Leveling a Guardian and an Elementalist at the same time has really made it clear how weak the class is in every aspect of the game. My Guardian would just run in a group, face tank a bunch of mobs 5 levels higher than her and cleave them all down pretty fast while getting auto self healed in the process. I didn't pay much attention to gear and was running with more than 10 levels outdated stuff in all slots and whatever. The elementalist is supposed to be the master of aoe but in actual damage output the guardian will win out massively since he doesn't waste time on dodging and kiting.
Elementalist is a lot more fun in solo PvE but that's BECAUSE they're so weak. The Guardian can just autoattack and kill anything on equal level besides champions (and if you're built for tankiness and passive healing you can autoattack some champions to death as well), the other buttons are there only to make it a bit faster. That gets boring and it's more satisfying to play the ele when you have to actually actively dodge, kite and heal yourself. But it's really, really obvious that the elementalist is broken when a Guardian needs to go solo a dungeon to have to put in similar effort in the game.
Well that's exactly WHY the ele is broken. You CANNOT do this outside casual play. To pull of any damage or a buff combo you need to swap your attunements in a particular order which means your attunements are on cooldown all the time. It does absolutely no fucking good for an ele to have that skill that's perfectly appropriate for the situation when it's in an attunement that's on cooldown and you are required to keep most of them on cooldown to be effective.To be good at this class YOU HAVE to know every cooldown and KNOW EXACTLY when to use it (not to mention having a nice build), which is more than most people want to do. I simple do not play because I just like Air stuff, and since I will never change att I will never be a good elementalist.
Try a very basic example from PvE. You can do a ton of ground circle aoe fast if you use the number 2 skill of your staff from all attunements except lightning. Go water, use 2, go earth, use 2, go fire, use 2 and then you can drop some more fire stuff until water comes off cooldown and then you go through it again. That's not even a proper combo but it's some real nice basic aoe for a newbie that doesn't have a specific build. But then if you do that your attunements will be on cooldown all the time and your versatility is completely gone. You can't just swap to what is needed since you do a "DPS rotation" that keeps all the attunements on cooldown. If this game had raids you'd probably be forced into a rotation much like that.
To pull off damage in PvP you have to do something similar, rotate through your attunements rapidly in a particular order to use particular skills to pull of a lot of damage fast. That means your versatility is gone, you cannot swap attunements to use some utility because you're forced to cycle in a particular order.
If you want to use the actual combos you're locked out of your versatility even more. So, you make a fire field and follow up with a blast finisher and yay, you've buffed Might. Now half your attunements are on cooldown. That Guardian over there will be buffing without locking himself out of his own skills. Other classes will pull off burst and combos without losing access to their skills but the elementalist in PvP is completely locked out of most of his skills. The elementalist actually has the WORST toolset of all classes because it's all in different attunements and you can't just swap them at will.
Like I said, they screwed up the elementalist by coming up with two entirely conflicting design philosophies. First they wanted the elementalist to be versatile with access to all these skills. Then they wanted to make you cycle between attunements constantly by putting in combos and burst rotations that need you to swap between attunements in a particular order. You either cycle and lose access to your impressive versatile skillset or you don't cycle and you lose your damage and ability to pull off those buff combos.