In the original Dungeon Defenders, elemental weapon drops added a lot of variety to an already loot-rich experience. However, the elemental visuals were, in retrospect, an afterthought. If we wanted to convey that a sword was poisonous, we simply attached a poison idle ‘smoke & bubbles’ effect to the weapon and added a secondary noxious gas hit effect on top of the base hit effect. This method did a reasonably good job of getting the point across, but the process and the media that resulted was far from polished.
We had a simple library of about 20 VFX to represent 3 different elemental idle and impact effects (electric, fire, and poison) that could be applied to any one of the 150+ unique models for our four basic weapon types.