Previously I went through a small history on Mesmers and Guild Wars so in part two of this Mesmer bonanza I'm going to look at the new Mesmer and how she fits into GW2 ecosystem.
If you're part of the 13% of the Guild Wars 2 population who's already decided that a Mesmer is the class for you then that's awesome. I'm glad you're here. But maybe you're on the fence and haven't decided? Maybe you previously played a heavy class and are considering changing it up with a caster this time. Maybe you really love casters, but are put off by the complexity of a Mesmer? Worry not weary traveler by the end of this you'll have a better idea of what a Mesmer is and be fully capable of experiencing one of (IMHO) the most rewarding classes in GW2. So hang on to your butts kids because we're going for a ride.
Mesmers, an Introduction
Mesmers are casters and as such they aren't specifically designed to stand on the front lines and deal with their foes directly That being said, they sure do have plenty of ways to evade, redirect, interrupt, and avoid damage. I've even made an argument for their viability in melee before. But in their purest form Mesmers are actually unique form of hybrid support class. I feel that best way to put it is as follows.
The Mesmers' primary role is to prevent their foes from fighting effectively and to increase the effectiveness of their allies.
Though their support methods can be strange at times primarily Mesmers function to distribute boons, spread conditions, interrupt attacks, or trick foes into killing themselves. There's a number of different ways Mesmers can achieve this goal and Illusions are definitely one of my favorite.
These are not the Mesmers you're looking for
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Illusions are amazing. Illusions deal damage, cause conditions, and can buff your allies. They love distracting enemies, and they're more than willing to die in order to save you. Through traits Illusions can be augmented to do any number of awesome things. Some Illusions even tank damage for you. And the best part is you don't have to get your hands dirty to use them.
Say your party is getting annihilated by Ettins? A timed diversion will interrupt their attacks and prevent them from doing anything for another second. Plenty of time to send them to the grave. Or you could change it up and run for the hills while your Illusions act as a distraction to help you escape. OR you could start the fight entirely differently. Summon the Illusions first and then make your party invisible and sneak up on the Ettins. Kill em before they saw it coming! That'll show those pesky Ettins!
The options are endless. I love having options. The problem is, for a new Mesmer, understanding how to make sense of all this madness. There's currently 17 different skills that create Illusions. Many of them are bound to weapons, but plenty of them are utility skills? Mesmers have a TON of utility skills. Heck, you could fill your bar with just Illusions and still have some leftover. So how do you even make sense of all this?
Well here's a good rule of thumb I've developed.
Focus, Focus, Focus
Find a play style you like and focus on it. Despite what your mother always told you. Do put all your eggs in one basket. Don't diversify your portfolio. Specialize on one thing and do it right. If you're ok at everything, you'll be great at nothing. Be great, be amazing, be spectacular! As an example, if you find yourself always rushing headlong into fights then pick skills that work for you. Fit in skills that stun, stealth, interrupt, and daze. Make sure that your foes are attacking you for as little time as possible. That way you can stab them in the face without retaliation. Lovely!
And when in doubt. Turn it into a moa. Everyone loves roast moa for dinner!
Originally I had only planned to make this a two part series, but in my writing, rewriting, and revising, I realized that I had enough different content to merit a third part! Lucky you! So stay tuned, next time I'll be looking at how to maximize your Mesmer and even give you some build suggestions as you level through Tyria.