Traits are passive abilities that can enhance a character's skills, provide bonuses to damage and attributes, and modify their actions. Each profession has 15 minor and 45 major traits grouped into five specializations. Only a small number of traits can be equipped at a time, determined by chosen specialization. Three minor and three major traits can be equipped per specialization.
The trait interface is accessed through the Hero panel, in the Traits section of the Builds tab. Traits cannot be assigned until they are unlocked by spending Hero points earned either through leveling or performing hero challenges.
Definitionsprofession has access to five core specializations, and one elite specialization. Slot-wise there are two types of traits: minor and major - three predetermined minor traits which cannot be unselected, and three major traits per tier, one of which can be selected and used. Traits are grouped into three tiers: adept, master, and grandmaster, and are unlocked sequentially by spending hero points in the Training Panel. Traits become available for use after slotting the appropriate specialization in the Specializations Panel.
|44px||Minor Traits have hexagonal icons.|
|44px||Major Traits have square icons, and are laid out in a column at each tier.|
Three specializations can be active at any one time. When a specialization is selected up to three of the unlocked traits can be selected, one per tier.
Equipping major traits
Each specialization has access to 9 major traits, split across the three tiers with three major traits per tier.
In order to use a major trait, it must be selected in an open major trait slot.
Traits can be unlocked in the Core specialization section of the Training tab by spending Hero points gained through leveling. Each specialization consists of 3 minor traits and 9 major traits. To fully unlock all 12 traits costs 60 hero points. Every new tier has an increased cost of Hero points, starting at 2 for the first minor trait and ending at 8 for the last major trait.
- Tier 1 Minor trait : 2
- Tier 1 Major trait : 3
- Tier 2 Minor trait : 4
- Tier 2 Major trait : 5
- Tier 3 Minor trait : 6
- Tier 3 Major trait : 8
- This update drastically changed how traits work, introducing the concept of specializations as follows:
- Players have three specialization slots to spend the traits into, while still being able to view all traits on the left side of traits panel.
- Players no longer need to spend varying amount of points into a specialization (formerly "trait line"), instead all specialization slots are fully unlocked to trait into, therefore making it possible to pick three grandmaster major traits at the same time.
- Many traits have been merged with others, while some have been completely culled, resulting in less traits to choose from but with greater impact on gameplay; because of these changes, players have three major traits for every tier (adept, master, and grandmaster). For some professions, several minor traits had their effects increased, so choosing a specific specialization may become scope-defining.
- The number of possible trait allocations for each profession, assuming all points were used, was reduced from 364,917,960 to 196,830.
- Specializations aren't attached to attributes as trait lines were, so choosing a specialization doesn't change values on the Hero Panel (except for condition duration, and boon duration, which are only increased by trait effects, sigils or runes). To make up for this loss of attribute points all exotic or better equipment have had their attributes increased.
- As attributes are divorced from specializations, the profession-specific mechanics' recharge reduction (eg. Attunement Recharge Rate) had its full percentage attached to a trait.
- Traits are now unlocked through Training Panel by spending hero points (formerly skill points) earned from levelling or completing hero challenges (formerly skill challenges) throughout the world. It is no longer possible to buy trait guides from vendors, or unlock them by completing tasks in the world anymore.
- As trait lines are gone, specializations took up their place not only by replacing terminology and trait lines but also introducing a new system to expand professions' progression - the elite specializations - which drastically changes a profession gameplay, adding a full new set of traits, and unlocking access to a previously unavailable weapon, and a skill type.
- This update made numerous changes to the trait system as part of the Spring 2014 Feature Pack.
- Automatic tier unlocks. Previously, each tier had to be unlocked by purchasing a trait manual; tiers also could be unlocked earlier, at levels 11, 40, and 60.
- Unlock system for major traits. Previously, major traits were all unlocked by default. Existing characters retained the unlocked traits.
- Trait points were condensed by a factor of 5. In the original system, points accrued at a rate of 1 per level starting at level 11, for a total of 70 points. Each point only gave +10 to attributes, and 5 points were required to activate each minor trait/major trait slot; a maximum of 30 points could be spent per trait line.
- Free trait point refunds outside of structured PvP. Previously, points could only be refunded for a fee at profession trainers or by using an Instant Trait Reset.
- A 13th major trait was added to every trait line.
- ArenaNet decided against including racial traits in the game as a matter of game balance: each race should be equally effective in each profession. For example, there should not be important differences between norn and asura warriors.
- The trait system was redesigned into tiers prior to the second Beta Weekend Event.