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Guild Wars 2 Interviews: Jonathan Sharp Talks Mesmers

By William Murphy on December 19, 2011

MMORPG.com:

How does it feel to finally announce the final class for Guild Wars 2?

Jonathan Sharp:

Great! We knew fans of the first game would love the announcement and knowing their beloved class would return in Guild Wars 2. It makes us happy to see the amazing reaction the Mesmer has received thus far.

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MMORPG.com:

How does the Mesmer work as a solo class? What skills do they use in a 1 vs. 1 fight?

Jonathan Sharp:

As a solo class, the Mesmer will rely heavily on illusions. These illusions will provide damage, distractions, and control conditions. In a one-on-one fight, the Mesmer can use any weapon set! While the staff is more geared towards AOE and condition damage, it's still strong in a one-on-one encounter!

MMORPG.com:

It seems like the Mesmer really comes alive in group play, how does this class interact with the others?

Jonathan Sharp:

The Mesmer helps a group by controlling opponents or by helping their allies with skills like Veil, which allows the Mesmer to cloak allies in an area for a short time, or the aptly named skill Portal, which creates an entrance portal and exit portal to help facilitate movement. These portals are not permanent and they have a maximum range, but for a short while they can help allies get out of tight spots!

MMORPG.com:

When constructing the class, what were your major influences for the design?

Jonathan Sharp:

Well, we obviously started with the Mesmer from the original Guild Wars and tried to maintain that style. The Mesmer is always thinking of ways to distract and trick opponents, so we really tried to let that archetype - the arcane trickster - influence our design decisions.

MMORPG.com:

How are clones used in the game? Give us an example of the tactics behind them?

Jonathan Sharp:

Clones are primarily used for distraction, and they provide the Mesmer with their defense. Enemies will often attack the clones, thinking that they are the real Mesmer! Due to this, crafty players can actually behave like their clones in an effort to confound enemies.

MMORPG.com:

Phantasms, great name by the way, what options are there for the Phantasm you create? Can you make, warriors or mages, etc. ?

Jonathan Sharp:

All of the Phantasms have a specific role. While Clones will mimic the Mesmer, Phantasms always perform their specific skills. For instance when Backfire is summoned, this Phantasm will only attack an opponent if it uses a skill. Illusionary Warden, when summoned, will reflect projectiles back at opponents while staying stationary. This Phantasm allows the Mesmer to put a Phantasm between herself and a ranged opponent, which forces the opponent to move if they want to attack the Mesmer from range!

MMORPG.com:

For a caster style class it is very cool that you give them lots of weapon options, how does a Mesmer with a Greatsword differ from say one with a scepter and pistol?

Jonathan Sharp:

Very much so! A Mesmer wielding a greatsword wants to stay at range in many situations, as the weapon provides no defense for the Mesmer. It allows them to control spacing and position, but when an enemy gets close, the Mesmer can get in trouble. The scepter allows the Mesmer to confuse opponents and to block an incoming attack, which the greatsword cannot do. The scepter also allows the Mesmer to inflict a condition called Confusion, which damages the target any time the target uses a skill.

MMORPG.com:

Tell us about the tactics for setting up Mantra skills before the battle? How do these work once you are in combat?

Jonathan Sharp:

They work the same in combat and outside combat, but due to their initial casting time, they can be very difficult to use in the heat of battle. While casting a Mantra you are vulnerable, so it's risky use this skill while in combat.

MMORPG.com:

The class looks amazing, what is your favorite part about the class from a game play stand point?

Jonathan Sharp:

I love the mind games. Today in a PvP match I was able to overhear to my opponents as they thought they had figured out which Mesmer was me! "This is it, the one over here! Get him!" Little did they know, I had already used a torch skill called The Prestige to go invisible for a short time. While invisible, I went into a portal which allowed me to head to another fight! My opponents killed the clone, and I had a huge smirk on my face. It was amazing! The Mesmer doesn't just control opponents in the literal sense, with dazes and control conditions; they also allow players to control opponents' perceptions!

MMORPG.com:

Now that the classes are finalized, what is left in the development phases for the classes?

Jonathan Sharp:

We're always working to refine our classes, make sure that all their skills are equally viable, and to ensure that they are fun to play and play against. We can't wait to see what our players do once they get their hands on the game. We expect players to surprise us with all the cool things they can do with the Mesmer that we didn't even think of!

William Murphy / Bill is the Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, RTSGuru.com, and lover of all things gaming. He''s been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002, and you can harass him and his views on Twitter @thebillmurphy.

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