There are 4 characters in the game and each one has a unique skill that you can level up to rank 10. This guide shows you the best techniques to do it quickly.
Noctis has the fishing skill, Gladio has Survival, Ignis has Cooking, Prompto has Photography.
A video showing how to max out all skills efficiently.
Reaching rank 10 with each skill unlocks the following trophies / achievements:
1) Angling Rookie
2) Survival Rookie
3) Photo Rookie
4) Cooking Rookie
5) Angling Expert
6) Survival Expert
7) Photo Expert
8) Cooking Expert
The most useful of all skills is Survival. It will let Gladio loot high value items after enemy encounters (e.g. Phoenix Down). Reaching level 10 in the Cooking skill unlocks one of the best recipes in the game that guarantees critical hits with every attack.
The game keeps track of your skill progress but you have to visit a camp or lodging to rank up. Level 10 is the highest rank for all skills.
Here’s how you can quickly unlock the skills of all 4 characters:
Fishing (Noctis): Increases when you catch a fish.
Head to Vesperpool (a large lake in the north-west of the open world). There’s a fishing shop at the east-shore. It sells some of the best fishing gear in the game, including a high level fishing rod & reel. This will make it a lot easier and quicker to catch fish. Now go fishing at Vesperpool lake, same spot where you find the shop. Keep fishing here and visit a camp from time to time to rank up.
Takes about 4 hours to max this skill. Big and rare fish give a bigger boost which is why you should fish at Vesperpool (it has lots of rare fish types).
Cooking (Ignis): Increases when he cooks a meal.
The fastest and cheapest method is to buy Luncheon Meat from the general store in Lestallum. It costs 100 Gil per piece. This will let you cook the meal “Mystery Meat Sushi” (it needs only this one cheap ingredient). Stock up on 50+ pieces of Luncheon Meat and cook it at a campfire. You can immediately revisit the camp and cook the same meal over and over again.
Takes 20 minutes to max out.
Survival (Gladio): Increases when you’ve walked a certain distance.
Easiest way is to take a rubber band and strap it around your left & right controller sticks so that Noctis runs in circles automatically. Just let it sit there for 30 hours and you should be rank 10. You’ll do a lot of running over the story too. There’s a neat little trick that lets you run infinitely. Enable the stamina bar in game options and just before the stamina depletes (while running) you hold and release the Circle-Button (PS4) / B (XB1). After you’ve got the timing down this will not only save you a ton of time over the course of the game and it’s the fastest way to max out Survival.
Takes around 30 hours to max out (20 with infinite stamina).
Photography (Gladio): Increases when he takes pictures.
First buy the ascension “Snapshot” which lets Prompto take a picture in combat for one tech bar. Now use this skill in EVERY combat encounter. Always use it when you have one tech bar. Also buy the technique ascensions “Tech Strike”, “Tech Damage”, “Quick Tech”. They will make your tech bar recharge much faster so you can take more photos. Alternatively, you can do the same as with Survival and put a rubber band around your controller to walk in circles. Prompto should take 10 pictures every 30 minutes (varies sligthly). This is far more time consuming than the first method but you can go afk and do other stuff. Just check in on the progress once an hour to visit a lodging and view his photos.
Takes about 60 hours to max out when running in circles, 20 hours when using snapshot in combat.