Water is a support trait line and nothing else. Healing increases the health restored from your healing abilities and vitality increases your health. For vitality, 30 points will take you from 17,245 health to 20,245 or 3,000 extra health. That’s a few additional hits before you’re downed. For healing, Dagger 5, Cleansing Wave, will heal 1,302 at 0 points and 1,602 at 30 points. A sizable amount.
If you’re going support then you’ll want to max water out and focus your gear around healing. While GW2 doesn’t have dedicated healers, it does have dedicated support. For a support build, your major traits should be Aquamancer’s Alacrity, Cantrip Mastery for increased survivability, and Cleansing Water for condition removal.
- Soothing Mist (5 Points): Regenerate health while attuned to water. It’s a nifty passive, but not horribly strong, about 90~100 health per tick at 80.
- Healing Ripple (15 Points): Heals you and nearby allies when you attune to water. Heals for about 1,500.
- Bountiful Power (25 Points): Deal 2% more damage for each boon.
Arcana – Boon Duration and Attunement Recharge Rate
Boon Duration works in percentages, 30% with 30 points and Attunement Recharge is 2% per point or 60% with 30 points. It’s a 15 second cooldown on previously used attunements with 0 points and that drops down to 9 seconds with 30 points. It’s a 2 second cooldown on available attunements when switching and about a 1.2 second cooldown with 30 points.
Arcana is useful in a variety of builds, mostly because it is rather generic. In a “traditional build” of 30/30/10, you’ll do 30 in one line, 30 in another, and 10 in arcana (or 30/20/20), although honestly the sky is the limit when it comes to picking your traits. Boon Duration is important, just because it lets you stack more duration / intensity because you have your boons lasting longer. Attunement recharge is also important because it lets you switch between your different attunements faster, making it easier to be more fluid with switching.
Elemental Attunement is a favorite because it applies a boon based on the attunement you switch to, which just general synergizes well with each build. The second tier abilities are all weapon based, so if your build involves a staff you’ll want Blasting Staff which makes your AoE staff abilities bigger. The last tier is an easy one, Evasive Arcana is generally a neat dodge roll mechanic and Elemental Surge is wonderful if you carry any arcane abilities and can synergize to get conditions on your foes quicker.
This is the control and condition trait line. Elementalists don’t have a ton of condition based offensive builds, compared to other professions, but they can definitely put down a lot of burning and bleeding. So if you’re looking at making a condition heavy build then this is definitely the path to go. Using Staff 2, Eruption, 30 points in Earth will mean the difference between 45 damage a tick and 60 damage a tick on the bleed. Combine with Fire Magic’s condition duration; you’ll be looking at 3,266 damage vs. 5,432 damage from the full duration of the bleed.
Toughness increases your armor by 1 point, which lowers direct damage. This is great if you’re wanting to go into a dungeon and “tank” as an elementalist. My one recommendation if you go this route, take Summon Earth Shield. It’ll help mitigate some of the incoming damage if you’re in a scenario that you can’t keep the enemy away from you.
For major traits, Salt Stone gives 5% additional damage for bleed. Impale, Ring of Earth, Earthquake, Churning Earth, and a few more skills apply bleeding, so this is a passive 5% additional damage to any condition build. Strength of Stone gives 10% more damage while attuned to earth and Written in Stone lets you maintain the passive effects of signets, which are key to a good condition build.