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GW2: Traits Unleashed–New Trait system

Arenanet released a new blog post on the new trait system players can expect with the feature patch coming on April 15 with the feature pack.

Hello there! I’m Roy Cronacher, and as a game designer for ArenaNet, I’m excited to tell you about upcoming changes to the trait system. These changes focus on improving the ease of use for spending points and selecting traits as well as how major traits are acquired. Later on in the post, my fellow game designer Karl McLain will talk about some of the shiny new traits we’re introducing. There’s a lot to cover, so let’s get started!


Trait Tiers

One fundamental change to the way traits function is that you won’t be required to visit a profession trainer and purchase a training manual to access the adept, master, and grandmaster trait tiers! Once you reach the appropriate level, we want you to be able to dive right into the system and start playing around with it, so you’ll unlock each tier for free!

As part of this approach to making traits more approachable, we’ve pushed back the level at which the different trait tiers unlock for new characters in order to better pace the early game experience and to add more meaningful character progression from levels 30 to 80. Starting with this feature pack, new characters will unlock the adept tier at level 30, the master tier at level 60, and the grandmaster tier at level 80.

Trait Points

Currently, level 80 players have 70 trait points to spend across all trait lines and have to invest five points into a given trait line to unlock their next minor or major trait. We’re condensing trait points so that each point will be the equivalent of five of the old points. This means that at level 80, you’ll have 14 points to assign instead of 70. You’ll start acquiring points at level 30, when the adept trait tier is unlocked, then you’ll earn one trait point every six levels until level 66, when you’ll start earning two trait points at a time.


The way we’re increasing the value of individual trait points means that when you’re spending a point in a line, you’ll receive 50 of each associated stat and unlock the use of a minor or major trait slot.

With this system, spending traits will be much easier for new players to understand. Right now, there is the possibility for someone who doesn’t really know the system to spend 11 trait points in one line and 14 in another and wind up with a less effective build. As an added benefit, the trait panel will be much easier to understand and navigate.

Refunding Traits

We’ve made a few key changes to the way you can refund your traits:

  • The button to instantly refund all traits, previously seen only in structured PvP areas, has become game-wide.
  • Refunding traits is now free across the game: refund your traits any time you’re not in combat or in a competitive PvP match!
  • A minus button has been added to each trait line directly below the plus button, which allows you to remove a single trait point at a time.

This means that any time you’re out in the world adventuring and want to investigate the possibilities of changing a trait, you can! We want it to be much easier to experiment with and learn new builds as you explore the world of Tyria.


Unlocking Traits

All major traits will be locked on characters created after the feature pack. All existing characters created before this feature pack will be have all previously existing major traits unlocked.

“We want it to be much easier to experiment with and learn new builds as you explore the world of Tyria.”

Major traits will now be unlocked via traits guides, a new in-game item. Double-clicking on a trait guide will unlock its associated trait. You can find trait guides by completing specific content in the world, like story dungeons, minidungeons, WvW, personal story, specific bosses, and discovering certain areas on the world map. As excited as we are to let players earn traits with feats of bravery and cunning, we know not everyone is the exploring or adventure type—which is why we’ve included the option for you to buy trait guides from profession trainers! The cost of current traits varies based on the tier of that trait. Newly added traits to the game will be set at a higher price point.

This new system for acquiring traits in the game brings back an aspect of the original Guild Warsthat we really liked, which was exploring the world as a major component of character progression. Acquiring traits will be a horizontal progression system which will give us new ways to add new traits to the game and promote interesting content!


Now that you know all about how you’ll be earning traits, it’s time for Karl to tell you about some of the new traits we’re introducing in the April 2014 Feature Pack!

New Grandmaster Traits

We’re introducing forty new grandmaster traits: each trait line for each profession will have one new grandmaster trait to unlock with the trait-unlocking system we just discussed!

These new traits are intended to further open up build possibilities and to give existing builds a much more defined role; quite a few of these traits are being implemented based on feedback from the community. We’ll go over one trait from each profession in this blog. We’ve only listed a few traits here, but we’re very excited to bring you the new trait system and traits.

Elementalist: Aquatic Benevolence

The elementalist is getting a variety of traits, ranging from damage and utility to survivability and support. The one we’ll introduce today is Aquatic Benevolence. This trait contains a new mechanic that will increase all healing to allies by a percentage without affecting the character doing the healing. Aquatic Benevolence has the highest of all outgoing healing effects currently in the game, sitting at a solid 25% healing power bonus when supporting allies.

Engineer: Fortified Turrets

Engineers will be getting additional support and survivability with their new turret trait, Fortified Turrets, which is part of the Inventions line. Each time an engineer with Fortified Turrets equipped spawns a new turret, that turret receives a defensive bubble that reflects projectiles for four seconds. This works with all turrets, including the Supply Crate.


Guardian: Force of Will

With the current traits available to the guardian, their Honor line has multiple support traits that heavily assist allies but have less individual benefit for the guardian. With this patch, guardians will have the option to unlock Force of Will, a trait that grants three hundred extra vitality when slotted (which amounts to three thousand health at level 80 from this trait alone). The result is a guardian that is much more durable when facing conditions and physical attacks.

Necromancer: Unholy Sanctuary

In addition to a bit of a trait line rework, the necromancer’s Death Magic will be gaining the ability to heal your health pool while Death Shroud is active. Unholy Sanctuary allows you to turtle in your Death Shroud and slowly heal yourself, granting you additional survivability in situations that might otherwise spell certain death. The healing rate of Unholy Sanctuary is the same as the regeneration boon and will be affected by healing power.

Mesmer: Power Block

Enemies of mesmers beware: they’ve learned how to mess with your skill recharge! The new trait for mesmers allows them to gain additional benefit when disrupting enemy skills. Power Block will be introduced to the Domination line and will change the recharge of an interrupted skill from 5 seconds to 10 seconds. This will not affect skills that have no recharge, but I’d imagine that stopping a necromancer from consuming conditions would surely put a nail in their coffin.


Ranger: Read the Wind

Ranger: Your arrows are swift and deadly, but in some scenarios they are not as fast as they need to be and your enemies can dodge them easily. With Marksmanship’s new Read the Wind, your longbow arrows will fire at twice their base velocity, allowing for supreme accuracy at long range.

Thief: Invigorating Precision

Thief will be gaining a new survivability trait in their Critical Strikes line with Invigorating Precision. Five percent of damage from your critical attacks will now be returned to you as healing. With this trait, you’ll be able to sustain yourself in scenarios where your base healing just isn’t enough.

Warrior: Dual-Wield Agility

Warriors who love to dual-wield will have a new option in their Arms line with Dual-Wield Agility. This trait will increase your attack speed by ten percent when wielding an off-hand axe, mace, or sword.

In Closing…

These are just a few of the many things coming in the April 2014 Feature Pack. Be on the lookout for more information in the coming weeks. We’ll see you on the battlefield!

– Roy Cronacher and Karl McLain


By Dulfy

MMO guide writer and blogger. Currently playing and covering SWTOR, GW2, and TSW.

52 replies on “GW2: Traits Unleashed–New Trait system”

It is a support trait. Say you have a skill that would heal you and 5 allies for 1,000, with the trait you would heal yourself for 1,000, but your allies 1,250. Hence you heal all allies by an additional 25%, but your self healing is unaffected.

I think this trait gives the elementalist +25% healing power, but only on healing done to others. So any blasts or aoe healing skills you use will use your normal amount of healing power on yourself but everyone else will be healed with 1.25 times your healing power.

They keep focusing on Elementalist support. I hope this is not their only point to elementalist, I as a Zerk elementalist, just don’t want to be your “Healer monk” in dungeons. >_<

Everyone play what they want XD they’re just trying to “support” support a bit more to make it viable xD Right not the meta game is too much zerk oriented, even if it’s mainly a design flaw than mere player choice.

ANET is adding 40 new traits total, which is 5 per profession, or 1 per trait line. Obviously this is the new water magic grandmaster trait. Your desired dps or survivability grandmaster trait will come in the fire/lightning or earth magic lines respectively.

Exactly what I hope so 🙂 . I was just saying because in every stream that Anet put on they always talk about “Put elementalist as a more strong support profession”. This might take the community overall see the profession as a support one, as already happens with some professions. And this, could turn into a problem when we talk about random pug groups (That is how most players play).

If ud look up the pve dps lightning hammer builds most of them abuse the water traitlines to get extra dmg specifically IV +20% dmg when hitting a foe with vulnerability applied. So water isnt specifically healing

Is it just mee, or Anet do the same as blizzard did with the last 2-3 expanzions ov WoW, and focused on the new players. Pls, a new can learn and in an MMO it’s a requirement to be social, open ur mouth and ask for help in a tow or in a guild. But no, nerf the game to the scale of a newby and kick the olders in but…

Actually they only scaled it to 30, but the rest is less for new players, since for grandmaster you need level 80…for the rest they didn’t change much O_o they even gave proverful traits to players lol, they didn’t nerf anything at all.
It’s a change made just to make thing clearer, easier and remove useless stuff…5 point each trait was stupid, i mean , who the hell put like 12-13 points only ? you put 10 or 15.

Nerfed? That makes leveling a lot harder for new people.
Longer to wait to get any boost at all, and only access to majors you’ve unlocked.

I also feel they made it harder rather than easier, so much even I think I’m rushing my Ranger, second Necro to 80 ASAP, aswell as my Asuran, Norn and Charr the second my first toons turn 1. 🙂 They only made the system easier to understand, which in my opinion, isn’t a horrible thing to do. But I’ve preferred a better tutorial over this, I like having earned something every time I level up, +10 in stats did that for me.

Sooounds like shieeeeet… Explore the world to unlock traits? Now that’s just freaking stupid. Whereas they’re trying to bring back the GW1 feeling of getting skills/elites.

Actually i like it for that XD It’s nice to have a “growth” of the character wich isn’t merely levelling.
And can puts into a brighter light things that were ignored beforem like story dungeons XD
Plus if you have no time you can pay too just like you did up until now at a trainer, and gg. 😛
Seems a fair choice to me.

From the article: “As excited as we are to let players earn traits with feats of bravery and cunning, we know not everyone is the exploring or adventure type—which is why we’ve included the option for you to buy trait guides from profession trainers!”

Probably cause its too easy…?
Plus they actually said they wanted to make levels 30 – 80 feel like somethings happening, as opposed to where character progression tops out at level 30

I agree! While the cost is probably going to be in gold, the article only says: “The cost of current traits varies based on the tier of that trait. Newly added traits to the game will be set at a higher price point.” so we hare room to be optimistic. =)

4 seconds for a defense bubble is far too short or even worth the trait. Why does ArenaNet insist on making their defensive boons so trivial. It should be at least 6.5 seconds or up to 9 seconds. None of the Guardians defensive skills like wall or bubble last long enough for just one attack. They need to lengthen them by double what they are now.

It you put that trait it’s because you focus on turrets…when all your turrets and your elite can do that,…that’s a possible 20 sec reflect…and by the time you end it you could easilly pick up the old ones and prolong it even more.

Well, it works like that XD the trait say so…but…who knows, even other traits they put are quite powerful…but after all that’s the meaning of a grandmaster trait XD Before, most of the adept or master tiers traits were actually much more poweful and useful than grandmaster ones…

A projectile bible is still pretty weak. It’s useless against all other big attacks that wrote then within seconds of deploying in some LS fights

Idk it sounds big enough for me to possibly let one into one of my full zerker heavy groups in fotm. thats a lot of bubble uptime at moments notice

The dps may not be top notch right now xD but a dude with that trait and aoe turret knockback would be totally lovable…think of it in FotM 49-50 during the elemental boss XD a guardian will not absolutely be “needed” for that now thanks to this. I find it lovely xD

It’s a trait made to reflect projectiles lol, ofc it’s not an allmighty powerful shield…even guardian sanctuary can still be hit if the melee range in enough/is not projectile/ the aoe center is outside.
If the turrets get some love in the balance it could become quite an awesome trait to pack up easilly turret dps, survivability and support for the team…i would totally love an engy with this in fractal xD (i know that you may say “but you need only fullzerk for pve!!” , not in my gamestyle and i can do things as easy as any fullzerk team xD)
At this point any wall of reflection/feedbackbubble is totally useless, wich are not.

Actually, guardian’s wall and other consecrations are quite effective with the trait “master of consecrations”

I don’t know if it’s the best place to ask, but just a general doubt I have… are there “normal looking” rifles in this game or just the ones like the pictures above?

The basic/simple rifle model is suprisingly elegant and nice-looking. That’s the skin you find on white rifle loot drops, from white quality weapon merchants, and from crafted rifles like the Skale Repeater and Match-Grade Standard Rifle.

Can you show me a picture of it? I never played GW2, but if someday I start playing it, I’d love to use something like a whinchester rifle, or the model I’m attaching a pic from GW2.

Trait tiers, trait points, refunding traits: why oh why oh why was this not included at launch? It was obvious even from beta that they’d eventually come to the same conclusion that everyone else has come to; this all should have been done a long time ago.

Unlocking traits: bleh. I guess they feel like they have to introduce a new gold sink after allowing us to respec for free (which should never have cost anything anyway), but this just feels so artificial. And I understand that they want people to try new game modes outside their comfort zones (like dungeons or WvW), but this typically just breeds resentment when you have a ton of people who don’t care about something jumping in just to get rewarded and then quit. I hope they have different ways to unlock things (other than just gold) so people can play the game the way they enjoy, instead of feeling like they have to grind things out.

Gold sink only if you don’t want to unlock them via “quests” (cit. Major traits will now be unlocked via traits guides, a new in-game item. Double-clicking on a trait guide will unlock its associated trait. You can find trait guides by completing specific content in the world, like story dungeons, minidungeons, WvW, personal story, specific bosses, and discovering certain areas on the world map.), so i find this pretty sweet since if gives a nice sensation of exploration and work/progress on the character just like elite skill in gw1…
Plus i guess that they didn’t put it at begin because 1 the game wasn’t full ready yet, and they still needed to make some fix and balance about them…i’m pretty sure that A LOT of the things they will put in this feature path will just be things they’ve been working since the begin of the game lol…
Look at the point of the preview “a colorful outlook”, i bet they ll increase the dyiable parts of the armor like they were in the first betas, and maybe even dyable weapons (in a preview of the game at Cologne, where you had to defeat a tequatl that was already strong as the actual one, not like the stupid version they put at launch, you had the ability to dye weapons too)

dual agility for warriors?our powerful 1/4 sec swing axe needs speed buff?who the hell is making such lame traits?how is this equal to berserk power or heightened focus in any ways?

If this game is hard then I don’t even how would you fare in Dark Souls.

GW2 is a fairly easy MMO, specially so when you get the hang of it. Go play something of your level if you don’t like challenges but don’t go around spreading lies that this game is “hard”. Be humble enough to ponder if this ins’t all your fault, instead of picking the “coward and easy” out of pointing fingers at everything else to explain your faults.

you sound like the douche commanders who insist everyone only has to double dodge out of aoe/cc to simply avoid it and not die, who then turn around and blame you saying you suck, when there was so much aoe/cc that you are stuck in one place and cannot move, let alone dodge anything. and on top of that if you do get a miracle chance to dodge, many times its right into another patch of aoe/cc. it might be that easy for a guardian or warrior, but my main ranger, and most other classes i have, dont work that way.

its not as simple as that, there are way too many variables to dismiss things so easily by laying blame on the players. those pins dont command very long.

“All existing characters created before this feature pack will be have all previously existing major traits unlocked.” –> If I have a 30lvl character, created 2month ago and there are Master + GM books in the inventory … does it mean I will be able to use them on normal way as I reached 40+60lvl?

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