Horizon Forbidden West Skill Trees and Valor Surges Explained

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Horizon Forbidden West Aloy in Ranged Master Valor Surge Activated Face Paint

Horizon Forbidden West is an action role-playing game from Guerilla Games. Set six months after the ending of the first game (Horizon Zero Dawn), Aloy is facing a set of brand-new threats. A red blight is rapidly spreading across the land, killing the wildlife, and it's threatening to starve everyone. Aloy must venture into the Forbidden West to find out what it is and how to stop it before it's too late.

On her quest, she will meet new allies but also need to navigate new threats. Some of these threats include new machines that she'll need to battle underwater and a Rebel Leader called Regalla. Regalla has learned how to control machines and, along with her rebels, she's using them to terrorise the land. Fortunately, you're going to have a whole host of skills to discover and unlock that can help you defend yourself against all of this.

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In this guide, we break down what the skill trees are, what Valor Surges are, and how to use them.

Table of Contents

What Are the Skill Trees?

Skill Trees are where you can spend your hard-earned skill points. You are awarded skill points each time you level up in the game or complete a quest. Head into your inventory menu (the one that shows you your map, quest, and notebook), then skip along to the "skills" tab. This is where you can find all of the Skill Trees and unlock new skills throughout the game.

There are six skill trees in the game and each one is focused on a specific area of gameplay:

  • Warrior: This skill tree is heavily focused on upgrading your skills with your Spear and in melee combat.
  • Trapper: The Trapper skill tree focuses on the strategic way to approach the game. It heavily upgrades most of the skills that surround the placement, crafting, and use of traps against enemies.
  • Hunter: This is the largest skill tree out of the six. It focused mostly on improving your skills around ranged combat, concentration, and stamina.
  • Survivor: The Survivor skill tree focuses on medical treatments, health boosts, and clever alterations for some weapons.
  • Infiltrator: This skill tree is all about stealth and any objects (like Smoke Bombs) that increase your ability to remain unseen.
  • Machine Master: Last but not least, the Machine Master skill tree is tailored towards any and all skills surrounding machines. Whether it's learning a new technique to help you fight them, or increasing your ability to override machines, this is a good one to focus on. After all, machines are one of the biggest threats in the game.
Horizon Forbidden West Ranged Master Unlocked Valor Surge Menu Upgraded To Level 3
The more you upgrade a Valor Surge, the more powerful it becomes.
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What Are Valor Surges?

Valor Surges are a new feature for Forbidden West. They are special combat actions that Aloy can do to inflict a significant amount of damage on an enemy. You can unlock them in the Skill Tree by using Skill Points. However, you must unlock the skills connected to the Valor Surge before you can have it. Once you do have a Valor Surge, you can upgrade it three times.

How Many Valor Surges Are There?

There are 12 Valor Surge actions overall. Each one comes in three different levels and there are two Valor Surges to collect in each Skill Tree. However, there is a price to pay for having more powerful Valor attacks. The more powerful the attack is (the higher level it is), the longer it will take for the purple bar to charge up.

You can find out more about each Valor Surge below:

  • Critical Boost: This increases your chance of getting Critical Hits and it increases the overall damage that Critical Hits inflict on an enemy.
  • Melee Might: This attaches a special component to Aloy's spear that increases the damage of Melee Attacks against enemies.
  • Elemental Fury: You get better resistance to elemental attacks. At the same time, it'll increase the buildup and general effects of your own elemental attacks.
  • Trap Specialist: This increases the effectiveness of any traps or tripwires.
  • Ranged Master: This increases the damage and stamina of any ranged weapon you are using.
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  • Powershots: For a specific amount of shots, the damage inflicted by Bows, Boltblasters, Ropecasters, and Spike Throwers is increased.
  • Toughened: This is a potion that will instantly replenish your health and give you temporary resistance to status effects.
  • Overshield: This is a shield that absorbs any damage and, if destroyed, it will activate again when Valor is still available (if the purple bar is still charged).
  • Stealth Stalker: Essentially, this is an invisibility cloak from technology that was used on Stalkers (for those of you familiar with Zero Dawn). However, if you aim using a ranged weapon or you use a melee attack, the cloak will disappear briefly.
  • Radial Blast: Aloy will add a component to her spear that will trigger a massive electrical shockwave around her once it hits the ground. It will send nearby enemies into the shocked state.
  • Part Breaker: This helps you to deal more damage to machine parts and weak spots.
  • Chain Burst: You can damage multiple machines by attacking just one (if the other machines are close enough). It also increases your chance of knocking down a machine with an attack.

How to Use Valor Surges

You need to charge up your Valor bar before you can use any of your Valor Surge actions. This is the purple bar that can be found on the bottom right of your screen, next to your weapon icon. You charge up this bar by inflicting damage on enemies. More specifically, when you hit their weak points or remove armour pieces and components. When the bar is charged, press L1 to open your weapon wheel, then press R1 to trigger your equipped Valor Surge. The surge will then be active until the purple bar has depleted.

When you have started to establish your skill tree in Horizon Forbidden West, you can start to figure out which weapons will complement it. Take a look at our weapons list to learn all about the new weapons and ammunition types you can get your hands on in the game. Pairing your weapons with your skills will always increase your chances of survival. Also, knowing a bit about some of your enemies will be useful. Check out our machines list to learn about some of the new machines you'll encounter on your quest.