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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 and chosen elite specialization. Additionally, characters have access to a few skills determined by their race, bundle skills and special action 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 and 6 are always available, slot 2 unlocks at level 2, slot 3 at level 4, slot 4 at level 6, slot 5 at level 8, slot 7 at level 11, slot 8 at level 15, slot 9 at level 19 and slot 0 at level 31. Skills for the utility slots (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 define the first 3 weapon skills available, while two-handed weapons define all 5 weapon skills.
Off hand Weapons in the offhand define the fourth and fifth weapon skills.
Aquatic weapon Aquatic weapons give 5 weapon skills when underwater.

Each skill has a separate cooldown, swapping to a weapon of the same type will not reset skill cooldowns. Weapon skill cooldown timers continue to tick down even if the weapon is not currently equipped, stowed, or swapped out for the other weapon set.

An Example of what the training panel looks like.

Slot skills[edit]

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.

Slot Hero points by specialization
Core Elite
Healing skills 2 Hero point 15 or 20 Hero point
Utility skills 2 - 5 Hero point 15 or 20 Hero point
Elite skills 8 or 9 Hero point 20 or 25 Hero point

User interface[edit]

See also: Skill bar


On the skill bar, additional visual indicators may appear on skill icons as overlay:

Indicator Description
This frame on a skill icon indicates that auto-attack has been enabled for that skill.
An icon with a yellow frame formed by circling arrows. It indicates that this skill is currently set to auto-attack and will be be automatically activated whenever it is recharged.
Ground target reticle
Red target reticle in the icon means this is ground targeted skill, aimed at an area instead of an enemy.
Thick red underline appears when the currently selected target is out of the skill's range. Only for skills that are not ground-targeted.
Same skill when neither an unlocked defiance bar or a combo field are present.
Same skill when neither an unlocked defiance bar or a combo field are present.
A pulsating white outline highlights:
  1. Skills with hard control effects when the targeted enemy has an unlocked defiance bar. This helps to quickly see the skills which can be used to break the bar.
  2. Skills that are combo finishers if the character is currently standing in a combo field.
Indicators when the targeted enemy has an unlocked defiance bar:
  1. Set to auto-attack and is out of range from the target.
  2. No additional indicators.
  3. Ground targeted and has a control effect.
  4. Ground targeted, currently on recharge.
  5. Ground targeted, currently being activated.


Full skill description is available in its tooltip, which can be viewed by mouse hovering over the skill icon. This description is updated in real time whenever character's relevant attributes or traits change, including temporary effects. For example, if the boon Might, which increases offensive attributes, is granted to the character, the skill's damage value in the tooltip will change accordingly.

Tooltip of the of the Daredevil's skill Impact Strike, displaying its Activation time, Recharge, skill type, text description, and effect. Tooltip of the Daredevil's skill Impact Strike. It displays (from left to right, top to bottom):

Using skills[edit]

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


Primary article: Activation time

A skill is activated by clicking its icon in the skill bar, or by pressing its keybind — using the number bound to the skill bar slot by default. Some skills require an extra click to target an area of effect. Skills can be used out of combat and some – without a target. Most skills can be used while moving and some require the character to stand still for their activation time, while Leap or Retreat skills cause movement.

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, which prevents the effect and puts the skill on a 5-second cooldown before they can be cast again.


Mousing over a skill icon in the user interface reveals a tooltip that describes what the skill does when it is activated. The information displayed in the tooltip is updated as the character's attributes and traits are changed. The blue text in the tooltip indicates the effects of the skill that are currently modified or enabled by traits.

Skill's tooltip indicates the maximum damage from using the skill without hit modifications, such as boons, 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.


Primary article: Recharge

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]

Most skills are grouped into types based on their mechanics and theme. While some professions and elite specializations share skill types thematically, actual abilities are always different. Many traits as well as relics 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 icon small.png Revenant icon small.png Warrior icon small.png Engineer icon small.png Ranger icon small.png Thief icon small.png Elementalist icon small.png Mesmer icon small.png Necromancer icon small.png Function
Cantrip Untamed icon small.png Deadeye icon small.png Elementalist icon small.png Magical tricks that enhance one's survivability.
Deception Thief icon small.png Mirage icon small.png Defensive or evasive maneuvers.
Elixir Engineer icon small.png Harbinger icon small.png Random effects to support yourself, your team or to harass your enemies.
Glyph Druid icon small.png Elementalist icon small.png Grants a buff or causes an effect based on the current state of your profession mechanic.
Mantra Firebrand icon small.png Mesmer icon small.png Chargeable skills that can be instantly released several times for various effects.
Meditation Guardian icon small.png Spellbreaker icon small.png Beneficial effects, often with instant activation.
Physical Willbender icon small.png Warrior icon small.png Daredevil icon small.png Damage and control enemies by using brute force.
Shout Guardian icon small.png Warrior icon small.png Tempest icon small.png Reaper icon small.png Large area of effect skills with fast or instant activation which support you and your allies, or harm your foes.
Signet Guardian icon small.png Warrior icon small.png Mechanist icon small.png Ranger icon small.png Thief icon small.png Elementalist icon small.png Mesmer icon small.png Necromancer icon small.png Passive benefits which can be activated for another effect instead.
Stance Warrior icon small.png Soulbeast icon small.png Weaver icon small.png Short-term defensive or offensive enhancements.
Trap Dragonhunter icon small.png Ranger icon small.png Hidden effects placed on the ground, that are triggered by enemies walking over them.
Well Scrapper icon small.png Specter icon small.png Chronomancer icon small.png Necromancer icon small.png Persistent spells affecting the surrounding area by harming foes and supporting allies.
Consecration Guardian icon small.png Area of effect skills that aid allies or punish enemies.
Final Charge Firebrand icon small.png Final and more powerful charge of a mantra.
Spirit Weapon Guardian icon small.png Temporary spirit weapon summons, which automatically fight your target and which can be commanded for a special effect.
Symbol Guardian icon small.png Area of effect attack, which hinders enemies and aids allies for a short duration.
Tome Firebrand icon small.png Profession mechanic. Special virtues that open a tome upon activation with multiple uses of offensive, supportive or defensive abilities based on the stories from Elona.
Virtue Guardian icon small.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 icon small.png Areas across the ground that prevent enemies from crossing them.
Citadel Order Renegade icon small.png Profession mechanic.
Consume Herald icon small.png Skills themed around the dragon Glint, available when a Facet is active.
Facet Herald icon small.png Skills themed around the dragon Glint, providing boons, may be released into Consume skills.
Legend Revenant icon small.png Profession mechanic. Channel a different legendary figure, switching the revenant's slot skills.
Legendary Alliance Vindicator icon small.png Skills themed around the alliance of the Kurzick champion Saint Viktor zu Heltzer and the Luxon champion Archemorus, focused on a selfish/selfless dichotomy swapped with Alliance Tactics.
Legendary Assassin Revenant icon small.png Skills themed around the assassin Shiro Tagachi, focusing on high mobility and damage.
Legendary Centaur Revenant icon small.png Skills themed around the centaur Ventari, focusing on healing and other types of support.
Legendary Demon Revenant icon small.png Skills themed around the demon Mallyx the Unyielding, focusing on manipulation of conditions.
Legendary Dragon Herald icon small.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 icon small.png Skills themed around the dwarf king Jalis Ironhammer, focusing on defense.
Legendary Renegade Renegade icon small.png Skills themed around the charr renegade Kalla Scorchrazor, summoning warband members for support.
Armament Bladesworn icon small.png Mechanical skills with a short-term offensive effect.
Banner Warrior icon small.png Buffs for allies that can be picked up, moved and replanted.
Burst Warrior icon small.png Profession mechanic. Powerful attacks that expend all built-up adrenaline, whose effects scale depending on its amount.
Primal Burst Berserker icon small.png Profession mechanic. Berserking versions of burst skills.
Rage Berserker icon small.png Profession mechanic (partially). Feats of strength that grant adrenaline to the berserker.
Engineering Kit Engineer icon small.png Replace weapon skills with specialized tools or weapons.
Exceed Holosmith icon small.png Holographic effects that scale their power with the amount of accumulated heat.
Gadget Engineer icon small.png Skills involving mechanical gadgetry.
Photon Forge Holosmith icon small.png Profession mechanic.
Tool belt Engineer icon small.png Profession mechanic. Special abilities which use your equipped slot skills in an alternative way.
Turret Engineer icon small.png Deployed stationary devices to help defend and control an area.
Beast Ranger icon small.png Profession mechanic.
Celestial Avatar Druid icon small.png Profession mechanic. Special weapon skills focused on area of effect healing and support available in a druid's astral form.
Pet Ranger icon small.png Profession mechanic. Skills used by pets.
Command Ranger icon small.png Profession mechanic. Orders your pet to provide a variety of benefits.
Spirit Ranger icon small.png Nature spirits, which influence the battlefield around their location.
Survival Ranger icon small.png Effects that boost your damage or survivability.
Unleashed Ambush Untamed icon small.png Enhanced version of the first weaponskill available after using Unleash Ranger.
Dual Wield Thief icon small.png Third weapon skill which is determined by the combination of main-hand and off-hand weapon.
Kneel Deadeye icon small.png Fast, long-range rifle shots taken from the Sniper's Cover.
Preparation Thief icon small.png Hidden effects placed on the ground, that will not fire unless the thief chooses to trigger them.
Stealth Attack Thief icon small.png Enhanced version of the first weapon skill while stealthed.
Stolen skill Thief icon small.png Profession mechanic. Skills acquired by stealing.
Trick Thief icon small.png Cunning maneuvers to control enemies, enhance damage and escape from harm.
Venom Thief icon small.png Apply a creature's venom to give your weapon attacks special effects.
Arcane Elementalist icon small.png Non-elemental magical energy sources of critical damage.
Attunement Elementalist icon small.png Profession mechanic. Switches the elementalist's weapon skills to different elements.
Augment Catalyst icon small.png Enhancements improved by an active Jade Sphere.
Conjure Elementalist icon small.png Potent elemental bundle summons for yourself and allies.
Dual Attack Weaver icon small.png Profession mechanic. Special weapon skills combining the use of two different attunements.
Overload Tempest icon small.png Profession mechanic. Powerful channeled abilities tied to the attunements.
Ambush Mirage icon small.png Powerful attacks following the effects of Mirage Cloak.
Bladesong Virtuoso icon small.png Profession mechanic. Releases of active blades for various effects.
Clone Mesmer icon small.png Temporary allies with the caster's name and appearance to mislead the enemy.
Glamour Mesmer icon small.png Ethereal fields that have special, manipulative effects..
Manipulation Mesmer icon small.png Skills that mislead your opponents.
Phantasm Mesmer icon small.png Temporary phantom versions of the caster which attack enemies with different abilities.
Psionic Virtuoso icon small.png Summoning of illusory blades and hurling them at enemies.
Shatter Mesmer icon small.png Profession mechanic. Releases of active clones and phantasms for various effects.
Corruption Necromancer icon small.png Inflict condition upon the caster to cause powerful effects.
Mark Necromancer icon small.png Ground-targeted spells which are triggered by foes moving into the area.
Minion Necromancer icon small.png Undead allies that attack foes and can be consumed by their master for various effects.
Punishment Scourge icon small.png Spells corrupting enemy boons into cripple and torment.
Shade Scourge icon small.png Profession mechanic. Sand shadows and defensive measures drawing from the scourge's life force.
Spectral Necromancer icon small.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.

Player chatter[edit]

  • 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.
I'm ready to roll.
Here I come!


  • The skill system was redesigned into tiers prior to the Beta Weekend Events.
  • 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.

See also[edit]