Dyes are colors that can be applied to equipped armor and outfits, allowing players to personalize the look of their character. Weapons and accessories cannot be dyed. Dyes are unlocked account-wide. A dye will state, in the information panel, if it has already been unlocked. Attempting to unlock the dye again will result in a chat message stating it has been unlocked and the dye will not be consumed.
Up to four different colors may be applied to an individual item, and the outcome may differ depending on the type of material (cloth, leather, metal) that the dye is used on. Although newly acquired items will automatically be dyed with the dyes set for a currently equipped item, once applied, dyes will be saved in the item. For example, a character can equip an item that is not soulbound on use, dye it, put it in the bank and another character that equips the item will see the same colors applied to the item. Dyes will be lost when the item is sold through the Trading Post, though.
Also, each race has a cultural palette that reflects the character of the species. This means a red color for a human may not look the same as a red color for a norn or charr. Unlike the original Guild Wars series, dyes are unlocked, rather than collected as vials. This allows players to change the color of their armor as they see fit, without having to rely on a limited supply and storage.
Each character begins the game with access to the same set of 21 starter colors. As players progress through the game, additional colors can be acquired in several ways. You can review the colors unlocked for your account via the dye mode in the equipment tab on the hero panel interface.
An additional 382 can be acquired in the following ways:
- Purchased from the Trading Post.
- Certain dye colors and a generic dye kit can be acquired through the Gem Store:
- Dye Pack — 200 . Can also drop from Black Lion Chests. Contains 5 common and 2 uncommon dyes.
- Zephyrite Color Swatches — 250 . Contains one dye of a certain color. You are able to choose the dye freely. Does not contain any exclusive dyes.
- Consortium Dye Kit — 125 . Contains one random blue and one random yellow dye. Was available during The Lost Shores.
- Wintersday Dye Kit — Wintersday Mystery Box. Contains one random green and one random red dye. Was available during Wintersday 2012.
- Unidentified dyes crafted by chefs:
- These containers are specific to a color category, e.g. Blue or Yellow.
- They come in three types: unlabeled (drops one common color), master (drops a common or uncommon dye), and rare (drops any of the standard colors of that type).
- Unidentified Dye — drops a single dye, with roughly a 65% chance to be common, 25% uncommon, and 10% rare:
- Placing four dyes into the Mystic Forge to create a new dye of the same or higher rarity.
There are also 70 dyes that can only be obtained through the Gem Store via dye kits that are generally introduced at the same time as related chapters of the Living Story. Each kit contains a single dye randomly selected from a pool of 25 colors: 19 colors are from the standard palette and six are exclusive to that kit. As with other containers, the chances of each rarity dropping are not equal, e.g. common dyes drop more frequently than uncommon ones, and those drop more often than rares. Kits are only available at the gem store for limited periods of time, usually about 3-4 weeks; after which they are often introduced to the Black Lion Chest as an uncommon drop. Dye kits from the chest have been known to be replaced by newer ones at times.
- Crimson Lion Dye Kit
- Deathly Dye Kit
- Flame Dye Kit
- Frost Dye Kit
- Glint's Winter Dye Kit
- Lion's Arch Survivors Dye Kit
- Lion's Arch Commemorative Dye Kit
- Metallurgic Dye Kit
- Shadow Dye Kit (10 exclusive colors)
- Taimi's Dye Kit
- Toxic Dye Kit
The preview window has space for up to four colors, which are applied to specific color "channels" on each item. There are four ways to preview specific colors:
- Right-click any dye consumable from inventory or your bank vault.
- Right-click dyes from the Trading Post panel.
- Using the Dye subpanel of the hero window.
- Right-clicking a dye pinged to the chat window; you can do this for dyes you do not own by copying the item codes from dye infobox on the wiki's article and pasting them to any chat channel.
Players can experiment with many different combinations of dye in order to produce the most desired result. To do this:
- Open the equipment tab on the hero panel interface (default key ).
- Find and select the color dropper and the panel will toggle to dye mode.
- Select from a range of colors on the left hand side. They will be grouped by set, but can be filtered differently using the sprocket icon above. This view can include dyes not yet unlocked by toggling the Hide/Show Locked option.
- Once a color is selected, apply the dye to one of the panels next to any one of the six armor pieces. Any changes will be shown immediately by the character model on the right.
There are 473 dyes available in the game.
- During the first beta weekend event, players were required to obtain Colorful Dye Seeds that required cultivation back in the "Home" area. Cultivation took either 24 real world hours, or the purchase of an item from the Gem shop. Once cultivated it would drop a soulbound, unidentified dye; that dye would unlock a new color. This system has since been replaced.
- The February 24, 2015 game update added an option to Show/Hide Locked dyes, enabling players to preview their armor dyed with colors they have yet to obtain.