I'm about to post this up on Elemental Attunement, but I thought everyone here might find this helpful. Basically its just a handful of tips and tricks in playing the Elementalist. I'd also like to hear any tips anyone else has and i'll update this main post to include everything.
Tyria is a big place, you're gonna need to do some walking. There are some things you can do to make your trips a little shorter though. Do note it seems there is no speed cap however speed bonuses do not stack (the Swiftness boon stacks duration when received multiple times).
- Depending on your current weapon you may have some nice speed bonuses. A staff has Windborne Speed on your Air Attunement which gives Swiftness for 10 seconds. A dagger in the off-hand gives your Air Attunement Ride the Lightning; a charge ability (be aware that it does lock onto enemies) and Updraft which grants Swiftness for 10 seconds (it does cause you roll backward however). If you have a dagger in the main-hand you will get Burning Speed (a charge like Ride the Lightning, however it doesn't lock onto enemies) on your Fire Attunement
- Glyph of Elemental Harmony grants 10 seconds of Swiftness when cast in Air Attunement
- Signet of Air gives a constant +10% speed buff when it's not on cooldown (unless you have the Written in Stone trait)
- When Glyph of Lesser Elementals (and possible Glyph of Elementals) is used it creates an Air Elemental. The Air Elemental grants AoE swiftness to allies, however it does not seem to do this reliably or possibly only in combat
- Lightning Flash can be used to quickly cover a short distance reducing your travel time slightly
- 5 trait points into Air magic grants the Zephyr's Speed minor trait which grants a constant +10% speed buff while in Air Attunement
- The adept trait One with Air (Air Magic) causes you to move 5% faster every 10 seconds while attuned to Air (up to a +25% speed buff)
- The adept trait Elemental Attunement (Arcana) grants 5 seconds of Swiftness when you attune to Air
- The master trait Windborne Dagger (Arcana) gives you a constant +15% speed buff while wielding a dagger
Some may argue the Elementalist has weak or strong downed skills. That is all beside the point, you are going to get downed and you need to know how to react.
- Lightning Discharge is fairly well ranged single target attack, it doesn't really do anything but deal damage so use it as such.
- Grasping Earth's shining feature is it's channeled immobilize. By that I mean it will continue to inflict immobilize as you continue you channel it. This is helpful for prevent melee attackers advancing and keeping away other players from performing a finish on you
- Vapor Form may seem like merely preventing the inevitable but sometimes you just need a little extra time. Adding that extra distance allows you to get those extra few hits in and those extra few seconds for an ally to show up and save you. It can also allow you to run around a corner and break line of sight allowing some time to heal up and get back in the fight. Remember that you can actually dodge roll while in Vapor Form and although you already take no damaged it allows you to travel that little extra distance.
While most professions either have mostly combo initiators or combo finishers, the elementalist has a good mix of both and with some skill and timing you can create some devastating combos all on your own.
- The most obvious 'self-combo' is using the auto attack on the staff or scepter's Earth Attunement. Both are projectiles so they will both create a combo when they travel through any combo field; creating an additional affect to the projectile. E.g. You are wielding a Scepter and a focus. You start in Fire Attunement and cast Firewall. You then switch to Earth Attunement and attack using Stone Daggers through the Firewall. The end result will be the [/I][/SIZE]enemy receiving the Burning condition in addition to the Bleeding condition they would have normally received from Stone Daggers.
- The other finisher an elementalist has readily available is a Blast. Blast will inflict an additional area effect when combined with a field. Blasts are found on all weapon sets, so have a play around and find what works best for you. E.g. You are wielding a Scepter and a focus. You are in Fire Attunement and cast Firewall. You then cast Phoenix on the Firewall creating an Area Might which grants 3 stacks of Might to nearby allies.
Picking which traits you want can be daunting, but there is a pattern to the utility skills that can help you choose.
You may have noticed that utility skills are split into 5 types; Arcane, Cantrip, Conjure, Glyph and Signet. If a particular skill type appeals to you then go for mostly those utlities, then look at the trait lines and see which line has the traits pertaining to that skill type and start from there. You'll find it a lot easy to build around the idea of having a particular skill type rather than having a blank slate. For example I really like Cantrips, so I will instantly put 30 points into Water Magic and it has a lot of good traits for Cantrips.
If your unsure how to build your character on you earlier levels I suggest firstly going for 10 points in Arcana while your still getting a feel for how you want to build your character. You'll be able to get Elemental Attunement (which shares a name with a really awesome site!). Elemental Attunement grants boons when you change attunement and can benefit a variety of builds.
'Might and Fire'
- Start in any attunement except Fire or Earth, and then switch to Fire granting 1 stack of Might
- Cast Glyph of Elemental Harmony to gain another stack of Might (now on 2 stacks of Might)
- Cast Firewall and then Phoenix on top to gain another 3 stacks of Might (now 5 stacks of Might)
- Switch to Earth Attunement and cast Stone Daggers through the fire wall until it fades
The utility skill Lightning Flash is one of the few skills that can be cast 'at-will' even while casting another skill. The benefit of this is that you can charge a spell up at a safe distance and then use Lightning Flash just before the cast-bar finishes to bring the spell to the enemy. It could also be used to escape an enemy without interrupting a skill that requires you to stay still while casting.
- Assuming you have a dagger in the off-hand, charge up Churning Earth away from the enemy at a safe distance and then use Lightning Flash to teleport towards the enemy so Churning Earth hits.
- Assuming you have a staff, while casting Meteor Storm if you an enemy closes in, cast Lighting Flash to escape without interrupting the skill.
Other skills that have this 'at-will' cast effect are all attunements, signets (untested), Lightning Strike and Blinding Flash (scepter air skills), Magnetic Wave and Obsidian Flesh (focus earth skills) and cantrips.