Fire, Air, Earth and Water. I can deal with any of them.
The Elementalist is one of the professions that is easy to get into but hard to master. Due to the sheer number of skills and weapon combinations there is a lot to keep in mind when trying to master the four elements.
This introduction will give you an overview over the Elementalist profession. I will talk about the basic playstyle as well as attributes and weapons.
Please note: I won't go into detail about which attributes to choose or what weapon to pick. That will be entirely your choice. This is not a guide to a cookie-cutter-omfg-pwnage Elementalist build. It's only general information that you need to know if you want to start experimenting yourself.
The Elementalist is a caster-type profession that is mainly focused on damage-dealing over a distance. However, certain weapon and attunement combinations allow for entirely different playstyles. As an Elementalist you can switch between the four different attunements Fire, Air, Earth and Water on the fly. Each attunement comes with an entirely different set of skills. Unlike other professions you can't switch your weapon during combat.
As an Elementalist you are wearing light armor, the least protective armor type in Guild Wars 2. That means you are mainly fighting from the backline to avoid taking damage.
The four basic attributes in Guild Wars 2 are:
- Power: Increased attack damage.
- Precision: Increased critical strike chance.
- Vitality: Increased health.
- Toughness: Increased defense/armor.
In addition to these four basic attributes, ArenaNet recently introduced 6 new attributes that are split up into three offense, two support and one profession-specific attributes.
- Prowess: Improves the damage multiplier on critical strikes.
- Malice: Improves the damage done by conditions like burning, poison, confusion, and bleeding.
- Expertise: Improves the duration of all conditions inflicted by the character.
- Concentration: Improves the duration of all boons applied by the character.
- Compassion: Improves all outgoing heals that your character does, including self heals.
The Elementalist can reduce the recharge time of the four elemental attunements by putting points into the new Intelligence attribute.
The staff comes with a lot of AOE ground targeted abilities. It will probably require a lot of aiming practice and ability timing to master this weapon.
The Scepter/Focus combination offers powerful close range abilities and control abilities. This might be a better choice for PVP than PVE, due to the control abilities like Blinding Flash and Dust Devil.
Due to the lack of control abilities, this combination is not very useful in PVP. However, the mix of ground targeted abilities and close range abilities makes this combination shine in PVE short and mid range combat.
If you like hit and run tactics in PVP and face-to-face combat, this might be your choice. The off hand dagger also grants the control ability Earthquake.
Focus comes with two protective abilities and therefore could be seen in PVP quite often. For PVE, there are too many defensive abilities. The main hand dagger adds a lot of close range abilities as well as control abilities like Ring of Earth.
In addition to the different weapon skills, keep in mind that there are four different attunements. That makes 21 different skill sets, not even including utility skills and trait customization. Also, please keep in mind that all this stuff is based on beta information. Furthermore I should note that I have never played the game myself to form a proper personal opinion on the abilities and weapon combinations.