In PvE, characters start out with only two skills: the first weapon skill and a healing skill (in slot #6). Slot skills are unlocked by gaining levels. Weapon skills can be changed by equipping a different weapon and slot skills can be changed any time outside of combat. After reaching Level 7, characters can equip an off-hand weapon and use weapon skill 4. In most forms of PvP, characters will start with all slots unlocked.
| Weapon Skills
| Slot Skills|
Player's choice (racial and profession skills)
|Main hand||Off hand||Healing||Utility skills||Elite|
- The default keyboard shortcut is shown underneath each skill slot above (if you remap the shortcut using the options panel, the new key will be shown below).
- A red bar underneath a skill indicates that the current target is out of range (otherwise, no red bar is displayed).
- Crosshairs are used for skills that must be aimed manually.
 Weapon skills
The first five slots (left of the health globe) are weapon skills. These skills are predetermined by the character's profession and the weapon(s) equipped: for each weapon, there are a different set of skills for each profession; for a given profession, changing the weapon changes the skill set. For example, a ranger wielding two axes will have a different set of weapon skills than a warrior with two axes; a mesmer with a staff will have different skills than one wielding a greatsword.
The skills are arranged as follow:
- The main-hand weapon determines the first three weapon skills.
- The off-hand weapon determines the last two weapon skills.
- Two-handed weapons determine all weapon skills.
- Environmental weapons determine up to five weapon skills, and temporarily replace all weapon skills originally equipped.
- The thief's third weapon skill is determined by the combination of main-hand and off-hand weapons equipped (see dual wield skill) with the exception of shortbow, spear and harpoon gun, which are two-handed weapons.
- The engineer's device- and weapon kits change weapon skills according to the kit equipped.
- Transforms change the first five skills while disabling the slot skills.
Weapon skills are acquired through proficiency, i.e. by defeating an enemy with the weapon equipped. Each new slot takes progressively longer to unlock, e.g. characters need more practice to unlock the third than the second slot. At higher levels, less practice will be needed to unlock skills than at lower levels.
 Slot skills
The last five skills (to the right of the health globe) are slot skills. These are chosen by the player from a pool of skills determined by their character's profession and race. The first of these skills is a dedicated healing skill, the middle three are utility skills, and the last one is an elite skill.
Unlike weapon skills which can only be switched by equipping different type of weapons, slot skills can be switched to any available skills of their type as long as the player is not in combat by clicking the small arrow icon pointing upwards or by accessing the skills dialogue of the hero panel. In PvE, the utility and elite skill slots are initially locked and unlock as the character progresses through the game. The utility slots unlock at levels 13, 24 and 35. The elite slot unlocks at level 40. New slot skills can be learned by spending skill points which are acquired by succeeding in challenges, or by leveling up.
 Mechanic bar
The mechanic bar refers to any profession mechanic controls above the weapon skills section of the skill bar, this bar unlocks at level 5. Depending on the profession, this contains from one to four profession mechanic skills (such as the shatter skills), a gauge to measure the amount of resource unique to the profession (such as adrenaline or life force) or another indicators such as the thief's initiative. The profession mechanic skills are activated by the use of - keys by default.