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Skill Points Guide

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August 3, 2012 - 3:10am -- Sardu
Skill Points Guide

In Guild Wars 2, unlocking or purchasing new skills to use in combat is handled a bit differently than in more traditional MMOGs. Rather than requiring you to visit a static NPC trainer every couple of levels, instead you will gain new skills on one of two ways. Your weapon skills will unlock automatically through actively using a given weapon and defeating enemies during combat. Additional healing, utility, and elite skills, however, will be purchased by spending a pre-determined number of skill points.

In this guide we’ll go over what skill points are, how they are obtained, and how you will go about spending them to unlock new skills to use in combat. We’ve also included details on skill challenges, and ways you can spend any extra skill points you earn once you’ve finished unlocking all of the available skills for your profession or race.

Earning Skill Points

Upon reaching level 5, you will begin earning 1 skill point each time you level, for a total of 75 points earned through natural character progression by the time you reach level 80. After reaching the level cap, you can continue accumulating additional skill points even though your character has reached the maximum level.

This works similar to the way you can continue to earn skill points after reaching level 20 in the original Guild Wars. In other words, even at the level cap, you can continue earning XP through normal gameplay. Filling the XP bar at this point will continue to grant you 1 skill point each time the bar is filled.

There is also a secondary method of earning additional skill points called Skill Challenges. Explorable PvE and WvW zones will each have a set number of these challenges marked on your map which can be seen by pressing the [M] key.

Skill Challenge Icon

Indicates a skill challenge that has not been completed

Completed Skill Challenge Icon

Indicates a skill challenge that has been completed

As seen below, in the upper right corner of the map you will be able to see how many skill challenges exist in the current zone, and also track your World Completion:

GW2 World and Zone Completion

Each time you enter a new zone, at the bottom of the loading screen you will also see how many skill challenges are contained in that zone, as well as your current progress towards completion of that particular map:

GW2 Loading Screen Progress

There are a number of different types of skill challenges, some being more difficult to complete than others. Some of the more basic challenges will require you to interact with a friendly NPC and defeat them in combat. Others might require you to fight your way deep within a cave or structure, defeat a more difficult creature type, or even interact (commune) with a specific object.

Many of these skill challenges can be completed while solo, though there will be cases where completing the challenge might require the efforts of a group. Since the more difficult challenges tend to be considered mini dynamic events and will also reward you with XP or even other rewards, you usually shouldn’t have a problem finding other players to participate as they can still benefit even after having obtained that particular skill point.

Unlocking New Skills with Skill Points

You could almost think of skill points as a form of currency, with the primary purpose of spending a number of points to unlock additional profession or racial skills to use in combat. There is also a secondary function which we’ll go over in more detail later in this guide. For now, however, let’s go over the process of spending skill points to unlock new healing, utility, and elite skills.

Open the Hero window [H] (shown below) and click on the Skills and Traits tab found to the left. At the top of this view, you will see the number of skill points you currently have to spend on new skills. From here, you will want to click on Slot Skills which will open up a complete list of the skills you can purchase for your profession, as well as any skills based on the race of your character.

GW2 Skills and Traits Window

To purchase a new skill, move your mouse over its icon and a blue button giving you the option to “Buy” that skill will appear. Clicking on this will bring up a confirmation option to either complete or cancel the purchase.

Healing Skills

All professions will start the game with one healing skill automatically unlocked, with two additional heals that can be purchased with skill points. The first of these will cost 1 point, with the second costing 3 points. Depending on your character race, you may have an additional racial heal skill that will also cost 3 points to unlock.

Unlike utility and elite skills, there are no tiered restrictions on when you can purchase new heal skills. As long as you have enough points, you can unlock them in any order you choose.

Utility Skills

You unlock your first utility skill slot at level 5, with the second unlock at level 10, and the final slot unlocked at level 20. The process of purchasing new utility skills is similar to healing skills, with one major difference.

Utility skills are broken down into three tiers, and you must purchase 5 skills in a tier before you can progress to the next tier. First tier skills cost only 1 point each, with the second tier costing 3 points each, and the final tier skills will cost 6 points each.

Please note that within a given tier, there are not restrictions on which order skills can be purchased. This allows for a certain amount of flexibility in terms of which specific skills you earn as you advance your character, rather than being a more rigid progression like you would see in most other MMOGs.

Elite Skills

The final skill type you can purchase with skill points are called Elite skills. These are much more powerful than your normal utility skills, and won't unlock for you to purchase and use until level 30. Each profession has a total of 3 elite skills, with two in the first tier and 1 in the second tier. You will also have additional elite skills that you can purchase and use in PvE and WvW gameplay based on the race of your character.

Map and World Completion

As noted earlier in this guide, each explorable map in Guild Wars 2 will contain a number of skill challenges for you to complete. Completion of these challenges will count towards your total completion for a given map, as well as your world completion.

This is worth noting, as skill challenge completion not only grants you skill points to spend, but will contribute to your overall map completion which will grant your character some additional rewards.

GW2 Map Completion Rewards

Spending Extra Skill Points

It is possible to earn more skill points than there are available skills to spend them on. At this point they can also be used as a currency to purchase additional items, such as components used to craft items in the Mystic Forge. An example of some of the items you can currently purchase with skill points can be seen below:

GW2 Mystic Forge Merchant

Bloodstone Shards can also be purchased for 200 skill points each, and are used in the creation of Legendary Weapons. As additional information on these weapons, or other items that can be purchased for skill points becomes available we'll be sure to update this guide with the full details. In the meantime, also be on the lookout for our complete guide to the Mystic Forge!


oneeyered's picture
Submitted by oneeyered on

You getting any sleep Sardu? :D

Its a simple world for complicated people



Sardu's picture
Submitted by Sardu on

I do sleep, just not very much most of the time. :)

sylvinstar's picture
Submitted by sylvinstar on

It's really amazing to me how many systems from Guild Wars 1 have made it into Guild Wars 2.  Good game design, is good game design no matter the package you put it in.

I did not realize you could spend skill points on items - very cool.

MokiCzech's picture
Submitted by MokiCzech on

Any idea how long it takes to get skill points after you are fully leveled? Do you need some exact amount of XP for each of them?

I'm a master baiter!

Ian Smith's picture
Submitted by Ian Smith on

The amount of XP needed to gain a level stagnates at 20.  Meaning the amount of XP needed to reach 21 from 20 is the same amount needed to go from 79 to 80.  My assumption would be that it remains that way for additional XP after reaching 80. So each skill point after 80 earned will require the same amount each time.  Let me know if that didn't make sense. ;)

Sardu's picture
Submitted by Sardu on

That's my understanding of how things will work as well.

MokiCzech's picture
Submitted by MokiCzech on

Holy mother duck, that is pretty awesome. I knew that GW2 leveling is way faster compared to other MMOs, but stagnates after level 20. Nice!

And thanks for answer, makes perfect sense.

I'm a master baiter!

Wedge7's picture
Submitted by Wedge7 on

Nice guide, thank you. Is the Orb of Power for 100 skill points used in the creation of Legendary Weapons as well? 

@MokiCzech I doubt it'll take too long. Anet have already shown off the flat leveling curve, and stated that it takes 1 - 1.5 hours to gain a level, something like that. Once you hit level 80, I assume that you need to earn a precise amount of experience to reach the next skill point, and this'll be the same for each skill point from then on. This is how it worked in GW1. 

Ian Smith's picture
Submitted by Ian Smith on

Unfortunately, I don't believe there has been any confirmation that Orbs of Power are actually for the Legendarys but that would seem like a really good guess. yes

MokiCzech's picture
Submitted by MokiCzech on

I think that in-game description actually says it, or something. 

I'm a master baiter!

sylvinstar's picture
Submitted by sylvinstar on

I know that in GW1, just going around and doing things at max level - running dungeons or running certain missions had me leveling quite often - it was surprising how fast you could level actually.

Mooshoe's picture
Submitted by Mooshoe on

i just gotta say i love your guides they are very informational, waiting for the forge guide =)

Wondercrisp's picture
Submitted by Wondercrisp on

Great guides - many thanks. There's one thing that I couldn't find any reference to...

I'm a warrior, and when wielding an axe (for example) in my main hand and looking at the tooltips for my skill #1, it shows 3 different skills, Single Chop, Double Chop and Triple Chop. Are these selected automatically? In any specific progression? How can I tell which skill is going to be used, and when?

Dakryn's picture
Submitted by Dakryn (not verified) on

Is there a way to respec slotted skills? Or do you have to suck it up and just purchase what you wanted later?