[GW2] Weapon Skill Unlocks

Your skills with each weapon unlock through use. You start with one skill, and then you unlock #2-5 by killing 5, 10, 15, and 20 enemies. (It counts as a “kill” if you do any damage, so hit those events as AE away.) One-handed weapons only have #2 and 3, off-hand items are always #4 and 5, and two-handed weapons use all five slots. For those off-hand items, you advance them if you already have #2 and 3 done on your main hand.

An Engineer will do this without noticing. Pistols can be used in either hand, a shield in the off-hand, and rifles and (underwater) harpoon guns are two-handers. 50+50+50+35=185 kills to unlock everything, 50 of which must be underwater. Don’t worry, Engineers have lots of options because they get kits in their utility skill slots. A Warrior will be spending a bit more time even collecting weapons, with 11 weapons available in 21 combinations. That’s 520 kills. The Elementalist has just 5 weapons, the second-fewest, but remember that I said each weapon has four elements. An Elementalist needs 200 kills per attunement to unlock everything, so 800 kills, 200 of which must be underwater. Elementalists gets nice AE skills, so you could spend time in crowded events and unlock many of those quickly, but 800 remains a large number.

In the long run of the live game, you need to do that once ever, and you will certainly kill more than 800 enemies over the life of a character. Still, they’re looking at that:

This is definitely a problem that we would like to address. While it only happens once per play through on a given character it still feels a bit unwieldy on Elementalist.
— Jon Peters (ArenaNet Game Designer), Guild Wars 2 beta forums

: Zubon

In GW2 BWE1, I tried an Engineer and an Elementalist. You notice that difference.

32 thoughts on “[GW2] Weapon Skill Unlocks”

  1. 800 kills lol…and there I wondered if I was just slow. Good thing they review this; personally I can’t say it added anything to the experience besides being rather disruptive at higher level. The unlocking could be a lot more than a boring chore. Granted, it’s a onetime thing but still I didn’t see much point.

  2. This is one of the reasons I haven’t bothered playing an elementalist yet. If I’m going to spend that long unlocking those skills I want it to stick.

  3. I was thinking about this as well, while playing on my warrior. I think the best solution (at least that I can think of) would be to reverse-scale the number of necessary kills to overall level, since you should be able to relatively quickly figure out new skills by level ten, but need to focus on that kind of thing before that point. After level ten, dodge-rolling, utilities, and other aspects feel like they need more attention, limiting the necessity of unlocking new new weapons/spending time to get more potential varienty. Just a thought.

  4. Cheap solution: make all attunements unlock for a weapon as you progress. The warrior still sits pretty high on the list then, but 520 is still relatively manageable when you can fully utilize each weapon quicker.

    1. But as frustrating as it is to have so many things to unlock for an elementalist, making you do each attunement separately does make you learn what the skills in each do. This is one of the great pluses of the unlock system for me – it means I actually come to understand what all my skills do, even if I’m trying to rush through them (and even if I forget when I switch to another weapon, heh).

  5. I have quite different thoughts on this subject.

    For me it was quite fun unlocking weapon skills. I have been playing level based mmos for too long where you get new skills with level (sometimes every couple of levels) that here getting a new skill every couple of minutes was very refreshing. It made me completely forget about progression and instead I was only focused on having fun.

    The problem for me was when I completed all weapon skills. It made the rest of the game empty / same as my old mmos. get a level for upgrade, get a skill for new ability.
    From a new skill every couple of minutes my progression dialed down to a new skill every 30 – 60 minutes at best.

    This made me lose interest with most classes I played. In fact warrior and elementalist was the most engaging and fun classes I played, probably for that reason alone.

  6. I can’t speak for warriors, I was running a necro and elementalist for beta. I can say I do not mind the unlocks.

    For elementalist, I am only level 5/6, so I do not have the earth attunement yet. The “worst” of the progression for me, is the water attunement. It does not seem to damage as much as the others with certain weapons. The healing aspect of the water attunement is nice ingroups. I am still working the underwater weapons.

    Necro (level 4) has been fun all around. I have all of weapon skills unlocked and it was quicker than the elementalist. After unlocking the skill, I was using Axe/Dagger for the most part.

    It is/was, in relative terms, a small grind. I did’t mind at all. Actually, I enjoyed getting a new skill. Finding a good event, I could cruise pretty quickly through a weapon skill set.

    My attitude may also be influenced by the fact I play EVE. Currently, I am on a 150+ day plan for capitals (Amarr Battleship V is already done, YAY!!!). In comparison, the GW2 grind is pretty “easy”.

  7. Is it just me or is the math off for the Ele? 20 (kills per attune) x5 (weapons) x4(attinememts) = 400 or am I missing something obvious
    Like was said before I enjoyed the Ele more cos there was slot that needed killing to unlock it all but felt a bit dull after that. Personally I would love to be able to unlock more weapon skills and have a choice for each slot to keep it fresh

  8. Here’s the thing: unlocking skills as an ele isn’t slow. Unlocking skills using primarily single target weapons as an ele is slow.

    Water, air and earth are extremely slow compared to the already fast casting and often aoe fire. That fire ground targeted skill that drops a flaming rock on enemies will level up other skills fast.

    I’m not sure how unlocking works, but if doing majority damage in fire and then switching to another element for the kill shot will work, you should do it that way.

    1. That method DOES work, and can be used by all professions… I’ve used it on every character I’ve created when faced with particularly unpleasant “grindy” weapons.

      It’s extremely useful for necro in unlocking Death Shroud skills for example… much easier to get rid of most of a mob’s health with an axe and then pop into DS to finish them off.

      The weapon you are using AT THE MOMENT OF DEATH is the one that is advanced, regardless of how much damage that particular weapon actually did.

      I’m not sure if this considered “working as intended” or if ANet think this is a bug to be “fixed” but it’s the only thing that has allowed me to continue with certain professions since (unlike some commenters here) I personally find this process to be the most unpleasant thing in the game – only narrowly beating out the restrictions recently imposed on utility skills and major traits.

  9. Regardless of what ANet intended, the actual results of this system for me are;
    Find the highest concentration, of the easiest/fastest to kill mobs and GRIND kill them until all weapon skills are unlocked fully.
    Only then, do I feel comfortable going out and exploring the rest of the PvE game.

    Perhaps it’s a personal failing of mine (I certainly seem to be in the minority on this particular issue) but I simply do NOT feel comfortable engaging in any meaningful/difficult combat without all available options open to me.

    The result is: every time I create another character I’m faced with an immediate grind at their start to get them “ready” to go exploring and to see what the class has to offer which strongly discourages me from creating other characters. The elementalist is by far the worst profession in this regard since you are not allowed to access their other atunements at initial levels. At least with the other professions you can just go buy one of each of their weapons and get this foolishness over with so you can relax and enjoy the character. With the elementalist they ensure that this BS is dragged out for as long as possible.

    I’m retired. I sit at home playing video games all day. I am the worst altoholic you’ve ever run across. I have more than enough time to play as many characters as I like, and still level/advance them faster than folks who just play a “main” character. In every other MMO I’ve played for over ten years I have a character representing each and every class and/or race I have even the slightest interest in… and yet… I am now quite seriously looking at limiting myself to only 3 (or possibly 4) characters in GW2 once it launches because it’s simply not worth it to me to deal with this stupid grind in order to try out/experiment with any others, and this feeling is increasing rather than getting any better. By the time the game actually launches I may be down to only 1 or 2 characters that I want to go through this process with.

    Guild Wars 2 is the CURE TO ALTOHOLICISM !

    Except… I didn’t want to be cured… I wanted to buy extra character slots, and try out all the professions and races and perhaps even different combinations of those…
    *shrug*

    Clearly other folks feel like the grind “isn’t that bad” and I see far more of that attitude than I do opinions echoing my own, but I just keep hearing someone saying, “I swung sword… I swung a sword again… nobody likes that – no one finds that fun…” and I wonder what changed from that point in time to this…

    1. I don’t notice the “I swung a sword…I swung a sword again…” because I’m always in the midst of busy events for the early stages of my play. I’m running around hitting stuff, keeping an eye on enemies, reviving people and trying out my latest unlocked skill to see how it works in different situations. This is partly a credit to the game in general, but I think the problem mostly arises if one feels obliged to grind skills out BEFORE jumping in to play, as you say above. That’s a personal thing though, I wouldn’t suggest it’s right or wrong!

      I do find the first few encounters with only one attack pretty dull. But that hasn’t lasted long on any of the characters I’ve tried out, especially for a first weapon.

  10. For those, like me, who had trouble following the math:

    Unlocking a full set of 5 skills requires 50 kills with that weapon: 0 + 5 + 10 + 15 + 20 = 50

    The Elementalist has four full sets of 5 skills: Scepter + Focus, Dagger + Dagger, Staff, and Trident (underwater)

    50 kills x 4 full sets = 200 kills per attunement x 4 attunements = 800 kills required

    Dropping the kills required from 5(n-1) to 4(n-1) or 3(n-1) reduces the total unlock to 640 kills or 480 kills, respectively. 480 kills puts the Elementalist just under the Warrior.

    Another option: The first 3(n-1) kills toward unlocking the next skill count for all attunements. This makes the scheme 50 to unlock the first attunement for a set and 20 for each additional attunement. 50 + 20 + 20 + 20 = 110 x 4 full sets = 440 total kills required.

  11. Heh! I did not even notice that there was a grind. I simply went out and explored, helping people along the way and occasionally noticed that I had a new skill. Cool! I’ll have to try that the next time I get in a fight!

    I think most of you have are still burdened by the min-max mentality promulgated by older MMO’s. GW2 is all about the journey.

    1. On the first character you create… yes… but the second? …the third? … the seventh?

      Depending on how frequently you create new characters this system grows old very quickly. Folks who claim otherwise simply do not create characters very often, choosing to stick with one completely through the leveling process before creating another.

      I’ve already stated I’m aware I’m in the minority on this issue, but for folks like myself who enjoy creating numerous characters, or who are simply interested in quickly “taste testing” numerous professions to see which ones are a “fit” for them personally, this system is a bonafide PitA.

      1. Archie you already said yourself what you’re doing wrong that is causing you the strife: refusing to “play the game” until you unlock all your skills.

        Solution: stop doing that.

        Sounds kinda like “SimCity is a PITA because I don’t feel comfortable laying out zones until I’ve got all the roads my city will ever need laid out ahead of time, and laying out that many roads without doing anything else is just not fun, especially since I like to make several neighboring cities at a time.”

        1. I went through a personal story bit with the weapon I had just found. Oh holy crap, that boss fight took like five minutes when I had just the one attack available.

            1. Actually, i found myself limited in terms of mobility. If you’re on a Ranger who’s been using an axe for five levels, but then find a sword, suddenly it’s all “Button 1…Button 1… button 1…” all over again. It’s one thing to need to learn to use the weapon and another to need to learn the game. Maybe if it was linked to XP instead of kills?

            2. I amuse myself – and it can be useful too – letting the first skill auto-attack and moving a lot, strafing or circling since I don’t have to worry about using other skills. In fact once I’d learned the basics of the game, on later characters I found the early one-skill stage a good opportunity to train myself into moving more. It’s possible I’m just making the best of the situation, though :)

            3. Now that I can get behind, Horndecatmonkey. Seems like there should be faster exposure to a variety of weapons. Rangers have it especially bad since you’d think most folks would want to check out bows right off the bat.

          1. yes, you don’t want to do personal story with an unlocked weapon, and if the skills will fit the encounter, you probably want to do it with your best (level appropriate) weapon.

            Personal story can be tough. That is good, but some of them, especially the Norn (that involve the bosses that spawn elementals and then the elementals spawn more elemenatals) are almost impossible. In one of them I had 3 NPCs helping me, but once they died they were more trouble than they were worth, because I was fighting a boss presumably balanced for a player and 3 npcs, and I was doing it solo, and the rez times on the npcs were way too long, you’d die before you even got one of them up.

        2. Well, the game does encourage you to stop leveling/hearts/dynamic events and grind out weapons on easy enemies.

          The higher level the enemy, the more health it has. That means it will be more dangerous and take longer to kill it with your one attack skill, which means it will take longer to unlock your other attacks.

          The solution is go back to the level 1 or 2 or whatever enemies and unlock them there.

      2. So many ways to respond to that…

        Each new profession is a new journey.
        You only need to unlock each profession once.
        Taste-testing new professions is as easy as heading to the practice grounds in the mists.
        If it really bugs you stick to WvW.

        But in the end it comes down to taste. Kind of like the nice young ladies back in college who tried to explain to me that books were really only meant for rainy days. :P

      3. Arch; up to now I have started a guardian, 2 warriors, a mesmer, an ele, 2 necros, and an engi. double classes were because my friends asked me to re-start with them, and no ranger and thief was because at all times I had friends playing those.

        So; no, I DID create characters often, possibly as often as possible. And I still stand by my decision. unlocking weapon skills was fun. Yes, I was bored to to the same hearts etc everytime but that made me explore more and do other things, and also that was not the fault of weapon skills, but fault of a standard themepark.

        My most unpleasant part of GW2 is the personal story; it completely distrups my roleplaying mentality and puts my character in an offline game-story watching pov.

        1. Agree on that. I was testing beta on all fronts twice, and till I’ve read this article, I didn’t even noticed there is a problem. Hay – the fact that I didn’t noticed doesn’t meen a thing, that’s why life is interesting – people are different.
          Now I acknowladge that there is issue, but still – the issue is smaller that hacky ideas thrown all around to fix it.
          Still – unlocking skills on both ele was fun for me :). Maybe because I’m not fan of “powerleveling-oh-my-ghosh-I-need-to-be-very-best-pokemon-trainer-there-izzz”, and maybe because I love good journey. But still – didn’t even notice the problem :D

  12. I have primarily played Elementalist during the beta events, the other classes just didn’t appeal to me as much. Unlocking the underwater skills was a bit of a grind, but I do like a little grind every once in a while.

    When all the skills are unlocked, the Elementalist has some very rewarding play to it. I really didn’t feel like I was put at a disadvantage. I developed some very interesting skill rotations for different situations.

    On the contrary, I felt like the other classes missed something. The Thief’s stealing skill is just not as interesting and the Guardian’s permanent buffs didn’t give me a happy the way using fire, lightning and ice all in one battle did.

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