Like with other professions, the elementalist gains new skills when equipping a new weapon. At first each Elementalist weapon only has one ability (corresponding to key 1), but as kills are made more skills unlock for numbers 2-5. Two-handed weapons come with five skills, while one-handed weapons have three skills, and can be matched with an off-hand item for another two skills. The 6th key is dedicated to a character's healing ability, the 7-9 keys are for utility skills purchased with points earned through leveling, and the key 0 is used for Elite abilities that unlock after level 30. That's already a lot to take in and it can be made more complex by considering the the array of weapons an elementalist can wield. Even though you may have unlocked the skills on a staff, there's still many more to be discovered on a dagger, wand or a special off-hand item called a "focus".
Each attunement has its own advantages and disadvantages. Fire is aimed towards heavy damage; water focuses on healing; wind spells often harm an enemy's resistances; earth spells combine damage with DoT effects. Elementalists can also combine their attacks with other professions resulting in a myriad of combos. For instance, you can cast a ring of fire allowing the ranger to shoot through it to turn their ordinary arrows into flaming ones! Discovering such effects is extremely fun, though I can guarantee there will probably be a database somewhere that lists every such effect possible.
|Your average pyromaniac.|
The elementalist's flexibility and endless permutations make it a blast to play; it sure does beat casting fireballs repeatedly. It's a challenging class to master but it's extremely rewarding in terms of satisfaction and damage.