Fire, Ice, Wind, Water… Heart? Whatever. Everybody knows what elements are-carry overs from a funny age of mysticism that granted special celestial correlations to differences in atomic motion and structure. What do all these lovely elements do in Dragon’s Dogma? Not too much, actually. Some enemies are weaker against certain elements than others, but it’s rare when this actually is important enough to consider tactically.
Another uncommon element, one of the strongest foes in the game makes use of this to rather devastating effect. If you plan to fight this Ur-foe, stack up on this resistance. If not, ignore it. Offensively, there’s very little reason to use it, as most undead (and many other creatures, besides!) are resistant to its effects, and there are an awful lot of them in the game.
The most common element in the game, and one of the most useful elements for you to use. Fire has a chance to set foes on… fire. See, this stuff writes itself. This is especially useful against foes with feathers, as they cannot fly too well if all their fluff is burnt off. Harpies, Snow Harpies, and Griffins are all foes susceptible in this way. Also, Hydra and Archydra’s heads can be cauterized with fire-making them stay dead longer, and possibly forcing the Hydra to go dormant (and become vulnerable to attack) if all heads are removed. Other creatures weak versus fire are common, but weak enough to ignore. On the other hand, many foes will use fire against you, so having a good fire resistance will always come in handy. Offensively, fire damage is less useful in Dark Arisen, since many foes are resistant to it.
Another very rare element, there are only a few creatures in the game that’ll use holy magic on you. Granted, they’re both very powerful, and can do some wicked damage with this element, it’s just not common enough to worry about. Offensively it bears more merit. It’s useful against all forms of undead, corporeal and incorporeal alike. Sirines are one of the few creatures that are resistant to this element.
The opposite of fire-very slow molecular motion. Science is fun! It’s an uncommon element with limited usefulness. You can count on fire to work against many creatures, but ice? A good clue as to whether it’s worthwhile is… well, cold-blooded critters probably don’t like it, right? And if it breathes fire, it probably won’t like it. Also, ice attacks have a chance to freeze foes, and smashing things into bloody chunks is always fun. As a defensive consideration, you can safely ignore it. Snow Harpies are one of the very few things that’ll use it, aside from the odd Mage.
One of the coolest elements in this game, how can you not love how lightning looks, and Dragon’s Dogma does special favors to it. Granted, it’s not terribly useful damage-wise, but it does have a chance to stun foes (which makes Cyclopes child’s play) and can arc to strike multiple foes, if they’re too close. In Bitterblack Isle there are many foes weak to lightning, making it very potent in late-game play. Enemy use? Hostile magic-users might zap you with lightning once in a while-especially in Bitterblack Isle, where Skeleton Sorcerers, Goblin Shaman, even a few potent boss monsters lurk, all who will use lightning fairly frequently.