In Guild Wars 2, traits are like talent points that you can use to enhance your character’s abilities. Traits work in two ways: each new trait you unlock not only provides a specific bonus, but also gives you some sort of stat point reward based on which section you invested in.
The Elementalist, like all professions, has 5 different branches of talents it can choose from: Fire, Air, Water, Earth, and Arcana. Below, you will discover what each trait section gives as a bonus, what some of the best skills are, and what types of Elementalists can best use each trait.
Note: You earn trait points by leveling up, starting at level 11. There are 70 trait points total once you reach the level cap (80). Since you can only spend 30 points in a trait line, you can max out a minimum of two trait lines (or spread your traits around). It is up to you.
Elementalist Trait Bonuses
Here are the bonuses you get from spending 1 point on a specific trait line. Some traits cost more than 1 trait point, and you will get the bonus below per trait point spent rather than per trait unlocked:
- Air: +10 Precision (critical hit chance) and +1 Prowess (critical hit damage bonus multiplier). While all skills benefit from some extra critical damage, it is particularly good for air skills in particular since air skills deal most of their damage up front. Skills from other elements that deal most of their damage in one up-front blow benefit as well (i.e. Dragon’s Tooth, a Fire skill).
- Fire: +10 Power (raw damage) and +10 Condition Duration. The Power is great for Fire, Air, and Earth, but the Condition Duration is particularly good for Fire and Earth as both of these skills have a lot of conditions (Burning for Fire and Bleeding for Earth).
- Water: +10 Vitality (max health) and +10 Compassion (healing). This tree is naturally good for support roles given its ability to increase your health, but some players who want a tankier Elementalist for PvP purposes might find the extra health and healing useful (for self-healing).
- Earth: +10 Toughness (defense) and +10 Malice (condition damage). Only Fire and Earth skills make heavy use of condition damage, lending this trait line to those abilities.
- Arcana: +1 Concentration (Boon duration) and +2 Intelligence (attunement recharge). This basically means your buffs last longer and lessens the time you have to wait between switching from element to element.
Recommend Elementalist Trait Lines
In the next part of this guide, I will recommend which trait lines you should invest in depending on the sort of Elementalist you want to play. Note that in Guild Wars 2 you get access to 70 trait points but can only spend 30 in one tree, so you really have a huge amount of options when it comes to where to put your points.
Damage-Dealing – Condition vs Non-Condition
The most important thing you have to consider when it comes to investing trait points for the purpose of increasing your damage is whether or not you make heavy use of condition-based skills (i.e. burn effects from Fire and Bleed effects from Earth). The reason for this is that both Fire and Earth traits provide bonuses to condition damage effects.
As a result, if you use primarily Fire skills, you can invest in the Fire tree to directly aid your Fire skills in addition to gaining Power and Condition Duration. You could then invest in Air to increase the critical hit damage of your skills and in Earth to increase your condition damage.
On the other hand, if you use primarily Air-based skills for damage, Earth has nothing to offer you to directly increase your damage through stats. In order to increase your defense and survivability, instead of going into Earth, an Air-oriented Elementalist would go with Water to improve max health and self-healing skills.
Healing and Support
For healing and support roles, you naturally want to cap out your points in the Water trait line since this directly focuses on improving healing and buffing. Additionally, I would recommend going into Arcana.
Arcana allows you to switch quickly between attunements, allowing you to cherry-pick the best long-cooldown skills from each element while waiting for your good Water skills to come off cooldown. Additionally, Arcana provides some good group and self-buffs that can be used to enhance your abilities as a support player.