I've played Ele since the free beta weekends (before launch) across all aspects of the game PvE/WvW/PvP, I have 5.5khrs at this time on that profession alone and it'll always be my main class.
If you have any questions feel free to whisper me in game too.
So, without further ado lets get on with this extensive look into the world of an Elementalist/Tempest/Weaver...
The purpose of the Ele is to provide support to the commander whether its CC, Sustain or Damage, furthermore sustaining the group, providing damage to quickly kill downstates or contributing a high amount of damage during a "bomb".
Another role as an Ele is to clear siege for the commander, however instead of waiting for the comm to say "clear siege" please just use your initiative. Use the following resources below to understand how you can do just that.
Credit for these belong to @Aury, @silmarilen and @Relifed ty.
How to play Ele?
As an Ele you never camp one attunement by doing this you are not fully contributing to the group, for example: If you camp Fire it maybe nice to deal damage, however you are not providing the Commander any CC, Sustain nor are you sustaining yourself either ie. Magnectic Aura (reflect) or Windborne Speed (cures cripple, chill and immob) with that said Ranger + you = so, you must carefully use your skills for the right moments, providing the Commander what he wants (you dont always have to listen to the Commander if you need to focus on your own survival do it, because another Ele can fill in where you miss) a good Ele is an alive one like any other class.
Back on topic of not camping an attunement now, ensure you cycle through all of your attunements without stopping and spam skill 2 in each attunement.
How to play Tempest?
As a Tempest much like the above for Ele, your role is to still do everything that's expected of an Ele, but more, you can Overload Water either for yourself or others to heal, you can AoE damage with Overload Air, please spam this as frequent as possible and Overload Fire on downstates for a quick finish while outputting damage on resses, or for might upkeep. Overload Earth is a good initiator be it to get closer in order to deal damage or placing a static, also for going deep rooting people either in a "bomb" or their casters, great for positioning if your field ahead is blocked by CC and a disengage out of tricky situations.
How to play Weaver?
As a Weaver its nothing like core Ele above, you're expected to damage, damage, DAAAAAAAAAMMMMMMAAAAAAAAGE!!! (excuse me) below is a damage rotation, you can follow for optimal damage output to help get you started.
1) Start in Air/Fire Attunement
2) Static Field (Optional)
3) Plasma Blast
4) Fire Attunement
5) Lava Font
6) Meteor Shower
7) Earth Attunement
10) Air Attunement
11) Pile Driver
12) Lightning Surge
13) Fire Attunement
Repeat from 1. Fill empty time with utility skills or auto attacks.
Note: The above rotation is a basis for anyone new to Weaver or simply looking for a place to start, please do not follow this blindly and use all other skills at your disposal with each attunement swap too when necessary, as well as to go water and double attune to water every now and then to support the commander, thanks.
Weaver allows you to be in two attunements at once, with that said try to stay in fire as often as possible to maintain Elemental Polyphony this will upkeep +120 power on yourself, try to double attune Fire Attunement before meteor showering to proc Elements of Rage for the 10% damage modifier.
Rotation for public tags:
When on Teamspeak and there's other vocal Eles try to setup amongst yourselves a water rotation, for example water #1#2#3 (2 is fine) other Eles (freecasters) use them whenever you want, furthermore overlapping is fine as it adds more healing, as well as some structure with the rotation to provide the necessary amount of waters each regroup/push. Last but not least ensure one of you engages with an opening static, if you're not the first water and make it clear you are the one to do so.
Note: It helps to be vocal on TS, furthermore announce when you go into water and when you leave, because this will just ensure multiple waters wont go down by the people within the rotation itself.
Skills to save:
Burning Retreat - Fixes your positioning.
Armour Of Earth - Used as stun break, panic button, a way to get through a choke, guarenteed certainty you will get skills off. (defensive)
If Mistform isn't up when the melee turns on you this will negate anything thrown against you as far as CC goes, you can dodge the melee while still applying pressure and deeps. (offensive)
Windborne Speed - Use this only in the case you have cripple, chill or immob on you as its a good cleanse. If you spam it and get routed + you dont have your heal up =
Lightning Flash - Fixes your positioning.
Magnectic Aura - Use this if you can quickly swap into earth while a Ranger uses "rapid fire on you" or you got a lot of casters focussing you, because if you cant escape, also you spam this skill on cd + a Ranger "rapid fire" on you =
Mistform - Should be used only to delay time when ganked, an enemy melee train make a quick turn on you or to fix positioning > escape (priorities)
Ether Renewal - Use your heal only when you have Condis on you or when you're low generally after you've commited to a spike due to retaliation.
1) Earth skill 4 followed by 5 = they hit your wall stopping them in their tracks followed by a hard CC immobing them to capitalise on your wall.
2a) Use Earth 2 on fire 2 on yourself to blast more might + strength runes = might which triggers +5% damage due to might uptime.
2b) Use Earth 2 on water 3 on yourself to blast a water field to give you some more healing if your low or use this combination on the Commander as an extra blast while he regroups.
3) Use Earth 2 to trigger a blast in a water 5 either by yourself or someone else to give the melee a bit more added healing + an extra blast.
4) Water 4 so they are chilled followed by water 2 dropping an ice shard on their head its hard to land, but when they are chilled there's nothing stopping you + this skills hits hard.
5) Meteor Shower + Static Field = keeping enemies within your Meteor Shower.
6) Static + Lava Font this will pulsate a lot of damage while they are stuck within the Static forcing them to take the damage of each pulse.
7) In organized groups you can place Frozen Ground at the feet of the Commander, so that the guardians and warriors leaping into a group will gain frost aura.
8) Earth 2 -> Water 2 -> Fire/Air 2 is a more than lovely spike. Big bombs! Only downside: It takes 3 or 4 seconds to hit.
9) Find yourself lacking swiftness? use earth 2 switch into air using skill 5 (Static Field) and then use Windborne Speed.
10) Meteor Shower + Earth 5 much like #5 this will immob people in your showers keeping them longer in your AoE.
Anyway, I will leave you all with a really fun oneshot combo only doable on glassy traits, but regardless of traits it still does a lot of damage to a single target...
Start of with Air 2, Lightning Flash onto the target, swapping into Fire attunement for fury critting what you just done and dropping a fast Lava Font on top of them. Some math Air 2 can crit up to 4k, lightning flash is 2-3k and lava font pulses with 2-4k ticks rounding the damage up to anywhere of 8k to 11k maybe a fire 3 in there too, but a Thief or an Ele that's full zerker will explode or be 5%-10% HP.
PLEASE NOTE DONT USE A LOT OF THESE COMBOS, DUE TO THE FACT IT TAKES TIME AND CAN MESS-UP ROTATIONS, BY SWITCHING ATTUNEMENTS IN WEIRD WAYS.
So far you know skills you should save, as well as to spam skill two while you keep cycling each attunement and now combos.
1) Wielding a Fiery Greatsword improves both power and condi damage, so casting it after Meteor Shower improves its damage output.
2) You can stow your weapon to interrupt longer cast times an example includes Ether Renewal doing so when you reach full hp before the channel ends thus saving time.
3) Changing the direction of Unsteady Ground see https://fat.gfycat.com/TediousNimbleBunny.webm (Note this works on Guardian Line Of Warding).
4) Casting Meteor Shower from a greater distance see https://fat.gfycat.com/CluelessVictoriousBlackrhino.webm
5) About key + Burning Retreat in order to go forwards and not backwards this allows for a strong static engage while still saving your Lightning Flash to get out once commited if needed. (needs an about key binded to function which I strongly recommend)
6) Overload Fire, Overload Water, Overload Air and Overload Earth, furthermore repeat this for permanent swiftness if needed as a Tempest.
7) If you play regular Ele using Evasive Arcana, use it to blast your own waters, firefields for might and water 4 for frost aura which reduces inc damage by -10% and chilling foes that strike you. (note this cant be done on Tempest although Tempest has access to blast finishers with shouts)
Utility skills/trait choices:
Utility for Ele -
Use all 3 cantrips which include Mistform/Lightning Flash and Armour Of Earth when blobbing. Last but not least the elite skill which sadly the only viable Elite currently being Fiery Greatsword either use this to catch up, as a gap closer, to run away or use it to snipe targets when you're being aggressive after a spike.
If you're playing Weaver run Lightning Flash, Twist Of Fate/Unravel and for the 3rd utility either use Armour Of Earth or Mistform.
Traits for standard Ele/Tempest/Weaver:
Ele is rather open these days traits wise as to what is viable due to it being a supportive class you need to ask yourselves questions like do I mostly CC the backline or bomb the melee? If you're running Air, group needs faster water's? Cleanse? Or need more survivability (reduced cantrips) if running water, in Fire do you want to run the most aggressive option or slightly defensive taking up the condi cleanse? lastly in Arcane much like Fire do you also want to run defensive or aggressive? it's open to you as the player to decide your play style not only what the commander wants.
MINOR - Burning Fire (defensive) and Burning Precision (offensive) if you are struggling with Condis use Burning Fire if not use Burning Precision.
MAJOR - Only take Pyromancers Training here.
GRANDMASTER - use Persisting Flames or Pyromancers Pursuance for might upkeep.
MINOR - More damage is to run Ferocious Winds this increases your crit damage based on your precision #bigbombs, however there's also a nice alternative like Zephyrs Boon granting you a higher swiftness/fury uptime if you find yourself lacking these boons this being the defensive option fyi.
MAJOR - Use Tempest Defense, because during a fight you will often find yourself disabled, if so this provides a nice dps boost +20% damage.
GRANDMASTER - Do you find yourself CCing their backline often? if so run Lightning Rod each CC you place crits high damage on their casters either downing them or forcing them to heal and move away from their melee. Cutting of the backline from their melee allows us to bomb/kill their melee that is now alone, however if you find yourself bombing their melee a lot then use Bolt To The Heart for the added 20% damage below the 50% health threshold #bigbombs. Lastly there's Fresh Air this should be ran with tempest allowing you to spam Air Overload constantly as its a source of damage output refreshed every time you crit allowing you to almost spam it due to no internal cooldown + gives you increased ferocity, so it deals even more damage #bigbombs.
Note: while blobbing Bolt To The Heart is generally more effective.
MINOR - Soothing Ice or Piercing Shards these are your choices here one is defensive and the other is offensive, Soothing Ice being the defensive one providing you with regen which is sustained healing and frost aura when someone crits you which by now you know reduces inc damage and chilling those who strike you and lastly Piercing Shards your water skills do more damage which you might ask yourself if my role is to just provide waters and swap out whats the point? if you've been reading already there's this nice combo of using water 4 chilling your target followed by water 2 if you crit this with 20% more damage #bigbombs. (Note, you must spam every skill in every attunement before cycling on to the next aside from the skills you need to save for yourself). Lastly Stop Drop And Roll is useless it has an internal cd not long granted, but your Windborne Speed, Ether renewal and lastly traits selected will already help you with condis more is just overkill.
MAJOR - Do you need faster cantrips? use Soothing Disruption, also do you want to provide the Comm faster waters? use Aquamancers Training and lastly are you still struggling with condis? another source of cleanse is to use the Cleansing Wave. (Note, all three are viable here.)
GRANDMASTER - Cleansing Water without a doubt.
MINOR - if you are using an energy sigil on staff then run Arcane Precision as you wont need the vigor from Renewing Stamina, however vice versa no energy sigil run Renewing Stamina as you need a source of stamina.
MAJOR - Final Shielding if you want to be defensive I find this skill procs way to late meaning you go down before it procs making this trait useless, so consider just using Elemental Contingency instead.
GRANDMASTER - Evasive Arcana all the way, because of this trait I personally wont play any other Ele without it. I just love Evasive Arcana, because I can support a lot more with it and the sustain is noticeable with/without it, due to not blasting your own waters, fire fields for might = +5% damage from strength runes, also Frozen Ground for frost aura etc.
MINOR - Gale Song is a lovely defensive stun break taking advantage of the superspeed it provides allows you to reposition yourself quickly, however Unstable Conduit provides you an aura based on your attunement which is also nice.
MAJOR - Use Harmonious Conduit.
GRANDMASTER - Use Elemental Bastion.
Note: Tempest just replaces Arcane from every build working with all the other trait lines instead.
MINOR - Use Masters Fortitude even tho you're not wielding a sword, you still benefit from converting power into more vitality or use Superior Elements.
MAJOR - Use Swift Revenge.
GRANDMASTER - Use Elements Of Revenge.
Note: Weaver just replaces Arcane from every build working with all the other trait lines instead.
My build (Currently): http://gw2skills.net/editor/?vFAQFAWnMMA94idOAWOA8RgFCA7eV/qn1BFgAwCoYNkG2kA-j1BEQBbUJo/U/JmXAAA8AAcnOAHq8LF7PsO4AYsxCAzN3czN3cNgYjN2YjN2YnN2YlCwqhWA-w
My build is stat optimised for my liking personally, however you want to aim between 16k - 18k HP for example if I wanted to go lower, I could throw in some more zerker either rings or accessories and see how that feels.
When creating your own staff Ele build, I suggest going to gw2power.com and maximise the amount of power you can get while aiming for at least 16-18k HP in order to minimise getting one shot. The stats you want to use within your build is as follows; Marauders/Zerk/Soldier.
+ Bloodlust - Max stacks gives you +250 more power #bigbombs
+ Energy - Provides you an added dodge when you swap weapon on a 9s internal cooldown (yes attunement swapping counts)
+ Force - +5% damage increase.
+ Fire - AoE burst damage on crit.
+ Strength - Might on crit. (dont use this if using Pyromancers Pursuance trait.)
+ Frenzy - Alacrity on kill 6s with 10s icd.
Standard Ele Food;
+ Dragon's Breath Bun (offensive)
+ Plate of Truffle Steak (often dropped by comms)
+ Omnomberry Ghosts (defensive) life steal on crit for some healing to combat retal
Standard Ele Stones; Superior Sharpening Stone or Tin Of Fruitcake whichever is cheaper at the time.
There isn't one read all of it mwhahahahahahahahaha...