ArenaNet has given some explanation to the specializations, as well as screenshots, of upcoming expansion Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns. These new specializations will cause traits to be more impactful and meaningful when it comes to gameplay. Now totally separate from your skills, each profession will choose three of five core specializations to focus on.
Each of the core specializations you will choose have three minor and nine major traits. Each major trait will have a tier: adept, master, and grandmaster.
Stats boosts are also being removed from traits. Instead all base stats, and those given by equipment, will be increased. In PvP, the need to unlock skills and traits are completely removed, allowing any player to choose specializations when they enter PvP.
As an example of this new model, ArenaNet described a Water Magic specialization,
- Soothing Mist: You and nearby allies regenerate health while you are attuned to water.
- Healing Ripple: Heal nearby allies when attuning to water.
- Aquatic Benevolence: Healing done to allies is increased. (25%)
- Soothing Ice: Gain regeneration and Frost Aura when you are struck by a critical hit.
- Piercing Shards: While attuned to water, your spells deal more damage to vulnerable foes. Vulnerability lasts longer.
- Stop, Drop, and Roll: Dodge rolling removes burning and chilled.
- Soothing Disruption: Cantrips grant you regeneration and vigor. Cantrip recharge is reduced.
- Cleansing Wave: Remove a condition from you and your allies when attuning to water.
- Aquamancer’s Training: Deal extra damage when your health is above the threshold. Reduces recharge on all water weapon skills.
- Cleansing Water: Remove a condition when granting regeneration to yourself or an ally.
- Powerful Aura: Auras you gain from weapon skills are also applied to nearby allies.
- Bountiful Power: Deal more damage for each boon on you.
You can find the newly released images for Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns below,