GW2 Current Trait Unlocking System to be removed in HoT

GW2 trait unlocking system used currently will be removed in GW2 Heart of Thorns expansion.

Colin Johanson posted this bit on the official forums today.

Hey folks, Now that the HOT is out of the bag, we’re able to update this thread with more details. With the introduction of the new account based mastery system for end-game progression and growth in PvE, we’ll also be re-evaluating our other systems of character progression to ensure they match our over-all pillars and goals for Gw2.

In doing so: we’re going to be removing the current trait unlocking system currently on live and replacing it with a more simplified system that supports where skills-traits-specializations are going in the future. We’ll go into more details between now and the release of HOT on how skills, traits, and specializations will work in the new Gw2 world.

Thank you for all your passionate feedback on this topic – it not only helped our dev team lead to this decision, but has played a large role in helping us define how to build our exciting new account based mastery system for end-game progression in PvE as well.


  • Ari

    Well, so much for spent all these time mapping and doing all these jumping puzzles.
    But what the heck, I actually had fun and was motivated to do these things for the first time, fair is fair I guess.

  • lore

    I think the idea of completing challenges in the game to unlock traits was a good idea but their implementation was bad. Some of the requirements were odd or too difficult. If they wanted to use that system, it should match the flow of leveling so it gives you the feeling of unlocking traits naturally as you go along. They would also have to implement ways to unlock the traits in different leveling zones since different races start in different areas.
    The other problem was veteran players (with many max level characters) might not feel like doing some of the challenges over again (since they have likely already done them many times). So the system probably discouraged some players from leveling another alt.
    Can’t say I am sorry to see the system go. Wish they would at least give us some sort of general idea as to when this expansion is coming. I am guessing Fall 2015, but that will be a long time without any content (if there is no filler stuff)

    • Sarigar

      I concur with everything you said.

      • Thunderfox

        I haven’t been discouraged but at the same time having to go in and figure out what I need and/or hunt it down? Maybe if the maps were marked with trait hints. I did like the idea of exploring, though again, felt like to much hunting which to me just really crippled experimentation with builds.

        • simon1812

          …there are “hints”, there is a monocular next to the locked trait, u hit it and it tells u what and where u need to do to unlock it.

    • maskedghoul

      Forcing people into content that they do not like to do just to get a trait will upset some people. The system is borked and I really hope they do away with it entirely

  • Moviecritic76

    Question: What will happen to characters that are level 80 and only have limited traits that are unlocked after they remove the current trait system? I have several characters that were leveled after the new trait system several months ago and I only unlocked the traits I needed.

    • gjs

      i imagine the same thing as happened when they changed to the current trait system, the ones you had unlocked already stayed unlocked, the ones you had not were now unlocked via the new system

  • Skitt Skizzle

    They wanted to replicate the GW1 skill capture but it didn’t work for me. Somehow it felt like an adventure to reach and traverse Mineral Springs to get that awesome elite skill. Waiting for some event to happen in GW2 was annoying to me, most of the time I just bought the traits with gold.

  • nopikam

    If mastery is going to be for level 80 players only then we get no traits at all for leveling characters? Great, ruin your game more, ArenaNet!

    • aimasira

      thats not the way it goes. dont rush ahead. they said they are going to alter the system

    • Guest

      Yeah I know right, well with the exception of the fact that’s not what they said or the fact that they haven’t actually released any details about it or the fact that you don’t actually know what they’re doing combined with the fact that you’re just assuming the worst and acting like it’s a 100% certainty.

      But yeah aside from all that stuff you totally got it right.

    • Yeaaah they’ve never said mastery was explicitly for level 80s, and Colin didn’t even say that traits are part of the new mastery system. Just where they’re going as a whole pillar.

    • Brian Stoepker

      They specifically said that mastery will be account-bound, which means it’s for all levels of characters.

  • X0ll0X

    I’m kinda torn, seeing this news. On one hand I see what they tried to do and like that idea, but on the other it was simply horribly implemented.

    Keep in mind that I’ve been playing gw2 since launch so I don’t know how it was for new players, but I felt that most of the requirements, even the first tier ones, had either a level requirement that was too high or was too time-gated.

    Sure I can see that they wanted to implement a system that was similar to the gw1 elite skills one. However, there the whole process of getting the skill you wanted was fairly quick, if you knew where to get it, and it could be done at any time. And even though it sucked not being able to use the elite you wanted, it wasn’t as big of a deal doing without until getting to the zone it was located in, thanks to the wealth of other skills from both your first and second profession available.

    Compared to gw1 elites, the specific traits in gw2 have a similar if not more important role and that from a lower level. They are one of the few sources of build variety, as there are less utility skills all around and the others are bound to the weapons. So you’d like to very specific ones earlier, only to find out that you have to complete a zone that is still too high a level, complete an event that was still too high a level or do specific stuff in WvW. Also there you only had to unlock one elite as opposed to 5-7 traits to get you build together

    All in all I simply couldn’t be bothered to wait for 20 levels before I could unlock a trait I wanted to use or spend 1.5h unlocking it, while instead I could simply be using and making the process more enjoyable. It wasn’t like the costs were a problem.

  • Shifted

    Hopefully this means there will be a LOT more traits (and skills, lots of skills..) to unlock.
    And I don’t mean 5 new weapon skills and a set of heal + util + elite. I mean TONS.

    Game’s been out two years and we got what, two heals (one shared) and 6 traits per class. (Unless I forgot something, which is probable)

    For a game that focuses on “horizontal growth of character” instead of a “gear treadmill” that’s pitiful.

  • Man

    Sometime like Arcane Abatement , a Tier Adept trait require you make a level 80 PVP JP? don’t think they really thought throughly.

  • Hakke

    Great, i didn’t liked the system anyway. I leveled my warrior with doing map completion and ended up with 2 traits at level 80. So i didnt fit my playstyle at all. Had to buy traits at the end to have a decent build.

  • maskedghoul

    I quit over the trait unlocking system. I won’t be purchasing HoT until I’m absolutely sure it won’t come back in its present form.

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