These are my general thoughts of the Elementalist elite specialization: the Tempest! I was able to try out this elite specialization for the first time in the first beta weekend event for Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns! This elite specialization was an interesting one to toy with.
Despite the grumbles some Elementalist players have of getting Warhorn; I find it’s really good. Using Dagger/Warhorn for a Double Dagger-like skill rotation is possible but is slower since each warhorn skills has a small cast time. In terms of damage and support, warhorn does both fairly well. Let’s look at each of the skills:
Fire Attunement: you get a sizable burning field called Wildfire (Skill 5) and can gain might and share your current boons with Heat Sync (Skill 4). Heat Sync is great but I’ll get into that in a bit.
Water Attunement: has two healing skills where Tidal Surge (Skill 4) also has a knock back; Water Globe (Skill 5) heals allies on it’s travel path so you don’t necessary have to be in the front line
Air Attunement: Cyclone (Skill 4) allows you to pull in enemies in front of you which is good for stopping enemy and Lighting Orb (Skill 5) that damages enemies it passes. A personal preference is that Lighting Orb isn’t a skill shot but instead travels in the direction you’re facing like with Water Globe.
Earth Attunement: Dust Storm (Skill 5) is really good versus close range physical opponents because of the blinds & vulnerability. The AoE protection and increased boon duration with Sand Squall (Skill 4) is really nice
The shouts are pretty good, each having their own elemental style. The cast times are good for what each shout does. I didn’t test it too much but I think Auramancers will really like the utility shouts as three of them grant an aura of some kind on use. Rebound is a good skill to use to get a long cooldown back; I like using it to get Armor of Earth (a utility skill that grants protection and stability) back much quicker for safer, uninterrupted overloads.
The overload attunements are really strong in terms of what they bring. The best one in my opinion is Overload Fire. Not only are you doing damage, but it’s free 10+ stack of might if you complete the overload and you can combine it with Heat Sync for more might and share your current buffs with other allies then switch to earth and use Sand Squall for the protection and boon duration so that you and nearby allies get longer lasting stacks of might. Overload Water I feel could use a bit of a buff of it’s final burst heal. Overload Air is pretty decent for doing damage in an area. Overload Earth is good for granting allies that extra protection boon during a fight.
The Tempest specialization line mostly focuses on Overloads but there are some good traits for auras and vigor.
To conclude, the Tempest clearly introduces a new way to support. At the same time it gives new options for current meta roles; whether offensive or defensive in nature. This makes Tempest one of the most interesting elite specialization to see what players come up with. Whether this specialization is viable in the sPvP meta with it’s Overloads and warhorn, well we’ll have to see.
These are my general thoughts of the Necromancer elite specialization: the Reaper. I was able to try out this elite specialization for the first time ever in the first beta weekend event for Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns! This elite specialization was my favorite to test out on the weekend.
The greatsword is an interesting weapon that rewards positioning while channeling skills. Each greatsword skill is pretty good and rewards you well for successful hits. Let’s go over each of the skills:
Dusk Strike (Skill 1): The basic attack which chains into Fading Twilight then Chilling Scythe. These attacks feel good and are pretty smooth.
Gravedigger (Skill 2): A heavy hit that you have to channel for a second which is a decent trade off for the damage this skill does
Death Spiral (Skill 3): This is one skill that you don’t want to miss, it takes a second to channel but getting all the hits of this skill on an enemy will apply around 12 stacks of vulnerability which is amazing.
Nightfall (Skill 4): This is an AoE you place around yourself that damages foes and applies blind and cripple. I really like this skill on the greatsword because it helps with using skills 1, 2 and 3
Grasping Darkness (Skill 5): This damages and pulls in any enemies that are in range. You also apply poison and gain life force for each enemy it hits. This is a nice medium ranged crowd control skill that has the added benefit of a condition, damage and life force. Nothing to complain about here.
I can see players having a bit of a hard time if they solely use Gravedigger or Death Spiral alone because they can be easily dodged or interrupted. However, if you work in Grasping Darkness into Nightfall as prep for Gravedigger and Death Spiral then you can do a lot of damage.
The Reaper shouts are pretty great. They act a bit like instant Necromancer wells and are more effective the more targets you hit.
The biggest annoyance with Reaper shouts is the cast time. The utility Reaper shouts should not have or have a really low cast time. The elite shout’s cast time is fine due to it being an AoE stun. Maybe the heal’s cast time can stay as well. But players shouldn’t have to consistently worry about their utility shouts being interrupted. It doesn’t feel good, in fact, it feels strange considering most shouts are instant or channeled due to having a channeling effect. In the case of a channeling effect, the shout Rise can be the exception and have a small channel.
Reaper Shroud was really fun to use and I have done tons of damage getting reaper combos off. An important thing to note is that any basic traits used for Death Shroud also work with Reaper Shroud. For example, the Necromancer Soul Reaping trait Dhuumfire works with Death Shroud Skill 1 and Reaper Shroud Skill 1. Speaking of shroud skills, let’s break them down:
Life Rend (Skill 1): The basic attack which chains into Life Slash then Life Reap. These attacks, like greatsword, feel good.
Death’s Charge (Skill 2): Very nice sliding skill for getting out of AoE or re-positioning. Provides an AoE blind at the end which is a nice bonus
Infusing Terror (Skill 3): This skill is essential for Reaper Shroud as it grants you pulsing stability which allows you to use the Reaper skills with long cast times successfully. You can cast the followup skill Terrify for a fear
Soul Spiral (Skill 4): Your “spin to win” skill; it does really good damage
Executioner’s Scythe (Skill 5): This skill stuns a target and leaves behind a field of ice which is great because other surrounding enemies are chilled
Executioner’s Scythe into Soul Spiral is a great combo to land. Popping Infused Terror, for the pulsing stability, gives you a greater chance of completing both skills since you can be interrupted. After Soul Spiral there’s enough time to use Terrify for the fear.
The Reaper specialization line mostly compliments Reaper Shroud. You can use your other two specialization lines for a primary purpose and have Reaper Shroud as your secondary purpose or you can focus most of your traits on your Shroud for your primary source of damage.
To conclude, Reaper is an amazingly fun specialization and Necromancers finally have some good consistent damage with Reaper Shroud and greatsword. All I think is needed is the removal of cast time on the utility shouts (or reduce the times to a shorter cast time) and the elite specialization would be in great shape.
Summed Up In Video Format