Activation time, noted by the icon in game, is the length of time (in seconds) it takes from starting to use a skill until that skill takes effect. Activation time is also called casting time, particularly when referring to the activation time of spells.
Activation time has concrete effects on gameplay:
- The shorter the activation time of your skills, the more skills you can activate. This seems obvious, but it's important. Remember, many skills have an aftercast delay which cannot be reduced.
- You can't move while activating skills with activation times or attacks with no explicit activation time listed.
- Shorter skills allow you to react more quickly. For instance, if someone casts Conjure Phantasm on you when you start to activate Resurrect, your health will be drained most of the five seconds before you can cast Remove Hex (unless you abort the Resurrect, wasting some time and all of the energy spent on it).
- The longer the activation time of a skill, the easier it is for opponents to use interrupt skills against you. It is difficult to consistently interrupt skills with activation times of less than one second, and relatively easy to interrupt skills that take two seconds or longer to activate.
While activating a skill, players can queue one other action. This could be another skill, or any other action e.g. picking up an item. Players can switch targets any number of times while activating a skill and enqueue their next action on a different target. These actions can be queued even if the character will have to walk in order to perform them. However, while activating a skill with an activation time longer than one second, issuing a direct movement order (pressing a movement hotkey or clicking on the ground) cancels the activation of that skill. Any energy or adrenaline spent on the skill is lost, but the skill can be used again immediately (there is no recharge time).
Changing activation times
- Modify activation time skills quick reference
- The Mesmer primary attribute Fast Casting reduces the activation time of spells and signets.
- Dazed causes spell casting to take twice as long.
- Activation time penalty will not stack to exceed +150%.