First Look at Elementalist PVP in Guild Wars 2


My first look at the Elementalist class in Structured PVP from the April 27-29 Beta Weekend Event.

I discuss the core mechanics of the Elementalist class and play a build with a mix of DoT (Condition) damage, direct damage, and offhealing.

Condition (DoT) damage comes from multiple sources:

  1. Bleed effect from Earth spammable Stone Shards chain
  2. 60% chance on crit to proc a 5-sec bleed from the weapon sigil
  3. Burning effects from 2 Fire abilities: Ring of Fire and Flamestrike
  4. 20% chance when hit by a melee to apply burning effect
  5. 20% chance to cause burning on a crit

Healing is provided by:

  1. Signet of Restoration’s passive effect to heal when weapon abilities are used. For the Stone Shards chain, this can proc 3 x 170 (510) healing. Note that the Hurl ability, which is a follow-up to Rock Barrier, does not proc the healing probably because RB is considered the actual cast
  2. Signet of Restoration’s Active heal
  3. PBAoE heal Cleansing Wave in Water Attunement
  4. Ranged AoE heal Water Trident in Water Attunement
  5. PBAoE heal when attuning to Water from the 15-pt Healing Ripple trait
  6. HoT that ticks for 80 from the 5-pt Soothing Mist trait while attuned to Water
  7. Temporary PBAoE regeneration buff that ticks for 90 from Elemental Attunement

Errata

  • I incorrectly referred to my spec as a “Containment” spec, but I meant “Condition” spec
  • The 90-point heal ticks were from the optional trait Elemental Attunement, which provides an AOE regeneration buff when you attune to Water, not from Signet of Restoration

Thanks to my guildee Top for helping me ramp up on GW2 mechanics and the Elementalist class. As I blogged earlier, the learning curve for GW2 is rather steep!

UPDATE (2012/07/15): due to the nerf in BWE2 to Signet of Restoration’s passive effect (now only 1 heal proc per cast, e.g. instead of 3 heal procs for Stone Shards) and the introduction of trait tiering, I switched from a Signet-heavy build to using more Glyphs, so that spec provides buffs along with heavy Condition damage and strong direct damage mitigation.

http://www.gw2build.com/builds/simulator.php#1.1.2.0.13.0.21.0.4.0.2.15.19.9.24.4.4.20.5.0.0.18.0.0.35.33.0.46.0.0.65.0.0.10.10.20.15.15

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Posted in Elementalist, Guild Wars 2, PVP, Video
41 comments on “First Look at Elementalist PVP in Guild Wars 2
  1. Grend says:

    Nice video. I know GW2 has a good amount of variety within the classes themselves, but I was wondering what you think the Elementalist (and any classes you have tried) could be compared to in terms of classes in other MMORPGs. E.g. Its a mix of classes X and Y from WoW with a hint of Z from SWTOR etc.

    • taugrim says:

      Grend :

      Nice video. I know GW2 has a good amount of variety within the classes themselves, but I was wondering what you think the Elementalist (and any classes you have tried) could be compared to in terms of classes in other MMORPGs. E.g. Its a mix of classes X and Y from WoW with a hint of Z from SWTOR etc.

      Offhand, Elementalist doesn’t map to an existing Mage archetype well, primarily because of the stance dancing between attunements.

  2. Great insight! I was rolling a norn ranger during the beta. I liked the game play and the combat but sometimes it felt “rigid” and too automatic. I did some PvP but mainly PvE. The story was eclectic but it may have been from my lack of GW lore knowledge. I am also just getting to understand MMO mechanics and all so i hope to understand more of the PvP aspect in MMOs as they get better and better. Thanks Taugrim for opening me up to the world of MMOs, and competent game play! See ya around!

  3. dryiggles says:

    Awesome video Taugrim. It definitely makes me feel like testing out that spec compared to my other spec which I felt a bit too glass canon. It was really a plus having a guildmate who was able to give you some tips on what would work in a sPvP scenario.

    I can’t wait to see more of you stuff. When I first tested it out I wasn’t sure where to get the other weapon sets either until towards the end of the beta and by then I had switched to the Necro.

    But I will definitely test out elemenatlist again if I have some time. Can’t wait to see more of your other videos later and after future betas.

    Thanks again for all your insights.

    ~ dryiggles

    • taugrim says:

      dryiggles :

      Awesome video Taugrim. It definitely makes me feel like testing out that spec compared to my other spec which I felt a bit too glass canon. It was really a plus having a guildmate who was able to give you some tips on what would work in a sPvP scenario.

      Check out the update to this blog post. I’ve changed the spec to this:
      http://www.gw2tools.com/skills#el;aapkk;aaaaaaUcdgdaUea;Ybaa;YVUSZ

      This spec will have 1.8k Toughness (boostable to over 2k with Rock Barrier), so it will be non-squishy, and it should have better DPS uptime with higher sustained DPS before having to switch to Water to heal. At least that’s the theory :)

      • dryiggles says:

        Thanks for the link Taugrim. You mentioned the scepter/dagger idea in your other Blog that you replied to me. Much appreciated. :)

        Also not sure if you have tried it, but

        http://www.gw2builds.org/

        is another trait build site, but you can create and save builds as well as put guides within the build for others.

        I find it a lot better designed and is usually kept up to date with the Beta builds.

        Thanks again.

        ~ dryiggles

        • TOP says:

          I’d prefer that one too if it actually showed you the action bar for things like conjured weapons/engineer kits. Small thing but it’s really annoying when you need to constantly swap the weapon out to look at it. And you can’t see them at all if you’re looking at someone else’s build they saved on there.

          The few elementalist stuff I checked that I knew changed in this past BWE (Cleansing Fire/Signet of Earth cooldown for two) aren’t up-to-date yet on either unfortunately.

          • dryiggles says:

            I didn’t think about that yeah didn’t realize it didn’t show the conjured abilities. Thanks for pointing that out for me. :)

  4. SCLOBERNOCKER47 says:

    Interesting vid for sure.
    I didnt get into GW2 Beta so I was on Tera all weekend. Im interested to see how BGs play out over there. Ive got a Lancer and Mystic atm.Not sure which would be better for pvp at this point. Leveling them both.

  5. EuchridEucrow says:

    Thanks for the content. Kind of funny about the earth shard thing because you were really derisive about it when you were trying to level your earth abilities up in your stream lol. I thought it was kind of weak at first too until I noticed the dot. It is a monster kiting autoattack, not as good as vapor blade but nice.

    • taugrim says:

      EuchridEucrow :

      Thanks for the content. Kind of funny about the earth shard thing because you were really derisive about it when you were trying to level your earth abilities up in your stream lol. I thought it was kind of weak at first too until I noticed the dot. It is a monster kiting autoattack, not as good as vapor blade but nice.

      As an Elementalist, I dislike having to level a weapon set with each of the 4 attunements.

      It’s tedious.

      • EuchridEucrow says:

        Ah Ok, you were referring to the tedium not the weakness of the attack. Gotcha.

      • dryiggles says:

        I was actually the same way I think that was probably one of the reasons I switched from Ele to a Necro was the constant leveling of 4 attunements.

        I did go overboard and leveled every single weapon 4x which could be quite a grind.

  6. The best GW2 build calculator I had came cross so far is http://www.gw2builds.org/

  7. wyxzthegamer says:

    I tried all classes on this beta and i stopped on elementalist. I agree that it has big learning curve but learning it will really pay off in future IMHO. I went for pure glass cannon build with staff. And only problems i had was fighting against rangers and guardians. Because of good burst damage and heal abilities most of the other classes i could burn down even without my main (6) heal.
    This class will be hard to master but IMHO it will be always needed. Because you can heal your allies and at the same time hit like a train.

    • taugrim says:

      wyxzthegamer :

      This class will be hard to master but IMHO it will be always needed. Because you can heal your allies and at the same time hit like a train.

      You listed the reasons why I am considering making Elementalist my main.

      The offhealing capability is solid, even without having to stack +healing.

      • wyxzthegamer says:

        Almost all my points went to Fire and Air (i had only 10 points in water just for +15% skill recharge) but still “Geyser” could heal me and most of my guildies almost to full health easily but i found “Healing Rain” almost useless in PvP (at least with build i had).

          • TOP says:

            It’s a pretty offensive spec but I’d recommend a few changes to something like this (tried to keep the spirit/idea of your spec the same though):
            http://www.gw2builds.org/create/bwe_1/elementalist#0.0-2.2.18.12.3-30.25.0.15.0-11.12.7.10.8.1

            5 points in Earth for the minor trait is almost immeasurably small contribution to your defense. Much better to get the 15 pointer in Water for the heal on attunement shift (~1550 to yourself/anyone nearby when you shift and you’ll probably be shifting to heal anyway).

            I changed your heal (you don’t have any signet buffing traits and you won’t be proc’ing the passive heal that often with the staff. With the Glyphs and the glyph cooldown reduction trait you’ll be able to heal a lot more often (for overall much higher effect) and get neat boons based on your attunement. You don’t really need the 20% damage against stunned/knocked down enemies since it’ll be so rare (not as reliable as it is in a D/D spec where you will consistently updraft into a damage combo with burning speed/fire grab).

            Signet of Earth over Fire since you’re not a condition damage build anyway (Earth is 30 seconds with a 3 second duration as of the last BWE, this calc is out of date) and Fire’s passive is only 2% crit. With the immobilize you can hold people in lava font for huge damage/meteor storm.

            And the Glyph of Elementals just seems better than the Tornado. Tornado is cool and all but it makes you a huge target and if your enemy is much good at all they’ll get away before you can toss them around much.

        • taugrim says:

          wyxzthegamer :

          Almost all my points went to Fire and Air (i had only 10 points in water just for +15% skill recharge) but still “Geyser” could heal me and most of my guildies almost to full health easily but i found “Healing Rain” almost useless in PvP (at least with build i had).

          It looks like you spec’d heavy into direct damage with your build.

          The Staff heals in Water are kind of a pain because they require people to stay inside of them.

          That said, the AOE damage capability with Staff looks really good.

          What’s interesting is that your spec and my revised one (http://www.gw2tools.com/skills#el;aapkk;aaaaaaUcdgdaUea;Ybaa;YVUSZ) have totally different mechanics. I deal Condition damage and you deal direct damage. I provide instant-cast AOE healing and you provide AOE Regeneration healing.

          It’s cool that the same class can have such diversity of specs.

          • wyxzthegamer says:

            Yeah i like that on next beta I’m thinking to try to make more aggressive build with daggers.

            • taugrim says:

              wyxzthegamer :

              Yeah i like that on next beta I’m thinking to try to make more aggressive build with daggers.

              The main thing about Dagger/Dagger is that the range is incredibly short (<= 300). I've heard the damage is good but having to get in close is a pretty big constraint, especially against melee.

              • wyxzthegamer says:

                Well it always fun at least to try:) if it will be possible to boost up its survivability enough it can work. I have few thoughs but until i will try it ingame its just speculations:) And sorry for my rusty english:)

  8. Edon says:

    I had originally thought I would be passing on this game, but the Player versus Player component does look really interesting, and the lack of a monthly subscription is very consumer-friendly :P. I’d like to see how they manage class balance before I join the fray though…it looks like a more challenging game to balance than. Keep up the videos Taugrim. :D

    • Edon says:

      more challenging game to balance than others*

      • taugrim says:

        Edon :

        more challenging game to balance than others*

        I hold the opposite view – this game by design allows for tweaks of very specific things (e.g. overpowered traits, abilities, etc).

        We shall see.

        • conwolv says:

          To me, it seems like the game would be very easy to balance since you’re not needing to balance as many talents, just abilities.

          One thing I’m looking forward to in this game is the lack of the “unkillable healer” spec that makes all healing get nerfed into the ground, ala Rift and SWTOR.

        • Edon says:

          That is a good point – the high customization doubles as a good form of stratification for balancing individual skills…that’s a good way to think about it!

          I am a little concerned that so much customization leaves a lot of room for people to create poor builds and cry foul on the forums. The idea of having a LOT more customization in GW2 seems like a scary amount of responsibility to put in some people’s hands haha. Is it a little premature to be concerned about that?

          • taugrim says:

            Edon :

            That is a good point – the high customization doubles as a good form of stratification for balancing individual skills…that’s a good way to think about it!

            I am a little concerned that so much customization leaves a lot of room for people to create poor builds and cry foul on the forums. The idea of having a LOT more customization in GW2 seems like a scary amount of responsibility to put in some people’s hands haha. Is it a little premature to be concerned about that?

            If you are concerned about AN paying too much heed to players crying foul, check out the info below from Jonathan Sharp.

            What he basically says is that while they are continuing to balance the game, players also need to learn-to-play.

            ———————————————————

            https://forum-en.guildwars2.com/forum/pvp/pvp/Thank-you-for-playing-this-weekend-and-responses-to-many-concerns/page/5#post165249

            First off, balance is not yet final. A lot of us played with you this weekend (even if you didn’t know we were there) and many of us know how to deal with some situations that may not be salient to our newer players. The game is still evolving, even on a daily basis. Things are being added/tweaked/fixed/iterated upon EVERY DAY, and due to that, the game is still in flux. Let’s give an example – the Thief.

            Thief. I saw a ton of posts this weekend about the Thief being OP (overpowered) and imba (imbalanced). The Thief can be very strong in some 1on1 matchups, and is weak in others. The Thief is also great in some team compositions, and very weak in others. We’ll keep an eye on Thief balance, but overall they are pretty balanced in the grand scope of things. There are many great Thieves in the office who still run from other classes if they’re well played. Once you learn how the Thief works, you learn how to counter them. As your knowledge base a community matures, you’ll learn how to deal with the Thief as well. Keep in mind you guys only played for a few days, you’ll get better every time you play it, and your view on what’s balanced/imbalanced may change in time.

            Melee vs ranged. I also saw a lot of threads on melee vs ranged. I think ranged abilities are much easier to use than melee ones. It’s easier to pick a ranged class, back up a lot, and keep hitting your opponent….but…once a good melee character figures out how to disable your movement, dodge your attacks, and then get you in range, YOU ARE IN TROUBLE. There are many melee builds that destroy ranged builds, but the trick is getting there. Once melee players learn how to work together, you’ll see them dishing out a ton of pain on ranged foes. BUT, having said that, don’t worry – balance isn’t final, and we’re still tweaking things. We’ll keep an eye on the balance, as we always do.

            Secondary mechanics. So ya. Svanir and Jotun on the forest map are a little easy. They were way too hard for a bit, and I toned them down, but with the data I collected this weekend, I can safely say they need to be bumped up a little bit. I’ll keep watching the balance on those guys, and the buff they give you, and make sure that they are hard to attain, but well worth the effort. They definitely still need some balance, so I’ll keep looking at that.

  9. Derek says:

    Lots of helpful info. I tried dagger/dagger and went a much more defensive build focusing on air/earth/water attunements, but I can’t wait to try this build in the next BWE.

    OT:
    I really wish you were a regular on Legendary. Your in depth PvP knowledge could really balance the conversation going on at Gamebreaker – it feels like much of the conversation is too PvE sided for us PvP’ers.

    • Derek says:

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      Derek :

      Lots of helpful info. I tried dagger/dagger and went a much more defensive build focusing on air/earth/water attunements, but I can’t wait to try this build in the next BWE.
      OT:
      I really wish you were a regular on Legendary. Your in depth PvP knowledge could really balance the conversation going on at Gamebreaker – it feels like much of the conversation is too PvE sided for us PvP’ers.

      ed dagger/dagger and went a much more defensive build focusing on air/earth/water attunements, but I can’t wait to try this build in the next BWE.
      OT:

      I really wish you were a regular on Legendary. Your in depth PvP knowledge could really balance the conversation going on at Gamebreaker – it feels like much of the conversation is too PvE sided for us PvP’ers.

      Whoops, I meant Guildcast.

      • taugrim says:

        Derek :

        Whoops, I meant Guildcast.

        If you want to see more PVP discussion in GuildCast, write to GAMEBREAKER saying so.

        The GAMEBREAKER team reads the feedback.

  10. Excellent overview of the Elem, great commentary and insight as always Ed.

  11. EuchridEucrow says:

    Reposting this here in case Anet takes forums down again. Thought that it was a an excellent overview on Staff Elementalists from Dimglow:

    “Let me preface this by saying that I put about 15 hours of the beta weekend into staff elementalist. I put another hour into dagger/dagger and scepter/focus but I never got into those playstyles. However what I did do was rather exhaustively test traits and utility skills, while also swapping through a handful of gear sets to see how much things changed with stats. You’d be surprised how differently moves scale, and just how differently the class plays with majorities in different stats. Anyways, I took notes and now I’ve mostly organized it for feedback on the forums.

    Staff Attacks:
    Fire 1: Fireball: Range of AOE is too small, yet increasing runs risk of hitting too many targets. Blast radius should be expanded to 200-250 (maybe require Blasting Staff trait) while putting a max targets affected of 5.
    Fire 2: Lava Font: This ability is secretly the most ridiculous DPS move in the game. If your target stands in the entirety of this move the quantity of damage you get for cast time is way out of line. Taking the 30% fire field duration actually adds almost 50% damage to this move as well, adding 2 ticks, making it an easy 5-8k damage spell in power builds. This skill needs both a max targets affected and a max # hits limit instituted, or this skill needs a DPS drop.
    Fire 3: Flame Burst: Honestly this ability felt fine. It was mostly a synergistic ability to set up burn, and it filled the role of something to cast while unable to ensure ground targeted dps. The animation needs improvement (perhaps scorching the ground black to let players know it even hit them.)
    Fire 4: Burning Retreat: The damage could use some tuning upwards. This move offers very little deterrence.
    Fire 5: Meteor Shower: Too random. Sometimes this move is the single most powerful DPS skill in the game. Others you’re not sure if the server is lagging. I foresee major problems coming up when multiple elementalists stack meteor shower and lava font in areas.

    Fire Comments: All fire skills except Burning Retreat are very responsive to increased power. Lava Font and Meteor Shower provide perhaps excessive sustained DPS, it really feels gameplay wise like some limitations should be placed on them to allow fireball more room to shine. Because it is so easy to cherry pick the good fire skills (2 and 5) then swap to a more DPS friendly “auto-attack” in air there is very little reason to stay in fire.

    Water 1: Water Blast: Water ball travels far too slowly from character to target, it is the most easily evaded post cast. Healing splash area is embarassingly small and needs significant boosts to become functional. Again, expanding this too large will result in stackable healing. I think that boosting splash radius to about 250-300 (maybe require Blasting Staff) and limiting max targets that could be healed to 3 would be a good way to go about this, even if requiring a trait. This move is also remarkable for being incredibly unresponsive to stat stacking. Most skills increase by a factor of 3-4 when stacking a stat to the extreme. Water Blast only doubled in damage in pure power and barely doubled as pure healing. This move is going to have scaling issues.
    Water 2: Ice Spike: Wow, what a blast this move is. Then again it is the only real DPS water staff has, so it has to be good. This move has good synergy with water traits and is a functional spell for elementalists who might only drop into water as a courtesy to drop 1-2 spells before rotating down the line.
    Water 3: Geyser: An unfortunately poor move. This move suffers from a number of problems, cast speed, limited range, limited combo field potential and long cooldown. However the main issue is that players can’t respond to an open Geyser and utilize the healing. I’d like to see Geyser expanded and turned into a 10s duration move with similar healing but a max number of heals that can be received to 3 or 4 per player. This would allow players to see that a Geyser is up, move into it, get their healing, and then move away. This would let players help themselves while not increasing the power of the move drastically. Geyser is the only skill in the entire game that I found to scale substantially with healing (though nowhere near as well as damage does with power.) This move may have scaling issues.
    Water 4: Frozen Ground: I think this move is fine. If anything it might be a little too good, as ice fields are really quite powerful, maybe too good. Thankfully elementalist has limited projectile combo potential.
    Water 5: Healing Rain: This move really needs to scale with healing power a lot more, everything else is quite good. Rather than regeneration this move should pulse about 200 hp/s for power builds and about 800 hp/s for healing builds. This would bring it in line with the scaling of damage abilities, and really make it a tide turner for support builds who are willing to deeply stat for healing.

    Water Comments: I don’t see the reason for all of the complaints about this set of moves. Water elem is already very competitive in sustained hps, the main concern is how poorly things scale with stats, especially healing (and there being NO CRITS for heals,) and how proportionately more dps you give up for the hps. Water Blast being reliable to heal nearby allies in a limited scope alone would make this the premium healer based support in the game, and water blast should definitely be the main focus of changes to reward people who stay in water.

    Air 1: Chain Lightning: The dominant staff elementalist auto-attack. This move tends to result in air being the “home” attunement in many cases while players dip into other attunements to cherry pick. Not much to say here. I agree with the power of this move due to the limitations the rest of the set carry.
    Air 2: Lightning Surge: I really like this move except for the cast speed. It feels like it is designed to be used as an enemy winds up their big hit, only to make them miss. I strongly recommend increasing cast speed to near instant (or offering this as a trait) to make this ability the “active interrupt” of the staff.
    Air 3: Gust: This ability has a lot of issues. Besides the “on paper” limitations of a 30s limitation it also suffers from being one of the most awkward moves to aim in the game. The gust itself is a slow moving projectile and frequently misses. I’d like to see this move changed into a ground targeted line so that the player could ensure the direction of travel (and pushback) when using it. Additionally I really feel that the cooldown should be reduced to 20s, or if left at 30s it should also blow away some enemy boons.
    Air 4: Windborne Speed: Sweet and simple, has offensive and defensive uses. Could really benefit from an increased radius for buffing allies though, it really lacks in radius compared to things like Ranger Warhorn or many buff Shouts, nobody likes leaving behind friends in PVE or PVP.
    Air 5: Static Field: Dangerously good and really cements Air attunement as the reactionary attunement for staff wielders. Drop it on an enemy while they wind up their big hit, drop it in front of a pack of adds, do what you need to do to react to the situation.

    Air Comments: Air is really quite good, very versatile while responding well to many different stat combinations. The powerful 1 lets the Elementalist focus on viewing the field while doing very good damage to their enemies. Spot a big giant enemy holding up their club and about to smush your warrior friend? Lightning Surge, they just missed. Your mesmer got overwhelmed by a pack of angry moas? Drop a static field on them and let her get some images up, then use Gust splitting the stampede of angry birds. Enemy elementalist get the drop on your team with chilling ground and line up a nice meteor swarm on your heads? Pop windborne speed and beat it out of there. I really feel that most good Elementalists will “live” in air while dipping into the other elements. Very polished and very few changes needed.

    Earth 1: Stoning: At first I thought “wow, what a stinker of a skill.” But the more content I played the more I found myself understanding the subtleties of Earth. Stoning is really a team oriented skill. You’ll need teammates to combo with, and the permanent weakness you can impose on an enemy is a real PVE merit, I found myself using stoning to prevent damage from champion/boss level enemies rather than trying to heal allies with water in many cases.
    Earth 2: Eruption: Wow, what a secretly powerful skill. This is the best damage move you can get in a low power build, due to most of the damage being bleeding. I almost want to say this move is too good in PVE. In PVP I feel the slowness of damage keeps it well balanced. I frequently found myself relying on this move in my support builds to deal appreciable damage. Also a good option to use when cycling through Earth for pure DPS, very intelligent compromise of support/dps.
    Earth 3: Magnetic Aura: In the beginning I simply used this every time I hit Earth because it was easy to do, but over time I actually found myself going into Earth just to activate this. Very good defensive option for a class that will be at range any time it has a choice.
    Earth 4: Unsteady Ground: Bleh. This is really, really bad. The extremely limited area, duration and damage combine to produce the worst move available to staff elementalists. Don’t get me wrong, I frequently used this in PVE before pulls to start monsters off at a disadvantage. I also used it in doors in PVP to slow approaches. But when you look at other snare fields this one really stands out as below average. It is obvious that it can’t be a conjured wall at range for balance reasons, and making it a pool of quicksand makes it too generic/similar to things like muddy ground. Maybe add confusion, blind or knockdown to the field to make crossing it more significant.
    Earth 5: Shockwave: I expected a Hulk level ground splitting shockwave. Instead I got a dusty soundwave. This move suffers from unimpressive damage, unimpressive utility, and very poor projectile speed/area of affect. I’d like to see this become ground-line targeted (same change as Gust), and knockdown all targets in that line. The cooldown may need to increase, but this would greatly improve the move and also increase Earth’s synergy options with the other elements. Air could capitalize on knockdown bonuses, fire could ensure fire field damage, and water could ensure ice spikes landing.

    Earth Comments: Besides Unsteady Ground and Shockwave the set is fairly effective. Because the spec is so team oriented it comes across as very weak in solo settings. Increasing the synergy it has with other elements would go a long way to making Earth more polished. Earth performed well in most stat builds due to being independent of stats in many ways. A solid performer but very difficult to maximize return.

    Utility:
    I am only going to touch on abilities I felt were either too good or weak, which interestingly enough are mostly Glyphs.

    Glyph of Lesser Elements: AI issues and overall weakness. Pets are known to be lacking, so I will refrain from commenting further.

    Glyph of Renewal: This has a lot of potential to be too good in structured PVP. Elementalists could be target #1 in fights due to this glyph alone.

    Glyph of Elemental Power: Great fun. I adore this skill. Unfortunately if cast while in air it becomes a bit overpowered, all attacks can cause a rather exorbitant amount of weakness. With the chain lightning attack in air and fire’s fields this really outshines Earth’s debuffs. I recommend reducing the weakness duration from air casting this glyph to 3-4s.

    Glyph of Storms: The second most powerful skill in the game that I know of happens to be attached to this glyph, but so do some of the worst. Let’s go element by element.
    Fire: Terrible, this is Meteor Shower’s little brother on a cooldown twice as long. I recommend reworking from the ground up.
    Water: Meteor shower’s baby sister. Blue meteors that hit for even less. Awful. Should be a blizzard with pulsing chill.
    Air: A very unusual skill. Bolts strike the area randomly, but they do so very fast. A lottery skill that can either do a lot of damage suddenly or completely miss. Not sure what to think of this yet.
    Earth: Dust storm, and the second most powerful skill I know of in the game. ~10s long dust whirlwind that hits every enemy inside once a second causing blindness and bleed. This means 10s of an enemy being permablind for the most part. Absolutely devastating crowd control. Can singlehandedly win fights in PVP, and devsatates melee classes who get terribly confused why the elementalist is invulnerable for 10 seconds.

    All Cantrips: I find the cooldowns to be far too long on these skills (especially armor of earth), but at the same time I recognize the potential of an elementalist packed with cantrips and carrying Glyph of Renewal being an ace in the hole for structured PVP.

    All Conjures: There are threads dedicated to how bad these are, including the elite. Fun but pointless.

    Traits:
    First off let me say that I have some major concerns about trait structure for elementalists. Primary of which is that too many traits are oriented towards attunement swapping, with very few rewarding the player for staying in an attunement. I would actually prefer that all of the on-attunement blasts/passives be put into arcane and that all traits within element trees be more permanent passives. There is a real disconnect between Elementalist and most other classes, especially in building compound DPS options. Fewer triggers, more passives would help the class a lot.That being said I will start with Arcane:

    Arcane: *
    *Intelligence: I feel like this stat is lacking. Intelligence is almost a require for an elementalist to function, and yet this simply greases the cogs of the class so to speak, it doesn’t greatly improve it like a warrior gaining increased burst damage does or a ranger gaining pet stats. Intelligence should also increase the effectiveness of all attunement effects (pbaoe blasts/passives/etc.)

    Adept: Lingering Elements: This is fine as an introduction to Arcane and begins rewarding the player for using multiple attunements.
    Master: Arcane Fury: Grants 2-3 seconds of Fury when changing attunement. This is great, because it lets you change attunement midcast you can cast a big spell and change attunement, giving you a chance to land a crit while the spell travels.
    Grandmaster: Arcane Precision: This is terrible. Most of the time you get one stack of vulnerability on 5-10% of crits. I strongly recommend replacing this with the passive effect of Glyph of Elemental Power and making a new Glyph.

    Tokens worth commenting on:
    Blasting Staff: Amazing, and almost required for staff users.
    Elemental Attunement: The buff radius on these effects needs to be increased quite a bit.
    Evasive Arcana: Very poorl scaling. Has little to no scalability, and too short a duration.
    Windbourne Dagger: Amazing, and almost required for dagger users.
    Vigorous Scepter: Terrible when compared to Blasting Staff and Windbourne Dagger. Scepter could use an offensive option.

    Fire:
    Adept: Flame Barrier: Fairly weak but opens synergy later in the tree.
    Master: Sunspot: Does very mediocre damage around the mage when changing into fire. This trait has some benefit for dagger Elementalists but is very lacking to ranged. Needs improved radius.
    Grand Master: Burning Rage: For the investment and condition requirements the effect should really be a lot larger. Water gets 20% for vulnerability which is easy to set up. Fire gets less for burning which is harder to maintain. Needs to be bumped up.

    Tokens worth commenting on:
    Pyromancer’s Puissance: Allows 3-4 stacks of might to be maintained. Offers very good synergy, especially with rune sets that provide bonuses based on might. Great example of rewarding a player for sticking to an attunement.
    Burning Precision: Good synergy with both fire attunement and air tree.
    Persisting Flames: A sleeper trait that is amazingly powerful. Turns Lava Font into a beastly spell.
    Pyromancer’s Alacrity: The first of many shoehorned cooldown reducers. Elementalists have the luxury of changing attunement to find off cooldown abilities.
    Internal Fire: Good for letting the player dedicate to fire.

    Air: *
    *Adept: Zephyr’s Speed: Very good and fitting. Feels good with air’s reactionary nature.
    Master: Electric Discharge: Interesting as an off GCD attack. Unfortunately it frequently lashes out and hits nearby enemies causing aggro. Needs to be more controlled.
    Grand Master: Weak Spot: One stack of vulnerability is incredibly minor. This sets up some synergy with water tree but otherwise is kind of lacking. I’d like to see something like an increased chance to critical hit based on movement speed in this slot instead. Or something like “Static Charge: After moving X meters your next attack will be a critical hit.” Like Ranger’s opening strike but rewarding movement/speed.

    Tokens worth commenting on:
    Tempest Strength: Very fun and useful. One of my favorite pickups in air.
    Soothing Winds: Very poor synergy. Heals can’t crit so this is a VERY weak conversion. Giving 20-50% of precision as healing probably still wouldn’t be overpowered.
    One with Air: This when combined with all other movement speed options really lets air Elementalists get around and rewards dedication. Would love to see this with the static charge idea.

    Earth:
    Adept: Stone Flesh: I don’t think this worked at all during the beta. No comment.
    Master: Earthen Blast: Another nod to dagger users, but also useful to ranged elementalists as it helps them escape pressure. Effect radius needs to be expanded like fire.
    Grand Master: Enduring Damage: Excellent reward for going fully into an otherwise defensive tree. Really helps cover the gap in DPS that Earth’s playstyle favors.

    Tokens worth commenting on:
    Stone Splinters: Should really be 10-15% for being in melee range. The risk doesn’t match the reward for this token.
    Salt Stone: Good synergy with tree.
    Serrated Stones: Good synergy with tree.
    Rock’s Fortitude: Radius is lacking, hard to use this on allies. Otherwise very good.
    Written in Stone: Many classes would kill for this, but Elementalist has relatively weak signet passives so this plays out okay.

    Water:
    Adept: Soothing Mist: Excellent. Could scale better with healing stat, possibly have larger range.
    Master: Healing Ripple: Excellent healing, subpar range.
    Bountiful Power: Supporting your allies in water pays off as the team’s buffs bring you up in DPS. Very elegant reward for going deep water.

    Tokens worth commenting on:
    Piercing Shards: A very strong bonus to have in most group situations and sustainable while solo. Well thought out.
    Cleansing Water/Cleansing Wave: One of these should go. Most support elementalists will take Elemental Attunement, meaning all allies gain regeneration when entering water (thus being cleansed too.)
    Soothing Wave: This is far too limited.
    Powerful Auras: In very large scale fights this trait strikes me as being too powerful. Needs more testing.
    Vital Striking: Gives 10-15% more damage. This is going to be a must have for almost every DPS build due to the ease of access. This may be too strong/easy to maintain in PVE.

    Closing Comments: I feel staff elementalist is in a pretty good place right now. I believe the biggest areas of concern are in stat scaling of moves, the near obsessive quantity of on attunement traits and the lack of polish on a few of the 1 attacks. Earth needs more oomph in it’s higher numbered skills to really flex some muscle when it needs to. And personally as a support oriented player I feel the radius of very many support skills is terribly unfriendly to party play, especially for moves which grant boons. Elementalists seem to have less than half the buffing range of most other classes.”

  12. ethyreal says:

    Great video and write up as always.

    I was wondering what you thought of the other weapon sets and how/why you chose scepter/dagger.

    I personally felt most comfortable with the double dagger skills. Many on the forums raged about the squishy factor of being in melee but I don’t think most of them changed from the default spec.

    Do you think dagger/dagger is a viable pvp spec?

    • taugrim says:

      ethyreal :

      Great video and write up as always.

      I was wondering what you thought of the other weapon sets and how/why you chose scepter/dagger.

      I personally felt most comfortable with the double dagger skills. Many on the forums raged about the squishy factor of being in melee but I don’t think most of them changed from the default spec.

      Do you think dagger/dagger is a viable pvp spec?

      This reply is coming rather late but you’ve probably noticed by now that many Elementalists like S/D in sPvP.

      You have good damage, high mobility, and good instant-cast heals with that weapon combination, and you can spec for either burst damage or condition damage, or both.

  13. taugrim says:

    Due to the nerf in BWE2 to Signet of Restoration’s passive effect (now only 1 heal proc per cast, e.g. instead of 3 heal procs for Stone Shards) and the introduction of trait tiering, I switched from a Signet-heavy build to using more Glyphs, so that spec provides buffs along with heavy Condition damage and strong direct damage mitigation.

    http://www.gw2build.com/builds/simulator.php#1.1.2.0.13.0.21.0.4.0.2.15.19.9.24.4.4.20.5.0.0.18.0.0.35.33.0.46.0.0.65.0.0.10.10.20.15.15

  14. udon says:

    Hey taugrim, I watched your video about the elementalist and since the traits are changed to tiers now i’m just wondering if this build will be viable? Deciding between sig of air and earth, thanks for your time.

    http://www.gw2build.com./builds/simulator.php#1.1.2.0.13.0.4.0.21.0.3.13.15.8.24.5.4.30.2.5.0.0.0.0.32.35.42.50.0.0.65.0.0.20.0.30.10.10

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