If you’re on a highly populated server and can stand zerging, just grab a staff and follow the zerg for lots of easy XP. I’m not sure what gear you should be using, but you’ll want to get Blasting Staff (Arcana V) for maximum tags and Cantrip Mastery (Water III) so that you can start channeling Meteor Shower then use Lightning Flash during the middle if you need to get to a safer location. Another option would be Conjurer (Fire II) so your FGS has more charges. But I rarely WvW so I’m just going off what I remember the last time I spent time in that part of the mists. I guess this also works for champ training in Queensdale.
For PvE, you have a few weapon options and I’d recommend that you experiment with all of them. For all of these options I’d recommend Strong or Honed gear while you can only get dual attribute stuff, and if you need some survivability mix in a little Vigorous or Hearty stuff. Upgrade your gear every 5 or 10 levels as you can afford it, and I think gear at required levels ending in 1 or 6 (so 31, 36, etc) have decent offensive gear for cheap. Since crafted gear have levels that end in 0 or 5 (30, 35), they are also a good level to look at. Accessories are expensive but you may want to look for those as well.
If you’re going to be doing heart quests in a small area, using Scepter/Dagger or Scepter/Focus with a Lightning Hammer is a great idea. Except for Dredge and Champions, LH blinds mobs, making it super easy to face tank small groups. In general, you want to lay down a fire field, blast it with blasts from fire and earth weapon skills as well as Arcane Wave or Arcane Brilliance (if you’re using them), conjure your LH, and then stand in your fire field and auto attack. It’s boring once you pick up the LH but effective.
You’ll want to pick up Lightning Hammer ASAP. For a heal either use Glyph of Elemental Harmony or Arcane Brilliance. If you cast the glyph while in Air attunement, you also gain swiftness, which will let you run around faster if you don’t use Signet of Air. Arcane Brilliance is a blast finisher (which means when used in a fire field you give yourself Might to help kill stuff faster) and heals for more if you hit enemies with it. Good choices for your last two utilites are Glyph of Lesser Elementals (summons an elemental to do damage and maybe pull aggro), Signet of Fire (more damage), Signet of Air (movement speed), Arcane Wave (blast finisher), Arcane Shield (blocks 3 attacks over 5 seconds), and Mist form (invuln for a few seconds). Your elite can be either Glyph of Elementals (another summon) or Fiery Greatsword (good damage when used properly, but also great for mobility).
Trait wise, you’ll want to get Conjurer (Fire II) ASAP for more charges on your LH, and Piercing Shards (Earth VI) is a good damage modifier to pick up. Spend your remaining trait points in Air if you feel comfortable with what you’re doing or Water if you need more defense.
- Once you unlock Master traits at level 40, again get Fire II and Earth VI, then pick up Vital Striking (Water VI) for another damage modifier. At this point you’ll want to make sure you swap to Water attunement when using LH so that you get the passive regen from Soothing Mists, the minor trait at 5 in Water.
- At 50, either get Cleansing Wave (Water X) for condition removal if you need it or Bolt to the Heart (Air VI) for more damage.
- At 60, unlock your Grandmaster Traits. Trait 30 (II – V – XI)/0/10 (VI) / 10 (VI)/0 or 30 (II – V – XI)/0/0/20 (VI – X)/0
- Work towards 30 (II – V – XI)/ 10 (VI) / 10 (VI)/ 20 (VI – X)/0 at level 80.
If you’re roaming around just uncovering map and doing events as they pop up, chances are you’ll be leaving your LH a lot and engaging only 1-3 enemies at a time. Since MH Scepter’s sustained damage and cleave damage is low, MH Dagger is a much better choice for this kind of map exploration. In general, again you’ll want to lay down your fire fields and blast them using fire and earth weapon skills.
- For D/F, place Fire 4 under the enemy, then use Fire 3 through the enemy and cast Fire 5, swap to earth and use Earth 4, 5, 2 near the enemy, then just after an enemy has finished an attack use Earth 3 twice to jump toward your enemy through your fire field for another Fire Aura. Swap to Air and use any other blasts you have, auto attacking and using Air 3 when your fire Aura has gone away. Use Air 4 and 5 for defense as needed. A couple seconds after Fire attunement is off CD, swap to Fire and auto attack, then when Air is off CD repeat the rotation minus Fire 5. (yeah, this is pretty rough since I’m doing this off the top of my head)
- For D/D, use Fire 3 through the enemy, then use Fire 4 and 5 when facing the enemy. Swap to earth and use Earth 4 and 2, then just after an enemy has finished an attack use Earth 3 twice to jump toward your enemy through your fire field for a Fire Aura. Swap to Air and blast, use Air 4, then auto attack and use Air 3 when your Fire Aura has gone away. A couple seconds after Fire attunement is off CD, swap to Fire and auto attack, then when Air is off CD swap to it, use blasts, and auto. (again, rough since I’m doing this off the top of my head). If you are pulling mobs toward you, lay down a fire field with Fire 4, swap to Earth, and use Earth 5 while they are a few seconds out. It has a very long channel during which you can’t move, but is a good opener.
For slot skills, most of my suggestions for scepter-hammer remain the same here. You may still want to slot LH if you are going to be in an area for a while, but you can swap it out for something else on the list above instead if you’re moving around a lot. You could even experiment with Frost Bow (the 4 skill decimates large enemies as well as large groups of enemies) or Glyph of Storms (cast in earth attunement, it will blind enemies).
Trait-wise, start with Piercing Shards (Earth VI) and Zephyr’s Boon (Air I).
- At 40, grab Air Training (Air X) if you feel comfortable or Piercing Shards (Water VI) if not
- At 50, get Air Training (Air X) or Piecing Shards (Water VI) if you haven’t already or get Internal Fire (Fire VI). They are all damage modifiers.
- At 60, trait 0/30 (III or VI – X – XII) / 10 (VI) / 10 (VI)/ 0
- At 70, either grab Cleansing Wave (Water X) or retrait to 30 (V – VII – XI)/ 30(III or VI – X – XII)/ 0 / 0 / 0 if you feel confident.
- At 80, run a full D/F build. See Zelyhn’s guide or my guide for the build and rotations and general information.
Staff can be useful for running around since with Air 4, Air 5, and blast finishers you can maintain perma swiftness. If you want to use it for leveling, it works, but its cleave isn’t as good as MH Dagger and you have to be more aware of mob positioning. In general, you’ll want to use glyph of (lesser) elementals in Earth attunement to conjure a facetank before you aggro, have it aggro, place Earth 2 under the enemy, get within 300 range of the enemy while casting Fire 2 under the enemy, then throw fireballs and casting Fire 2 and your blast finishers (Arcane Wave, Arcane Brilliance) in the fire field until the enemy dies. If there is a group of enemies, you can also cast Fire 5 on top of them.
For slot skills, use either Arcane Brilliance or Glyph of Elemental Harmony for your heal. You can pick two utilities from the list in the Scepter section, but your third really should be Glyph of Lesser Elementals, and your elite should primarily be Glyph of Elementals.
For traits, start with Quick Glyphs (Air III) so you can have your summons back faster as well as Blasting Staff (Air V) for better cleave on your fireballs and meteors and a larger Fire 2 field.
- At 40, pick up either Internal Fire (Fire VI) or Stone Splinters (Earth VI). Remember, even though you can use your staff at 1200 range, Stone Splinters will only take effect at less than 600 range. Additionally, you will only give yourself might if you’re within 300 range of the blast. 300 range is out of melee but is still pretty close to an enemy.
- At 50, pick up whatever you didn’t get at 40 or Pyromancer’s Alacrity (Fire VII)
- At 60, retrait to 30 (VI – VII – XI) / 10 (III) / 10 (VI) / 0 / 0
- Work toward a DPS staff build at level 80