Here’s the first in a planned series of eight articles highlighting our favorite features about the eight professions in Guild Wars 2.
Our goal is for them to be informative, entertaining, and to briefly showcase the variety in the game’s professions.
All right, enough boring preamble, time to start burning things! Here’s what I thought of the elementalist in the recent beta weekends:
Other classes can switch two weapon sets in combat, but the elementalist can switch his elemental attunements, to earth, air, fire, or water. This means that, at any time, he has 20 weapon skills available, double the number available to other classes.
Of course, you can switch out of combat, as well, giving you even more options.
All the variety supports a number of different playstyles, usually within a single weapon set. Fire tends to do the best AoE damage, air/lightning is good for single-target DPS, water is best for support/healing, and earth is a primarily defensive element. Every elementalist has all of these available, no matter what weapon he has equipped.
Naturally, it takes a while to unlock all of those — hey, there’s got to be some mild downside — but since the elementalist has relatively few weapons overall, I had all of them available by the time I reached level 20.
That being said, many players insist that the staff is the best weapon for the elementalist. With the greatest range of all ele weapons (1200) and a solid mix of skills across all four attunements, it’s definitely the weapon of choice in WvW, and you might find yourself leaning toward it in other situations too.
In WvW, the combination of range and firepower makes the staff a must-have. You can rack up a lot of damage from the top walls of a keep by raining down multiple fire AoE skills on tightly-packed enemies and quickly shift to a water attunement if the battle’s going poorly for your teammates.
The fourth and fifth air skills are also not to be overlooked. Windborne Speed grants you and your nearby allies swiftness, while Static Field creates a stunning ball of lightning. I can’t tell you how many players have tried to escape me and my comrades only to fall prey to this vicious one-two punch.
Weapons for you and me
Finally, it’s questionable as to how good the “weapon creation” utility skills — Conjure Earth Shield, Conjure Flame Axe, Conjure Frost Bow, and Conjure Lightning Hammer — are.
But darn if it isn’t fun to throw something shiny on the ground and watch other people pick it up and use it! It warms my heart to know that I’m fulfilling some poor guardian or ranger’s dream of being an elementalist. They all secretly want to, you know…[Editor's note: My guardian is very happy as he is thank you very much!]