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The area of effect of this bow skill is marked on the ground.

A skill is an ability which is activated by the player to perform an action. It is through skills that a character is able to do damage, protect themselves and their allies, and perform actions with objects in the environment. Skill selection is one of the most significant ways a player can customize how their character plays.

Skills are picked through a choice of weapon and unlocking and selecting slot skills into the skill bar. Skills are automatically improved as the player gains levels, and manually by increasing attributes and selecting traits. Types of skills available to a character are determined primarily by its profession with a few racial skills and a very few global special skills.

Learning new skills[edit]

Initially, characters in the Player versus Environment and World versus World settings are limited in terms of available skills. Additional skills are acquired depending on their position in the skill bar: weapon skills (occupying slots 1-5) are unlocked through leveling; slot 1 is always available, slot 2 unlocks at level 2, slot 3 at level 4, slot 4 at level 6, 5 at level 8, 6 at level 1, 7 at level 11, 8 at level 15, 9 at level 19 and slot 0 at level 31. Utility skill slots (6-10) are purchased with Hero points.

Weapon skills[edit]

A summary of all weapon skills can be displayed in the Hero panel.

Weapons give different skills depending on which slot they occupy:

Main hand One-handed weapons in the main hand give 3 weapon skills, while two-handed weapons give 5 weapon skills.
Off hand Off-hand weapons give 2 weapon skills.
Aquatic weapon Aquatic weapons give 5 weapon skills.

Weapons do not share cooldowns with other weapons, although the cooldown does not reset when switching to a weapon of the same type. Weapon skills recharge even if the weapon is not currently equipped or stowed.

Slot skills[edit]

An Example of what the traning panel looks like.

Healing, utility, and elite skills — collectively, slot skills — are available for selection by the player to complement a character's weapon skills. These skills use slots 6 – 10 on the skill bar: slot 6 for healing skills, slot 10 for elite skills, and the others for utility skills. New characters only have slot 6 unlocked; the remaining slots unlock in sequence as the character reaches levels 11, 15, 19, and 31.

Slot skills must be purchased with hero points gained from leveling up (earned every odd level from 11 to 80) or via completion of hero challenges scattered throughout the game in PvE and WvW environments. The skill costs are outlined in the tables below.

Skill type Hero points
Healing skills 2 Hero point.png
Utility skills 2 — 5 Hero point.png
Elite skills 8 — 9 Hero point.png

Using skills[edit]

Weapon skills are automatically selected upon equipping a different weapon. Slot skills are selected by the player out of combat. All skills may automatically change (or be suppressed) when switching attunement, entering water or using an environmental weapon.


A skill is activated by clicking, using its icon in the skill bar, or by the keyboard using the number bound to the skill bar slot. Some skills require an extra click to target an area of effect. Skills can be activated in towns and outposts. Movement can terminate activation or full activation, but most skills allow the character to move freely. The user can select a skill to use as an auto attack by Ctrl right-clicking it. Some skills have an activation cost, such as adrenaline, initiative or life force. Skills with activation time can be interrupted preventing the effect and recharge.


Mousing over a skill icon in the user interface reveals a tool tip that describes what the skill does when it is activated. The information displayed in the tip is updated as the character improves their attributes and choose traits which modify the skill's behavior and indicates the maximum damage from using the skill without hit modifications, such as critical hits and skill combos. Some skill effects and range can also be identified by the colors and icons on the skill bar. If necessary, skills can have different effects in PvE and PvP versions or be disallowed from PvP play to maintain balance.[1]

Once the skill is successfully activated hit and miss mechanics come into play. These depend on range, level and body position of the target, obstructions, interactions with other skills and the actions of the target, among other things. Skill effects can combine to create combos. The details of skill damage and the effects of these factors are covered in detail in the article on damage.

A skill with an area of effect has the area marked on the ground. Friendly skills are marked in white, combo fields that do not need to be triggered have a higher contour, and skills which will harm the player are marked in red. Area of effect attacks, buffs, and heals are usually applied to up to five targets in the area.


Once the activation is complete a skill will enter a recharge time before it may be used again. A skill cannot be swapped until its recharge is complete.

Skill types[edit]

Skills with similar behaviors are grouped into types. Many traits affect all skills of a certain type.

An elite specialization icon in the following table means that skill type is only available while that specialization is equipped.

Type name Guardian tango icon 20px.png Revenant tango icon 20px.png Warrior tango icon 20px.png Engineer tango icon 20px.png Ranger tango icon 20px.png Thief tango icon 20px.png Elementalist tango icon 20px.png Mesmer tango icon 20px.png Necromancer tango icon 20px.png Function
Physical Warrior tango icon 20px.png Daredevil tango icon 20px.png Controlling of enemies by using brute force.
Glyph User Raikiri Druid.png Elementalist tango icon 20px.png Grants a buff or causes an effect based on the current state of your profession mechanic.
Signet Guardian tango icon 20px.png Warrior tango icon 20px.png Ranger tango icon 20px.png Thief tango icon 20px.png Elementalist tango icon 20px.png Mesmer tango icon 20px.png Necromancer tango icon 20px.png Passive benefits which can be activated for another effect instead.
Shout Guardian tango icon 20px.png Warrior tango icon 20px.png Ranger tango icon 20px.png User Mora Tempest 20px.png User Raikiri Reaper.png Large area of effect skills with fast or instant activation which support you and your allies, or harm your foes.
Trap User Raikiri Dragonhunter.png Ranger tango icon 20px.png Thief tango icon 20px.png Hidden effects placed on the ground, that are triggered by enemies walking over them.
Well Chronomancer tango icon 20px.png Necromancer tango icon 20px.png Persistent spells affecting the surrounding area by harming foes and supporting allies.
Consecration Guardian tango icon 20px.png Area of effect skills that aid allies or punish enemies.
Meditation Guardian tango icon 20px.png Beneficial effects, often with instant activation.
Spirit weapon Guardian tango icon 20px.png Temporary spirit weapon summons, which automatically fight your target and which can be commanded for a special effect.
Symbol Guardian tango icon 20px.png Area of effect attack, which hinders enemies and aids allies for a short duration.
Virtue Guardian tango icon 20px.png Profession mechanic. Passive buffs occasionally granting a beneficial effect to the guardian, which can be sacrificed for a more potent effect for you and your allies.
Ward Guardian tango icon 20px.png Areas across the ground that prevent enemies from crossing them.
Legend Revenant tango icon 20px.png Profession mechanic. Channel a different legendary figure, switching the revenant's slot skills.
Legendary Assassin Revenant tango icon 20px.png Skills themed around the assassin Shiro Tagachi, focusing on high mobility and damage.
Legendary Centaur Revenant tango icon 20px.png Skills themed around the centaur Ventari, focusing on healing and other types of support.
Legendary Demon Revenant tango icon 20px.png Skills themed around the demon Mallyx the Unyielding, focusing on manipulation of conditions.
Legendary Dragon User Mora Herald 20px.png Skills themed around the dragon Glint, focusing on support through various boons, whose channeling can be released to devastate an area.
Legendary Dwarf Revenant tango icon 20px.png Skills themed around the dwarf king Jalis Ironhammer, focusing on defense.
Banner Warrior tango icon 20px.png Buffs for allies that can be picked up, moved and replanted.
Burst Warrior tango icon 20px.png Profession mechanic. Powerful attacks that expend all built-up adrenaline, whose effects scale depending on its amount.
Primal burst User Mora Berserker 20px.png Profession mechanic. Berserking versions of burst skills.
Rage User Mora Berserker 20px.png Profession mechanic (partially). Feats of strength that grant adrenaline to the berserker.
Stance Warrior tango icon 20px.png Short-term defensive or offensive enhancements.
Device kit Engineer tango icon 20px.png Replace weapon skills with special tools.
Elixir Engineer tango icon 20px.png Random effects to support yourself, your team or to harass your enemies.
Gadget Engineer tango icon 20px.png Skills involving mechanical gadgetry.
Gyro User Mora Scrapper 20px.png Small drones that attack foes and support allies, while granting access to various combo fields through the tool belt.
Tool belt Engineer tango icon 20px.png Profession mechanic. Special abilities which use your equipped slot skills in an alternative way.
Turret Engineer tango icon 20px.png Deployed stationary devices to help defend and control an area.
Weapon kit Engineer tango icon 20px.png Replace weapon skills with specialized weaponry.
Celestial Avatar User Raikiri Druid.png Profession mechanic. Special weapon skills focused on area of effect healing and support available in a druid's astral form.
Pet Ranger tango icon 20px.png Profession mechanic. Skills used by pets.
Spirit Ranger tango icon 20px.png Nature spirits, which influence the battlefield around their location.
Survival Ranger tango icon 20px.png Effects that boost your damage or survivability.
Deception Thief tango icon 20px.png Defensive or evasive maneuvers.
Dual wield Thief tango icon 20px.png Third weapon skill which is determined by the combination of main-hand and off-hand weapon.
Stealth attack Thief tango icon 20px.png Enhanced version of the first weapon skill while stealthed.
Stolen skill Thief tango icon 20px.png Profession mechanic. Skills acquired by stealing.
Trick Thief tango icon 20px.png Cunning maneuvers to control enemies, enhance damage and escape from harm.
Venom Thief tango icon 20px.png Apply a creature's venom to give your weapon attacks special effects.
Arcane Elementalist tango icon 20px.png Non-elemental magical energy sources of critical damage.
Attunement Elementalist tango icon 20px.png Profession mechanic. Switches the elementalist's weapon skills to different elements.
Cantrip Elementalist tango icon 20px.png Magical tricks and charms that often activate instantly.
Conjure Elementalist tango icon 20px.png Potent elemental environmental weapon summons for yourself and allies.
Overload User Mora Tempest 20px.png Profession mechanic. Powerful channeled abilities tied to the attunements.
Clone Mesmer tango icon 20px.png Temporary allies with the caster's name and appearance to mislead the enemy.
Glamour Mesmer tango icon 20px.png Ethereal fields that have special, manipulative effects..
Manipulation Mesmer tango icon 20px.png Skills that mislead your opponents.
Mantra Mesmer tango icon 20px.png Chargeable skills that can be instantly released several times for various effects.
Phantasm Mesmer tango icon 20px.png Temporary phantom versions of the caster which attack enemies with different abilities.
Shatter Mesmer tango icon 20px.png Profession mechanic. Releases of active clones and phantasms for various effects.
Corruption Necromancer tango icon 20px.png Inflict condition upon the caster to cause powerful effects.
Mark Necromancer tango icon 20px.png Ground-targeted spells which are triggered by foes moving into the area.
Minion Necromancer tango icon 20px.png Undead allies that attack foes and can be consumed by their master for various effects.
Spectral Necromancer tango icon 20px.png Spells involving otherworldly spectral energy.

Activation type[edit]

Besides their skill types, skills can also have a specified type of activation. For example, Symbol of Protection is a hammer chain symbol.


  • When players use a skill outside of combat their character will occasionally shout out one of the following lines, depending on their race and gender.
    • This seem to occur much less frequently than other character quotes, such as the ones heard when a boon or condition is applied.
Race Gender
Male Female
Asura tango icon 20px.png Asura And now, to destroy you!
Seems I need to teach you a lesson.
You've brought this on yourself.
This'll be...unpleasant for you.
Time to teach you a lesson.
Let's get this over with.
You're dumb, you'll die, and you'll leave a dumb corpse.
I majored in pain, with a minor in suffering.
I've got a lesson to teach you.
You don't stand a chance.
Charr tango icon 20px.png Charr Lock and load.
Victory or death!
Who wants a little?
Time to hunt some prey.
Human tango icon 20px.png Human Time to bust some heads!
Victory or Death!
Have at you!
Have at you!
Oh, it's on now.
This'll be fun.
Time to fight!
Battle awaits.
Norn tango icon 20px.png Norn For the spirits!
Break skulls!
To battle!
Slaughter the enemy!
Fight me!
Death before defeat!
Sylvari tango icon 20px.png Sylvari I'm in!
Let's do this!
Entering combat!
Armed and ready!
Ready to fight!
Combat ready.
Fit and feisty.
On my guard.

See also[edit]


  • The skill system was redesigned into tiers prior to the BWE2.
  • Fully unlocking all skills for a profession costs 98 hero points.
    • Prior to June 23, 2015, it took from 223 to 232 skill points to learn all the available slot skills for one character, depending on the profession and race combination. Notably, norn characters needed the most due to an additional racial elite skill available to them.


  1. ^ Warriors, traits, and combat chatter: Massively's interview with the Guild Wars 2 Lead Designer, Massively