After trolling the internets and youtubes and gurus, I have found gamplay video of the GW2 air attuned elementalist. Big thanks to CoolBeens for linking two good quality videos of the air ele in action. In the spirit, but nowhere near the fervor, of Hunter, I thought I’d provide feedback, thoughts, and analysis to these two videos. But first, a bit about the profession then and now.
As you may know, I’m 90% certain my primary (read: Belzan) will be an elementalist in GW2. This has a lot to do with why I’m interested in this profession for GW2. The ele has made a lot of changes from GW1 to GW2 and I think a lot of them are for the better.
Elementalists in Guild Wars
In Guild Wars there was little encouragement for elementalists to be flexible. Typically eles would spec toward one element or stick with one primary and bring a couple spells from another either for variety or utility. A fire ele, for example, would often bring water skills to snare opponents and keep them in their AoE fire damage. Most of the builds you find on PvX wiki are of the single element variety.
Eles were energy cows in GW as well. Their primary attribute was energy storage, which served the purpose of giving them more energy to work with, since casting 2 or 3 spells would often require you to mortgage your house. Often eles, especially those under 20th level, would be /Me in order to take advantage of the inspiration line and it’s ability to recoup energy.
Each element had a purpose in GW.
Fire was pretty much damage and the application of burning. Most of these skills dealt gobs of damage, caused degen, and were of the AoE variety. Favorite spells of pyromancers include Meteor and Meteor Shower, which also caused knockdown.
Water was used primarily to snare opponents by slowing their movement rate. Water also included some hexes for conditional damage and some defensive skills, but nearly every hydromancer in GW was using it to snare.
Earth was all about defense and knockdown. If an ele tanked, you can bet they used this attribute or at least considered it when making their build thanks to the numerous enchantments and wards. Geomancers were also very capable at keeping opponents on their bottoms. Several spells snared, weakened, or knocked down foes and did significant damage to those who could not escape. Earth also had a number of armor-ignoring spells for increased damage.
Air was all about toe to toe combat and many spells could penetrate armor by 25%. Aeromancers could blind, weaken, knock down, and crack the armor of their foes with ease, which made them formidable opponents regardless of who they faced. In my opinion, an aeromancer is as formidable against one foe as a pyromancer is formidable against a group.
I like air magic in GW because of its versatility. If I need to do AoE, I’ll make a fire build. If I need extra defense or interrupts through knockdown, I’ll go earth. If I need to snare melee attackers or help out a pyromancer, I’ll go water. But really, aeromancy can tackle most any situation. An aeromancer can snare with knockdowns, kite with movement boosts for defense, soften up foes with conditions and damge, and even do some AoE. I likes them a lot :-)
Elementalists in Guild Wars 2
The primary ability of elementalist in GW2 is attunement. ANet believes that elementalist should be more flexible and therefore allow them to switch elements on the fly in combat. While most professions have 2 weapon slots with a total of 10 weapon skills available at any time, elementalists have only 1 weapon slot but, thanks to attunements, have 20 weapon skills available to them at any given time. That makes them a major magical threat.
Elements in GW2 play similar roles to their GW ancestors. From what we’ve seen so far, all of the elements have AoE capability and all of them can apply conditions to foes. Fire appears to be the biggest damage and AoE contributor and continues to apply burning to foes. Water includes some snares, knockback, and AoEs but also adds a healing factor to the ele. Air continues to deal damage one on one but gains more AoE possibilities in GW2. In addition, air does a great job of applying conditions such as blind and stun. Earth appears to be protection and knockdown like in GW. Other than that, it’s the only one we haven’t seen yet so it remains a mystery.
This first video shows off the dagger skills for air and fire attunements. For the most part the player sticks to Arc Lightning and Lightning Field. It looks a lot like a sith on a rampage or an average day for Star Wars Force Unleashed. For the most part, the video is a pretty straightforward example of air attunement and what you can do while so attuned. It’s a nice appetizer for the next video.
This video shows both the versatility and maneuverability of the elementalist. In so many words, this is why I want to play this profession so badly. There is a good mix of weapons used and we especially get to see some hard hitting staff skills, which is nice. Malchior does a fantastic job of engaging foes and switching attunements to change up combat (note: I’m 90% certain it is Malchior Devenholm playing this character in the video. Lemmie know if I’m wrong please. I wanna give credit where it is due!). He also makes use of the water attunement as an alternate source of healing from the heal skill slot.
I like this video in part because I get to see lots of fun air skills, but what really drew my attention was the dagger/focus combination at the end used with the fire attunement. Malchior uses Burning Retreat, Flamewall, and Burning Speed to create multiple flamewalls to provide pressure on the centaurs, which allows him to handle more of them and wear them down. I think it is a great example of how versatile the profession can be even within one element. It’s also nice to see a profession in light armor able to evade and kite so well without using the actual in game evasion mechanic. Good times.
So yeah, I’m pumped about the GW2 ele and eager to try it out. Feel free to post your thoughts about this profession–what you like and you don’t like–and maybe even how you think ANet can improve it.