Disco Elysium builds aren't as straightforward as they might seem. Harry has multiple skills you can invest in, with wildly different results on your experience depending on how you spend skill points. However, unlike traditional RPGs, there's no dominant, strongest build that lets him glide with grace and ease through the investigation. There are, however, some skills that make life just a bit easier for you or, if nothing else, make the script even more enjoyable.
Best Disco Elysium Skill Caps
Whatever your choice, any good Disco Elysium build should take skill caps into consideration. The four main areas you choose at the beginning determine how high you can raise their respective skills later. The skill floor is however many points you initially add, and the skill cap is double that. For example, if you put two points into intellect, all Harry's intellect-based skills start at two, and you can raise them two more times.
Final Cut lets you take drugs to temporarily boost skill caps, though it comes at the risk of health and morale. In other words, it's not something you should be doing frequently.
You can also use the Thought Cabinet to raise certain skill levels without any negative effects.
Best Disco Elysium Build for First Playthrough
Disco Elysium is at its best when you're figuring out how things work and what effects your actions have. A moderate build that lets you do that while still ensuring you have a fair chance of passing most checks is 4-4-2-2. Intellect and Psyche are much more important than the other two in most cases, though 2-2 still gives you enough room to level up essential physical skills for a good chance at passing most checks.
These are the skills you should prioritize for this build:
- Empathy (this one has more passive checks than any other skill in the game)
- Shivers or Perception
- Hand-Eye Coordination
These should get you through most situations, though feel free to swap as you see fit. For example, you could prioritize Shivers, Inland Empire, and Encyclopedia if you wanted to delve into Disco Elysium's lore or spend some points on Drama to get a different view of who you're speaking with.
Just be wary of putting too many points in any given category, as some have adverse effects. Too much drama, for example, makes Harry paranoid.
Whatever your build, there will inevitably be some side quests or cases you'll have to approach differently. Disco Elysium isn't designed for perfection, so any choice you make almost always had a trade-off. Take Cuno's quest, for example. A Harry with no empathy is likely to get locked out of his questline and can't help the wretched waif into a better life as a result.