Guild Wars 2 Elementalist Class Guide: Tips & Tricks | Designed For Newcomers
Are you considering playing as an Elementalist in Guild Wars 2 but are still trying to figure out how the class actually works? In this guide, designed for newcomers to the Elementalist class in 2023, we will walk you through the essential concepts, playstyles, gear choices, and elite specializations.
- Is Elementalist the Right Class for You?
- Pros and Cons
- Elementalist Attunements
- Trait Lines
- Utility Skills
- Weapon Choice
- Elite Specializations
- Builds & Playstyles
- Tips and Tricks
↖ Is Elementalist the Right Class for You?
Before diving into the details of the Elementalist, let's address whether this class is suitable for you. It's important to understand that the Elementalist is one of the most challenging classes in the game. If you're expecting to pull off flashy moves and be tanky, you might be in for a surprise. The Elementalist has low base health, making it an easy target, and you'll likely spend a good amount of time trying to survive.
Moreover, many Elementalist builds require you to press numerous buttons simultaneously to be effective. If you're new to the game, this can be overwhelming. That said, if you enjoy a high-intensity playstyle and are willing to put in the effort to master the class, the Elementalist can be incredibly rewarding.
↖ Pros and Cons
↖ Elementalist Attunements
At the heart of the Elementalist's gameplay are attunements. They are your key to mastering the elements and shaping your role on the battlefield. Here's a quick overview of the four attunements:
- Fire: Used for dealing big damage, inflicting burn conditions, and providing might for yourself and your allies.
- Water: Mainly used for support, with skills for healing and cleansing conditions, but it can also be used to control and damage enemies.
- Air: Focused on crowd control, big damage, and making your enemies vulnerable.
- Earth: Used for defense, dealing damage through bleeds, and crippling enemies.
These attunements are further enhanced by your chosen trait lines. For instance, the Fire trait line grants you a fire aura upon switching to fire attunement, while the Air trait line provides movement speed. However, this doesn't mean you should neglect the attunements you didn't specialize in. Water attunement, for example, still offers fantastic healing, and Earth attunement provides great defenses. The key is to adapt your attunement usage to your situation.
Before diving into gameplay, set up keybinds for your attunements that are comfortable for you. This could be as simple as assigning them to mouse side buttons or using combinations of keys. Efficient keybinding is a crucial step toward mastering the Elementalist.
↖ Trait Lines
Your choice of trait lines significantly impacts how your attunements behave. Each trait line enhances the corresponding attunement, except for the Arcane trait line, which boosts attunement swapping in general. When selecting trait lines, aim for cohesiveness. Focus on maximizing the capabilities of your attunements and finding the right pairings.
For instance, the Air trait line offers a trait that grants super speed when switching to the air attunement. Pairing this with the Grand Master trait Fresh Air can drastically increase your super speed uptime, as you'll constantly switch in and out of other attunements, procking this effect. Similarly, the Fire trait line can complement your playstyle with traits like "Power Overwhelming," which grants extra power when at a certain might boon threshold.
To ensure your trait lines are cohesive, research up-to-date builds for Elementalists. Websites like MetaBattle, Snow Crows, Guild Wars 2 Guru and LOLTANK offer build recommendations for different game modes, including PvE, PvP, and World vs. World.
↖ Utility Skills
Elementalist utility skills come in various forms, and their effectiveness depends on your traits and gameplay style. The core utility skills can be categorized into four types:
- Cantrips: These are versatile skills offering offensive and defensive capabilities. They have stun breaks, cleansing abilities, and even temporary invulnerability, making them valuable in PvP and World vs. World.
- Signets: Signets provide offensive and defensive bonuses. They can be particularly useful for open world and PvE content. For instance, Signet of Fire and Signet of Restoration work well in this context.
- Glyphs: These skills have a significant impact in PvE, especially against stationary targets. They enhance your elemental abilities when activated.
- Conjured Weapons and Arcane Skills: While they have niche applications, they aren't as commonly used as the other categories. However, don't hesitate to experiment with them to find what suits your playstyle.
Your choice of utility skills should align with your weapon, build, and overall strategy. Analyze your preferences and objectives to pick the skills that complement your chosen path.
↖ Weapon Choice
Your choice of weapons plays a crucial role in shaping your playstyle. Keep in mind that Elementalists cannot swap weapons in combat, which means you have to make the most of the five skills available in each attunement. Here's a breakdown of the base Elementalist's weapon options:
- Staff: Offers long-range damage, decent area-of-effect (AOE) damage, and support abilities through water and air attunements. Great for group support, particularly in World vs. World.
- Scepter: Provides medium-range damage, both condition and direct damage, and balances defenses and healing through earth and water attunements.
- Dagger: A close-range weapon that delivers high damage and provides crowd control, healing, and a mix of condition and direct damage. It requires careful management due to its short range.
You can pair the scepter or dagger with a focus or dagger offhand to create various combinations. Each weapon offers distinct advantages, and the choice largely depends on your preferred playstyle.
↖ Elite Specializations
Guild Wars 2 introduced Elite Specializations that allow you to further customize your Elementalist. Here are the three available Elite Specializations:
- Tempest: Introduced in Heart of Thorns, the Tempest specialization lets you overload your attunements for additional damage or healing, while also gaining access to a warhorn for new support abilities.
- Weaver: Introduced in Path of Fire, the Weaver specialization allows you to combine two attunements for dual attunements, providing new abilities and playstyles. It also adds a sword as a main-hand weapon.
- Catalyst: Released in End of Dragons, the Catalyst specialization uses a sword and warhorn, but it is one of the most complex and challenging specializations to master. It excels in dealing high damage but requires precise execution.
↖ Builds & Playstyles
There are various builds you can explore as an Elementalist. Here are a few popular ones:
- Healing Tempest: Focus on support and healing with shouts like "Eye of the Storm" and "Flash Freeze."
- Power Tempest: A Berserker build designed for dealing competitive damage in raids, fractals, and other PvE activities.
- Power Weaver: Similar to Power Tempest but with a slightly different playstyle.
- Sword/Warhorn Catalyst: A high-damage build that combines a sword with a warhorn, creating a unique and challenging experience.
The Elementalist's strength lies in its adaptability, so understanding how to wield the elements effectively is crucial. When you're in combat, it's essential to recognize when and how to switch attunements to maintain your advantage. Generally, the Elementalist excels in sustaining battles, combining bursts of damage with survivability.
Here are some tips for navigating different combat scenarios:
- Engagement Choice: The Elementalist is not inherently sturdy when facing elite or champion-level foes. Therefore, be prepared to switch weapons or skills to survive challenging encounters. Adaptability is key to your success.
- Analyze Your Foes: Assess your enemies and determine whether you need to focus on offense, defense, or support. For example, switching to water attunement for healing may be necessary when under heavy fire, or using mobility and defensive utility skills to survive until water attunement is available.
- Crowd Control: Remember that both air and earth attunements offer crowd control abilities. Utilizing these skills effectively can be a game-changer, preventing you from going into downstate.
- Mobility and Sustain: The Elementalist's best friends are mobility and sustain. Depending on your weapon choice and build, prioritize staying agile and keeping yourself alive.
To assist you during your leveling process, consider learning "Glyph of Lesser Elementals." This skill summons a pet that can draw aggro and deal damage while you focus on dispatching foes. Additionally, pay attention to your gear's item levels. Equipping low-level gear can leave you vulnerable, so periodically upgrade your equipment to stay competitive.
↖ Tips and Tricks
Here are some tips to help you succeed as an Elementalist:
- Glyph of Elementals: This utility skill can be very useful when playing solo. It allows you to summon an elemental that can either tank or deal damage based on your needs.
- Keybinds: Customize your keybindings to make it easier to switch attunements and cast your skills efficiently. Many players find a setup that uses Q, E, R, T, and 1-6 keys to be comfortable.
- Combo Fields: Learn how combo fields work and which skills can combo with them to maximize your damage potential. For example, using "Wildfire" (a combo field) followed by specific skills can apply vulnerability and deal significant damage.
- Stat Prioritization: While leveling up, prioritize power, precision, and ferocity stats in that order for a balanced build. Avoid condition damage stats initially.
Playing the Elementalist in Guild Wars 2 can be challenging, but it's a rewarding experience for those who enjoy a high-intensity playstyle and are willing to put in the effort to master it. Whether you're into support, DPS, or something in between, there's a build that suits your preferences. Explore the class, experiment with different setups, and don't be afraid to try new things. The Elementalist offers a diverse and dynamic gameplay experience that's worth the investment.
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