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
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.
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 give 3 weapon skills, while two-handed weapons give 5 weapon skills.
- Off-hand weapons give 2 weapon skills.
- 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.
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|
|Utility skills||2 — 5|
|Elite skills||8 — 9|
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 a bundle.
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.
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.
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.
|Physical||Controlling of enemies by using brute force.|
|Glyph||Grants a buff or causes an effect based on the current state of your profession mechanic.|
|Signet||Passive benefits which can be activated for another effect instead.|
|Shout||Large area of effect skills with fast or instant activation which support you and your allies, or harm your foes.|
|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.|
|Meditation||Beneficial effects, often with instant activation.|
|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.|
|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.|
|Legend||Profession mechanic. Channel a different legendary figure, switching the revenant's slot skills.|
|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.|
|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.|
|Stance||Short-term defensive or offensive enhancements.|
|Device kit||Replace weapon skills with special tools.|
|Elixir||Random effects to support yourself, your team or to harass your enemies.|
|Gadget||Skills involving mechanical gadgetry.|
|Gyro||Small drones that attack foes and support allies, while granting access to various combo fields through the tool belt.|
|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.|
|Weapon kit||Replace weapon skills with specialized weaponry.|
|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.|
|Spirit||Nature spirits, which influence the battlefield around their location.|
|Survival||Effects that boost your damage or survivability.|
|Deception||Defensive or evasive maneuvers.|
|Dual Wield||Third weapon skill which is determined by the combination of main-hand and off-hand weapon.|
|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.|
|Cantrip||Magical tricks and charms that often activate instantly.|
|Conjure||Potent elemental bundle summons for yourself and allies.|
|Overload||Profession mechanic. Powerful channeled abilities tied to the attunements.|
|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.|
|Mantra||Chargeable skills that can be instantly released several times for various effects.|
|Phantasm||Temporary phantom versions of the caster which attack enemies with different abilities.|
|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.|
|Spectral||Spells involving otherworldly spectral energy.|
- Chain skills — attacks which cover a sequence of three 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!
| To battle!|
Slaughter the enemy!
Death before defeat!
|Sylvari|| I'm in!
Let's do this!
Armed and ready!
Ready to fight!
| Combat ready.|
Fit and feisty.
On my guard.
- The skill system was redesigned into tiers prior to the Beta Weekend Events.
- Fully unlocking all skills for a profession costs 98 hero points.
- ^ Warriors, traits, and combat chatter: Massively's interview with the Guild Wars 2 Lead Designer, Massively