Specializations, also known as trait lines, is a profession mechanic which allows players to customize their characters to concentrate on different aspects of their build through various traits. Depending on the character's level, up to three specializations can be chosen, and each fully trained specialization provides 3 minor traits and the choice of 3 out of 9 major traits—split between adept, master, and grandmaster traits. Players can switch back and forth between specializations when out of combat.
Each character in the base game can choose from five core specializations per profession, while accounts with expansion packs unlocked gain access to one elite specialization for each profession per expansion.
To begin training a specialization your character must be at least level 21, then follow the below steps. PvP players do not need to unlock anything, as all skills and traits available to the account will be unlocked while within the Heart of the Mists.
- Step 1: Open your Hero panel and go to the Training tab. The Training tab is the third tab from the top on the far left of the Hero panel.
- Step 2: Select one of the tracks under Specializations. Tracks are located on the left side of the Training tab.
- Step 3: Once you select a track, it will become visible, showing you a circle with all of the selected track's associated traits.
- Step 4: In the center of the selected track, there will be a trait, a button that allows you to learn the trait, and a cost (listed in Hero points).
- Step 5: To learn a trait, click on the Train button and confirm that you're willing to pay its Hero point cost. Once completed, the next trait in the track will become available. Once all traits in a track have been purchased, the circle will be completed.
It is possible to train multiple traits at once by selecting a trait further along into the track and then clicking Train. Fully unlocking a core specialization costs 60 hero points.
Once at least one trait is trained in any specialization you may go into the Build tab and equip it into an empty slot. Traits may also be selected once equipped. Specializations may be swapped freely when not in combat. Specialization slots are unlocked at levels 21, 45, and 71. Level 80 characters will have exactly enough hero points to train all core skills and specializations—completing hero challenges will allow you to train skills and specializations sooner. Excess hero points may be used to train elite specializations.
In contrast to core specializations, which merely modify how certain skills and effects work, choosing an elite specialization fundamentally changes the way a given profession plays by altering or expanding on the base profession mechanic and providing access to a new weapon, healing skill, elite skill and a set of utility skills of the same skill type. All core profession skills, weapons and specializations will still be available while an elite specialization is equipped.
Training an elite specialization is basically the same as a core specialization, however you must be level 80, own the respective expansion, and all core skills and specializations must be fully trained. Elite specializations gradually unlock the specialization specific traits and skills at the same time—there is no separation of traits and skills. The first trait costs 30 hero points to train, subsequent traits cost 10 points and skills cost 15 points. Upon training the first trait you will also unlock the respective specialization collection. It costs 250 hero points to fully unlock an elite specialization and all points can only be obtained through completing hero challenges or purchased from a Heroics Notary.
Elite specializations can only be equipped in the bottom (third) specialization slot in the hero panel, which has a faint golden frame around it. Elite specialization exclusive weapons and skills cannot be equipped unless the respective elite specialization is also equipped.
List of specializations
|Icons / Name||Focus|
|[[|48px|link=Zeal|]] [[Zeal|]]||Symbols and spirit weapons • Scepter, Greatsword|
|[[|48px|link=Radiance|]] [[Radiance|]]||Signets, burning and blinding • Sword, Torch|
|[[|48px|link=Valor|]] [[Valor|]]||Blocking and meditations • Shield, Focus|
|[[|48px|link=Honor|]] [[Honor|]]||Dodging, symbols and shouts • Staff|
|[[|48px|link=Virtues|]] [[Virtues|]]||Consecrations and virtues • Hammer|
|[[|48px|link=Dragonhunter|]] [[Dragonhunter|]]||Grants access to longbows and traps. Active effects of dragonhunters' virtues gain a more physical presence in the world.|
|[[|48px|link=Firebrand|]] [[Firebrand|]]||Grants access to axes and mantras. Virtues become tomes, allowing usage of several pages before disappearing.|
|Core (requires a purchased expansion)|
|[[|48px|link=Corruption (specialization)|]] [[Corruption (specialization)|]]||Legendary Demon Stance and conditions • Mace, Axe|
|[[|48px|link=Retribution (specialization)|]] [[Retribution (specialization)|]]||Legendary Dwarf Stance and defense • Hammer|
|[[|48px|link=Salvation|]] [[Salvation|]]||Legendary Centaur Stance, healing and support • Staff|
|[[|48px|link=Devastation|]] [[Devastation|]]||Legendary Assassin Stance, damage and mobility • Sword|
|[[|48px|link=Invocation|]] [[Invocation|]]||Legend channeling and fury|
|[[|48px|link=Herald|]] [[Herald|]]||Grants access to shields and the Legendary Dragon Stance, in addition to Facet of Nature, which can be used at any time. Heralds focus on defense and supporting allies with various boons.|
|[[|48px|link=Renegade|]] [[Renegade|]]||Grants access to short bows and the Legendary Renegade Stance. Channel Kalla Scorchrazor's power in battle, drawing upon her spirit to summon members of her warband.|
|[[|48px|link=Strength|]] [[Strength|]]||Dodging, physical utility skills, and brute force • Greatsword, Hammer|
|[[|48px|link=Arms|]] [[Arms|]]||Critical hits, signets and bleeding • Sword|
|[[|48px|link=Defense|]] [[Defense|]]||Toughness and enduring of damage • Shield, Mace|
|[[|48px|link=Tactics|]] [[Tactics|]]||Revival of allies and supporting them with shouts • Warhorn, Longbow|
|[[|48px|link=Discipline|]] [[Discipline|]]||Adrenaline gain and weapon swapping • Axe, Rifle, Harpoon Gun|
|[[|48px|link=Berserker|]] [[Berserker|]]||Grants access to torches, rage skills, and Berserk mode which allows the use of primal burst skills. Berserkers focus on fast attacks, adrenaline gain, and burning damage.|
|[[|48px|link=Spellbreaker|]] [[Spellbreaker|]]||Grants access to daggers and meditations. Spellbreakers can use their adrenaline to perform a full counter, absorbing the next attack against them and damaging surrounding foes.|
|[[|48px|link=Explosives|]] [[Explosives|]]||Power and Vulnerability • Grenade Kit, Bomb Kit|
|[[|48px|link=Firearms|]] [[Firearms|]]||Condition Damage • Pistol, Rifle, Harpoon Gun, Flamethrower|
|[[|48px|link=Inventions|]] [[Inventions|]]||Turrets and defensive tactics • Shield|
|[[|48px|link=Alchemy|]] [[Alchemy|]]||Elixirs and manipulating of conditions • Med Kit, Elixir Gun|
|[[|48px|link=Tools|]] [[Tools|]]||Tool belt skills, utility kits, and endurance|
|[[|48px|link=Scrapper|]] [[Scrapper|]]||Grants access to hammers, gyro skills, and Function Gyro to interact with players at a range to revive allies or finish enemies. Scrappers focus on reducing incoming damage, supporting allies, and improving Superspeed and lightning fields.|
|[[|48px|link=Holosmith|]] [[Holosmith|]]||Grants access to swords and exceed skills. Holosmiths specialize by projecting light into a semi-solid form and can activate Photon Forge mode, in which they generate heat as skills are used, causing damage to themselves but also improving their utility skills.|
|[[|48px|link=Marksmanship|]] [[Marksmanship|]]||Long range damage and signets • Longbow, Harpoon Gun|
|[[|48px|link=Skirmishing|]] [[Skirmishing|]]||Mobility, traps, and weapon swapping • Sword, Short bow|
|[[|48px|link=Wilderness Survival|]] [[Wilderness Survival|]]||Defensive combat maneuvers and conditions • Dagger, Torch|
|[[|48px|link=Nature Magic|]] [[Nature Magic|]]||Boons and spirits • Warhorn|
|[[|48px|link=Beastmastery|]] [[Beastmastery|]]||Pets • Greatsword, Spear, Axe|
|[[|48px|link=Druid|]] [[Druid|]]||Grants access to staves, glyphs, and Celestial Avatar, which changes your weapon skills and the effects of your equipped glyphs while active. Druids have a heavy focus on team support and healing.|
|[[|48px|link=Soulbeast|]] [[Soulbeast|]]||Grants access to main hand daggers, and stances to take on the aspect of wild creatures. Soulbeasts are able to activate Beastmode in order to merge with their pets, improve their attributes and gain special skills.|
|[[|48px|link=Deadly Arts|]] [[Deadly Arts|]]||Traps and poison • Dagger|
|[[|48px|link=Critical Strikes|]] [[Critical Strikes|]]||Critical hits and signets • Pistol, Harpoon Gun|
|[[|48px|link=Shadow Arts|]] [[Shadow Arts|]]||Survival, defensive abilities, and stealth|
|[[|48px|link=Acrobatics|]] [[Acrobatics|]]||Dodging and mobility • Sword, Spear|
|[[|48px|link=Trickery|]] [[Trickery|]]||Stealing and managing initiative|
|[[|48px|link=Daredevil|]] [[Daredevil|]]||Grants access to melee staves and physical skills. Endurance pool is increased and dodging is enhanced with additional effects.|
|[[|48px|link=Deadeye|]] [[Deadeye|]]||Grants access to rifles and cantrips. Deadeye's Mark generates malice, which increases damage to the marked target.|
|[[|48px|link=Fire|]] [[Fire|]]||Fire magic and conjured weapons.|
|[[|48px|link=Air|]] [[Air|]]||Air magic, glyphs, movement speed, and spike damage.|
|[[|48px|link=Earth|]] [[Earth|]]||Earth magic, bleeding, defense, and signets.|
|[[|48px|link=Water|]] [[Water|]]||Water magic, defensive tactics, vulnerability and Cantrips.|
|[[|48px|link=Arcane (specialization)|]] [[Arcane (specialization)|]]||General improvements, arcane utility skills, and switching of attunements.|
|[[|48px|link=Tempest|]] [[Tempest|]]||Grants access to warhorns and offensive shouts. Tempests can overload their attunements for powerful channeled abilities after staying in an attunement for a certain amount of time.|
|[[|48px|link=Weaver|]] [[Weaver|]]||Grants access to swords and stances. Weavers wield two attunements at once, combining both elements in Dual Attacks.|
|[[|48px|link=Domination|]] [[Domination|]]||Interrupts, signets and vulnerability • Greatsword|
|[[|48px|link=Dueling|]] [[Dueling|]]||Dodging, blocking, and mantras • Pistol, Sword, Spear|
|[[|48px|link=Chaos|]] [[Chaos|]]||Defense and application of random boons and conditions • Staff, Trident|
|[[|48px|link=Inspiration|]] [[Inspiration|]]||Phantasms and healing • Focus|
|[[|48px|link=Illusions|]] [[Illusions|]]||Shattering and illusions • Torch, Scepter|
|[[|48px|link=Chronomancer|]] [[Chronomancer|]]||Grants access to shields, wells, and a new shatter skill, Continuum Split. Chronomancers focus on manipulating time and can provide a unique effect called Alacrity, which reduces skill recharge.|
|[[|48px|link=Mirage|]] [[Mirage|]]||Grants access to axes and deceptions. Taps into the magic of the Crystal Desert to deceive enemies and create constructs that explode when touched. Dodging is replaced by Mirage Cloak, allowing use of ambush skills.|
|[[|48px|link=Spite|]] [[Spite|]]||Damage and signets • Axe, Focus|
|[[|48px|link=Curses|]] [[Curses|]]||Critical hits, conditions, and corruptions • Scepter|
|[[|48px|link=Death Magic|]] [[Death Magic|]]||Minions and defense|
|[[|48px|link=Blood Magic|]] [[Blood Magic|]]||Support, life stealing, healing, and wells • Dagger|
|[[|48px|link=Soul Reaping|]] [[Soul Reaping|]]||Death Shroud, life force, and spectral skills • Staff|
|[[|48px|link=Reaper|]] [[Reaper|]]||Grants access to greatswords and offensive shouts. Death Shroud is replaced by Reaper's Shroud, which has a heavier focus on melee combat.|
|[[|48px|link=Scourge|]] [[Scourge|]]||Grants access to torches and punishment skills. Death Shroud is replaced with the ability to raise Sand Shades that shield allies and attack foes. Casts spells that grant allies might and barriers while corrupting enemies' boons into cripple and torment.|
- If the player is wielding a weapon whose proficiency is unlocked by an elite specialization and selects another specialization in the third slot, the corresponding weapon skills will be blanked out until the player either removes the weapon or changes back to the corresponding elite specialization.
- The hover text for selecting the third specialization reads "Core and Elite", whereas the first and second only state "Core".
- Specializations replaced trait lines and were part of a trait system rework in the June 23, 2015 game update.
- Originally, it cost 400 hero points to fully unlock an elite specialization. This was changed in the October 27, 2015 game update.
- Specialization equipment — armor and weapons connected to the elite specializations obtainable via collections