Thursday, April 26, 2012

Class Highlight: Elementalist

The new mage is in town, and even if this profession/class was somehow awful,  I think I would still want to play them. I mean, watch just a couple minutes of gameplay.  Their moves are just so damn beautiful. Their aesthetics are equal if not greater than the Mesmers, and that alone makes them something to watch.  However, this profession isn't just beautiful, it has the largest amount of utility and possibly the highest skill cap in the game.

To start out, this class can only choose one weapon set at a time. Before you start yelling, know that this profession has 5 weapon skill moves for each attunement, and that there are 4 attunements (Fire, Earth, Air, Water).  If you can do math right, that means 20 moves at any one moment, and that's just your weapon skills.  This should catch your attention immediately.  Most classes have 10 weapon skills at one time (two weapon sets with 5 skills) and maybe an additional 1-5 moves from unique class mechanics.  This should scream to you the importance of attunement switching as an elementalist.

Attunements. Again there are 4 of them.  Fire centers around damaging conditons and raw damage, and of course the falmey-flame like goodness.  Air centers around control and damage.  You can cause the enemy to become stunned, knock them down, knock them back, and also grant yourself some mobility.  Water focuses primarily on healing with some nice slow effects through chill. Earth is extremely defensive providing armor, protection, and some control through cripples and immobilizations.  While these are the primary attributes of each attunement, they all can fulfill various roles. For example, there are earth skills that are just as offensive as some of the fire or air skills, etc.

Weapons come in either a 2-Handed Staff variety, or a variation of dagger, sceptor, focus build through MH, and OH combinations.  Remember, there is no weapon switching for this class.  This might be a good clue, that you might not want to carry dagger, dagger in WvW unless you are a very competent player.  I'm a little worried that there may be a time that an elemetalist gets stuck in a very problematic/unoptimal situation.  If there are 20 people breaking down a door, most would expect an elementalist to be able to bombard their foes with giant AOE spells.  A dagger/dagger elementalist will simply not be able to do this.  So please know this upfront, you will have to constantly change your weapon for the occasion, and this will require some forethought and planning.

As far as traits go, eh they are alright.  I wasn't that excited about them as I was trying to experiment with builds.  The traits are split so that you can advance a specific attunement whether that be fire, air, earth, or water.  There's a fifth tree that focuses on arcane.  This tree augments several utility moves that are considered "arcane" and can be complemented by this tree as well as providing some additional buffs depending on your attunement. The Arcane tree seems a little odd to be honest, and I can't help feeling they were like, "umm...we need a 5th tree....kind of thing."  The tree is just so spread out, which may make it a decent tree to trait into, but it just feels disjointed.  The other trees often provide various % increases to damage, or conditions, boons, or movement speed, which just seems a little boring to me. Every profession seems to have these traits, which is fine, but it just seems like the elementalist trees are overflowing with them.  Again, this does not make the class "bad", but it does make them a little less interesting in my opinion.

Pre-planning your weapon build and adapting to unoptimal situations, as well as knowing the correct attunement to be in at any given moment makes this class have a high skill ceiling.  You have 20 moves + utilities at your disposal, you will need to know when to use what move while constantly planning ahead of your enemy.  You also need to take into account that once you switch attunements you will have to wait 10 seconds (I think) before being able to switch back to the same attunement.  You won't be able to swap rapidly between two attunements, and I reckon to guess most elementalists will be swapping between three to four of their attunements on a regular basis.

This profession will be a challenge to those who are looking for optimal rotations or 1,2,3 builds.  I think this profession has the potential to be one of the best if in the correct hands.  I also can't stress enough how pretty the skills of this profession are.  Don't be judging me either, you care about looking pretty too.

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