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Profession

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Professions define a character's skill set, attributes, and armor, much like the character classes defined in other RPG games. A character starts with a primary profession and is also able to obtain a secondary profession.

The ten professions, from left to right: warrior, ranger, monk, necromancer, mesmer, elementalist, assassin, ritualist, paragon and dervish.
A list of the Factions professions in Canthan script

Primary profession[edit]

A character's primary profession (or primary for short) determines that character's appearance, the armor and runes they can use, and their available skills and attributes. For example, a Necromancer cannot wear the same armor that a Warrior can, and vice versa. Also, unique to each profession is a primary attribute, which is only available to characters who choose that primary. A character's primary profession is the only choice that cannot be changed once that character has been created.

List of Primary Profession Guides[edit]

This is just a very short overview of what parties expect from certain professions. For more information, read the articles and guides about the respective profession.

Warrior Warriors (frontline) are the usual tanks and often the pullers. Your party will expect you to bring a bow for pulling and at least some means of staying alive under fire. If there is more than one tank-worthy character in the party, agree beforehand on who will tank; non-tanking warriors can focus on damage or condition inflicting.

Dervish Dervishes (frontline), despite having low armor, are a melee profession. Therefore, you will be expected to soak up some damage on your own. Bring a decent self heal, but don't neglect your damage output, unless you are the designated tank. Dervishes can use a multitude of enchantments to either boost damage or defensive capabilities.

Assassin Assassins (frontline) are typically hit-and-run experts, and usually avoid staying in melee range for extended periods due to their lower armor. Assassins can employ shadow steps or speed boosts for hit and run tactics (commonly to quickly gank an enemy healer or simply get an early kill), or use defensive skills and self heals if they intend to stay in melee longer. Some Assassin even use ranged weapons to stay out of melee range but still benefit from Critical Strikes; there's even a crit-based skill designed specifically for non-dagger assassins. In high-end areas, assassins focused on Shadow Arts can make very efficient tanks.

Elementalist Elementalists (midline) in a party are usually expected to do heavy damage. Fire Magic is most typical in PvE for its high damage AoE spells, but other builds will still generally be accepted as long as they have a high damage output. Elementalists are also sometimes used for snaring, using Water Magic spells to prevent mobs from dispersing away from AoE damage. Elementalists function in some rare cases as frontline tanks themselves, using Earth Magic-based enchantments to increase armor. When facing areas full of high-armor melee enemies, remember that they can support the party by spreading generous amounts of damage mitigation or amplification: Blindness, Weakness, and Cracked Armor, as well as ward spells from Earth Magic line. With their high energy reserves, Elementalists are sometimes combined with a Monk secondary to become powerful backline healers.

Mesmer Mesmers (midline) are more situation-specific, and should know the enemies beforehand in order to plan their build accordingly. Because they are more difficult to play effectively, they are also a rarer PvE profession. Mesmers shine when it comes to shutdown, via interrupts and hexes, although other builds are viable. Inform your group of your role in the upcoming fights.

Necromancer Necromancers (midline) are usually expected to play a straight damage dealer (e.g. with Spiteful Spirit) or to boost the frontline via being a minion master. They can also be a party battery through a Blood is Power build, where they power spellcasters with high energy regeneration. Tell your party what you plan on doing, especially if there is another necro around. Necromancers not falling into one of those two builds will often have a hard time finding a group; be prepared to explain why you use another build if you do so.

Paragon Paragons (midline) can produce decent damage, but shine in a support role, bringing skills that benefit most of the party members (mostly damage reduction via "There's Nothing to Fear!" and the warrior skill "Save Yourselves!", but also Arias for spell casters, Anthems for physical damage dealers, "They're on Fire!" if the party can cause a reasonable amount of burning, etc). Bringing Signet of Return or "We Shall Return!" can also help the party, as they are reusable resurrection skills. Paragons also have a niche in party-wide movement speed boosting with Incoming and Fall Back.

Ranger Rangers (midline) are often expected to either deal damage via Barrage (or similar skills) or to shutdown spellcasting via Broad Head Arrow or other bow attack interrupts. They are the most common pullers in the group as they can use their bow and run back to bring back a small group of monsters while tanking fairly well with their high armor and efficient defensive stances such as Whirling Defense or Lightning Reflexes. If you play a non-bow ranger (e.g. touch ranger or trapper) tell your party before starting. Also inform them if you plan on bringing any spirits.

Ritualist Ritualists (midline or backline), as a versatile profession which can support damage and healing both, make sure the party knows what it is getting. If you plan on using spirits, such as those summoned by the popular Signet of Spirits, you may want to bring Summon Spirits to keep up with your moving group. If a party has more than one ritualist, they need to check the builds and exclude any duplication in binding rituals.

Monk Monks (backline) normally have a focus on keeping the party alive. If you are not the only monk, coordinate with the other monk(s) whether you use healing or protection. Usually it is easiest to have one of each. Definitely tell your party if you plan to be a non-healing Smiting Prayers monk.

Professions comparison[edit]

Profession Damage abilities Pressure abilities Support abilities Control abilities Utility abilities
Melee
attack
Ranged
attack
AoE
damage
Inflict
Conditions
Inflict
Hexes
Interrupts
targets
Remove
stances
Heal
self
Heal
others
Remove
conditions
Remove
hexes
Resurrect
party members
1
Warrior Warrior Yes No Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes No Yes No No
Ranger Ranger Yes2 Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes No Yes No No
Monk Monk No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Necromancer Necromancer Yes3 Yes No Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes No No
Mesmer Mesmer Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes Yes No
Elementalist Elementalist No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No No No
Assassin Assassin Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No No
Ritualist Ritualist No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Paragon Paragon No Yes No Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Dervish Dervish Yes No Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Legend[edit]

Yes — lots of skills support this ability
Yes — ability is somehow limited or only a few skills support it
No — ability is not available

Footnotes[edit]
  1. With profession-dependent skills (other than Resurrection Signet and Sunspear Rebirth Signet)
  2. Only with a pet
  3. Only with minions and a few touch skills
Caveat[edit]

Much of the information in this area is geared toward playing with other players, particularly strangers. If you're with a group of friends who you know, or if you decide to play solo, with just heroes and henchmen, you can experiment with various options that others in a group might not immediately accept. The fact is, in normal mode, which is where you start the game, the entire game can be soloed. For many players, the enjoyment of creating unique and effective builds is one of the great joys of the game.

Secondary profession[edit]

A character's secondary profession (or secondary) provides them with a second set of attributes and skills to complement the first. However, a character does not have access to their secondary profession's primary attribute, severely limiting the use of skills linked to that attribute (although characters may still obtain skills from the primary attribute of their secondary.) In addition, a character cannot use runes from their secondary profession, so their secondary attributes cannot normally increase beyond a rank of 12.

Obtaining a secondary profession[edit]

Role-playing characters obtain their secondary profession through quests early in their initial campaigns.

Changing secondary professions[edit]

Role-playing characters cannot change freely between secondary professions until they have Ascended (Prophecies), become Weh no Su (Factions) or completed the quest Hunted! (Nightfall). Doing the Hunted! quest only qualifies native Elonians. Ascended Prophecies characters can take quests to unlock each secondary profession or visit the Profession Changer. Characters from other campaigns without access to Prophecies can only unlock secondary professions at a Profession Changer for a fee of 500Gold. Once a secondary profession has been unlocked, that character can freely switch between all the unlocked secondary professions via the Skills and Attributes Panel in any town or outpost, or by talking to a profession changer again. Heroes and PvP characters can switch to any secondary profession from any campaign linked to the player's account.1

List by installation[edit]

PvP Access Kit[edit]

Main article: PvP Access Kit

1 Players who purchase the PvP Access Kit have access to all professions, and can freely change their secondary profession at no cost. They are restricted to creating PvP characters only, and cannot leave the Battle Isles, unless they also have one or more of the role-playing campaigns added to their account.

Core or Prophecies professions[edit]

Core professions are those available in every release of Guild Wars, so they may be chosen as primary professions in any chapter. They are also the only available professions in the Prophecies campaign.

Factions campaign professions[edit]

These professions are only available to players who own Factions.1 Role-playing characters may only choose these professions as their primary one if they are created in Cantha, though a character from any continent will also have access to these professions as secondary once they have met the qualifications to change their secondary profession. PvP characters may choose these professions as primary or secondary as long as Factions is attached to the account.

Nightfall campaign professions[edit]

These professions are only available to players who own Nightfall.1 Role-playing characters may only choose these professions as their primary one if they are created in Elona, though a character from any continent will also have access to these professions as secondary once they have met the qualifications to change their secondary profession. PvP characters may choose these professions as primary or secondary as long as Nightfall is attached to the account.

NPCs and professions[edit]

The vast majority of NPCs combatants in Prophecies, Factions and Nightfall only use skills from a single profession; however, many NPCs in Eye of the North and a few NPCs in the campaigns have skills from two or more professions. There are also a few NPCs with their own monster skills that do not belong to any profession.

Gw2logo.png The Guild Wars 2 Wiki also has an article on Profession.

Professions (edit)
Core: Warrior WarriorRanger RangerMonk MonkNecromancer NecromancerMesmer MesmerElementalist Elementalist
Factions: Assassin AssassinRitualist Ritualist        Nightfall: Paragon ParagonDervish Dervish