Also known as, we have our Mesmers, and now we know a bit about how they work. Huzzah! And so far, it looks good.
How exactly they were going to work was something people were wondering about for a long time, since in Guild Wars 1 Mesmers relied heavily on hexes and interrupting, both of which are mechanics that aren’t present in Guild Wars 2. Somehow, ArenaNet needed to rebuild the profession almost entirely to work within the new game mechanics, while still keeping the core of what Mesmers are.
Personally, I think they did a pretty damn good job at it, based on what we were shown today! Hunter’s Insight did a bit of a skill breakdown based on what we saw without explanations in this post yesterday, which is definitely worth taking a look at. I, of course, have some thoughts on it myself, though, otherwise I would not be making this post!
The biggest thing is that Illusions are now literally illusions; in GW1, the Illusion Magic attribute line was primarily hexes (and also my favorite thing ever). Now, Illusions allow you to create Clones (weak illusions that look like the caster and share their name) and Phantasms (more powerful illusions that have their own names, carry special weapons, and look different). This? Is cool. The notes on the page also imply that you can create different types of Clones and Phantasms, based on the weapons you’re carrying.
Illusions can be Shattered – and here’s where we bring in some of the old Domination Magic classics. There are four different shatter skills which destroy your illusions as well as inflicting a secondary effect. For example, the ever-popular Cry of Frustration is back as a shatter skill; using it will shatter your illusions and inflict confusion on nearby enemies. Confusion is a new condition which causes an enemy to take damage each time they activate a skill, and it does stack, so the more you confuse an enemy (hah!), the more damage they’ll take. It’s essentially Backfire, except extended to all skills.
Mantras are also back, but slightly different this time around. Before they were instant-casting stances. Now, they work in two parts; the first is actually activating the mantra, which has a long cast time, but once that’s done, the skill slot is replaced with a skill that will cast instantly, and can be used even in the middle of casting another spell without interrupting it. The example given is Mantra of Pain, which can be used as a damage spike while using a channeled spell.
And then there are the weapons that the Mesmers can use. At the start of their page, they’re described as “magical duelists”, and their weapon selection backs this up. Yeah, there’s the traditional scepter/focus combo, and you can always use a staff, but me? I like the magical duelist thing. I like using a sword on my GW1 Mesmer (for no reason other than it looks freaking cool), and GW2 will let me do this. Mesmers also can use swords (both main and off-hand), torches and pistols (off-hands), and even a big old two-handed greatsword. I’ve been angling towards the sword and focus combo, so I’m pleased that I can do that.
Overall? Well, we’ve only seen a small amount of what they’ll be able to do. But so far, Mesmers look like they’re going to be pretty awesome, and Anet’s done a great job at keeping what the profession is about intact while updating them to fit GW2′s mechanics. Personally, I’m happy, but about the only way I’d've been able to be displeased is if they didn’t keep the Mesmer at all. What do you think of the Mesmer reveal? What about it do you like the best?
(Also, if you want to see ArenaNet troll the hell out of everyone, click here. And be prepared to laugh. Good luck getting that ‘song’ out of your head :D)