During the recent press beta event, I spent most of my time in Guild Wars 2 as the Engineer, but I also got a good amount of time with the Mesmer. The Mesmer is a unique blend of magic, crowd control, boons and debuffs making for a very interesting profession that will definitely make players think in order to best experience all it has to offer. There’s nothing in any other MMO (except maybe GW1), and fans of tricky professions will love how the Mesmer focuses on creating illusions, shattering them, and making the enemy look like a horse’s arse in general. It’s the kind of profession that starts off slow, but turns into something really special as the options open up. But then, that’s the beauty of character progression in general, isn’t it? Let’s take a look at some of the stock skills, from the official site.
ILLUSIONS, CLONES, AND PHANTASMS - OH MY
Illusions—Mesmers create illusions—mind tricks that manifest themselves physically. Most illusions are directed at a specific target, but anyone can see and attack them.
Clones—Clones are illusions that look just like the caster, have the caster's name, and have basic behaviors. Clones have low health and tend to do little damage.
Phantasms—Phantasms are illusions that look like the caster but have their own names and carry special illusionary weapons, which look different and have specific behavior.
MANTRAS AND SHATTERING
Mantras—Mantras are a category of skill that have two phases. The Mesmer first activates the mantra, which has a long cast time and replaces that skill slot with an instant-casting skill that the Mesmer can then use.
Shattering--The Mesmer has special abilities that can shatter illusions. Shattering will destroy all illusions and create a secondary effect. There are four different shatter skills:
- Mind Wrack—Destroys your illusions and does damage to opponents near them.
- Cry of Frustration—Destroys your illusions and gives the confused condition to nearby foes.
- Diversion—Destroys your illusions and stuns nearby foes.
- Reflection—Destroys your illusions and places a barrier around the mesmer, which reflects enemy projectiles.
Okay, so I know I basically just gave you the “official” rundown of what the class does in technical terms from ANet themselves… I did this, because well it’s way easier than me trying to explain it myself. The Mesmer is a complicated class that won’t be for everyone, and it’s difficult even for someone who likes to hammer on his keyboard just how to put it down into words. Know this: you’ll spend most of your time making clones of yourself, creating awesome boons and debuffs on allies and enemies, and then exploding said clones in a vibrant shower of ethereal awesome. Like combo points, you build up how many clones you have out and then shatter them all at once for an awesome effect.
The Mesmer is certainly a hard class to grasp. But those who do get the pace and tricks will love it (in PVE and in PVP), and a Mesmer will be everyone’s favorite teammate as well.
You don’t start with much “oomph”, and while I only managed to get to about level 9 before jumping to 30 for a dungeon run (Yay, beta cheats!) I felt more and more powerful each time I gained a new skill or new weapon. And that’s the idea, right? My Mesmer was a Charr and began with just a sword eventually a focus as well. Below are the weapon combinations you can choose from, and each really has their own feel and utility.
- Main Hand: Sword, Scepter
- Off Hand: Focus, Pistol, Sword, Torch
- Two-Handed: Staff, Greatsword (used at range oddly)
I wasn’t a fan of the sword and focus, as the attacks just didn’t really seem to be very powerful even as I unlocked some cool additional skills. But when I got out into the world and could stop by a weapon vendor to pick up a staff? That’s when things got interesting. Suddenly I was creating three long-distance plasma-hurling vestiges of myself, waiting for enemies to get in close and then “shattering” them to great effect. And the final staff skill of “Chaos Storm”? Oh man… if it didn’t have the 30 second or so cooldown, talk about overpowered. It does so much rapid-fire AOE damage that I found myself grinning like a pyro at a match factory when I unlocked it. Originally the Mesmer’s only DOT AOE from GW1, I was glad to see it back and in such loving detail here.
What I found so addictive about the Mesmer was that he wasn’t necessarily a dominant weapon-wielding warrior or a powerful mage like the Elementalist. Instead, he took a multitude of skills and abilities and as you gained more and more you were able to interweave them to make a bunch of minor abilities into something wholly devastating and helpful to your allies as the same time.
It’s definitely the kind of profession that you’ll want to play if you like the role of “I may not seem like much, but try me and find out what I can do.” They wear silk, robes, goofy masks… but they unleash absolute hell on those that they are angered by, and at the same time they’re buffing up their friends so that the tide of battle shifts in their favor. It’s definitely the thinking man’s profession in Guild Wars 2. I’ll be rolling a Mesmer on day one.