One profession in Guild Wars 2 is the direct descendant of its ancestor in the original Guild Wars. The warrior now has significant ranged weapon mastery. The elementalist became one of the most versatile on-the-fly professions. The ranger got blended with Pokemon, and the necromancer decided to turn into a plague-bearing cockroach with friends that don’t decay as fast. Nope, it’s the freshly officialized mesmer.
Oh, you say, the mesmer lost hexes and interrupts. They make copies of themselves, for Kormir’s sake. It is the most different, you say! Yet, I would say the mesmer didn’t change. It was the battleground that changed.
The mesmer is the master of the fourth wall. It attacks mechanics and people as much as it attacks computer controlled NPCs. In the original Guild Wars the mesmer’s strongest tools were hexes and interrupts. The hexes didn’t just do something like the necromancer’s degen, they forced the player to act or not. Wastrel’s Worry was a fun one that forced a player to choose within three seconds whether to become an ally-killing AoE or to fire off a skill at a bad time. Empathy simply harms warriors that cannot quit attacking. Very fun if you see one Frenzy.
Then there were the interrupts, which in PvP became a game unto themselves. A mesmer’s interrupted target would lose the energy for casting the spell, eat a cooldown for a now uncasted spell, and sometimes take another swift kick to the nethers as an added bonus. Players would start fake casting their own spells as a way to try and outplay the mesmer. If the target could cancel the spell before an interrupt hit, the mesmer would waste the interrupt. Huzzah, metagame! Jon “More Celebrity than Johanson” Peters says this is the mesmer controlling resources in the best mesmer interview. I call it a mindf….well, anybody ever interrupted by a mesmer will know.
Oh, Guild Wars 2, how the game has changed. No more skill monitors, no more energy, no more hexes, and no little red dots on the mini-radar everybody liked to watch. The resource is now: your eyeballs and the mesmer is going to yank those jellies out and make you wish all you had was red dots to monitor. ArenaNet rephrases and reiterates so many times that they want players to watch the action. Not a row of healthbars. Not some carefully monitored mana bar. And, no, not those little red dots.
So, that’s what the mesmer now attacks. It can hide parties. It can throw out a new condition that combines Empathy and Backfire into one neat package (remember no more auto-attack). Oh, and it can copy itself. See that lonely mesmer in WvW? Now there’s three. Four? Wait, one just disappeared. And, just when you think you found the real mesmer after pushing through all the pain, it shatters in your face causing even more, well pain. (And, in case you are sick of them breaking enough rules, they can cast over their own spells with Mantras too.)
Jonathan “Also a Celebrity” Sharp pre-emptively attacks the biggest issue with the resource-conquering mesmer. Will it be the profession that once again is one of the best in PvP, and fail so hard in PvE? From the aforesaid best mesmer interview:
In our game, you can still do the support. You can call up a chaos storm with your staff that puts up random conditions on foes and random boons on allies. You can still support in that way. In Guild Wars 1, we found that while the class was great in PvP, a lot of times in PvE it had a really hard time. We designed the mechanics with the illusions so that the mesmer on their own in the world of PvE is still very effective.
They’re able to take care of themselves, deal out damage, and also support allies. And you’ve still got the control that you had from the first game. You’ve still got the stuns and the dazes. Those act as interrupts in our game. You can still interrupt key skills from opponents. You’ve still got all of those things that you had from the first game in addition to being able to do damage on your own if you need to.
Sharp also makes sure to add that the mesmer, like many of the professions, has a low entry-point for casual players, but it has an incredibly high skill ceiling. For example, Peters also suggests that good mesmers learn to move like copies in Question 22. So the best mesmers will confuse you personally, make you wish you could stop pressing skill “1”, and move like robots.
we’re done here