From Guild Wars 2 Wiki
Jump to navigationJump to search
Disambig icon.png "Target" redirects here. For the effect applied by the bounty enemies, see Target (effect). For the command to mark the target for allies, see Call Target.

Targeting is a game mechanic for selecting NPCs, player characters, and objects for combat or interaction. Targeting is one of the key elements of the combat system and used to cast skills at a specific enemy or area. Interacting with objects or allied NPCs, like vendors, does not require targeting them, but helps selecting a specific interaction if multiple objects are located close to each other.


Targeting an interactable object or allied NPC can be done by mouse-clicking them or by using "Nearest Ally", "Next Ally", or "Previous Ally" keybinds (unassigned in the Control Options by default). Allied player characters are prioritized over NPCs for targeting when using the keybinds. Some combat skills, primarily the abilities of Thief's elite specialization Specter, have a special effect when targeted at allies.


Targeting an NPC displays its name and characteristics.

In all game modes, in order to engage the enemy in combat, player needs to target it and use a skill. With default controls, a nearby enemy is targeted by pressing the "Next Enemy" keybind ( Tab by default) or by mouse-selecting it. Targeting with the keybind prioritizes NPC with the highest rank. Alternatively, getting in range of the auto-attacking skill and double-clicking the enemy model starts the auto-attack chain.

Some skills require a target in order to be activated (e.g. Phantasmal Berserker), while others can be used regardless despite having a single-target behavior (e.g. Fireball). If a skill is used without a target, it will be cast in the direction the character or camera are currently facing, and might not hit the enemy. Sometimes, it can be used deliberately, for example, using leap or retreat skills without a target as a movement aid. This is only possible with "Autotargeting" in General Options disabled. Many skills that create projectiles can also be used without a target, for example, directing the camera up or down while casting demonstrates the pathfinding for the free-form projectiles.

After the targeted enemy is defeated, a new target can be selected manually by pressing "Next Enemy", "Previous Enemy" or "Nearest Enemy" keybinds. If "Autotargeting" is enabled, the next foe in range will be selected automatically upon casting a skill or if an ability was already queued just before the previous target was defeated.

Ground targeting[edit]

Thief's short bow skills 2, 4, and 5 are ground targeted, indicated by the red target reticle in their icon

Ground-targeted skills are instead aimed at the specific area on the ground and usually affect multiple enemies (area of effect skills). These skills can be cast anywhere regardless of the direction the character is facing, but might be obstructed if there is no clear line of sight to the selected area. Ground targeted abilities are indicated by the red target reticle Ground target reticle in their icon.

  • Using the skill will bring up highlighted area of target which can be aimed and subsequently activated with a mouse click.
  • Set the option of 'Ground Targeting' in Options -> General Options -> 'Combat/Movement' to 'Instant' in order to aim at your cursor's current position.
    • Setting this to Instant is the only way to continuously attack with a ground-targeted 1 skill (eg. Mortar Shot) by holding its hotkey or left mouse with Action Cam; there is no way to auto attack for these types of skills.
  • Ground-targeted skills can be used regardless of character facing and can hit targets within the AOE even if they would normally be obstructed (i.e. if they are behind a corner). However, there must still be a clear line of sight between the player and the point targeted, or a "No Line of Sight" message will pop up.
  • Most ground-targeted skills which can be used underwater lose that property upon going under water, instead the effect is either applied at caster's location or targeted foe's location.

Skills with ground targeting[edit]

Weapon skills

Bundle skills

Transform skills

Downed skills

Drowning skills


If Autotargeting is enabled in the General Options, then using a non-ground targeted skill will automatically target a nearby enemy.

  • If Autotargeting is disabled, it's possible to target the nearest foe manually using the "Next Enemy", "Nearest Enemy", or "Previous Enemy" keybinds.
  • Alternatively, holding down Lock Auto Target keybind temporarily disables autotargeting mechanic, even if it is enabled in Options. It locks the auto-target as long as the key is pressed down and will automatically auto-target the next foe again when the key is let go.
  • Additionally, there are keybinds to toggle the Autotargeting on/off or temporarily fully disable it.

Breaking enemy target[edit]

Enemy NPCs also engage in combat by targeting the player character, although it is rarely indicated directly in the user interface. Some skills and effects like Stealth have the ability to break targeting, forcing enemies to select the target again (if their skills require a target). This mechanic works both against hostile NPCs in PvE game mode and enemy players in PvP and WvW game modes.

Channeled skills that were already tracking the target like Rapid Fire will not stop tracking if the character breaks targeting once the channeling has started.

Skills that break enemy targeting[edit]

Weapon skills

Effects that break enemy targeting[edit]


Removing the target can be done by left-clicking anywhere in the game world outside of the targetable objects and NPCs. While there is no specific keybind for this action, pressing, instead of holding down, the "Lock Autotarget" keybind also removes the target.

Action Camera[edit]

Primary article: Action Camera

Action Camera is a special camera mode that enables a third/first person shooter style targeting. With this camera mode active, the mouse cursor is locked in the middle of the screen and transformed into a target reticle. Left-Click casts the first weapon skill, and Right-Click is used to select a character or object as a target.