In Guild Wars 2, a character’s proficiency in combat is determined by their Attributes. The Player has an opportunity to improve their Attributes whenever they level up. Attributes come in three types; Primary Attributes which affect a character’s general power, Secondary Attributes which pander to more specific types of combat, and Profession Specific Attributes which are designed to aid a particular Profession.
Upon leveling up, a Player spends points in relevant Trait Trees to improve Secondary Attributes or Profession Specific Attributes, but Primary Attributes increase automatically. As such, one should choose carefully when assigning their points as this will affect how skilled a Character is in certain types of combat. There are 10 Attributes in total; 4 Primary Attributes, 5 Secondary Attributes and 1 Profession Attribute per Profession. Profession Attributes, naturally, are exclusive to their relevant Profession.
Depending on the Profession that the Player chooses for their Character, their combat styles will vary. Some prefer long ranged weapons such as Bows or Rifles, whereas others prefer to get in close with Daggers and Swords, and as such it is important to know which Attributes to spend your points in, in particular in relation to the Secondary Attributes. The Elementalist, for example, uses magic almost exclusively, and as such uses a lot of Healing to keep themselves alive, and also packs plenty of Conditions that focus on slowing enemies down.
Primary Attributes are the basic stats for a Character, and these are Power, Precision, Toughness and Vitality. Power affects the amount of damage that basic attacks inflict in a pure damage sense, with each point increase resulting in one additional point in damage. Precision increases gives the Character more calculated strikes, and as such increased their likelihood of landing a Critical Hit which will do significantly more damage.
Toughness reduces the impact of incoming attacks by improving the Character’s Armor by one point per level. Vitality, finally, simply increases the Character’s Health, meaning they can take more hits before being downed. Since Elementalists rely heavily on magic, and may need to wait for Skills to recharge, Toughness and Vitality may be especially useful in insuring that the Elementalist survives the wait.
The Secondary Attributes are more specific, and are where the majority of the choice comes in when leveling up. As stated, there are give Secondary Attributes, and these are Critical Damage, Healing Power, Boon Duration, Condition Duration and Condition Damage. These are more or less self explanatory. Critical Damage increases the damage multiplier on Critical Hits, and as such pairs well with the Precision Attribute.
Healing Power increases the potency of all Healing Skills a character uses, both on themselves and on allies, and as such is very important to the Elementalist who has plenty of Healing powers in Water magic. Boon Duration increases the length of time that Boons such as Vigor or Might last for. Condition Duration does the same as Boon Duration, but for Conditions such as Chilled or Immobilized, which feature heavily in Elementalist magic, and finally Condition Damage increases the amount of damage that Conditions such as Burn and Poison do to the afflicted foe, and are also a key aspect of the Elementalist’s combat style.
The Profession Specific Attribute for the Elementalist is the Attunement Recharge Rate. Attunements are special Skills that allow the Elementalist to tap into the power of a certain element and boost their abilities, for example using a Fire Attunement grants the Player heavy Damage and Burning abilities. Improving the Attunement Recharge Rate reduces the amount of time that the Elementalist has to wait between activating their Attunements, and if they Player finds themselves Attuning to elements often, this may be a worthwhile use of upgrades.
When leveling up, the Player is given the option of improving Trait Trees, and each Trait Tree has the relevant Attributes attached to it. The Attributes will improve along with the Traits. It is important to note that certain Consumables and some Equipment can also improve Attributes.
Most Elementalists will use the Fire element to inflict damage on their foes, and most of these Skills inflict Burning on foes, including Burning Speed, Ring of Fire and Flame Leap. As such, to maximize the damage that these Skills do, it would be wise for a budding Elementalist to put their upgrades into Condition Duration, as Burning stacks in Duration as opposed to in Intensity. However, upgrading Condition Damage is far from a bad idea, as it will increase the potency of any Burns that the Player inflicts on unfortunate enemies.
The Water Skills also inflict Conditions on enemies, but usually ones to slow them down such as Chilled. These are very useful as the Elementalist is usually a ranged class with many of their Skills taking effect from a distance, so Chilled is a great way to slow down enemies that are closing the gap on the Player too quickly. Improving Condition Duration will also make these last longer and buy the Elementalist even more time to widen the space between themselves and any melee minded enemies that are getting too close for comfort.
Finally, Healing is also a big portion of the Elementalist’s arsenal, and is also contained mostly in Water Magic. Improving Healing Power may be a good call if the Player finds themselves on low Health often, or if they play as a member of a Party often in which they act as the role of Healer, and can cast Skills such as Healing Rain and Geyser to aid their allies in combat.
All in all, the Elementalist is an extremely magic orientated Profession, and focuses on Conditions to do the bulk of their damage to enemies. As such, Condition Duration is near essential any Elementalist, both in damaging and slowing enemies, and Healing Power is a perfectly viable choice as well. Again, however, this is just a guide to give you an idea, if the Player finds themselves lacking in other departments they would be wiser to invest in those, but use these as a general rule for when you level up your Character.