- This article is about the basic game mechanic. For the skill type, see Skill (skill type).
By Elite acquisition
Every time you are in a town or outpost, you are allowed to change your attribute settings (press "H" to view your attributes) and your skills (press "K" to view your skill list) as much as you see fit before continuing in your travels. Many times, the key to success during your adventures is to adjust your skills and attributes based on the enemies and challenges you are faced with. The skills that work well in one situation will often fail in another. Do not be afraid to experiment.
Skills are the basic gameplay unit in Guild Wars. There are many skills in the game, and each campaign contains its own set of hundreds. In staging areas, a player can choose to equip skills in their skill bar, to a maximum of 8 skills (including at most one elite skill) at a time. Skill icons represents skills in the User interface.
All skills have these two properties:
- Skill type
- The skill's category. Some effects are only triggered by specific skill types. Skills of the same type share mechanics.
- Linked profession, campaign, and attribute
- Skills are linked with a campaign, attribute, and profession. Only accounts with the respective campaign may use a skill from it, and only characters of the respective profession can use it. A skill's effectiveness scales with the number of points the player puts into its linked attribute. Exceptions: most PvE-only skills are linked to a title track instead of an attribute, and some skills have no attribute. Most PvE-only skills (detailed below) are not linked with a profession. Some skills are included in two campaigns and some exist in all campaigns.
Common resource costs
Most skills require spending time and energy:
- Activation time
- How long the skill takes, in seconds, to activate. Shouts, stances, and a few other types lack activation times. Some skills affect other skills' activation time, and some weapons and offhands can halve activation time. Also referred to as "warmup".
- Recharge time
- The time it takes for a skill to become ready to use again once activated (even if interrupted, although when a skill fails, it does not need to recharge). Some skills, notably Adrenal skills, have no recharge time. Some skills affect other skills' recharge time, and some upgrade components and staves can halve recharge times of spells. Also referred to as "cooldown" ("cd").
- Energy cost
- The amount of energy required to activate the skill. The energy is spent when the skill starts activation. Energy costs are 5, 10, 15 or 25 (a few skills cost 1, but have a sacrifice cost as well). Signets and adrenal skills have no energy cost, as do many festival skills, celestial skills, and monster skills.
Other resource costs
- Adrenaline cost
- An alternate cost used by some Warrior, Paragon, and Dervish skills instead of energy. Each adrenal skill has an independent adrenaline pool, filled one stroke at a time by attacking. When an adrenal skill is used, its pool is emptied and all other skills' pools decrease by one stroke.
- Each enchantment with upkeep costs 1 pip of energy regeneration to maintain. It's possible to get negative regeneration this way. If a player can't support the cost anymore, the most recent enchantments get canceled until they can.
- A cost in health, measured as a percentage of maximum health. Players can kill themselves by sacrifice.
- Each use of a relevant skill temporarily reduces the caster's maximum energy by 5 or 10. Over-use can result in the character having a negative amount of energy.
- Elite status
- Some skills are elite, and considered more powerful or valuable. A player can only equip one elite skill at a time (except when having used a Signet of Capture, and before changing zone; when a player zones, all elite skills except the rightmost one are removed).
- PvE or PvP distinguished
- Some skills cannot be used in PvP; you can only equip three of these PvE skills at a time. Other skills have split versions for PvE and PvP, and update automatically when in each respective zone.
Learning and unlocking skills
Before the first character on an account, no skills are initially available. As a roleplaying character progresses through the game, they learn skills as listed below. When a skill is learned, it is known to that character, and at the same time unlocked on that account. All unlocked skills can be used by all PvP-only characters and heroes on the same account. PvE-only skills can be learned, but never unlocked.
When a skill is first unlocked (except through the PvP Access Kit), a small dialog box appears indicating the event.
- A skill can be learned by
- Completing certain quests which reward the player with a skill.
- Purchasing a skill from a skill trainer (except for PvE-only skills).
- Purchasing a skill from a Hero skill trainer (except for non-Sunspear PvE-only skills).
- Capturing a skill from a boss.
- Switching secondary profession, which adds the set of default basic skills for each profession.
Additionally, a character can use a skill tome or elite skill tome to learn any skill or elite skill unlocked on the account. Skill trainers each have a unique set of skills for sale, but also list all an account's unlocked skills.
- Skills can be unlocked without being learned by
- Purchasing a skill or an elite skill from a Priest of Balthazar.
- Gaining a hero, each of which has a set of default skills, or switching a hero's secondary profession, which unlocks the profession's default set.
- Purchasing PvP unlock packs through the online store .
- Temporarily receiving skills while a PvE character has a quest that leads to choosing a second profession.
- Thus, skills can be one of four ways, from least available to most;
- Locked and unknown to any character.
- Locked for the account, but known to the current character, as with PvE-only skills.
- Unlocked but unknown to the current character.
- Unlocked and known to the current character.
|Profession||Core||Prophecies||Factions||Nightfall||Eye of the North||Total1|
|Warrior||35||5||24||11||20 (2)1||10||15 (1)||10||10||-||104 (3)||36||140 (3)|
|Ranger||35||5||25||10||20 (2)1||10||15 (1)||10||10||-||105 (3)||35||140 (3)|
|Monk||35||5||26||10||20 (2)1||10||15 (1)||10||10||-||106 (3)||35||141 (3)|
|Necromancer||35||5||27||10||20 (2)1||10||15 (1)||10||10||-||107 (3)||35||142 (3)|
|Mesmer||35||5||23||9||20 (2)1||10||15 (1)||10||10||-||103 (3)||34||137 (3)|
|Elementalist||35||5||29||10||20 (2)1||10||15 (1)||10||10||-||109 (3)||35||144 (3)|
|Assassin||-||-||-||-||60 (2)1||15||15 (1)||10||10||-||85 (3)||25||110 (3)|
|Ritualist||-||-||-||-||60 (2)1||15||15 (1)||10||10||-||85 (3)||25||110 (3)|
|Paragon||-||-||-||-||- (2)1||-||60 (1)||15||10||-||70 (3)||15||85 (3)|
|Dervish||-||-||-||-||- (2)1||-||60 (1)||15||10||-||70 (3)||15||85 (3)|
|Common||1 (1)||-||-||-||-||-||- (3)||-||- (47)||- (3)||1 (51)||- (3)||1 (54)|
- ↑ The 20 Factions PvE-only skills are made up of 10 pairs of duplicate skills: one linked to the Friend of the Kurzicks title track and one linked to the Friend of the Luxons title track. Only one allegiance's skills can be equipped at a time, but all 20 can still be learned by a single character.
- Numbers in brackets indicate PvE-only skills. These are tallied for convenience.
- Resurrection Signet is the only common (non-profession) skill available for PvP characters.
- The only common PvE skill is the Signet of Capture.
- This list does not include special skills or title effects.
To check how many skills a character has, open the Skills and Attributes panel; choose "sort by profession" and switch through each profession, writing down the numbers for each profession plus the common skills (11 numbers if all professions are unlocked), and add them up. If the sum is 1319, the character has learned all available skills. Careful - multiple Signets of Capture are counted multiple times.
- As in most games, skills tend to balance costs (e.g. energy or casting time) against benefits (e.g. buffs or damage). Skills with a powerful impact often include additional restrictions (e.g. multiple prerequisites or elite status).
|The Guild Wars 2 Wiki also has an article on Skill.|