All characters in the game are assigned STAR levels, and those stars are quite decisive in many aspects of the game. However, stars are not everything.
First of all, rare characters are often stronger than common ones. You will find that many 5* characters are rather underwhelming while others seem over powered. This is normal, so don't panic if your 5* lvl 100 possessed rifle is no match for the latest Eddie to be introduced into the game.
Secondly, recent characters are often more powerful than older ones. Again, this is normal and due to the evolving nature of the game. The devs are smarter than many give them credit for - those that want to stay top tier need to continue to collect all of the latest and greatest characters in order to remain competitive. This "need" fuels their ability to sell in-game purchases and puts food on their tables.
Finally, evolving a 1* character to a 5* doesn't mean it becomes super powerful. In fact, most 1* characters evolved to a 5* level 100 are weaker than a natural 4* character at level 80. This only seems to be overshadowed by the recent flood of 4* Eddies that can become some of the most powerful in the game when evolved and leveled up. You will find some basic characters are great with used with certain teams and not with others. You're looking for a synergy between abilities to make them greater than the sum of their parts.
You will also find that your roster of 5* characters takes quite a while to build up and you will need some good common characters to get there. Your objectives concerning getting a good base team when starting out should be:
This will get your team powerful enough to finish most of the cosmos (other than Night City), most of the Lord of Light levels, and get a great start towards completing Brave New World. BNW is certainly the toughest of those three, and this setup will probably be able to get you to around level VII of those. The end of Underworld and most of Night City are also going to be quite difficult to play without strong natural 5* characters, maxed out talismans and strong relics. More about relics will come later.
From then on, you will need to focus on getting as many natural 5* characters as you can to enrich your roster (see Farming for Characters later in this guide), get up to speed and enable autoplay on LoL X, BNW X and all the Cosmos levels up to and including Underworld.
Here, you will have the opportunity to unlock the first 8 skull quests. Earn skulls in the cosmos battles to unlock them, and try to do this as quickly as possible because they will give you resources daily, and the amounts of resources cannot be beaten anywhere else in the game.
You will also have the resources necessary to finish all the achievements. Pay attention to those and clear them as you are able. You will not only receive resources to use on your team, but you will also earn rare characters.
Once you have been able to complete all of the cosmos through Underworld, LoL and BNW levels, you may want to move on to harder goals. This would include achieving higher and higher rankings in the arena, completing more levels on the Gauntlet, or even tackling Night City. As of this writing, many players still struggle to defeat Night City, which is why we recommend saving it for later.