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Skills denote a character's areas of expertise. Each character has 5 skills, 2 of which are unique to his/her class. Furthermore, to differentiate marines belonging to the same class, each has 1 specialized skill, except for Techs, who have 2. Specialized skills are not unique to any marine or class; they merely serve to make marines of the same class attractive to different play styles.

Skills are purely passive and never need to be activated. As long as you use a weapon or item or perform an action that falls within a skill's domain, you receive that skill's bonus. For example, if you are playing a character with the Damage Bonus skill, firing an Assault Rifle will automatically deal more damage depending on the skill's level. Normally, skill levels are fixed for each character and cannot be increased or decreased, but there is a console command that lets you modify them (as in Alien Swarm 2K4) if used in the lobby before other players connect:

asw_custom_skill_points 1

The above command is a "cheat command", which prevents players from earning experience points.

Altogether, there are 15 different skills currently in the game.

Skills by specificationEdit

Class-specific Not class-specific

Vindicator Damage

Special Weapons:
Autogun Damage
Piercing Bullets

Healing Bonus
Infestation Curing


Damage Bonus (6)

Reload Speed Bonus (6)

Health Bonus (4)

Explosives Bonus (3)

Melee Damage Bonus (2)

Speed Bonus (2)

Combat Drugs (1)

The number of characters sharing a skill not specific to a class is indicated in parentheses.

Skills by classEdit


Special WeaponsEdit



  • Scanner – Increases the range and rate of the movement scanner.
  • Engineering – Speeds up welding and Sentry Gun setup for all nearby teammates.
  • Reload Speed Bonus – Decreases the reload time of all weapons.
  • Damage BonusCrash's first specialized skill. Increase the damage dealt by most standard weapons.
  • Explosives BonusCrash's second specialized skill. Increases the effectiveness of all explosives.
  • Health BonusVegas's first specialized skill. Increases a marine's health.
  • Melee Damage BonusVegas's second specialized skill. Increases the amount of damage dealt by the marine's melee atacks and melee weapons, and the speed of melee attacks.


See Playable Characters#Characteristics and skills synthesis.

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