Some of you might have played the Elementalist in Guild Wars (GW1), some of you will be new to the game or will start with GW2 and have never played GW1. So why should you choose the Elementalist again, pick it now, or consider playing him/her?
Power — Each attribute point put into this attribute increases the attack statistic by one, which increases damage for all attacks. 1 trait point in Fire Magic increases Power by 10 points.
Expertise — Each attribute point put into this attribute improves the duration of all conditions inflicted by the character. 1 trait point in Fire Magic increases Expertise by 1 point.
Precision — Attribute points put into precision increase the chance of a critical hit for the character. Many of the conditional effects of a skill or trait trigger on a critical hit. 1 trait point in Air Magic increases Precision by 10 points.
Prowess — Attribute points put into Prowess improve the damage multiplier on critical strikes. 1 trait point in Air Magic increases Prowess by 1 point.
Toughness — Each attribute point put into toughness increases the armor of the character by one, which improves the character’s ability to withstand direct damage. 1 trait point in Earth Magic increases Toughness by 10 points.
Malice — Each attribute point put into Malice improves the damage done by conditions like burning, poison, confusion, and bleeding. 1 trait point in Earth Magic increases Malice by 10 points.
Vitality — Each attribute point put into vitality increases the maximum health of the character by ten hitpoints. 1 trait point in Water Magic increases Vitality by 10 points.
Compassion — Each attribute point put into Compassion improves all outgoing heals that your character does, including self heals. 1 trait point in Water Magic increases Compassion by 10 points.
Concentration — Improves the duration of all boons applied by the character. 1 trait point in Arcane Power increases Concentration by 1 point.
Intelligence (Elementalist exclusive) — Reduces the recharge of the four elemental attunements. 1 trait point in Arcane Power increases Intelligence by 1 point.
(as of June 2011)
Personal attributes are a new mechanic in GW2 (GW1 doesn’t have those at all). The Elementalist can raise all of those attributes, by levelling. Points are auto-assigned to the attributes depending on your class and can also be augmented with picking traits from an elemental line of magic (e.g. Water Magic Traits will raise your maximum health)
With attributes you can try to customize your character toward a specialization (e.g. “powerful attacks on foes, but easy to be killed yourself”, or perhaps “balanced with mediocre attacks & hard to kill”). However you will assign points, you will probably never be as “tough and vital” as the Warrior profession.
With Traits you can augment certain aspects of your character further, e.g. by making him better with staffs compared to other weapons you can wield, boosting a certain attunements (which are the magical elements you favor most) or focusing on certain skills, like increasing the AoE of a single spell.
Therefore you can try to make a “Water Elementalist” a “Earth/Fire Hybrid” or a “Master of Magic” with Traits. This sounds more like things you might know from GW1, where you could put points in Water Magic or Fire Magic to make the skills stronger. But do not get fooled. The exclusive game mechanic of “Attunements” makes you very versatile in GW2. You are not stuck “with one” element any more.
In GW1 you usually chose a primary element (e.g. Air), raised the Air Magic attributes to a maximum possible and filled the rest with Energy Storage or a few points in a secondary class. Then you put Air Magic skills on your skill bar. You were stuck with that point & skill allocation, until a mission was done and you went to the next outpost.
GW2 is different. You can switch traits, skills and weapons any time, as long as you are not caught in combat. You can switch your Attunements between the four elements all the time (with a short recharge in between) and should do it to gain certain combo advantages.
The changing of Attunements gives you different skills in the skill bar slots #1 to #5, expanding your available skills to 25 (4×5+5 utility skills on slots #6 to #10) without having to switch out/in other skills to your skill bar.
What are the element skills like?
This is the part, where not so many things have changed from GW1. Fire focuses on burning and AoE, Air causes blind, affects speed and focuses on single targets, Water offers snares and healing and Earth gives you a variety of conditions and protection.
Unlike GW1, many more spells have additional effects and do not only do raw damage. With the cross profession combos, it is very likely that the Elementalist, with his many AoE skills will be the initiator for a lot of skill combinations.
What is the role of the Elementalist in GW2?
In GW1, the Elementalist started out as the damage dealer in the “holy trinity”. With the appearance of hard mode and very high base armor on foes, the Ele had to branch out on utility (making Earth & Water more important over Fire), but with buffs to classes that do armor ignoring damage (e.g. the Mesmer), the Elementalists are currently the worst class to play in end-game content in GW1. The upcoming update to the class early 2012 may change that again. Leaked information showed, that the changes to the GW1 Elementalist incorporate ideas we see in the GW2 Elementalist, which is a thing to look forward to.
GW2 does not have the “holy trinity” any more, everybody can do damage, heal, offer support or “rezz” an ally. Also there is no class right now that deals armor ignoring damage. Everybody shares the “same” damage values.
So the Elementalist probably can fill any role in an ad-hoc or organized team. Since he can not switch weapon sets during combat and certain weapons tend to favor a certain position on the battlefield, the Elementalist has to be aware of positioning and range. Within this boundary he is very versatile with his skills, as he can e.g. either offer massive damage support with a Meteor Shower (Fire/Staff) or healing from the back line with Healing Rain (Water/Staff). He has also a big number of skills that have an effect on the movement on the battlefield, so the Elementalist will be helpful at giving an edge at tactical positioning on the ground and under water.
The elementalist channels natural forces of destruction, making fire, air, earth, and water do her bidding. What the elementalist lacks in physical toughness, she makes up for in her ability to inflict massive damage in a single attack, dropping foes from a distance before they can become a threat. Yet, despite her incredible offensive potential, versatility is what makes the elementalist truly formidable.
Attunements, the Elementalist’s exclusive mechanic
Rather than swap weapons to adjust to new situations – the elementalist has only one weapon slot accessible during combat – the multi-faceted elementalist quickly adapts to new threats by attuning to different elements as needed. When the elementalist attunes to any of the four elements, she receives intrinsic bonuses that continually empower her. During character creation, elementalist characters must decide which of the four elements they prefer the most. This choice will reflect in the personal storyline of the character played.
The elementalist has four elemental attunements that they can tap into. These attunements are represented by four skills that are located on the bar above their normal skills. When an elementalist switches attunements, the first five skills on their bar will change. These five skills are based on the elementalist’s attunement and their current weapon, so that a fire-attuned elementalist will have different skills when he wields a staff than when he wields a scepter or focus. In addition to changing the elementalist’s skills, attunements also work like a normal skill and provide an ongoing effect.
With FIRE attunement, the elementalist can inflict scorching damage on multiple enemies by turning the ground to fire or raining down molten rock from the skies. Why kill just one enemy when you can burn them all? Just by attuning to fire, the elementalist automatically causes flame damage to any foe foolish enough to touch her.
==> While active, deals fire damage to anyone touching the caster and gives access to fire skills focusing on area of effect skills and burning foes.
When the elementalist attunes to AIR, she can harness wind and lightning to target specific foes with focused, high-damage attacks. Dazzling bolts of lightning rip from the elementalist’s fingertips, and brilliant flashes of light blind her enemies. When an elementalist attunes to air, nearby enemies are continuously pelted with lightning strikes.
==> While active, strikes nearby foes with lightning bolts and gives access to air and lightning skills focusing on single-target high-damage skills or blinding foes.
WATER attunement forgoes the raw damage of air and fire, in favor of controlling an opponent’s movement. By creating slippery ice or freezing foes solid, water attunement ensures that the battle is always fought on the elementalist’s terms. Nearby allies receive continuous healing from an elementalist who is attuned to water.
==> While active, heals nearby allies and gives access to water skills focusing on slowing enemies’ movement and healing allies.
In the most dangerous situations, the elementalist relies on the powerful defense of EARTH attunement. An earth elementalist uses the ground under her feet to defend herself and her allies, turning flesh to stone, destabilizing foes with seismic shocks, and destroying threats with volcanic eruptions. Earth attunement automatically confers magical protection to the elementalist.
==> While active, increases the caster’s magical protection and gives access to earth skills focusing on defending allies and self.
When an Elementalist decides to change an attunement, the element enters a short phase of recharge. Like with skills, the player has to wait before he can change back to that attunement.
Elementalists have a number of special skill types:
- Glyphs—These arcane spells enhance or modify the natural power of the elementalist. She uses the Glyph of Elemental Power to increase the damage, range, and duration of her spells. Only elementalists have access to glyphs.
- Signets—Signets provide an ongoing benefit to the elementalist, but can also be activated for a greater effect. An elementalist equipped with the Signet of Earth has increased damage resistance, but activating the Signet sends out a wave of stone, stunning nearby enemies.
- Conjure Spells—The elementalist uses Conjure spells to summon useful items and potent weapons that she or other party members can use. For instance, she uses Conjure Flame to create a fiery rock to hurl at the enemy. Only elementalists have access to cojures.
- Area Spells—Using Area spells, the elementalist creates hazards and mayhem all over the field of battle. The elementalist fires lava arrows in a cone-shaped blast or creates walls of fire that scorch any enemies passing through.
- “Charge skills”—Using this type of skill the elementalist can either charge a spell to be more powerful (e.g. Churning Earth) or receive the benefit of the spell as long as the designated key is held down (e.g. Ether Renewal).
Trident (Two Handed) — Tridents are special aquatic weapons with a long range
Scepter (Main Hand) — casts various single and multiple target, medium range spells
Dagger (Main Hand) — emphasizes close range spells as well as self-defense
Staff (Two Handed) — Staves are slow casting long range weapons.
Dagger (Off Hand) — provides supportive spells in form of energy shields, healing geysers and defensive AoE effects.
Focus (Off Hand) — provides powerful close range abilities suitable for cross profession combinations
Before entering combat the elementalist has the choice to take action from the back line (using a Staff), move around and position himself on the battlefield (e.g. Scepter+Dagger or Scepter+Focus for a combination of midrange and short range skills) or be eye to eye with the enemy in the front line (Dagger+Focus). An Elementalist can not switch weapons during combat, as they have only one weapon slot. An Elementalist choses his effective range with his weapons and has to position himself according to that.
Back line ==> Staff ==> “Scepter + Dagger” ==> “Dagger + Dagger” or “Dagger + Focus” ==> “Dagger + Focus” ==> Front line