Acquiring Hero Skills
As you play through the storyline of Nightfall, your Heroes will gradually gain levels, and you can acquire more skills for them. The more skills you have for your Heroes, of course, the more options you'll have when you customize their builds. There are several ways to unlock and acquire more "Hero skills," ranging from the obvious to the obscure.
Your primary method of unlocking skills for your Heroes should be buying skills for your characters. All of the skills you've unlocked on your account, including skills from Prophecies and Factions, are available for your Heroes. This includes all the skills you've unlocked for both PvP and PvE. If you need more skills, or you're just starting out, you have a few additional options.
Hero Skill Trainer (PvE)
Traveling across Elona, you'll pass by NPCs in towns and outposts who can train your Heroes in various skills. You'll recognize them by the tag "Hero Skill Trainer" after their names. For example, the Sunspear Great Hall in Istan has a Hero Skill Trainer accessible early in the game. Since that trainer is near Kamadan, visitors from Tyria and Cantha can reach it easily as well.
If you've been playing the game for a while, you know that each time one of your characters buys a skill, it costs your character a skill point. In the same way, each time you unlock a "Hero skill," you must spend a "Hero skill point." You can earn Hero skill points each time you gain a Sunspear rank (read more about this process in our "Sunspear and Lightbringer Title Track" article).
Each Hero skill trainer has a small assortment of skills for each of the game's professions. Whenever you enter a new province (Istan, Kourna, Vabbi, the Desolation, or the Realm of Torment), you'll find a different list of Hero skills available there.
Balthazar's Faction (PvP)
Skills you unlock in PvP are also available for your Heroes in PvE. Once you unlock a skill in PvP, that skill is available for all Heroes with that profession on your account.
If you want to track down a specific skill for cooperative play, one option is earning enough faction in PvP to unlock it. An elite skill costs 3,000 faction; other skills cost 1,000 faction a piece. If there's an elite skill you need for a particular Hero build, and you don't know where you can acquire it with a Signet of Capture, earning 3,000 faction might be easier than searching for it.
If you're new to this style of play, our PvP Primer can teach you the basics. Random Arena is a good location for earning your first faction; you can then spend it by visiting a Priest of Balthazar. The Training Area (accessible through the Master of Paths on the Isle of the Nameless) is another good place to start earning faction.
With faction, you can unlock skills for any of the professions, including professions you're not currently playing.
PvP Unlock Packs
Unlock packs for Prophecies and Factions are available in the online store. (You can access the store from your character selection screen right after you log on to the game.) That means the unlock packs provide a wider range of skills for your Heroes than you would get with Nightfall alone, including a diverse assortment of elite skills. You don't need an unlock pack to create strong builds for your Heroes, but it can certainly help.
If you still need more skills, remember that skills you unlock with other characters on your account are available to all Heroes on the same account. For instance, if you want to play a Hero with Paragon or Dervish as a secondary profession, playing a character with Paragon or Dervish as a primary profession (even for a little while) can unlock some useful skills for that profession.
Guild Wars also includes NPCs you can use to change your character's secondary profession. For example, Senji's Corner (in Factions) has an NPC named Senji who offers this choice. He can even change your secondary profession to Assassin, Ritualist, Dervish, or Paragon (if you have the proper campaign installed), and he'll switch you back to your original profession for free. Although this method can be expensive, since the cost of buying a skill for that character increases with each purchase, switching your secondary profession can be a quick way to gain a specific skill for a profession you don't play often.
Build What You Want
The most effective way to get skills for your Heroes is by acquiring skills for your characters, but you have other options. If you've played the game consistently, you should have plenty of options, but using additional methods of unlocking Hero skills will give you more tools for building customized Heroes. Whether you consult Hero Skill Trainers, focus on faction, use unlock packs, or play with multiple characters, a bit of planning can help build a repertoire of skills that will serve you well throughout Guild Wars.