Skills (スキル, Sukiru?) are a recurring gameplay mechanic in the Star Ocean series. Skills, which have received varying names throughout the series, usually serve as supporting abilities to the more active Special Arts and Symbology (and later, Rush Modes) used in battle.
In Star Ocean, Star Ocean: The Second Story and their remakes, skills are purchasable sets of abilities, obtained in Skill Guilds throughout the different towns. Skills are required to learn Specialties, Super Specialties and Item Creation specialties. Certain skills also increase particular character stats and, in the case of combat skills, may add new abilities for the battlefield.
Upon being learned, they are improved through the accumulation of Skill Points (SP), which are given as characters rise in level or through other occasions. Each skill is rated on a scale of 0-10, with 0 representing no ability and 10 representing its mastery. However, none of the skills start off as visible except the ones the characters begin with until the player starts buying skill sets at Skill Guilds.
Skills available in these four games are divided in four sets (Knowledge, Sense, Technical, Combat), each with three levels. In Star Ocean and Star Ocean: First Departure, there is a fifth set called Secret Fighting Techniques, which enable the characters to learn enhanced versions of their special arts.
Support skills add new characteristics to a character's abilities (simply called 'battle skills', but divided into special arts and symbology as usual). Support skills are not exclusive to any character, though every character does not learn every skill. Most skills are learned through leveling up; the remaining skills must be taught through skill manuals.
- As with specialties, some of the skills from the first games were re-purposed into Field Skills for The Last Hope.