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Disambig icon.png This article is about the basic game mechanic. For the skill type, see Skill (skill type).

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.

Tablet of Wisdom

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.


Universal properties[edit]

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[edit]

Most skills require spending time and energy:

Activation time 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 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 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[edit]

Adrenaline 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 strike.
Tango-upkeep.png Upkeep
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.
Sacrifice Sacrifice
A cost in health, measured as a percentage of maximum health. Players can kill themselves by sacrifice.
Overcast Overcast
Each use of a relevant skill temporarily reduces the user's maximum energy by 5 or 10. Over-use can result in the character having a negative amount of energy.

Other properties[edit]

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[edit]

Newly created roleplaying characters start the game with no skills. They will have the possibility to learn new skills as they progress in each campaign.

A skill can be learned by

Each time a PvE character learns a new skill (except for PvE-only skills), a small dialog box appears informing that the skill has become unlocked for the account.

When a skill is unlocked on an account, it can be used by all PvP-only characters and heroes of the account. Additionally, PvE characters can use a skill tome or elite skill tome (if the skill was elite) to learn the unlocked skill. If the unlocked skill was non-elite, all skill trainers of that skill's campaign (with the exceptions of Halbrik in Ascalon (pre-Searing)) will start offering the skill for all PvE characters of the account, even if it was not already part of their original unique set of skills for sale.

Skills can also be unlocked without being learned by
  • Purchasing a skill or an elite skill from a Priest of Balthazar.
  • Gaining a hero, since each hero has a unique set of default skills.
  • Purchasing PvP unlock packs through the online store [1].
Thus, skills can be one of four ways, from least available to most;
  1. Locked and unknown to both the account, and to any character (initial state).
  2. Locked for the account, but known to the current character (PvE-only skills).
  3. Unlocked for the account, but unknown to the current character (PvE characters only).
  4. Unlocked and known to both the account, and the current character.

Skill quantity[edit]

Profession Core1 Prophecies Factions Nightfall Eye of the North Total2
non-elite elite non-elite elite non-elite elite non-elite elite non-elite elite non-elite elite all
Warrior Warrior 35 5 (1)1 24 11 20 (2)2 10 15 (1) 10 10 - 104 (3) 36 (1) 140 (4)
Ranger Ranger 35 5 (1)1 25 10 20 (2)2 10 15 (1) 10 10 - 105 (3) 35 (1) 140 (4)
Monk Monk 35 5 (1)1 26 10 20 (2)2 10 15 (1) 10 10 - 106 (3) 35 (1) 141 (4)
Necromancer Necromancer 35 5 (1)1 27 10 20 (2)2 10 15 (1) 10 10 - 107 (3) 35 (1) 142 (4)
Mesmer Mesmer 35 5 (1)1 23 9 20 (2)2 10 15 (1) 10 10 - 103 (3) 34 (1) 137 (4)
Elementalist Elementalist 35 5 (1)1 29 10 20 (2)2 10 15 (1) 10 10 - 109 (3) 35 (1) 144 (4)
Assassin Assassin - - (1)1 - - 60 (2)2 15 15 (1) 10 10 - 85 (3) 25 (1) 110 (4)
Ritualist Ritualist - - (1)1 - - 60 (2)2 15 15 (1) 10 10 - 85 (3) 25 (1) 110 (4)
Paragon Paragon - - (1)1 - - - (2)2 - 60 (1) 15 10 - 70 (3) 15 (1) 85 (4)
Dervish Dervish - - (1)1 - - - (2)2 - 60 (1) 15 10 - 70 (3) 15 (1) 85 (4)
Any Common 1 (1) - - - - - - (3) - - (47) - (3) 1 (51) - (3) 1 (54)
Subtotal (PvE-only) (1) (10) (0) (0) (20)2 (0) (13) (0) (47) (3) (81) (13) (94)
Subtotal (PvP/PvE) 211 30 154 60 240 90 240 110 100 0 945 290 1235
Total 212 40 154 60 260 90 253 110 147 3 1026 303 1329
  1.  The 10 Core PvE-only elite skills require a Proof of Triumph from the Anniversary Celebration and access to different campaigns to obtain. See the Proof of Triumph page for more details.
  2.  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.

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 1329, the character has learned all available skills. Careful - multiple Signets of Capture are counted multiple times.

To check the number of unlocked skills, add a hero to your party and scroll through its primary and secondary professions. Keep in mind this omits PvE-only skills.


  • As in most games, skills tend to balance costs (e.g. energy or activation time) against benefits (e.g. buffs or damage). Skills with a powerful impact often include additional restrictions (e.g. multiple prerequisites or elite status).

See also[edit]

Elite skill lists (edit)
Elite skillSkill Hunter
By profession
Warrior WarriorRanger RangerMonk MonkNecromancer NecromancerMesmer MesmerElementalist Elementalist
Assassin AssassinRitualist RitualistParagon ParagonDervish DervishProfession All
By capture location
By releaseProphecies MissionPropheciesFactions MissionFactionsNightfall MissionNightfallEye of the North MissionEye of the North

Any All skill lists by other categories (edit)
Core commonBlessingDuplicateEnvironmentMonsterNo attributeTemporaryTitle (skill)

TypeUnlockingCostPvE-onlyPvE versionsPvP versionsPvE/PvP versionsFunctionalityRemoved

Core (codexelite) • Prophecies (pre-elite) • Factions (elite) • Nightfall (hero trainerelite) • Eye of the North (hero trainerelite)

Tango-adrenaline.png AdrenalineTango-upkeep.png UpkeepTango-sacrifice.png SacrificeTango-overcast.png Overcast
Tango-energy.png EnergyTango-activation-darker.png Activation timeTango-recharge-darker.png Recharge timeTango-quest-icon.png Skill rewards