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Swapping Attunements – More Fun for Elementalists?

ElementalistI started a new Norn Elementalist this beta weekend and discovered something worth talking about – the speed of the skill unlocks of weapon skills.

For most professions, this probably works pretty fast: They have a starter weapon, they unlock three skills – they get an off hand weapon (reward for first storyline quest, bought or found) – and they unlock the next two skills.

Due to the nature of the profession, the Elementalist has not only to unlock those five skills, but a total of twenty skills across all his four attunements.

My Norn Elementalist started out with a Scepter and the Fire Magic line. It does not matter what you chose as your favourite element in the beginning – Fire magic it is.

Sadly – I’ am kind of sorry to say that – fire is good, as burning and its raw power of base damage, combined with the first bought armour, which has power buffs, this element has the best take down capacity. I expected the developers to go a slightly different way in Guild Wars 2, than they did go in the original Guild Wars. Perhaps by letting us chose our starting element?

In underwater combat – with the trident weapon – fire saves your skin again (I fought a lot of Skelk, which seemed to take a lot more damage from fire than the other elements).

But unlocking the skills on the Focus+Dagger combos was fun, the range of the skills pretty good (think about shortbow or spear experiences in Guild Wars). The drag started, when I changed to the staff, which has long recharge skills:

Fire offers a wide array of good skills there for the battles I had to fight, which worked best with AoE damage from Lava Font & Meteor Shower. Burning Retreat was a very good skill to survive hordes of melee attackers. Air offered a little less fun. Pushing the foes back with Gust has not a big effect on them and Windborne Speed is only a great asset, when you can buff a lot of allies to move around (needed that when we attacked Svanir’s Dome). Earth was kind of boring at the end of the day (haven’t unlocked Water when this article was written), which might be the fault of this: You do not unlock the skills by using them, but by the amount of XP you get for defeating foes. This often meant, I had to switch back to Fire to kill off stuff, before I got overwhelmed – which did not help my Air or Earth progression.

My Conclusions About the “Starter” Elementalist & Unlock Speed

The Elementalist is not a profession for people with little patience. It takes a while to unlock the skills across many weapons & attunements. Fast recharging skills, you can play around with, are far more entertaining than waiting for your staff skills to recharge. To avoid this, the developers could offer something like “one XP” to every cast of the skills, especially when it comes to the staff, where only the #1 slot skill is for constant action. This way the unlock could go a little bit faster and would be more entertaining.


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  • Seems to me that fire is straight damage, usually a good choice to start with. The other ones (well, water and earth anyway) seem to carry different roles.

    I look forward to playing this profession, sadly I didn’t have time to try it during the beta.

  • My assessment of Fire Magic is based on the fact, that many people who are still playing GW1, wanted to start out somewhat different this time. Starting out with fire isn’t bad, but perhaps not the “choice” veterans wanted to have.
    With the ability to move while casting now, the long casting times aren’t such a big problem. I will talk more about the range of the different weapons in an upcoming blog post.

  • I think that’s true of veterans, but new players and non-forum goes probably care more about fire. It’s fine though, because I think the unlock will be done fairly quickly, even though it might seem long to us GW veterans.

  • I’m guessing the reason Anet didn’t innovate on what element did what, was because they already had an existing game and, lore-wise, it would have been very difficult to change. Fire in GW 2 isn’t all that different from fire in Guild Wars 1. They’d have had a hard time explaining why it changed.

    Good point about the skill unlocking…I hadn’t considered that bit.