a wall, increasing to a 20% speed boost upon fully ranking up this Talent. This is my personal favorite because I do, genuinely, love to zip around the map at top speed.
  • Archeologist will give you a +0.2% chance to drop a valuable item from any mined wall, increasing with every point put in for a maximum of 1%. This is a great option for the people who love working with the merchants, and with how much you do mine in this game, you have a decent chance of collecting a fair few valuables.


For reaching +100 Points in the Mining Skill, you’ll get the achievement “Diggy Diggy Hole.” 


This skill is the most easily leveled up, simply because you have to do it to get around. You will level up this skill without even realizing it.

core keeper running skill
Screenshot by Tallis Spalding

Class Bonus

If you want to start with 3 extra points in Running, you should start with my favorite background: the Explorer. Aside from the +3 to Running, Explorer also offers an incredibly helpful small lantern (which can be held in your offhand) and 3 rations.

Skill Tiers

Tier One

The only Talent you’ll have access to in Tier One is Endurance Runner.

  • Endurance Runner will decrease the amount of food drained while you run by 5% for every Talent Point you put into this Talent, up to a maximum of 25%.

Tier Two

After maxing out Endurance Runner, you will gain access to the two talents of Tier Two: Balanced Stance and Gotta Go Fast!

  • Balanced Stance will increase your dodge chance by 5% after you stand still for a brief period, up to a maximum of 25%. If you’re struggling in Combat, I recommend putting as many Talent Points into this skill as you can, as it can minimize the damage that you’re taking.
  • For every Talent Point you put into this skill, you will increase your movement speed by 2% after constantly running for a brief period. As I’ve already made clear, I like to move quickly, so this is my preferred Talent of the two.

Tier Three

With Tier Three comes three new talents to put your Talent Points into: On Your Toes, Escape Artist, and Keeping Tempo.

  • On Your Toes gives you a +4% speed boost (up to 20%) after dodging an attack. The further you explore the different biomes, the more likely you are to encounter some enemies you’ll need to get away from as fast as possible, lest you have to hunt down your grave in dangerous territory. So, this skill will help keep your sprite in one piece.
  • With Escape Artist, your snare and stun duration is reduced by 10% per Talent Point invested.
  • For every Talent Point you invest in Keeping Tempo, your damage will increase by 3% after you have run consistently for a short duration.

Tier Four

With the competition of one or more talents from Tier Three, you gain access to the last two talents in Tier Four, Encumbering Presence and Breaking Barriers.

  • For every point in Encumbering Presence, nearby enemies will have a reduced movement speed of -5% (for a maximum of -25%).
  • Breaking Barriers increases your armor according to your movement speed by +1% per rank to a maximum of +5%.


If you can get +100 Points in Running, you’ll get the achievement “Float Like a Butterfly…” 

Melee Combat

If you’re not running away from every fight, you will absolutely level this skill up as you go. You’re more likely to level up Melee Combat faster than Ranged Combat. As this skill levels up, your damage will increase by .5% for each level.

Melee Combat core keeper
Screenshot by Tallis Spalding

Class Bonus

If you’re looking to get some starting points in Melee combat and you want to start out with a weapon, I recommend picking the Fighter background. You’ll start your game with a +3 to Melee combat, a copper sword, and 3 food rations.

Skill Tiers

Tier One

Your only skill for Tier One is called Quick Strikes.

  • Quick Strikes increases your attack speed by +2% for every Talent Point invested.

Tier Two

After fully ranking up Quick Strikes, you’ll gain access to two more talents: Building Anger and Fast and Furious.

  • For every point you invest into Building Anger, your melee damage will increase by +2% after you hit an enemy. This effect can only stack twice, but when it’s maxed out, 20% will deal some pretty significant damage!
  • With Fast and Furious, you will have a 2% chance, increasing per rank, to increase your melee attack speed by +100% after hitting an enemy. I don’t like this One as much as Building Anger, but if you have points to spare or are filling out your Skill Tree completely, you might as well go for it!

Tier Three

When you can finally start investing in Tier Three, you’ll gain access to three talents: Heavy Swings, Stubborn Fighter, and Taking a Step Back.

  • Heavy Swings offers a +3% knockback chance (to a max of +15%).
  • Stubborn Fighter will give you +3% (to a maximum of 15%) melee damage when you hit the same target consecutively. This is my favorite of Tier Three, as it can help you kill a particularly tough enemy faster.
  • Taking a Step Back will give you a +4% chance, maxed out at +20%, to increase your ranged damage by 15% after a successful melee attack. This skill requires that you’re good at Combat in Core Keeper and that you can switch between your ranged and Melee weapons quickly. To help with this, I recommend having your different weapon types only a slot apart.

Tier Four

Once Tier Three has been completed, we can look at the Tier Four skills available: Seething Blade and Strength of the Ancients.

  • Seething Blade offers a 10% (increasing with each rank) chance to restore 1% of your health. As someone who doesn’t like to run away from a fight or usually notices they’re about to die too late, this is the option I would work towards.
  • Strength of the Ancients offers you +4% damage per rank toward bosses. If you often find yourself struggling against bosses or figuring out the best strategy, this choice is worth investing in.


After getting +100 points in Melee combat, you’ll earn the achievement “…Sting like a bee.” 


Assuming you’re fighting (which is inevitable), you will rank up your Vitality. There isn’t much you can do to speed up the process, so take it as you can get it. Unlike most of the other skills, no class background will start you with bonus points in Vitality. As you level up this skill your maximum health will increase with it.

core keeper vitality skill
Screenshot by Tallis Spalding

Skill Tiers

Tier One

Your first Talent will be Maxed Out!

  • 6% (per rank) of your Talent Points will be added toward your total health with this skill. This is the easiest way to build up your maximum health and an inevitable way. I highly recommend keeping on top of this skill so you can bump up your health and continue through the game without dying in a couple of hits.

Tier Two

After fulling ranking up Maxed Out! you will gain access to the next two skills, Strong and Healthy and Desperate Fighter.

  • Strong and Healthy will increase your damage output by 2% per rank, so long as you remain at max health. If you’re great at avoiding hits or on top of your healing, this is a great option, as it will ensure you are constantly doing higher amounts of damage.
  • Desperate Fighter is the flipside of Strong and Healthy, as it increases your damage by 4% per rank when you’re at low health. This is the Talent I would level up first before going after Strong and Healthy, considering that it offers you more damage, and you don’t have to be keenly aware of what your health is at all times to maintain that damage. Of course, you walk the fine line between life and Death as a trade-off.

Tier Three

Once Tier Two has been finished, whether partially or entirely, you will gain access to the three Tier Three talents: Stayin’ Alive, Healing Potency, and Lingering Potions.

  • Stayin’ Alive is your health regeneration option, slowly regenerating your health by 0.2 (increasing with rank) every second while you’re below half of your maximum health. This option is great, but it’s best paired with Healing Potency. Stayin’ Alive is most effective if you can hide in a hole and wait for your health to slowly regenerate, as you’re more likely to lose it before it can be gained.
  • Healing Potency offers you 6%, up to 30% more healing with the over-time regeneration you get from food or items you might have equipped. As mentioned, this skill is best when combined with Stayin’ Alive, though, on its own, it’s still a pretty powerful talent. You’d be a fool to snub your nose at this Talent.
  • Lingering Potions increase the effectiveness of your health potions, making them heal you for 6% (increasing as you rank this Talent up) more over time.

Tier Four

Finally, we come to the last set of talents you can invest your many points into, Protection of Ancients and Cheat Death.

  • Protection of Ancients will reduce the damage you take from bosses by 3% for every point you invest in it.
  • Cheat Death will restore 2% of your health instead of killing you when you take fatal damage. This 2% will increase with every Talent Point you invest. Cheat Death is, arguably, the better option of the two, but, at this point, you’re just going to keep earning points, so instead of letting them sit, you might as well get both! (Although I will encourage you to take Cheat Death first).


Like the other skills, once you’ve gotten the near-unbelievable 100 points in this Talent, you will win the achievement “Health Conscious.” 


Crafting is one of the last skills you can rank up passively, as this is a core game component. Of course, if you actively craft as much as you can, you will likely rank this skill up faster than you would be crafting the bare essentials. This is another class that does not have a background that will provide you with some starting points. As you level up this skill, you don’t get better at Crafting, but your armor does become more effective by .5% per level.

core keeper crafting skill
Screenshot by Tallis Spalding

Skill Tiers

Tier One

The first skill is Base Builder.

  • With a 6% chance increases with every rank up, you can gain an extra item when crafting floors, bridges, walls, and fences.

Tier Two

You probably know the drill at this point, but once Tier One is fully ranked, we’ll gain access to Tier Two’s skills, The Right Tool in the Right Hands, and High Quality Equipment.

  • The Right Tool in the Right Hands gives you a 4% chance to not lose durability on your tools and weapons when you’re losing them. This chance goes up the more Talent Points you put into it. As someone who goes through more than my fair share of tools while I play Core Keeper, this is my preferred option.
  • High Quality Equipment does something similar to the former skill, offering a 4% chance to not lose durability on your armor and equipment when you take damage.

Tier Three

Next up are our three Tier Three skills: Alchemist, Industry Specialist, and Blacksmith.

  • Like its Tier One predecessor, Alchemist gives you a chance (6% and increasing with every rank) to gain an extra item whenever you’re crafting at an alchemy table or a distillery.
  • Instead of just a chance, Base Builder guarantees you will get +1 extra (increasing with, you know it, the rank) items when crafting conveyor belts, rails, and wires.
  • Blacksmith lowers your material cost by 6%, up to 30%, when crafting equipment and weapons on the anvil.

Tier Four

After a lot of Crafting, you can finally access the Tier Four skills: Jewelry Crafter and Unbreakable.

  • When crafting at a jewelry bench, the Talent Jewelry Crafter offers you a 10%+ to gain a polished version of whatever item you’re crafting. This is a great talent to help buff your character. Any failures can quickly be sold for some coin to the merchants instead of being trashed or rotting in whatever chest you forget it’s in.
  • Unbreakable is another excellent talent, offering 6% more armor while you’re at low health (up to 30%).


Once reaching a very distant 100 points in Crafting, you can get the achievement “Crafty Explorer.” 

Ranged Combat

Ranged Combat is the first in a very brief list of actions you must actively choose to perform to earn levels. However, considering the advantage that ranged Combat can give you in some situations, I highly encourage you to carry at least one ranged weapon alongside your melee weapon when you go out to explore. This is yet another skill that does not have an associated background.

As you level up your ranged Combat, the damage you deal will slowly increase by 0.5% per level.

core keeper ranged combat skill
Screenshot by Tallis Spalding

Skill Tiers

Tier One

Our base talent for the Ranged Combat skill is Rapid Shots.

  • Rapid Shots increases your Ranged attack speed by 2%, up to 10%.

Tier Two

Following the trend of the past skill trees, upon unlocking Tier Two, you’ll access two new talents: Keeping Momentum and Weakness Detection.

  • Like its Melee Attack counterpart, Building Anger, Keeping Momentum will give you 2% (up to 10%) ranged damage for every consecutive hit you make on an enemy, though it only stacks twice. This is my preferred Talent from Tier Two, as I prefer a guaranteed damage up rather than a chance to raise my critical.
  • Weakness Detection gives you a 2%+ chance on a hit to increase your chance of a ranged, critical hit by 100% for a little bit.

Tier Three

Still carrying on with the pattern, Tier Three gives us access to three talents: Slimy Bullets, Charging In, and Stun Shot.

  • Slimy Bullets mimics the effect of slime on the ground, giving you a 20%+ chance to slow down your target by 8% after you manage to hit them successfully with a ranged attack.
  • Charging in gives you a 4%+ chance on a ranged hit to deal 15% more melee damage. If you switch between ranged and Melee attacks with ease, this is definitely the skill for you. It, in turn, would pair incredibly well with the Melee Combat talent Taking a Step Back.
  • Stun Shot will offer you a 4%+ chance to stun your targets after a successful hit. This is a great way to rapid-fire damage your enemies, as it takes away their ability to dodge your attacks.

Tier Four

Our last two skills in Tier Four are Focused Accuracy and Amplified Precision.

  • Focused Accuracy will increase your ranged damage by 5%+ after you stand still for a brief period. Considering I often find myself standing still to shoot my ranged weapons, this is a great option to deal even more damage than before.
  • Amplified Precision increases your critical damage dealt by ranged weapons by 8%, up to 40%. This Talent is best paired with the previous Tier’s abilities, significantly increasing your chance of dealing criticals.


After hitting the mark and scoring 100 points in Ranged Combat, you’ll rightfully earn the achievement of “Robin Hood.” 


Gardening is another task that you can get away without doing in your time playing Core Keeper, but if you do choose to garden, you’ll likely have an easier time keeping your hunger up and healing regularly.

core keeper gardening skill
Screenshot by Tallis Spalding

Class Bonus

If you want to start with 3 points in Gardening, you can select the Gardener background when making your character. Alongside the 3 extra points, you will also begin the game with a Copper Hoe and a Watering Can.

Skill Tiers

Tier One

Grateful Gardener is our beginning talent for the Gardening skill tree.

  • This Talent offers you a 5%+ chance to get a seed when you harvest a plant.

Tier Two

In Tier Two, we get access to the next two talents, Eat Your Vegetables! and Bottomless Watering Can.

  • Eat Your Vegetables! offers 5%+ more food when you eat plants or cooked food from plants.
  • Bottomless Watering Can gives you a 10%+ chance not to use any water when using your watering can.

Tier Three

The next three talents in the Gardening skill tree are Thorny Weapons, Thorny Skin, and Poison Coated Weapons. Tier Three takes your Gardening skills and sets out to use them in shedding blood rather than sewing seeds.

  • Thorny Weapons gives you 5%+ critical damage when you make a successful critical hit.
  • Thorny Skin lets you deal 10+ thorns damage when you’re hit by an enemy. This is my favorite because I do, genuinely, end up being hit by enemies so much during Combat.
  • Poison Coated Weapons does what it says. This Talent has a 5%+ chance to deal poison damage to your enemies on a hit, reducing their healing by 75%. This is an amazing skill when you’re fighting bosses because it can help to end fights faster and, if they run away, keeps them from regaining all of their health in the interim.

Tier Four

The last two talents we can invest our Talent Points into are Expert Gardener and Potent Poison.

  • Expert Gardener increases the chance of your plants turning golden by 3%+. Golden crops can boost how much your crops feed you and how much they heal, so if you do a lot of Gardening or plan to continue doing so, this is the first one you want to go for.
  • However, if you prefer Combat over Gardening, the Potent Poison skill is for you. The Potent Poison skill gives you 5%+ more damage against targets that have been poisoned.


Recreate the entirety of Royal Botanic Gardens with your in-game plant life and consistently harvest your plants, and you, too, could have the 100-point achievement “Nature Nuturer.” 


core keeper fishing skill
Screenshot by Tallis Spalding

Fishing is a skill that you could very easily get away with not putting any points into. However, it is worth taking some time out to practice because fish can offer you more health than plants and will generally sell for more if you opt for that route.

Class Bonus

If you do enjoy cooking, you have the option to start with the Fisherman background. This will start you with 3 points in Fishing, a wooden fishing rod, and 3 food rations. This class, however, is one of the least useful ones, in my opinion, so you’re probably better off picking another class and mining until you find a fishing rod.

Skill Tiers

Tier One

The first Fishing skill available is Angler’s Advantage.

  • For each point you invest into Angler’s Advantage, any fish you hook will start 3%+ closer to being drawn in.

Tier Two

The following two skills we can access are Fisherman’s Luck and Improved Bait.

  • Fisherman’s Luck increases your chance of hooking a fish by 4%+. This could, in theory, help to rank up the Fishing skill faster.
  • Improved Bait causes fish to bite your hook 5%+ faster. This skill also can help you rank up the Fishing skill faster, so when paired with Fisherman’s Luck, you can probably farm up some Fishing levels relatively quickly.

Tier Three

Our following three available skills are Studied Patterns, Steady Feet, and Throwing Expert.

  • Studied Patterns takes your fishing skills and translates them into Combat, offering you a 2%+ chance to dodge attacks.
  • Steady Feet decreases the impact of slippery movement by 10%. This is a great option to have when you’re going up against Morpha the Aquatic Mass.
  • Throwing Expert increases your fishing rod’s range by 10%+, meaning you can hit hard-to-reach spots without having to build bridges out.

Tier Four

The last two skills in the Fishing skill tree are Well-Trained Aim and Power of Omega-3!

  • Well-Trained Aim is another skill that takes your fishing skills and translates them into Combat, giving you 2%+ of your fishing skill as Ranged Combat damage. So if you plan to be a Ranged Combat-oriented character, you should work on building up your fishing level specifically so you can get access to this Talent.
  • Power of Omega-3 will give you 3%+ damage against bosses, but only after you have eaten a meal cooked with fish or an uncooked fish.


Fish all your lakes dry and destroy the ecosystem to earn 100 points, thusly earning you the achievement “Completely Hooked.” (You will not run out of fish. They will continue to spawn, even after the achievement, I promise.)


Although you could, theoretically, go through Core Keeper without cooking anything, I do not encourage you to try this. Cooking the food you harvest throughout your travels will boost how much they can heal you and give you more bang for your buck. It’s also incredibly easy to cook, and you can leave your cooker running while you go off to adventure again, rather than sitting and babying it like you would while Fishing.

core keeper cooking skill
Screenshot by Tallis Spalding

Class Bonus

As expected, the background Chef will start you with 3 extra points in the Cooking skill. The Chef background will also supply you with a cooking pot and 8 mushrooms when you begin your game.

Skill Tiers

Tier One

Utilizing Every Nutrient is your first and only Tier One skill.

  • Utilizing Every Nutrient increases the food gained from cooked meals by 5%+.

Tier Two

Following the same pattern as every other skill in the game, Tier Two gives us access to two more skills, Not So Picky and Healthy Diet.

  • The Not So Picky Talent gives you the Well Fed buffs with 2%+ requirements. This is a great way to ensure that you’re not consuming a lot of cooked food and can help to conserve what you carry on you while exploring.
  • Healthy Diet increases the effectiveness of the Well Fed buffs by 20%. Pair it with Not So Picky, and you can be a powerhouse.

Tier Three

As one would expect, when we can start investing in Tier Three, we gain access to three skills, Fast Food, Long Lasting Food, and The Smell of Food.

  • Fast Food increases your melee attack speed by 1%+ when you eat cooked food.
  • Long Lasting Food increases the duration of any buffs given by cooked food by 6%+. Pair this with the previous Tier’s buffs, and you’ll have a very good time.
  • The Smell of Food is really only if you’re playing in multiplayer, as it increases the damage dealt by your allies by 4%+.

Tier Four

Finally, we reach the last two skills available in the Cooking skill tree, Master Chef and Sharing is Caring.

  • Master Chef increases your chances by 5%+ of additional food you gain while cooking to be rare. These rare foods will be more effective than their standard counterparts.
  • Sharing is Caring is another option that really only works if you’re playing in multiplayer. This Talent restores .1+ health every second to your allies. However, if you take all these ally-based skills given by the Cooking Skill tree, you and your friends can tear through Core Keeper with ease.


Cook yourself a feast and earn 100 points in the Cooking skill. By doing so, you’ll gain the achievement “Cheese it!” 


Question: What Skills are in Core Keeper?

Answer: There are nine total skills in Core Keeper: Mining, Running, Melee Combat, Ranged Combat, Cooking, Crafting, Fishing, Vitality, and Gardening.

Question: What is the Best Background to Start with in Core Keeper?

Answer: For beginners, the Explorer background will be one of the best ones you can start with. It provides one of the best starting tools: the small lantern.

Question: What is the Best Way to Level Up Skills in Core Keeper?

Answer: The best way to level up skills is to perform their associated task. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to get talent points quickly, but as you go through the game, you’ll earn most of the talent points needed for your various skills passively.


Although the skills in Core Keeper and their corresponding skill trees might seem intimidating at first, there’s really no way to go wrong with them. The game is set up to give you an overwhelming amount of points to level up with, and you can eventually fill out your entire skill three and much more beyond that.

Although I certainly like some skills more than others (Cheat Death versus Protection of Anicents, for example), they all have their uses and will generally enhance your gameplay to make it a smoother and easier experience. What I would have given to have most of these skills while fighting Glurch…

Until then, work away, and you’ll gradually build up your Talent Points and be able to get all the skills your heart desires.

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