Traits Unleashed: Forty New Traits and More!

by Roy Cronacher and Karl McLain on 20th March, 2014

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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 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 Wars that 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

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