Welcome to the introduction thread to the GW2 Elementalist. 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. Why should you chose the Elementalist again, pick it now, or consider playing him/her.
"Air is the source of all life. It is invisible, and yet it can destroy whole villages. Water, whether frozen or flowing, is life, and its currents run deep in us. The hunger of flames and their burning destruction demand respect. Fire immolates and clears the path for new growth. Earth is the foundation that supports all life. Stone fortifies us. Rock grounds us."
Personal attributes are a new mechanic in GW2 (GW1 doesn't have those at all). The Elementalist can raise all of those attributes, by advancing in levels from 1 to 80. Points are auto-assigned to the attributes maxing at 916 points and can also be augmented with picking "Traits" from an elemental line of magic (e.g. Water Magic Traits will raise your maximum health) and adding upgrades to your armour pieces and accessory slots.
With Traits and upgrades 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"). No matter how you will assign traits and upgrades, you will probably never be as "tough and vital" as, e.g. the Warrior profession (those have higher base health points and a better armour class).
Of all the professions, the Elementalist has the lowest health pool & the lowest armour class.
These are the different attribute lines
Power — Each attribute point put into this attribute increases the attack statistic by one, which increases damage for all raw damage attacks. 1 trait point in Fire Magic increases Power by 10 points, too.
Expertise/Condition Duration — 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, too.
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/Critical Damage — Attribute points put into Prowess improve the damage multiplier on critical strikes. 1 trait point in Air Magic increases Prowess by 1 point, which again transfers to +1% more critical damage.
Toughness — Each attribute point put into Toughness increases the armour 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/Condition Damage — 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 health points. 1 trait point in Water Magic increases Vitality by 10 points.
Compassion/Healing Power — 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/Boon Duration — Improves the duration of all boons applied by the character. 1 trait point in Arcane Power increases Concentration by 1 point (or 1% longer boon duration).
Intelligence (Elementalist exclusive) — Reduces the recharge of the four elemental attunements. 1 trait point in Arcana increases Intelligence by 2 points.
(picture from June 2011, featuring Rubi's beta Elementalist)
The attributes are (with the exception of the Guardian, which I don't want to go into detail) linked to certain traits: Elementalists’s four first trait lines are fire (pressure), air (criticals), earth (defense) and water (healing/support), with the fifth tied to Arcana and attunement swapping. So if you remember pressure, criticals, defense, healing/support, and profession-specific, it should be easy to see where you need to invest your attribute points for the Elementalist and other professions as well.
Part of the basics an Elementalist has to know about Conditions (or "things that do bad things to your foes"), Boons (or "things that will help you") and the control aspect of Movement can be found in these special threads:
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 favour 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. You are encouraged to swap attunements, as that for of game play is more rewarding that sticking to one or two elements, where you will reach a downtime due to skill recharge fast.
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 slot skills #6 to #10 (those on the right side of the health globe) and weapons (which will change the skills #1 to #5 on the left side of the health globe) any time, as long as you are not caught in combat and the skill is not recharging. Traits point allocations can only be switched at special NPCs for a monetary fee. You can switch your Attunements between the four elements all the time by using the F1 - F4 keys (with a short recharge in between able to switch back) 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 (4x5+5 utility skills on slots #6 to #10) without having to switch out/in other skills to your skill bar.
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.
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?
With her Air Attunement, 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.
Water Attunent forgoes the raw damage of air and fire, in favour of controlling an opponent's movement. By creating slippery ice or freezing foes solid, it ensures that the battle is always fought on the Elementalist's terms.
In the most dangerous situations, the Elementalist relies on the powerful defense of Earth Attunement. She 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.
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.
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.