The Rangers fielded by the commander are highly versatile and skillful, can learn a wide variety of different mission-essential skills, and can specialize in variety of fields. Knowing the effects and intricacies of each skill is vital for effective reconnaissance teams. Skills can be allocated during the squad customization screen, at the rate of 1 free skill point per rank of soldier (privates start with 1 skill point, each rank up grants 1 more usable point).
Rangers have basic knowledge in all skills granting them 30% base skill success chance in every action. Every added skill point improves the skill in the respective field by 10% (eg. increasing to 40, then 50, 60 etc.) effecting their actions in varying ways. Rangers also gain increase in their skill actions from nearby allies to their skill through the team effect.
Combat skill is one of the basic skills available. Increasing combat skill improves the accuracy of the Rangers when engaging enemies and slightly lowers the penalties from firing outside the weapons effective range. Certain medals, currently the Silver Star and Bronze Star, improve Rangers combat skills.
It is important to know that Rangers reaction speed during combat (eg. chance of being pinned and aim time) are not effected by combat skill, but by their exp. For melee combat, skill points determine the chances to hit and the damage. XP determine the speed of actions.
In general it is recommended to have at least 1 soldier which specializes in combat, or to balance out your team with combat skills all around. This is most necessary for teams that plan on engaging targets actively each patrol, but can be useful even for ghost squads when engaging HVT, although not necessary if utilizing heavier weapons.
Comms skill is a basic support skill for the Ranger team. Higher skill improves the chances of making successful calls and improves signal quality, leading to faster responses.
Comms skill is highly useful for teams that plan on rapid extraction and/or heavily utilize fire support. However, there are alternative methods to increase communications proficiency including more powerful antennae, higher-powered transmissions, retransmitters, and (as for success chance of calls) notoriety gained by medals. As such it is generally advisable to slightly specialize your communications man with Comms skill, but it is not entirely necessary, and other skills may be more suitable. Fully specialized signaler might prove extremely effective asset once NVA radio transmission observation networks and environmental situations begin affecting use of the radio.
Medic skill is a vital support skill which no commander wishes to have to utilize. It currently improves the chances of successfully stabilizing incapacitated Rangers, though it is planned to also increase the stabilization time of a soldier. As of Patch 1.0v every medic with at least 5 points in medical skill stationed at the firebase will increase the amount of healing of injured Rangers by +1 extra point per day skipped.
In general, medic skill is something that a soldier will rarely use, but it will be very handy at that point in time. In versions previous to patch 1.0k, soldiers needed to be carried to the main LZ when they were injured, so medic skill was very useful. In current versions, secondary extracts reduce the necessity for medical care. Furthermore, specializing only one troop into medic skill means that if that troop is critically injured, the team may have difficulty surviving to extraction. Due to this, medic skill can be double-edged sword, and it may better serve the commander to use higher-rescue-chance medical equipment and distribute it among many troops. However, if other item requirements preclude an abundance of medical supplies, then specializing in medical skill may be a worthwhile investment.
Demo skill deals with the planting and disarming of explosive devices, with the current effect being lowering the time it takes to deploy explosives (i.e. C4 and Claymore). It is also used to boost the chance of successfully examining a VC trap indicator which reveals nearby traps. It also makes grenades more accurate, and increases the ranger's chance to safely disarm the pressure switch mine.
Spot skill is one of the most vital basic skills in Recon, directly affecting how well a team finds and identifies enemies, assets, and traps. Improving spot skill increases the speed with which hostile assets, troops and traps can be spotted in the AO (the base speed is one full search every 20 seconds - each point in spot lowers this time by 2 seconds) and increases the chance to spot items when doing a scan.
Currently considered as one of the most useful skills in the game, spotting is necessary for every team and playstyle. A team without good spotter is effectively blind and highly vulnerable to ambushes. For combat-heavy teams, being able to identify enemies and engage them before they notice you is crucial; for silent teams, being able to spot enemies and avoid them is essential to stealthy gameplay. Distribution of spot skill amongst team members can vary greatly, but many prefer to have a singular 'spotter' of high rank who specializes nearly entirely in spot skill allowing effectively sweeping large areas of ground rapidly. Some players go as far as to say that the only necessary skill in the game is spot, and distribute all of their free skills into this category.
Stealth skill is a basic skill which allows rangers to move around without causing much noise and remaining hidden while stationary, making it a necessary skill for silent approaches and movement. Higher skill increases the chance of remaining hidden from VC's (stealth roll thrown against a VC's spot roll) and lowers the chance of making noise while moving (noise rolls are reduced from 70% chance to make noise baseline by 10% for each point). Its effect is negated if the mission is overt.
Stealth skill is the foundation of a stealthy team, so players who prefer a more covert playstyle should certainly consider specializing several (or even all) troops in this skill. It is also a highly versatile skill, usable lightly to help the ranger carrying the most bulk make less noise or heavily to make the entire team silent.
Viet skill is a specialized support skill which increases the knowledge and cultural awareness of a ranger about Vietnam along with their ability to speak the language. Currently the skill increases the chance of finding hard intel from assets or bodies, possibly granting immense intel amounts from combat-heavy missions.
Viet skill is a niche skill, and recommended for combat-oriented teams. Due to its specific uses, it is recommended to only specialize one soldier in Viet skill, and let them search all bodies/assets, as well as perform any other actions which are benefited from a high Viet skill. Furthermore, Viet skill is planned to be useful when civilian villages are added to the game: a high Viet skill will more easily convince the villagers to help you out.