The current state of conjured weapons is a subject that is frequently touched on in this sub-forum. Some say that conjures should have the ammo mechanic, while others want them to fully become like engineer kits. Whatever the case, it is almost universally agreed that conjure skills are currently lacking as a utility skill category and that they need serious work. Not only are they a failure in the elementalist community's eyes, but they are also a failure in regards to their original purpose. It is obvious that the developers at ArenaNet intended these to be supportive skills that help your allies get access to new weapon skills and do fun things with those. However, the optimal use of conjures has been to plug up the holes in an elementalist's rotation instead. You just cast a conjure and you fire the 1-2 good skills and then you drop it. The second conjure is picked up later so you can use the skills again, instead of giving it to your ally who usually doesn't have much use for it anyway.
Conjures are currently a redundant and outdated skill type for several reasons:
1. They do not serve their original purpose. Supporting allies with them is pointless and not optimal.
2. They add needless complexity to weaver rotations that are already complex enough.
3. Due to weaver DPS, conjured skills contribute to core weapon skills remaining worse than they should be, which can affect all game modes.
4. Conjures are very clunky, with a needless cast time and an annoying pickup time.
5. Most skills from conjures are useless, which makes conjures "fire and forget". You never want to keep a conjure for more than a couple of seconds.
The most commonly proposed solution is to revamp conjured weapon skills so that they have the ammo mechanic instead of being dropped. This can also involve the removal of the cast time, since there is no conjure that is placed for your allies to take. This is a pretty good solution that solves some of the problems that conjure skills have. It removes the clunkiness and gets rid of the annoying pickups, which are arguably the biggest problems that conjures currently have. However, with this change it would be impossible to share conjures, like it was originally intended. They would still contribute to the complexity of weaver rotations, while also holding back much needed buffs to weapon skills. This solution would also do nothing to fix all the useless skills that the conjures have and you would still fire a couple of skills and drop the conjure. Theses useless skills could be buffed as well, but the problem with that is that Anet obviously doesn't want ele DPS to become even higher, so this is unlikely to happen.
Another solution that is proposed a lot is to turn conjures into kits. Similarly to the ammo suggestion this gets rid of the cast times and it removes the clunkiness of having to pick up second conjures. In addition, this solution makes it so that conjures can function as viable alternatives to different weapon ranges since they can always be summoned. However, once again kits would contribute the complexity of weavers rotation, but in this case they would arguably make weaver rotations even more complex than before. This would introduce a rotation complexity that has never been seen before in this game, due to weaver attunement mechanics combined with engineer kits. With these new rotations it is possible that ele weapon skills would get further nerfed, which nobody here wants. This also doesn't motivate the balance team to fix the useless skills of the conjured weapons, because that would come with a major risk of power-creeping ele DPS. The biggest issue with this is that it will likely never happen due to kits being an engineer-only niche that is supposed to make up for their lack of weapon skills.
From the above solutions I'd obviously go with the ammo mechanic, since it seems to be the easiest to implement and with the smallest amount of risk. But even that solution does not truly satisfy me. My proposal is to completely remove all of the conjured weapon skills and replace them with a new utility skill type. The new utility skill type could be anything really. Almost anything would be better than conjures at this point. However, just like with guardian tomes that were removed and then became an elite spec 2 expansions later, the same could happen with conjured weapons. So what would a conjurer elite spec look like? I haven't determined specific traits, utilities or even the weapon. The main purpose of this post was to determine what can be done about conjures, so I've only thought about the profession mechanic so far.
There are many ways to implement conjures as a profession mechanic of an elite spec, but this is the best version that I came up with so far. This elite spec would add access to 4 conjured weapons as a profession mechanic. These would be conjured fiery greatsword, conjured frost bow, conjured lightning hammer, and conjured earth shield. Flame axe would not return since it is redundant. Only 1 conjure of each element is truly necessary. Above the F1-F4 attunements there would be arrows just like with revenant's F1 and F2 legends. These arrows would allow the conjurer to replace any given attunement with any conjured weapon outside of combat. This way the conjurer would retain 20 weapon skills, but they would get to choose to replace as many attunements as they want with conjures. Builds could be made with full conjures, or with only 1 conjure to replace that attunement that you never want to use in your build. Swapping into a conjure would be exactly the same as swapping attunements. This basically solves all the problems with conjures, except for them not serving their original purpose as support skills. However, even that could possibly be addressed. Perhaps the conjure could be pressed again while you are wielding it so you can drop a copy with a 30 second cooldown, or maybe dropping a copy of your wielded conjure could be part of a utility skill. This copy would be useless to you as you already have the conjured weapon permanently, but it could be useful to allies, especially if the skills of the conjures were better. The skills of the conjures could easily be better with an elite spec, because they replace weapon skills instead of adding more skills to the pool. They also cannot be used with weaver to increase DPS more.
I welcome feedback and more suggestions for what can be done with conjures instead of these ideas. While I currently think that my idea is solid, it is possible that there are some flaws that I have not noticed. Pointing these out if you can find them would be appreciated, so I can work on this concept a bit more. Also, if anyone would like to add weapon, utility and trait ideas for a conjurer specialization, I'd love to read those ideas as well.