What am I doing here?! I find my self feeling dirty, I have chills, a slight tingling, and now I have a burning sensation.
No, this isn’t a weekend in Vegas, but rather a weekend as an Elementalist (I feel the prior certainly would have been more fun). While I spend most of my time talking about Necromancers and hanging out with the dead, somehow I got roped into this whole swapping professions idea and I got stuck with… err, “graced” with the opportunity to play the Elementalist. Join me on my journey through rocks and ice and the wind as I learn what it means to be an Elementalist.
Sure, as a Necromancer I have a natural rivalry with Elementalists. Really, anything that is still alive is basically useless to me… I thought to myself, “Hey another caster can’t be that hard to pick up, right?” I was certainly unprepared to dive into sPvP, I can tell you that. Let say I met the challenge with less than optimal results. I have to hand it to my Rock Chucking nemesis, what you guys do in PvP on the fly is amazing. I also realized that there are quite a number of you out there staying in one attunement. *Tsk tsk* What have I been doing? Exploring the wonderful world of PvE and, though I am loathe to admit it, loving the Elementalist.
For those of you Necromancers or really anyone who has been hesitant to try out the Elementalist, I am here to tell you to give it a try. Not because it will teach you how they think and ultimately how to defeat them on the field of battle (because that would be devious and evil), but because nothing is better in life than turning into lightning and surging head-long into a pack of enemies. I have dabbled in a number of other classes, but I always stayed away from the Elementalist. Too many attunements, too many skills, and it seemed like it was just a rehash of the old mage from RPGs of old. Guild Wars 2 does a great job of easing you into each skill and attunment with the unlock system. On top of that, all of the skills are visually impressive. I WANT to see them used. Ghastly Claws is a pretty cool spell in terms of utility but kind of blah in terms of visual appeal. I am pretty sure I spent the majority of my time using Vapor Blade, because it was really fun to roll around circles of water that cut through enemies like a hot knife through butter. I also may have spent about an our in the mists trying to get a cow to come flying out of my tornado. I regret nothing.
The other great thing about Elementalists is their flexibility in roles. I don’t even have to swap out of weapon sets to go into a more supportive role. As a generalization, you can say fire is almost all damage, but each of the other attunements have elements of support, control, and damage. I hopped in WvW with a staff and I immediately felt like I was able to make an impact to my team in a number of ways. Throwing down an AoE heal or creating a slow to prevent those filthy Reds from running away from us killing them was actually really natural. I started automatically swapping between attunements based on the situation I was presented. Even doing the little mini bosses throughout the PvE world felt like I had all the tools to handle any situation. I would prepare by starting out in one attunement, but before I even engaged anything, I would be thinking about which attunement to switch into and how to react to any incoming damage.
Its not all Gysers and Lava Fonts though, ladies and gentlemen. Let me tell you about the dark side: Skill unlocks. If you are like me, there is a little fractured bit of your psyche that just won’t listen to reason. That bit of me insists on unlocking every single skill for every attunement for every weapon. I can tell you that at the ripe old age of level 10, I had every skill unlocked for every attunement, and it was most definitely not fun. I know what you are thinking… “Why don’t you just stop and stick with one weapon you enjoy a lot?” The obsessive compulsive lunatic in the back of my mind is rolling around laughing maniacally. I just can’t. This isn’t necessarily the fault of the Elementalist design, because I had the exact same problem with the Warrior. I just HAD to own every weapon, max out its skill unlocks, AND carry it around with me everywhere just in case.
I would like to see the rate at which Elementalists unlock skills go a little faster. In all honesty, some attunments are just torture to unlock… in fact, I didn’t feel like I was using most of their spells at all. I would spend almost all of my time in Fire and then quickly hop over to the attunment I was working on to finish off enemies. On top of that, at higher levels when stuff isn’t dropping like flies, it gets excruciatingly difficult to max out those skill unlocks. My only advice to those of you with a similar compulsion is to find a low-level random event with lots of enemies and lots of other players and start spamming away in that attunment. You can get a lot to unlock very quickly. I suggest hanging around the Water Tower deal just to the south of the Human starting area. They seem to have a continuous issue with bandits over there.
My other major gripe is the lack of pets. Seriously? I get an elemental for about 60 seconds and that is it? You just don’t get them soon enough and in high enough regularity. This isn’t just Necromancer bias. I have a genuine issue with the way the Elementals work. You’d think that summoning an air elemental would give you the handy swiftness boon each time, but no. You’d think the Earth Elemental would run in and smash enemies you were attacking, but no. Oh sure buddy, I just called you into existence from an eternal nothingness, but you just stand there as harpies beat my face in. No really, its fine. Bitter? Hardly.
Though there is a part of me that is loath to admit it, I enjoyed the Elementalist. Flexibility, utility, and shiny graphic effects are all it apparently takes to get me into a class. Take note, Warriors! This is what you need to get me back. I would say this class still puzzles me though. It isn’t a high skill cap class to start out with, but it will certainly take a ton of time to master and use appropriately. I felt like everything I did was intuitive, all the spells and their attunements felt like they were in the right place and I switched into the appropriate attunement without even thinking after a while. So what is my take home message for today? Give it a whirl, go into the higher levels, and dress your Elementalist in nothing but shades of purple. You won’t regret it… Okay, maybe the purple part.