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
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.
A summary of all weapon skills can be displayed in the Hero panel.
Weapons give different skills depending on which slot they occupy:
- One-handed weapons in the main hand define the first 3 weapon skills available, while two-handed weapons define all 5 weapon skills.
- Weapons in the offhand define the fourth and fifth weapon skills.
- 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.
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|
|Healing skills||2||15 or 20|
|Utility skills||2 - 5||15 or 20|
|Elite skills||8 or 9||20 or 25|
- See also: Skill bar
On the skill bar, additional visual indicators may appear on skill icons as overlay:
|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.|
|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.|
|A pulsating white outline highlights:|
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 Daredevil's skill Impact Strike. It displays (from left to right, top to bottom): |
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.
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.
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.
|Cantrip||Magical tricks that enhance one's survivability.|
|Deception||Defensive or evasive maneuvers.|
|Elixir||Random effects to support yourself, your team or to harass your enemies.|
|Glyph||Grants a buff or causes an effect based on the current state of your profession mechanic.|
|Mantra||Chargeable skills that can be instantly released several times for various effects.|
|Meditation||Beneficial effects, often with instant activation.|
|Physical||Controlling of enemies by using brute force.|
|Shout||Large area of effect skills with fast or instant activation which support you and your allies, or harm your foes.|
|Signet||Passive benefits which can be activated for another effect instead.|
|Stance||Short-term defensive or offensive enhancements.|
|Trap||Hidden effects placed on the ground, that are triggered by enemies walking over them.|
|Well||Persistent spells affecting the surrounding area by harming foes and supporting allies.|
|Consecration||Area of effect skills that aid allies or punish enemies.|
|Final Charge||Final and more powerful charge of a mantra.|
|Spirit Weapon||Temporary spirit weapon summons, which automatically fight your target and which can be commanded for a special effect.|
|Symbol||Area of effect attack, which hinders enemies and aids allies for a short duration.|
|Tome||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||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||Areas across the ground that prevent enemies from crossing them.|
|Citadel Order||Profession mechanic.|
|Consume||Skills themed around the dragon Glint, available when a Facet is active.|
|Facet||Skills themed around the dragon Glint, providing boons, may be released into Consume skills.|
|Legend||Profession mechanic. Channel a different legendary figure, switching the revenant's slot skills.|
|Legendary Alliance||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||Skills themed around the assassin Shiro Tagachi, focusing on high mobility and damage.|
|Legendary Centaur||Skills themed around the centaur Ventari, focusing on healing and other types of support.|
|Legendary Demon||Skills themed around the demon Mallyx the Unyielding, focusing on manipulation of conditions.|
|Legendary Dragon||Skills themed around the dragon Glint, focusing on support through various boons, whose channeling can be released to devastate an area.|
|Legendary Dwarf||Skills themed around the dwarf king Jalis Ironhammer, focusing on defense.|
|Legendary Renegade||Skills themed around the charr renegade Kalla Scorchrazor, summoning warband members for support.|
|Armament||Mechanical skills with a short-term offensive effect.|
|Banner||Buffs for allies that can be picked up, moved and replanted.|
|Burst||Profession mechanic. Powerful attacks that expend all built-up adrenaline, whose effects scale depending on its amount.|
|Primal Burst||Profession mechanic. Berserking versions of burst skills.|
|Rage||Profession mechanic (partially). Feats of strength that grant adrenaline to the berserker.|
|Engineering Kit||Replace weapon skills with specialized tools or weapons.|
|Exceed||Holographic effects that scale their power with the amount of accumulated heat.|
|Gadget||Skills involving mechanical gadgetry.|
|Photon Forge||Profession mechanic.|
|Tool belt||Profession mechanic. Special abilities which use your equipped slot skills in an alternative way.|
|Turret||Deployed stationary devices to help defend and control an area.|
|Celestial Avatar||Profession mechanic. Special weapon skills focused on area of effect healing and support available in a druid's astral form.|
|Pet||Profession mechanic. Skills used by pets.|
|Command||Profession mechanic. Orders your pet to provide a variety of benefits.|
|Spirit||Nature spirits, which influence the battlefield around their location.|
|Survival||Effects that boost your damage or survivability.|
|Unleashed Ambush||Enhanced version of the first weaponskill available after using Unleash Ranger.|
|Dual Wield||Third weapon skill which is determined by the combination of main-hand and off-hand weapon.|
|Kneel||Fast, long-range rifle shots taken from the Sniper's Cover.|
|Preparation||Hidden effects placed on the ground, that will not fire unless the thief chooses to trigger them.|
|Stealth Attack||Enhanced version of the first weapon skill while stealthed.|
|Stolen skill||Profession mechanic. Skills acquired by stealing.|
|Trick||Cunning maneuvers to control enemies, enhance damage and escape from harm.|
|Venom||Apply a creature's venom to give your weapon attacks special effects.|
|Arcane||Non-elemental magical energy sources of critical damage.|
|Attunement||Profession mechanic. Switches the elementalist's weapon skills to different elements.|
|Augment||Enhancements improved by an active Jade Sphere.|
|Conjure||Potent elemental bundle summons for yourself and allies.|
|Dual Attack||Profession mechanic. Special weapon skills combining the use of two different attunements.|
|Overload||Profession mechanic. Powerful channeled abilities tied to the attunements.|
|Ambush||Powerful attacks following the effects of Mirage Cloak.|
|Bladesong||Profession mechanic. Releases of active blades for various effects.|
|Clone||Temporary allies with the caster's name and appearance to mislead the enemy.|
|Glamour||Ethereal fields that have special, manipulative effects..|
|Manipulation||Skills that mislead your opponents.|
|Phantasm||Temporary phantom versions of the caster which attack enemies with different abilities.|
|Psionic||Summoning of illusory blades and hurling them at enemies.|
|Shatter||Profession mechanic. Releases of active clones and phantasms for various effects.|
|Corruption||Inflict condition upon the caster to cause powerful effects.|
|Mark||Ground-targeted spells which are triggered by foes moving into the area.|
|Minion||Undead allies that attack foes and can be consumed by their master for various effects.|
|Punishment||Spells corrupting enemy boons into cripple and torment.|
|Shade||Profession mechanic. Sand shadows and defensive measures drawing from the scourge's life force.|
|Spectral||Spells involving otherworldly spectral energy.|
- See also: Skill without type.
- Chain skills — attacks which cover a sequence of skills.
- Channeled skills — activated, then continuously cast for a set time.
- Charge skill — held down to power them up for more impressive attacks.
- Sequence skills — after using a skill, it is replaced by another.
- Transforms — spells that change the caster's appearance and weapon skills.
- 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.
|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||Lock and load.
Victory or death!
|Who wants a little?|
Time to hunt some prey.
|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!
|Norn||For the spirits!
Slaughter the enemy!
Death before defeat!
Let's do this!
Armed and ready!
Ready to fight!
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.