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Biggest issues with Elementalist and a solution proposal [Attuner / Conjurer]


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Posted (edited)

It's a pretty long rant, followed by a length solution proposal, so I've added a TL;DR for each section here first. Feel free to jump into any section where you might disagree or if a TL;DR does not explain my point clearly enough. You can also just skip the problem sections and go straight to the solution spec section.

Preface - TL;DR

Elementalist fails to deliver the "high damage glass cannon ranged caster" you'd expect when choosing the class in the character creation. That's not being misinformed either, as Anet advertises the class as such in both website and in game character creation.

Problem #1: Difficulty / Reward unbalanced - TL;DR

Elementalists need way more effort to achieve similar results, if not worse, than other classes. The class should either have higher damage than competing classes that require much less effort to incentivize for the risks and sacrifices that comes with the class , or have access to a spec that offer competitive performance for much less effort.

Problem #2: Forced into Jack of All Trading / Lack of specialization - TL;DR

If you come into GW2 thinking you're about to play your traditional ranged class cannon mage, you won't be able to do that since Elementalist is kneecapped by the presence of active defensive tools (Water and Earth), forcing the player to utilize those tools to "make up" for the obscene unbalance of longevity between Ele and other classes. Unlike other classes, none of the elite Specs solve a core weakness of the class, they just add new flavors of inconvenience. 

Problem #3: Actual lack of versatility - TL;DR

Another constraint that Ele suffers, is that they can't have a ranged set and a melee set, or a damage and a defensive set, like other classes can choose to equip. Due to losing weapon swap, they're forced into an archetype, with no range flexibility whatsoever.

Solution: New elite spec, motivation - TL;DR

My proposal is to create an elite spec that lets you choose two attunements, akin to Revenants selecting legends. You'd sacrifice two attunements in order to become more in line with other classes in terms of versatility / options, while allowing you to get rid of some of the innate squishiness and lack of range options of Ele. Each of your attunement would map to a weapon set. So you could have a Fire Staff as main set, and Air D/D as secondary set for example, and swap between attunements and set at the same time, with a singular keybind. 

Sub-Solution: Elite Spec #A [Attuner] - TL;DR

The first option is to replace the lost F1 to F4 with only two slots (F1 and F2), which would be selectable weapon skills for the attunements you have not chosen / equipped. For example, you lose on Water and Earth, but you can get 1 skill from Water and 1 from Earth, or 2 from each, or even Air. Would be easy to add restrictions to that systems, detailed below.

Sub-Solution: Elite Spec #B [Conjurer] - TL;DR

The alternative option would be to have a singular F1 skill, which would be a selectable conjured weapon, accompanied with a conjuring bar. Attacking with your weapon sets fills up the bar, using the conjured weapon drains the bar. You can conjure it when the bar passes 50% threshold. If you have over 75% bar filled or more when conjuring, your attacks are imbued with your current attunement. 5 to 10s CD on the conjured weapon, gated by the bar filling.

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Preface - Detailed

I believe Elementalist right now is in a terrible spot, and has always been, due to a conflict between its identity and the game philosophy.

A premise in this game was that there was no role trinity (prior to Elite Specs), and any class can tap into most "roles" by building differently, even though some might align with certain roles better than others, by default.

  • Thieves, for example, were the most mobile class, by a WIDE margin, and excelled in skirmishes and roaming. To make up for their high mobility, multiple evasive tools (stealth, many rolls) and burst damage, they are really squishy and the vast majority of their damage was melee, single target only. 
  • Mesmers, in a similar vain, possessed solid utility, good ranged damage as well as good active defense through clones, moderate mobility (Blink, Portal, Staff #2) and instant access to some counters (F3 for melee interrupts, F4 for invincibility). Their weaknesses are AoE which can easily deal with the clones and even neutralize their phantasms, as well as high mobility classes (such as Thieves). 
  • Necromancers, have really high base HP, and a second health bar through shroud, while packing good utility and damage. Their weakness being low mobility (not anymore but that's another topic), not many active defenses and shroud "HP" being tied to their offensive abilities.

Meanwhile for Elementalists, the premise was as such: 

Quote

Elementalists are multifaceted spellcasters who channel elemental forces, making fire, air, earth, and water do their bidding. What they lack in physical toughness, they make up for in versatility and the ability to inflict massive damage. -  GuildWars2.com Elementalist

If you try to create an Elementalist in the character creation screen, it's advertised as a ranged caster build with high damage too. Essentially the traditional high damage glass cannon mage you'd expect in most MMOs. Except it fails immensely at delivering this fantasy. There was a time where Staff Ele was a top DPS option for both PvP / WvW and PvE, until it got NUKED into oblivion, as Anet decided that melee should outperform ranged. A fair decision globally, but they didn't appropriately compensate Ele for having to fight melee while being made of paper. It truly feels like Ele was designed to be the traditional ranged mage, and when they settled into melee > ranged, they didn't know how to accommodate Ele. 

Going back to the above quote, the sentence "What they lack in physical toughness, they make up for in versatility and the ability to inflict massive damage." is a massive lie. First of all, they don't actually have massive damage, at the very least not more than other classes. On top of it, I don't see what's the versatility they are talking about? I'll expand on that point in the following section.

Problem #1: Difficulty / Reward unbalanced - Detailed

Class comparison

Let's compare two classes, to help highlight the core issue here: Warriors and Elementalists. 

Base HP: 19212 vs 11645. That's 65% more HP for Warrior in Zerker gear for both. 

Armor:  1271 vs 967. That's 307 more armor for Warrior. About 15% less damage taken in Zerker gear. 

All in all, this makes Warrior able to soak through about 75-80% more damage than Elementalist, without doing anything. To make up for this difference, Ele has access to defensive tools in Earth and healing abilities in Water. You might think that, as long as they can recover that difference through sustain, then it's fine, but I strongly disagree: 

  • In a burst scenario, an Ele can easily get NUKED before they can react. Bursting through 20k HP heavy armor is much more difficulty, leaving more rooms for a warrior to react / heal.
  • Warrior can soak through burst WHILE dishing out damage, unbothered. An Ele in fire that gets jumped must go into Earth before the burst to mitigate damage, then Water to heal back up, putting Fire, where most of your damage is, on CD for 10s. It's not just harder to do, it's a lot more constraining as well. In order to survive, you've got to abandon your primary source of damage (what's traited too), to heal up. Other squishy classes with active defenses have instant access to their tools through their profession mechanic (Mesmer F3-F4, traited F2, Guardian F2-F3, Thieves F1 / strong utilities). 

On top of that, Elementalists suffer from worse utility skills compared to other classes, mostly due to them having "utilities" in their weapon skills. That tradeoff is quite bad, considering the point I made in the Warrior comparison. Having your utilities in weapon skills means sacrificing your main damage for 10s in order to survive. No other class are affected by this problem to that extend.

Risk / Reward

Putting aside the practical issues I've highlighted above with having to rely on forced weapon skills as a squishiness tradeoff, let's talk about another problem. Why is Elementalist so much more complex to play compared to other classes, with no reward at all? Sure, some people might like Elementalist BECAUSE it's a hard class, and they like a challenge, just like some people play Elden Ring fully naked, fists only. However, many people, me included, wants to play Elementalist because we like the classic mage wielding elemental magic. I don't care much about difficulty usually, but if something I play is harder than most, I'm expecting it to at the very least excel in a certain area. Otherwise, what's the point? 

Say you're a new player, who wants to make a ranged caster for WvW. You create an Elementalist because that's the glass canon mage archetype, and you get into a WvW zerg. Well, turns out, you'd be VASTLY outperformed by Revenants wielding hammers, and Warriors wielding longbows... I'm ok with classes having versatility and many ways to be played compared to other MMO or even RPGs, but at the very least, make sure that the one class advertised as a RANGED NUKE MAGE can be meta / best in slot for that role. Maybe not significantly better, but at the very LEAST, it should perform as well as the other two. Especially if the class is infinitely harder. 

Problem #2: Forced into Jack of All Trading / Lack of specialization - Detailed

The addition of Elite Specs allowed most classes to tap into areas in which they were severely lacking, or even furthered the core aspect of a class. Examples:

  • Thieves: Daredevil brought AoE DPS which core was lacking, Deadeye brought ranged damage and Specter brought support capabilities to the class.
  • Necro: Scourge expanded greatly on the support abilities, Reaper brought massive melee burst damage, Harbinger brought extra mobility, among other things.
  • Guardian: Dragonhunter added better ranged damage, Firebrand expanded greatly on the support aspect of Guardian, and Willbender turned the class into a blue Thief.

Meanwhile, Elementalist specs are designed to be open to most gameplays, continuing the trend that Ele must be kneecapped by their access to sustain tools in a DPS build. They're probably the worst elite specs I've ever seen, and I've played most of the classes a fair amount.

Tempest and Catalyst are both uninspired, and quite frankly, lazy / rushed. Overload incentivize you to stay in one element to access a powerful effect (melee only lmfao), which conflicts with their agenda of having Ele constantly swap between elements to make up for their shortcomings. Catalyst, I don't even need to expand on that, there's been enough posts bashing it here. 

Weaver, although "cool" conceptually, is likely the biggest offender for me. The spec took the problems with Ele and made it 10 times worse. Sure, you have 4s CD on your attunement swap, but you lose instant access to emergency #4 and #5, and gate #3 behind some glamour that should've been an F5. Playing Weaver, putting aside the difficulty, is akin to playing FF14, and is completely unpractical for PvP. You have 0 reactive capabilities. Imagine getting condi bursted by someone, and since your profession mechanics and utilities are complete underwhelming, you have to rely on Water #4/#5 to cleanse, but can't because you can only access those in 4s. Play daggers? Say bye to your mobility skills on Fire #3 and Earth #3. Baffles me that they thought dual skills shadowing slot #3 would be a good idea. They even recognize the mistake that was Weaver with the upcoming Spear, since every dual skill is an Unravel, basically recognizing how constraining Weaver currently is. 

Right now, if you want to make a high damage Fire / Air build, no Elite Spec offers you the option, without feeling like a budget version of another class, with a higher skill requirement for 0 reason.

Problem #3: Actual lack of versatility - Detailed

Another issue, on top of the squishiness and constraints of Ele, is the lack of versatility in certain areas. To make up for having 4 weapon skill bars, Ele lose on the weapon swap in combat. The implications here is you can't have a melee and ranged weapon. Or a main weapon and a backup escape tool. Again, here are some examples for comparison (WvW / PvP scenarios): 

  • Thieves. D/P or S/D Daredevil has most of its kit in this set, and isn't gated by CDs, meaning you only swap to Bow when you need ranged pressure, an escape through #5, or some utility like CC, blast, or poison field. Rifle Deadeyes usually rock a S/D or D/P secondary set to have a melee option when it comes to that. 
  • Mesmer: Virtuoso will usually have their damage in Bladesongs and Greatsword / Dagger, and will typically switch to a defensive set with Sword when they need the Blur, the leap, or any offhand utility (Pistol CC, Shield blocks / reflects, Torch cleanse / stealth). 
  • Warrior and Ranger with LB will often swap to GS when they get into melee range. 

If you play Staff or Scepter Ele, you ONLY have ranged damage, and almost no mobility. If you play Sword or Dagger Ele, you ONLY have melee damage options. Again, one of the restrictions imposed to the class that have larger consequences. 

Engineers also cannot weapon swap, but their kits offer the flexibility they need, without any CD. You can be on Rifle, and either swap to Forge if Holo, or some melee kit if the enemy gapclose you. No CD between kits and weapon set. Conjured weapons for Ele, meanwhile, are a slow summon  with a fixed duration and a long CD. Why? 

Solution: New elite spec, motivation - Detailed

The easiest solution to the aforementioned issues, is to make an Elite Spec that lets you actually SPECIALIZE into a chosen role, while trading some of the so called "versatility" for some streamlined stats. 

Two attunements only

Akin to Revenant, my proposal is that when the Conjurer spec is selected, you can choose two attunements like they do legends, and those will be your ONLY attunements. Want to deal damage and CC? Pick Fire + Air, and say bye to both Water and Earth. Want a bit of damage and sustain / CC? Fire + Water, but you lose on Air mobility. Want condi damage and tankiness? Fire + Earth. Wanna play healer? Water + Earth. CC support? Air + Water. 

Each chosen attunement would be map to a weapon set, and you swap between them, as you would weapon sets. Meaning that if you have a Staff in your primary set, a D/D in your secondary, and you choose Fire + Air. You would have the Fire Staff skills, and the Air D/D skills. No F1-F4 to swap attunements. 

In exchange for losing on two attunements, and now being in line with other classes in terms of number of skills, the Spec minor Adept trait boosts the base HP of Ele to 15922, in line with other classes (Mesmers, Engineers, Ranger, Revenant). Additionally, the minor Grandmaster trait would boost a stat based on which attunement you have selected: Fire: 200 Power. Air: 200 Precision. Water: 200 Healing Power. Earth: 200 Toughness (or Condi damage).

The reasoning here is that, despite losing on their defensive skills, a Fire + Air Ele can't have significantly more damage than other Power specs of other classes, otherwise it would be the single best in slot and completely replace LB Berserkers, Hammer Herald, etc. I believe that, despite being much squishier than the others, Anet wouldn't want a singular class outperforming all others and becoming the sole meta. As such, if it's gonna do similar damage, it should be tougher. Maybe not outright tanky, but at least not paper squishy. 

This proposal lets Ele specialize in an archetype, while streamlining the difficulty and allowing them to benefit from the same versatility as other classes (in regard to weapon sets), at the cost of two attunements of your choice. Now the above would not be enough to make up for the loss of two attunements, given that weapon skill CDs of Ele are long, and utilities are trash, because of the reliance on 4 attunements. Hence, the next section about profession mechanics will help close the gap. 

Sub-Solution: Elite Spec #A [Attuner] - Detailed

Now, with this above proposal, you'd be swapping between attunements and weapon set at the same time with the weapon swap keybind. What happens to the profession mechanic, AKA the F1-F4? There's a TON they could do with that and imo that's what Ele should've been, since there's 0 interaction between attunements anyway lmao. 

One option, for example, would be to have 2 slots (F1 and F2) where you can select skills from unselected attunements for a given weapon. Illustrating what I mean, imagine you have Fire Staff as your main weapon set. You'd have two slots where you can choose any two Air, Water or Earth skill, akin to selecting utility skills. Example, you can get Air #4 for the superspeed + Water #5 for a cleanse, considering that your utility skill options are quite poor compared to other classes. Otherwise, you could go Air #5 for the stun + Earth #5 for the CC, etc.

If this option turns out to give too much versatility to the spec, constraints could easily be added, such as not allowing selecting spells from both of your attunements (so no Fire NOR Air spells in your F1-F2 if you're running Fire + Air), or even restrict the choices to only skills #2-3 or #4-5.

Sub-Solution: Elite Spec #B [Conjurer] - Detailed 

An other alternative would be to only have an F1, which would be a selectable conjured weapon. This would be accompanied with a bar that would be filled as you deal damage with your weapon sets. When the bar pass a certain threshold (like 50%), you can activate your conjured weapon, and keep using as long as the bar does not reach 0%.

Using the conjured weapon drains the bar, and going back to your weapon set stops the draining. If you wait until you have 75% or more of the bar filled before conjuring your weapon, your skills will be imbued with your current attunement to add extra damage or effect to your spells, as long as you remain over the threshold of 75% (think of it as reverse Holo).

This solution would help bring a second life to conjured weapons, which are currently gated behind long cooldowns. Here, the duration would be much shorter than 30s, since you'd be quickly draining through the bar, but the CD would be brought down to 5s or so, and you can reequip the conjured weapon, as long as you have enough bar filled. 

Please let me now your thoughts on that proposal, and sorry for the super long post.

Edited by Jeyzer.1605
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Mostly matches things I've been saying for a while, although my thoughts on a two-attunement elementalist is that it could probably afford to have a weaponswap and two attunements - so the same 20 weapon skills either way. Losing weapon skills would require substantial buffs to their individual effectiveness.

Conjures I think just need to have the second conjure removed and the cooldowns halved in terms of changes to the basic conjure mechanic - although a couple of specific conjures need to be reworked badly.

I would note that in many modes, elementalist genuinely does manage to achieve a lot of resustain such that the low base health and armour is genuinely needed to keep them in check. The problem is that this is completely irrelevant in instanced PvE, since any DPS build's own self-sustain is going to be outmatched by what the healer is throwing out. So the resustain advantage is effectively wiped out, but elementalists (and thieves, and to a lesser extent guardians but guardians usually have more options to outright stop a hit) still have a greater risk of being hit so hard that they're downed before healing can take effect. Not sure how to address that - at some point it might well take biting the bullet and having a special mode for strikes and raids where health is normalised (boosting health in open world might make eles too strong there, especially with how well eles can typically use celestial gear). 

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Posted (edited)

it is indeed a problem, and the solution you layed out is a good one 🙂

like you i've had the idea to ditch attunements and instead become stronger at a chosen thing.

the "choose two like a revenant" idea is pretty cool!

i've pitched the idea for an "Acolyte" elite spec a few times which takes it even further, letting you select ONE element to focus on, removing attunement swapping entirely

but massively increasing your potency with that element, Staff would be the weapon of the elite spec and all of the skills would be either buffed or replaced,

(only buffed/replaced while using the elite spec! so standard eles will still have the original skills, but acolytes will get the stronger skills!)

for instance an Acolyte of Air would have a new staff skill 1 which would be a bigger beefier version of Arc Lightning with chaining,

the knockback from Gust would be merged into Lightning Surge, freeing up a slot and the slot would be filled with an aoe skill similar to Lightning Storm

 

Edited by Liewec.2896
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This was a problem for Elementalists from their inception - not even going to add to the fact that there should be a ranged "nuker" of sorts, just to fulfill the Mage/Wizard fantasy, as a Mesmer does a better job at that than Elementalist.

What I would like to add is the CONSTRAINT you have as an Elementalist. Juggling through attunements as the situation requires is a fine idea, HOWEVER - it is not so in practice. Weaver and Catalyst (albeit melee specs) are "locked in" the rotation. Meaning, if you are going Fire>Water>Air>Earth to get the Grand Finale with Bleeding, you are locked into that, you cannot go Air>Water or Earth>Water, meaning you cannot even REACT to a bad situation, you're stuck in your rotation cycle and the best you can hope for is to survive until next cycle and start off in Water (if you need healing) or Air (if you need to break a defiance bar, for example).

Weaver is even worse as most of healing/CC utility is baked into #4 and #5, which means you need two attunement swaps in order to get to those, so again, impossible to react to a bad situation (which Elly finds themselves more in than other classes due to low HP), missing a dodge on Elly is way more punishing than on any other class (assuming there's a big attack that does 10k or so).

 

My preferred playstyle IS to bash buttons and make stuff happen (unlike, for example, Reaper, where it is just 4>afk in shroud or spamming #2 with GS, with an occasional #4 to let others know what a combo is), but being STUCK in a rotation or cycle is really really annoying. I find myself enjoying Engineer more than Elementalist, even if Engineer has less abilities to use.

 

Simple change, such as Weaponswap would make Elly even more complicated to play, but... that's EXACTLY what Elementalist players want. Have the Weaponswap simply refresh all your attunements and voila, you can swap between a ranged caster and a melee spammer. This way, Elemetanlists are pigeon-holed into ONE playstyle.

Regarding DPS, just bump the numbers up so that it feels somewhat satisfying to do all the piano things.

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Posted (edited)
On 7/6/2024 at 1:08 PM, draxynnic.3719 said:

Mostly matches things I've been saying for a while, although my thoughts on a two-attunement elementalist is that it could probably afford to have a weaponswap and two attunements - so the same 20 weapon skills either way. Losing weapon skills would require substantial buffs to their individual effectiveness.

Yeah, my previous versions of the spec that I proposed here and on another website was to have 2 attunements and a weapon swap. I'm only worried with this solution that we'd still end up with the same situation of requiring higher apm / skill than other classes, for similar results or less. Still wouldn't be that bad of a deal though, if we get to keep 20 skills while having them more focused on the playstyle we want.

For example, in WvW, FA Scp+Fc and Scp+D would be LOVELY, but it's unlikely they'd let that happen, without significant nerfs. 

On 7/6/2024 at 1:08 PM, draxynnic.3719 said:

Conjures I think just need to have the second conjure removed and the cooldowns halved in terms of changes to the basic conjure mechanic - although a couple of specific conjures need to be reworked badly.

Agreed on that, especially Frost Bow and Fire Axe.

On 7/6/2024 at 1:08 PM, draxynnic.3719 said:

I would note that in many modes, elementalist genuinely does manage to achieve a lot of resustain such that the low base health and armour is genuinely needed to keep them in check.

Yeah, Ele can totally be tanky if they build appropriately, and play around that. Cele catalyst for example is unkillable and an absolute pain to play against. The problem is that this approach completely screws over glass canon builds, that are WAY squishier than glass canon builds of other classes, while not having any sort of benefit whatsoever.

 

You mentioned the resustain being irrelevant in PvE, and while I agree with the points you made, I believe it's even more of an issue in player combat given how the sustain is accessed. Guardian for example, while being slightly less squishy than ele (armor diff), can easily blocks incoming attacks / heal up without interrupting his burst, through instant access of F2 / F3, and having perma aegis OOC. Ele needing to access water or earth to mitigate / heal back up through active cooldowns with cast times means that A: they have to completely stop dealing damage and B: They can be interrupted or bursted down before they get to resustain. 

Mukluk just realized a video about Weaver and said a sentence that sums up perfectly my thoughts about Ele in general, at the 10min mark: https://youtu.be/x16_I32Bh_0?t=594

Edited by Jeyzer.1605
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Posted (edited)
On 7/7/2024 at 8:32 AM, Liewec.2896 said:

i've pitched the idea for an "Acolyte" elite spec a few times which takes it even further, letting you select ONE element to focus on, removing attunement swapping entirely

but massively increasing your potency with that element, Staff would be the weapon of the elite spec and all of the skills would be either buffed or replaced,

Honestly a single attunement spec could work great as well. They could replace the F1-F4 with some profession mechanic that would significantly improve that element, and allowing weapon swap so you have access to 10 skills for that element. I can see it work wonders with Water for a healer / support build, Air for a roaming mobile build, Earth for a tanky / condi build, or Fire for a AoE dps build.

I don't think Staff would be a good candidate for that though, as it would go against the design principles they've laid out for weapons so far. What if you want to play the elite spec, but like the spells of current Staff? Or what if you want to play another spec, but like the skills of the new weapon? Also, making the potency increase of the element tied to a single weapon would mean other weapons would be irrelevant with that spec, which would be super limiting. That's why I think giving the increased potency to a given element could be achieved better through:

  • Weapon swap. You get 2 set of skills for your element.
  • Profession mechanic that would increase the potency of your element, through some sort of effect (F1 could add an on hit effect that depends on your element).
  • Traits and utilities, that would account for not having access to other utilities through other elements.
On 7/7/2024 at 8:32 AM, Liewec.2896 said:

for instance an Acolyte of Air would have a new staff skill 1 which would be a bigger beefier version of Arc Lightning with chaining,

the knockback from Gust would be merged into Lightning Surge, freeing up a slot and the slot would be filled with an aoe skill similar to Lightning Storm

I like some of those ideas, a Lightning Surge / Gust combo would be cool visually and pretty useful. Although they don't need to replace Staff to do that. A cool weapon to go with your idea would be land Trident imo. Does a similar job thematically to a Staff, while sharing somewhat of a similar look (a 5 skills pole, wielded in 1 hand visually).

On 7/7/2024 at 10:02 AM, ysnake.3619 said:

This was a problem for Elementalists from their inception - not even going to add to the fact that there should be a ranged "nuker" of sorts, just to fulfill the Mage/Wizard fantasy, as a Mesmer does a better job at that than Elementalist.

I'd even argue most classes do a better job at that than Ele tbh. Really bothers me that the best job at being a ranged nuke for WvW is a Revenant with a HAMMER.

On 7/7/2024 at 10:02 AM, ysnake.3619 said:

What I would like to add is the CONSTRAINT you have as an Elementalist. Juggling through attunements as the situation requires is a fine idea, HOWEVER - it is not so in practice. Weaver and Catalyst (albeit melee specs) are "locked in" the rotation. Meaning, if you are going Fire>Water>Air>Earth to get the Grand Finale with Bleeding, you are locked into that, you cannot go Air>Water or Earth>Water, meaning you cannot even REACT to a bad situation, you're stuck in your rotation cycle and the best you can hope for is to survive until next cycle and start off in Water (if you need healing) or Air (if you need to break a defiance bar, for example).

Yup that's EXACTLY what I dislike about Ele in general. GW2 PvP is all about being reactive and Ele sucks at being reactive. 

On 7/7/2024 at 10:02 AM, ysnake.3619 said:

Regarding DPS, just bump the numbers up so that it feels somewhat satisfying to do all the piano things.

Well you'll be happy about that because they just buffed Power Tempest in PvE to be a top DPS contender, while having access to 3k more HP through Soothing Power, and a bit of range with Scepter. It does alleviate some of my issues with Ele in PvE, but it's just a Band-Aid solution to the problem and let's face it, it won't last long until they nerf it back into oblivion. Oh and they even NERFED Weaver in PvP lmao.

Edited by Jeyzer.1605
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Posted (edited)

IMO ; Elementalit is stuck in 2015 just before HOT Traitlanes still  work too much for their dedicated elements and obviously punish you when attuning to an other element by losing traits but sometimes even by inflicting you double loss like Pyromancer's puissance, and most of utility skills work the same way.
It  was okai years ago when you could have 3 or 2 buffed elements + Arcane.

But then comes E-Spec; and they didn't know how to give synergy with core, because they were already no commonality between elements and traits : one is power/burning, the traitlane buff burning and power, one is bleeding, the traitlane buffs bleeding and toughness/support, etc. How to focus on power or condi, or one common gimmick, when half skills no matter the weapon set-up have nothing in common ?
(But you still need every elements because every utilities are neatly split, while every other specs have them merged in few skills  "Man you have 20 skills, I only have 10, so I need one button=two-fold effect" )
So comes the "CONDI + POWER" modifiers everywhere in all traits of all e-spec, catalyst goes even further with "CELESTIAL" modifier, and nearly no gimmick arround existing core assets but "AURAS" ... may be weakness/regen ...

I think they should build on what they did with necro and DS for example, arcane and even some elem's E-Specs ; rework ALL minor + Grandmaster traits to work no matter the attunement (Like Diamond skin, Powerful aura ...) polish the utility and dps of weapon skills rather than exacerbate them.
"When you use SKILL #3 unleash a Flame Expulsion" "When inflicting inhibiting condition and CC, also apply bleeding" "Fields heal allies, blasting field heal more"
(Why not even rename traitlanes to  mark the detachment : (idk) flamboyance, Thunder, Whirlpool  ...  (idk) )
Then E-spec; the same, no need for "+5% CONDI DAMAGE AND +5% STRIKE DAMAGE" We should have  I) the lazy/pvebenchmark POWER modifier II) The CONDI gimmick III) the support/sustain gimmick/modifier (reverse according to convenience)

So you could have a "Burning build" with "FIRE/weaver traitlane" but actually have some exploit with dagger water/earth elements to apply burning too.

Edited by Zhaid Zhem.6508
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6 hours ago, Jeyzer.1605 said:

Yeah, my previous versions of the spec that I proposed here and on another website was to have 2 attunements and a weapon swap. I'm only worried with this solution that we'd still end up with the same situation of requiring higher apm / skill than other classes, for similar results or less. Still wouldn't be that bad of a deal though, if we get to keep 20 skills while having them more focused on the playstyle we want.

For example, in WvW, FA Scp+Fc and Scp+D would be LOVELY, but it's unlikely they'd let that happen, without significant nerfs. 

I'm not sure that removing the APM entirely is really practical - you'd probably need some substantial damage modifiers to make ten weapon skills do the work of twenty. From a conceptual viewpoint, too, I think it's be a bit weird to be able to use, say, fire skills with one weapon but not another.

6 hours ago, Jeyzer.1605 said:

Agreed on that, especially Frost Bow and Fire Axe.

Exactly the ones I was most thinking about.

6 hours ago, Jeyzer.1605 said:

Yeah, Ele can totally be tanky if they build appropriately, and play around that. Cele catalyst for example is unkillable and an absolute pain to play against. The problem is that this approach completely screws over glass canon builds, that are WAY squishier than glass canon builds of other classes, while not having any sort of benefit whatsoever.

 

You mentioned the resustain being irrelevant in PvE, and while I agree with the points you made, I believe it's even more of an issue in player combat given how the sustain is accessed. Guardian for example, while being slightly less squishy than ele (armor diff), can easily blocks incoming attacks / heal up without interrupting his burst, through instant access of F2 / F3, and having perma aegis OOC. Ele needing to access water or earth to mitigate / heal back up through active cooldowns with cast times means that A: they have to completely stop dealing damage and B: They can be interrupted or bursted down before they get to resustain. 

Mukluk just realized a video about Weaver and said a sentence that sums up perfectly my thoughts about Ele in general, at the 10min mark: https://youtu.be/x16_I32Bh_0?t=594

I've fought against duellist elementalists that were basically unkillable without multiple players focusing them - they'd just outheal whatever landed on them from a single player. Now, they're not the only profession that has ever been capable of doing this, and I suspect they can't do it at the moment (the daily rework with SotO was my final push to quit sPvP, and from what I've heard it's gone into a seriously glassy meta, and earth traits being nerfed probably wouldn't help), but it demonstrates the principle.

To clarify, I didn't say that resustain was irrelevant in PvE, just specifically in group instances where you have a dedicated healer. They can do fairly well playing solo because most elementalist weapons don't lose a lot of damage by running celestial - but in raids, strikes, and the like, that's usually impractical.

6 hours ago, Jeyzer.1605 said:

Honestly a single attunement spec could work great as well. They could replace the F1-F4 with some profession mechanic that would significantly improve that element, and allowing weapon swap so you have access to 10 skills for that element. I can see it work wonders with Water for a healer / support build, Air for a roaming mobile build, Earth for a tanky / condi build, or Fire for a AoE dps build.

The general problem I see with the idea of single-attunement elementalists is that so many elementalist traits rely on attunement swapping - you'd need a complete rework of the core traits to make that work. Thematically, too, there are a lot of concepts that can be represented by two elements.

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On 7/8/2024 at 7:53 PM, draxynnic.3719 said:

From a conceptual viewpoint, too, I think it's be a bit weird to be able to use, say, fire skills with one weapon but not another.

How so? Conceptually, Ele could have imbued each weapon with a different element through channeling, and is using that weapon on the go. 

 

On 7/8/2024 at 7:53 PM, draxynnic.3719 said:

I'm not sure that removing the APM entirely is really practical - you'd probably need some substantial damage modifiers to make ten weapon skills do the work of twenty.

A lot of those 20 skills don't even contribute to damage tbf, they're split up version of utilities that other classes often have built in. Take Staff for example, The only AA that deals any sort of decent damage is Fire #1, so losing Water-Air-Earth #1 is a non issue. Water only has #2 as source of damage, Air only has #2 as well, Earth has #2 and a bit of #5. 

 

On 7/8/2024 at 7:53 PM, draxynnic.3719 said:

I've fought against duellist elementalists that were basically unkillable without multiple players focusing them - they'd just outheal whatever landed on them from a single player

Yeah that's my issue with Ele design. Given that all their sustain is active, a glass cannon build is overly squishy with no benefit in range or damage, while a healer / tank build is completely unkillable given the diminish return aspect of toughness / vitality and how they benefit from healing power the most with their actives. 

 

On 7/8/2024 at 7:53 PM, draxynnic.3719 said:

The general problem I see with the idea of single-attunement elementalists is that so many elementalist traits rely on attunement swapping - you'd need a complete rework of the core traits to make that work.

Attunement swapping traits would just apply to weapon swapping in this case, just like on clone spawning traits apply to blade stocking for Virtuosos, so that's not a big issue. 

 

On 7/8/2024 at 7:53 PM, draxynnic.3719 said:

Thematically, too, there are a lot of concepts that can be represented by two elements.

Absolutely, there's so many things they could've done with Ele or Weaver, regarding mixing elements, but they ended up doing none of it.

For example they could've made some spells create puddles and then Air single target spells used in those puddles would electrify it, turning it into AoE damage or increasing the damage to wet enemies. Earth field that solidify the ground and if an Air knock down spell is used in it, it deals damage. Earth field that create some seedlings / roots and using a Water AoE in it would make them grow to block the path or immobilize. Fire skill that creates a vapor screen if used in a Water field, making Ele visible but not targetable (like a weaker invisibility of sort). Air tornado that can be infused with fire, ice shards or sharp rocks. So many options honestly, it's truly a shame that each element is its own thing, there's no benefit to wielding 4 at the same time.

To be fair though, that would've been hard to implement in GW2, with all the weapon variety. They would need to give each weapon some sort of elemental synergy and that would've made designing it harder. Given how lazy they've been with recent Ele weapons (every attunement of Spear have the same skills with a slight flavor difference lmfao), asking for something like that might be a tall order. But they could've AT LEAST given Staff some of those synergies.

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8 hours ago, Jeyzer.1605 said:

How so? Conceptually, Ele could have imbued each weapon with a different element through channeling, and is using that weapon on the go. 

I mean, you can justify anything with enough treknobabble, but to me it feels more intuitive that an elementalist that has both a ranged and a melee weapon and who is using, say, fire magic, would have access to both the ranged and melee-oriented fire spells. There's no precedent to attuning weapons to different elements (apart from some weapon skills being themed around elements, but that's never had a gameplay effect). Keeping in mind that the weapons are somewhat of a factor of mechanics to begin with (NPC spellcasters don't always have the 'right' weapon for their skills, Queen Jennah uses a one-handed sword to Spatial Surge for instance), I think it'd be a bit weird to have an elementalist who, say, uses fire for their ranged spells and then switches entirely to lightning in close. It'd also mean that if you do choose a ranged and a melee weapon, you can't switch elements, and therefore benefit from attunement-swapping traits, without also changing your range of engagement. I think it would just be easier to balance and better overall to just take the approach of having weaponswap with two attunements, and having access to both attunements on both weapons.

8 hours ago, Jeyzer.1605 said:

 

A lot of those 20 skills don't even contribute to damage tbf, they're split up version of utilities that other classes often have built in. Take Staff for example, The only AA that deals any sort of decent damage is Fire #1, so losing Water-Air-Earth #1 is a non issue. Water only has #2 as source of damage, Air only has #2 as well, Earth has #2 and a bit of #5. 

Focusing on autos is kind of missing the point, since more than most other professions, elementalist is balanced on the idea that you want to minimise autos by cycling through elements. Focusing on staff is also an outlier, since staff is notorious for air and water both sucking for damage, and earth being at a point where it's only just worth swapping to earth rather than camping fire. Most elementalist weapons, though, you do want to be using at least two, and often more, attunements depending on your attributes.

8 hours ago, Jeyzer.1605 said:

Yeah that's my issue with Ele design. Given that all their sustain is active, a glass cannon build is overly squishy with no benefit in range or damage, while a healer / tank build is completely unkillable given the diminish return aspect of toughness / vitality and how they benefit from healing power the most with their actives. 

It is why they have such low base stats, though - in theory, it's to ensure that they're still somewhat vulnerable despite their ability to resustain or sometimes outright avoid damage. Generally speaking, the professions that have low health do so because they have the means to stretch that health out longer, one way or another. Ele has the problem that this is mostly through resustain which just doesn't matter when you have a pocket healer resustaining everyone.

8 hours ago, Jeyzer.1605 said:

Attunement swapping traits would just apply to weapon swapping in this case, just like on clone spawning traits apply to blade stocking for Virtuosos, so that's not a big issue. 

I don't think it's that simple. If you link each weapon to an attunement, sure, you can have the on-swap traits for that attunement trigger when you swap to that weapon. However, if the whole point is to make it so that elementalist can have one weapon for ranged and one for melee - you've just removed attunement swapping and all traits associated with it as a mechanic for the elementalist that wants to stay at range.

8 hours ago, Jeyzer.1605 said:

 

Absolutely, there's so many things they could've done with Ele or Weaver, regarding mixing elements, but they ended up doing none of it.

For example they could've made some spells create puddles and then Air single target spells used in those puddles would electrify it, turning it into AoE damage or increasing the damage to wet enemies. Earth field that solidify the ground and if an Air knock down spell is used in it, it deals damage. Earth field that create some seedlings / roots and using a Water AoE in it would make them grow to block the path or immobilize. Fire skill that creates a vapor screen if used in a Water field, making Ele visible but not targetable (like a weaker invisibility of sort). Air tornado that can be infused with fire, ice shards or sharp rocks. So many options honestly, it's truly a shame that each element is its own thing, there's no benefit to wielding 4 at the same time.

To be fair though, that would've been hard to implement in GW2, with all the weapon variety. They would need to give each weapon some sort of elemental synergy and that would've made designing it harder. Given how lazy they've been with recent Ele weapons (every attunement of Spear have the same skills with a slight flavor difference lmfao), asking for something like that might be a tall order. But they could've AT LEAST given Staff some of those synergies.

I wasn't even thinking of skills that mixed elements, just a player's ability to come up with themes for a character based on preferred elements. For instance, running air/water would represent something of a weather magic theme. Fire/air would be a bit like a firebender who's also mastered lightning-bending. Fire/earth would represent a character with a more volcanic bent. Things of that nature.

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