There are five different skill categories in Stardew Valley. By leveling up a skill, tools proficiency is increased and crafting recipes are unlocked. At level 5 the player is given a choice between 2 professions with unique perks. At level 10 there is another choice related with the profession selected at level 5. These choices always take place after the player goes to sleep.
Each level adds +1 proficiency to the hoe and watering can. Experience is earned by harvesting crops (crops harvested by scythe do not count) and caring for animals. The type and quality of crop harvested determines the amount of experience gained.
- Rancher (Lv 5): Animal products worth 20% more.
- -Coopmaster (Lv 10): Befriend coop animals quicker. Incubation time cut in half.
- -Shepherd (Lv 10): Befriend barn animals quicker. Sheep produce wool faster.
- Tiller (Lv 5): Crops worth 10% more.
- -Artisan (Lv 10): Artisan goods (wine, cheese, et al) worth 40% more.
- -Agriculturist (Lv 10): All crops mature at least 10% faster.
Each level adds +1 pickaxe proficiency. Experience is earned by breaking rocks. Different types of rocks provide different amounts of experience.
- Miner (Lv 5): +1 ore per vein (ore yields are 2-4 instead of 1-3).
- -Blacksmith (Lv 10): Metal bars worth 50% more.
- -Prospector (Lv 10): Chance to find coal doubled.
- Geologist (Lv 5): Chance for gems to appear in pairs (50% per node).
- -Excavator (Lv 10): Chance to find geodes doubled..
- -Agriculturist (Lv 10): Gems and minerals worth 30% more
Each level adds +1 axe proficiency. Experience is earned by gathering foraged goods and chopping wood with the axe.
- Forester (Lv 5): Wood and hardwood worth 50% more.
- -Lumberjack (Lv 10): All trees have a chance to drop hardwood.
- -Tapper (Lv 10): Syrups worth 25% more.
- Gatherer (Lv 5): 20% chance for double harvest of foraged goods.
- -Botanist (Lv 10): Foraged items are always highest quality (includes Truffles).
- -Tracker (Lv 10): Location of forageable items revealed.
Each level adds +1 fishing rod proficiency. Experience is earned by successfully catching fish and collecting items from crab pots. The amount of experience gained depends on the type and quality of fish catch as well as whether a perfect catch was achieved.
- Fisher (Lv 5): Fish worth 25% more.
- -Angler (Lv 10): Fish worth 50% more.
- -Pirate (Lv 10): Chance to find treasure doubled.
- Trapper (Lv 5): Resources required craft crab pot reduced.
- -Mariner (Lv 10): Crab pots no longer produce junk.
- -Luremaster (Lv 10): Crab pots no longer require bait.
Each level adds +5 health points, except at level 5 and 10. Experience is earned by killing monsters. The amount of experience earned from a kill depends on the type of monster killed.
- Fighter (Lv 5): All attacks deal 10% more damage. +15 HP.
- -Brute (Lv 10): Deal 15% more damage.
- -Defender (Lv 10): +25 HP.
- Scout (Lv 5): Critical strike chance increased by 50%.
- -Acrobat (Lv 10): Cooldown on special moves cut in half.
- -Desperado (Lv 10): Critical strikes are deadly.
Tips from GreyhoundKnight
Credit for these tips goes to /u/greyhoundknight
Farming - Personally, I am not a fan of animals aside from what is needed for the community bundles and for recipes like Pepper Poppers. As such this perk ends up being all about the money to me: Tiller at level 5 for a 10% value to my cash crops then Artisan at level 10 for a 40% gold to my massive wineries. If/when I explore a ranch playthrough then the Rancher side of the professions makes more sense. Combining the Rancher with Botanist could be lucrative if you want a truffle empire (not truffle oil empire though). My standard choice: Tiller > Artisan
Miner - I don’t think there is a clear winner in this category. Miner is nice because it increases ore yields by at least 33% which is great for iridium and other ores. After that, I choose Blacksmith because I might think about smelting bars and by the time I hit level 10 I just buy coal if I need it. Geologist is geared towards active mining in my opinion. It can have some nice money perks but to me its worth depends on the player continuing to mine for large amount of gems and minerals. In my playthroughs I have mined for ore, not gems/minerals. My standard choice: Miner > Blacksmith
Foraging - I have a hard time justifying Forester unless you plan on having large tapper groves. There is lots of space for this on the standard farm, the quarry, the train station, and the desert. Just not my cup of tea. Tracker is nice for finding artifact worms, however I think Botanist clearly blows it out of the water if you are interested in truffle farming or growing winter seeds. My standard choice: Gatherer > Botanist
Fishing - There are 2 important questions for these choices: How much do I like fishing? How important is the museum collection. If you like fishing, then Fisher > Angler seems to be the way to go. If a complete museum collection is important, then I would choose the Pirate instead. If you don’t like fishing, then choose Trapper. The choice between Mariner and Luremaster is whether you care about having to buy/craft bait. My trick for Mariner is to place a chests with for holding bait near the crab pots, then buying large amount from Willy. My standard choice: Trapper > Mariner unless I want a complete museum then it’s Fisher > Pirate
Combat - The safest choice is Fighter > Brute because it a guaranteed 25% damage bonus every hit. While Defender adds the equivalent of an additional enemy attack, the stack of food I carry in the mines doesn’t make it worth it to me. With the Scout profession it is important to read that critical strike chance is increased by 50% not to 50%. If it was the later, then Scout > Desperado would clearly be the best. But the increase is by 50% so I don’t see this tree being valuable unless you really enjoy special moves. My standard choice: Fighter > Brute
Tips from Bakterial
- For Farming, Tiller > Agriculturist seems like a very good choice but it is not - turning stuff into wine or juice is very profitable and 50% artisan bonus is better than 10% growth bonus. (think like this: 10% more crops = 10% more profit. 50% more money = 50% more profit)
- Rancher > Coopmaster is surprisingly good. Make a shitload of coops, stuff them to the brim. You'll have at least two ducks to sell every day, which can easily make you 5000. (then you refill them using the incubator) combined with the amount of eggs you'll be getting, you can make 20000 a day. In other words, not profitable if you know your crops, but the best choice if you don't want to use Tiller.
- Mining's level 5 skills both seem like pretty decent choices, but imo geologist is better. Here's why: Blacksmith won't make you much. In an incredible scenario where you can make 100 bars each day, you'll make ten thousand or so. Not worth it. Prostpector gives you more coal. This one's actually pretty good because many machines take coal to craft. Most useful if you don't mine that often.
- Excavator and Gemologist are both great, so it's down to preference, really.
- In Foraging, just don't take the Forester perk. It's shit. Your wood will become 1 or 2 coins more expensive, and the second set of perks will make trees drop hardwood, or make syrup more expensive - both absolutely shit. Tracker can be useful if you like mining - find lots of food items on the way to the mine. The real winner is botanist, though. Having a chance to find two guaranteed gold star items is always nice. (great food item, decent sell item)
- In Fisher, all perks are decent. Angler and Pirate for better fish/treasure, Mariner if you have several crab pots that you rely on for cooking (can be useful), and Luremaster if you have lots of crab pots. (can be a lucrative business)
- In fighter, just don't take Brute. 15% damage is at most 7 points or so. Defender is bad - you'll get 25 HP, which is literally one hit from some enemies - but can be useful if you don't plan to go any deeper into the mines than you need to. (25 HP is pretty decent in levels 1-100 of the regular mines)
- Acrobat is nice if you use swords or daggers - always be able to block, or spam jabs all the time. Desperado is killer because of the Scout perk, which adds 50% critical chance. So.... +50% chance, and +xx% damage!