A Special Post on Specializations

Today ArenaNet posted a two-part blog post detailing how the new profession specializations and traits will be working in Heart of Thorns. Now, as you might imagine with it being split into two full blog posts and all, there is a TON of information here. I’ve tried to suss out some of the key points but I highly recommend heading over and reading part one and part two for yourself – especially if you’re an elementalist!

  • What we’ve been referring to as ‘profession specializations’ are actually called ‘elite specializations’, and each trait line we currently have access to are ‘specializations’
  • Stats will be removed from trait lines – instead characters’ base stats will be increased and stats on all gear will be increased to compensate
  • You choose three specializations (or as we currently know them in-game as trait lines) OR one ‘elite specialization’ (you know, the one that gives us a new weapon) and two specializations
  • Each specialization has three minor traits that get automatically unlocked when you choose it.
  • On top of the minor traits, there are 3 major traits to choose from at the adept, master, and grandmaster tiers. This is illustrated below:


  • Skill and trait unlocking will be changed into a new system called ‘profession reward tracks’
  • You spend Hero Points on the profession reward tracks to unlock skills, traits, items, and elite specializations.
  • Hero Points will replace skill points – this means all ‘skill challenges’ across Tyria will be converted to ‘hero challenges’
  • Old skill points that players currently have on their characters when HoT goes live will be converted into crafting materials you can use at the Mystic Forge
  • Below is the current UI for an elementalist profession reward track:


  • As we knew before, elite specializations will enable characters to use a new weapon, healing skill, utilities, and elite skill
  • Elite specializations will change the way core class mechanics work. From the article:

We’re also making some core changes to each profession that are dependent on the elite specialization equipped. Have you ever wanted a different way to take advantage of all that life force? How about a new way to shatter illusions? These are some of the changes you can expect to see for your favorite profession.

(As a mesmer and necromancer player, I can’t even begin to think what this could mean, honestly)

Like I said, for more details I definitely recommend giving the articles a look for yourself. I’m still wrapping my brain around some parts of this! On top of all this info, there is going to be an official livestream tomorrow, Friday April 24th with an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on specializations.

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