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Specializations are a build customization mechanic available to all professions. Specializations allow characters to concentrate on different aspects of their build through various traits: passive abilities that can enhance a character's skills, provide bonuses to damage and attributes, and modify their actions.

Depending on the character's level, up to three specializations can be chosen, and each fully trained specialization provides the character with 3 fixed minor traits and 3 choices for major traits.

The build interface of an elementalist, with all specialization slots used.

Each character in the base game can choose from five core specializations per profession, while accounts with Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns gain access to one elite specialization for each profession.


  • The specialization interface is accessed through the Hero panel, by clicking on the Build tab.
  • Specialization slots are unlocked at levels 21, 45, and 71.
  • Specializations can be trained by spending Hero points. Fully training a specialization costs 60 Hero point.png.
  • Each specialization consists of 3 tiers: adept, master and grandmaster. Each tier consists of 1 minor trait and 3 major traits.
Soothing Mist.png Minor Traits have hexagonal icons.
Cleansing Wave (trait).png Major Traits have square icons, and are laid out in a column at each tier.

Allocating specializations and traits[edit]

  • Three specializations can be selected at any one time.
  • When a specialization is chosen up to three of the unlocked major traits can be selected, one per tier (column).
  • Players can change their specialization and trait selections when out of combat.
  • Specializations require training of the first minor trait before they can be selected.

Elite specializations[edit]

In contrast to core specializations, which merely allow use of certain traits, choosing an elite specialization fundamentally changes abilities of a given profession by altering or expanding on the base profession mechanic, providing access to a new weapon, and providing access to a healing skill, an elite skill and a set of utility skills in addition to its traits. All core profession skills, weapons and specializations are still available while an elite specialization is equipped.

  • Before training an elite specialization, you must be level 80, and each core training line must be completed.
  • Fully training an elite specialization costs 250 Hero point.png.
  • You can only select an elite specialization in the bottom (third) specialization slot, which has a visible "frame" around it. The hover text for selecting the third specialization reads "Core and Elite", whereas the first and second only state "Core".
  • If the player is wielding a weapon whose proficiency is unlocked by an elite specialization and selects another specialization in the third slot, the corresponding weapon skills will be blanked out until the player either removes the weapon or changes back to the corresponding elite specialization.

List of specializations[edit]

Icons / Name Focus

Guardian tango icon 20px.png Guardian[edit]

Zeal Zeal Symbols and spirit weapons.
Radiance Radiance Signets, burning and blinding.
Valor Valor Blocking and meditations.
Honor Honor Dodging, symbols and shouts.
Virtues Virtues Consecrations and virtues.
Dragonhunter Dragonhunter
Dragonhunter tango icon 48px.png
Grants access to longbows and traps. Active effects of dragonhunters' virtues gain a more physical presence in the world.

Revenant tango icon 20px.png Revenant[edit]

Corruption Corruption Legendary Demon Stance and conditions.
Retribution Retribution Legendary Dwarf Stance and defense.
Salvation Salvation Legendary Centaur Stance, healing and support.
Devastation Devastation Legendary Assassin Stance, damage and mobility.
Invocation Invocation Legend channeling and fury.
Herald Herald
Herald tango icon 48px.png
Grants access to shields and Legendary Dragon Stance, in addition to Facet of Nature, which can be used at any time. Heralds focus on defense and supporting allies with various boons.

Warrior tango icon 20px.png Warrior[edit]

Strength Strength Dodging, physical utility skills, and brute force.
Arms Arms Critical hits and bleeding.
Defense Defense Enduring of damage.
Tactics Tactics Revival of allies and supporting them with banners, shouts, and the warhorn.
Discipline Discipline Adrenaline gain and weapon swapping.
Berserker Berserker
Berserker tango icon 48px.png
Grants access to torches, rage skills, and Berserk mode which allows the use of primal burst skills. Berserkers focus on fast attacks, adrenaline gain, and burning damage.

Engineer tango icon 20px.png Engineer[edit]

Explosives Explosives Bombs, grenades, and mines.
Firearms Firearms Pistols, rifles, and the flamethrower.
Inventions Inventions Turrets and defensive tactics.
Alchemy Alchemy Elixirs and manipulating of conditions.
Tools Tools Tool belt skills, utility kits, and endurance.
Scrapper Scrapper
Scrapper tango icon 48px.png
Grants access to hammers, gyro skills, and Function Gyro to interact with players at a range to revive allies or finish enemies. Scrappers focus on reducing incoming damage, supporting allies, and improving Superspeed and lightning fields.

Ranger tango icon 20px.png Ranger[edit]

Marksmanship Marksmanship Long range damage and signets.
Skirmishing Skirmishing Mobility, traps, and weapon swapping.
Wilderness Survival Wilderness Survival Defensive combat maneuvers and conditions.
Nature Magic Nature Magic Boons and spirits.
Beastmastery Beastmastery Pets.
Druid Druid
Druid tango icon 48px.png
Grants access to staves, glyphs, and Celestial Avatar, which changes your weapon skills and the effects of your equipped glyphs while active. Druids have a heavy focus on team support and healing.

Thief tango icon 20px.png Thief[edit]

Deadly Arts Deadly Arts Traps and poison.
Critical Strikes Critical Strikes Critical hits and signets.
Shadow Arts Shadow Arts Survival, defensive abilities, and stealth.
Acrobatics Acrobatics Dodging and mobility.
Trickery Trickery Stealing and managing initiative.
Daredevil Daredevil
Daredevil tango icon 48px.png
Grants access to melee staves and physical skills. Endurance pool is increased and dodging is enhanced with additional effects.

Elementalist tango icon 20px.png Elementalist[edit]

Fire Fire Fire magic and conjured weapons.
Air Air Air magic, glyphs, movement speed, and spike damage.
Earth Earth Earth magic, bleeding, defense, and signets.
Water Water Water magic, defensive tactics, vulnerability and Cantrips.
Arcane Arcane General improvements, arcane utility skills, and switching of attunements.
Tempest Tempest
Tempest tango icon 48px.png
Grants access to warhorns and offensive shouts. Tempests can overload their attunements for powerful channeled abilities after staying in an attunement for a certain amount of time.

Mesmer tango icon 20px.png Mesmer[edit]

Domination Domination Interrupts and vulnerability.
Dueling Dueling Dodging, blocking, and mantras.
Chaos Chaos Defense and application of random boons and conditions.
Inspiration Inspiration Phantasms and healing.
Illusions Illusions Shattering and illusions.
Chronomancer Chronomancer
Chronomancer tango icon 48px.png
Grants access to shields, wells, and a new shatter skill, Continuum Split. Chronomancers focus on manipulating time and can provide a unique effect called Alacrity, which reduces skill recharge.

Necromancer tango icon 20px.png Necromancer[edit]

Spite Spite Damage, signets, foci, and axes.
Curses Curses Critical hits, conditions, corruptions, and scepters.
Death Magic Death Magic Minions and defense.
Blood Magic Blood Magic Support, life stealing, healing, wells and daggers.
Soul Reaping Soul Reaping Death Shroud, life force, staves, and spectral skills.
Reaper Reaper
Reaper tango icon 48px.png
Grants access to greatswords and offensive shouts. Death Shroud is replaced by Reaper's Shroud, which has a heavier focus on melee combat.


  • The game will remember different specialization and trait selections for PvE, WvW and structured PvP.


  • ArenaNet decided against including racial traits in the game as a matter of game balance: each race should be equally effective in each profession. For example, there should not be important differences between norn and asura warriors.[1]
  • The trait system was redesigned into tiers prior to the second Beta Weekend Event.

Historical changes[edit]

June 23, 2015
  • This update drastically changed how traits work, introducing the concept of specializations as follows:
    • Players have three specialization slots to spend the traits into, while still being able to view all traits on the left side of traits panel.
    • Players no longer need to spend varying amount of points into a specialization (formerly "trait line"), instead all specialization slots are fully unlocked to trait into, therefore making it possible to pick three grandmaster major traits at the same time.
    • Many traits have been merged with others, while some have been completely culled, resulting in less traits to choose from but with greater impact on gameplay; because of these changes, players have three major traits for every tier (adept, master, and grandmaster). For some professions, several minor traits had their effects increased, so choosing a specific specialization may become scope-defining.
      • The number of possible trait allocations for each profession, assuming all points were used, was reduced from 364,917,960 to 196,830.
    • Specializations aren't attached to attributes as trait lines were, so choosing a specialization doesn't change values on the Hero Panel (except for condition duration, and boon duration, which are only increased by trait effects, sigils or runes). To make up for this loss of attribute points all exotic or better equipment have had their attributes increased.
      • As attributes are divorced from specializations, the profession-specific mechanics' recharge reduction (eg. Attunement Recharge Rate) had its full percentage attached to a trait.
    • Traits are now unlocked through Training Panel by spending hero points (formerly skill points) earned from levelling or completing hero challenges (formerly "skill challenges") throughout the world. It is no longer possible to buy trait guides from vendors, or unlock them by completing tasks in the world anymore.
    • As trait lines are gone, specializations took up their place not only by replacing terminology and trait lines but also introducing a new system to expand professions' progression - the elite specializations - which drastically changes a profession gameplay, adding a full new set of traits, and unlocking access to a previously unavailable weapon, and a skill type.
April 15, 2014
  • This update made numerous changes to the trait system as part of the Spring 2014 Feature Pack.
    • Automatic tier unlocks. Previously, each tier had to be unlocked by purchasing a trait manual; tiers also could be unlocked earlier, at levels 11, 40, and 60.
    • Unlock system for major traits. Previously, major traits were all unlocked by default. Existing characters retained the unlocked traits.
    • Trait points were condensed by a factor of 5. In the original system, points accrued at a rate of 1 per level starting at level 11, for a total of 70 points. Each point only gave +10 to attributes, and 5 points were required to activate each minor trait/major trait slot; a maximum of 30 points could be spent per trait line.
    • Free trait point refunds outside of structured PvP. Previously, points could only be refunded for a fee at profession trainers or by using an Instant Trait Reset.
    • A 13th major trait was added to every trait line.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ http://guildwars2.jeuxonline.info/actualite/27250/entretien-exclusif-eric-flannum-lead-designer-arenanet