Box art - Returnal

Returnal: What is Proficiency and how to raise it

Early on in Returnal, it’s not apparent just how Proficiency works and how important it is for players. Learning how Proficiency works will ensure players always have the best weapons equipped and are continually getting stronger. We’ll detail how it works and how it’s earned below.

What is Weapon Proficiency in Returnal?

Returnal Weapon Proficiency stats

Selene doesn’t level up like most characters in RPGs. Instead, she gains Proficiency. Her Weapon Proficiency dictates the minimum level of weapons found throughout the world.

Raising Selene’s Proficiency level is vital because the higher a weapon’s level, the higher stats it’ll have. For example, at level 0, where Selene starts, the default pistol will have no bonuses in any of its three attribute categories (Bonus Damage, Overload Projectiles, and Firerate). At level 15, 15 points will be randomly distributed through these categories.

Since Selene doesn’t level up (because she’s always dying), higher-level weapons are one of the only reliable ways to increase her offensive power.

How to increase Weapon Proficiency in Returnal

There are two ways to increase Proficiency in Returnal:

  • Kill enemies
  • Find Calibrators

Kill enemies

The first method is easy to understand. Like with most RPG-type games, Selene can obtain Proficiency (XP) by killing enemies. The bigger and tougher the foe, the more Proficiency it’ll drop.

There are some Artifacts and Parasites that can affect Selene’s Proficiency Rate. This is basically a multiplier. At the base level, which is 100%, Selene will earn the base amount of XP. However, it can be raised or lowered, which will cause either accelerated or slowed leveling.

Find Calibrators

Calibrators are scattered throughout the game and appear at random in areas as loot. They come in varying degrees of quality, with the best ones being able to raise Proficiency multiple levels at a time. The most powerful are found at the beginning of certain biomes. These allow Selene to head straight to a particular area without having to level up her Proficiency to stand a chance against the enemies there.