Underwater mode

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You've unlocked your underwater weapons. You will now be able to use weapon skills when you're under water with an underwater weapon equipped.

— Underwater Combat Unlocked

Underwater exploration.

Underwater mode is a gameplay mode applied when players dive below the surface of water. Upon entering this mode, characters automatically switch their standard head armor to their Aquatic Headgear and use a separate set of aquatic weapons accompanied by their profession's underwater skills. While under water, players may explore and engage in combat as usual without any underwater movement penalty or breath restrictions. Underwater mode may be bypassed by swimming along the surface of the water, though the player will have no land or underwater skills while in this state.

The underwater environment is layered; players can swim on the surface of water to avoid hostile attention, while towards the bottom the creatures are generally aggressive or more numerous. Most of the underwater events occur deeper in water.


  • Holding down Space will allow the player to ascend to the surface without pointing the camera up.
  • The Swim Down command is not bound to a key by default. Without it, players have to point the camera down and swim forward to descend. With a key bound to this command, it is possible to keep the enemy on camera at all times while moving in all directions.
  • Most of the standard methods of increasing movement speed can be used under water. Special upgrade components, Swim-Speed Infusions, which can be only put into ascended Aquatic Headgear, grant movement speed bonus while under the surface of water.


Aquatic Headgear[edit]

Each character is automatically provided an Aquatic Headgear item upon character creation as part of the starting equipment. It replaces the equipped head armor while under water, while other parts of armor are not changed. Aquatic Headgear does not have to be equipped to breath under water and mechanically serves the same function as other armor items – to provide bonuses to the character's attributes through its attribute combinations and upgrade components such as runes.

Starting equipment has Basic rarity and, as the character levels up, equipment of higher rarity and levels becomes available. Unusually, compared to other armor slots, the level 80 Aquatic Headgear is more easily obtainable in the highest Ascended rarity than the lower Exotic or Rare.

Aquatic weapons[edit]

At level 8, each character is provided with a harpoon gun, spear, or trident, which, like terrestrial weapons, provide unique weapon skills to each profession. Aquatic weapon skills automatically replace regular weapon's abilities when under water. They are designed specifically for the underwater combat and take use of the extra vertical dimension, especially for the area of effect abilities.

Most professions use two aquatic weapons and can swap between them in combat. Engineer and Elementalist use only one weapon, compensated with numerous additional skills from their profession mechanics, Attunements and Engineering Kits, respectively.

Similarly to other equipment, aquatic weapons received from level rewards can be replaced with items of higher level and rarity as the character gains access to better equipment. Upgrade components can be put into the aquatic weapons, with sigils being the common upgrade type for higher level weapons.


Access to aquatic weapons and underwater combat is unlocked at level 8. Underwater combat occurs much in the same manner as land-based combat except with greater vertical movement. A variety of skills capitalize on the increased directional component of underwater movement by affecting enemies with effects like sinking or floating or damaging foes in a vertical area of effect.

However, some features and skills cannot be used during underwater mode, while some skills are altered in their functionality. For example, rangers can only use amphibious or aquatic animal companions underwater. Skills which are entirely unavailable while underwater will feature Not available underwater.png icon in their skill tooltip. There is a separate utility skill bar for underwater, which needs to be reset when travelling underwater.

Drowning state[edit]

When a character's health is depleted, the character enters a drowning state that functions similarly to players being downed. While drowning, players will have access to four drowning skills that can be used in an attempt to rally. However, in addition to the options of killing a foe or being revived by an ally, players may recover by swimming to the surface and restoring the health at which a character re-enters a normal state with 25% health.

If the player is attacked while treading water, the health recovery will stop and the player will lose health as in the downed state until one of these things happens: an ally revives them; a foe sinks or pulls them back under water, in which case they will regain movement and access to the drowning skills; a foe with whom they were in combat dies; or the character enters the defeated state after fully runing out of all drowning health.

Because of the vulnerability of the 'treading water' state, it may be safer to stay under water and recover using the drowning skills because players can continue moving while drowned and even while using Bandage to recover on the move.


A character's skill bar changes when swimming and when entering underwater mode. While on the surface of a body of water, no skills are available, but the character is still vulnerable to attack.

Upon going under water, a new skill bar is brought up as the character's aquatic weapon is automatically equipped. Each weapon provides profession-specific skills for use under water. Players can also set different healing, utility, and elite skills for underwater combat. Skills which can't be used under water display Not available underwater.png icon in their skill tooltip.

The utility and elite skills available underwater for each profession can be viewed in the lists below:


A character on a Skimmer under water.

Two mounts can be used under water, Skimmer and Siege Turtle.

Skimmer's underwater capability and the skill Dive become available after training Skimming the Depths mastery as a part of the Path of Fire mastery tracks. Skimmer can swim freely beneath the surface and allows for faster underwater travel, while its engage skill can be used for combat.

Siege Turtle, a two-player combat mount unlocked in the End of Dragons expansion, can be mounted under water and used for combat, although it doesn't have the ability to swim. Instead, Siege Turtle walks on the aquatic floor, and its Activate Jump Jets skill allows to ascend in water and fly above it until the endurance bar is depleted.

Visual effects[edit]

  • When the player leaves the water the view is temporarily covered with droplets of water.
  • As a player goes deeper in the water the edges of the screen dim to give a sense of less visibility and haze.