Mesmers are an iconic profession in Guild Wars. You either love them or you hate them, but it wouldn’t be Guild Wars without them. The same is true, in this author’s opinion, for Guild Wars 2. Three professions have yet to be revealed and ANet has all but announced that we will see mesmers making a return in Guild Wars 2. Many fans are eagerly awaiting more information about this profession and are hopeful for their return. This article serves as part introduction, part discussion, part speculation, and part homage to mesmers old and new.
What We Know (Mesmer 1.0)
Mesmers in Guild Wars are masters of control. They emphasize interrupting their enemies, punishing them for their action (or nonaction), stealing their energy, and shutting them down. Playing a mesmer can be fun and playing against a mesmer can be torturous. In Guild Wars (hereafter: GW) the mesmer’s primary attribute is Fast Casting, allowing them to, well, cast very quickly. This often cuts the casting time of spells and signets in half and, in PvE, reduces the recharge as well. Combined with another caster secondary, mesmers can spam and blast high damaging spells with the best of them.
Mesmers in GW are also the masters of hexes. Stacking hexes on foes is par for the course and mesmers have many to chose from that do everything from deal damage based on contingency, deal straight degen, or punish the foe with the addition of a condition. Even non-mesmers wanted to be mesmers considering the Inspiration attribute line. Almost every caster was a X/Me at some point to take advantage of the energy management qualities of this line.
Mesmers are also known for their style. Ok, so really, female mesmers are known for their style. Male mesmers just look like Ben Affleck or Errol Flynn. With the exception of some of the elementalist and ranger armors, mesmers are the most scantily clad of the professions. They are also the best dressed with armor that looks more like noble attire. Finally, we see a lot of roguish attire with this profession as well. All I’m saying is I know which profession I’m going to talk to if ever I need fashion tips. But I digress.
Mesmers offer a unique playstyle in GW and have many interesting and memorable aspects that have stolen the hearts and minds of fans. From Illusionary Weaponry to Echo to stealing skills, mesmers have lots of options in battle. They offer a duelist playstyle that emphasizes one-on-one combat focusing on hindering, punishing, and shutting down the enemy. Perhaps this is why they are so popular in PvP. The first character I ever made in GW was a female mesmer and the first build I researched was the Fragility + Virulence. Ahh, those were the days.
But enough about mesmers that were and mesmers that are. What about mesmers yet to be? What about mesmers in Guild Wars 2?
What We Have Deduced (Mesmer 2.0)
First of all, big shout out to Nox for collecting and organizing info about mesmers in GW2. Check it out here. In case you’re wondering, for the purpose of this article, I’ll be borrowing (read: stealing) heavily from it.
There are lots of hints and facts out there about mesmers and GW2. Let’s make a quick list, shall we?
- Mesmers mentioned in Ghosts of Ascalon
- Mesmers mentioned, in detail, in Edge of Destiny
- Queen Jennah!
- Jeff Grubb mentioned in an interview that people who play mesmers in GW will have a home in GW2
- Lots of pretty, pretty screen shots of mesmery armor
- Concept art that has been featured with other confirmed GW2 professions
We also know that GW2 will be different from GW. Here are some mesmer-specific highlights:
That’s quite a bit of support for the mesmer being one of the three remaining professions in GW2. But what would the mesmer look like? I’m talking bells and whistles people!
What We Believe (Fan Hypotheses)
Now, lemmie be clear. Lots and lots of what you’re about to read has been speculated, argued over, complained about, etc. Furthermore, hypotheses are based on logical conclusions, comparisons of facts, and a significant amount of “I really want this to be true.” Take it all with a grain of salt if you know what’s good for you.
Control vs Damage vs Support. Survey says: Control (ok, there’s no survey, but really, if you had to guess based on what you know from GW1 mesmers, which would you choose?). Seriously though, GW2 mesmers are likely to be strong in the control and damage areas. Conditions such as blackout, blind, crippled, immobilized, and weakness are right up the mesmer’s alley. Lots of options for interrupting and shutting people down. And let’s not forget the effects daze, stun, and knockdown. Also, with ANet’s pledge to make skills/spells more visual, illusions are a definite possibility and the illusion attribute was pretty damaging in GW1… Support is not out of the question, but it is more likely that mesmers will fill one or both of the other roles more effectively. My two cents anyway.
There are six attributes in GW2. Lately, on GW2Guru, the mesmer discussion has been focused on which attributes they will use. Caster attributes tend to focus around Intelligence and Willpower (for magic power and increased energy respectively).
- Strength – increases melee power – there is some discussion to support this attribute for mesmers given the original concept art with a sword and the illusionary weaponry spell in GW1. Most people think this will be taken care of with Intelligence instead
- Agility – ranged power – more likely, according to fans. A lot of people (myself included) believe mesmers will use pistols…
- Intelligence – magic power – see above
- Vitality – increases health – don’t we all need health? Prolly not a major choice for mesmers though.
- Perception – increases crit chance – another possibility for mesmers. Many people are on the fence about this one.
- Willpower – increases energy – again, see above
Special Skill Types
Every profession reveal talks about skill types, so I figure I’ll cover it too. This isn’t talked about too much (that I’ve seen), but here are some thoughts based on the GW1 mesmer:
- Mantras – stances that affect damage received, interrupts, and casting. In GW2 these are likely to be supportive to the mesmer and/or affect how they cast spells.
- Illusions – spells…vehicles for putting the hurt on bad guys. They’re prolly gonna be very visual and area based like elementalist spells. We may see illusory barriers like guardians have.
- Illusonary Weapons – playing on the theme of, well, illusory weapons from GW1, why not make a category for it? It’s not hard to see how ANet could take this and run with it.
- Illusionary servants – two words: mesmer minions. I’m thinking they might be similar to ritualist spirits from GW1.
This is where most of the arguments can be found. Which weapons will the mesmer have and why? What will the mesmer do with them? How will they function? Let’s give this some thought.
Both of the current scholar professions have staves, scepters (main hand), foci (off hand), and daggers (main and off hand). Necromancers differ further by also having access to the axe (main) and warhorn (off hand). Break it down:
- Hammer & Greatsword – prolly not. Think about it…can you see queen Jennah wielding these weapons? Nah, didn’t think so.
- Bows – also, prolly not. There isn’t a lot of discussion on guru to support a mesmer with a bow, though I wouldn’t rule out magical arrows.
- Staff – Good bet. Mesmers are casters afterall, even if only in part (like guardians). Staves are a staple for mesmers in GW1.
- Rifle – I’m going to say yes, and here’s why. Scholars share armor. Above is a screenshot of a charr necro in armor. Below is another charr wearing, arguably, the same armor. That charr is wielding a rifle, but neither elementalists nor necromancers can wield rifles. Ergo, there is a strong possibility, in my opinion, that mesmers will wield rifles. I personally don’t think it fits my image of mesmers, but you can’t argue with speculative logic
- Axe/Mace – Not a lot of support about these and, again, can you see queen Jennah wielding either of them? Granted, necros use axes as casting weapons and rangers use them as thrown weapons, but those choices fit stylistically.
- Dagger(s) – Definite possibility considering the other two scholar professions utilize them for casting. Fans support this as well.
- Sword (main hand) – Support from fans, concept art, and style (nobles fencing for sport). The main discussion is whether mesmers will use it to hit things or cast. There is more support behind the latter.
- Pistol(s) – Lots of discussion on this one. A lot of people think mesmers will have pistols at least as an off hand weapon or possibly dual-wielding. Again, the discussion is over real bullets or magical bullets. I think pistols are a distinct possibility in some degree. How will they function? Who knows?
- Scepter – Pretty solid choice on this one. Staple from GW1 and GW2 scholars. On a personal note, I think there’s a good chance mesmers will dual-wield scepters. There. I said it.
- Focus – Again, caster/scholar staple. Good chance. Moving on.
- Shield – Little discussion in favor of this off hand. Not out of the question, but also not likely.
- Torch – Some fan support for this, especially with the stylistic idea of “smoke and mirrors.” We’ll call it plausible.
- Warhorn – Fan support here too. It’s the closest thing to a musical instrument or megaphone. Plausible.
Honestly? Who knows? Lots of ideas all over the place. It’s difficult to say what this will be since we’ve been surprised by some of the unique profession abilities of other professions (I’m looking at you necromancer….). I’d love to hear people’s thoughts. My money is on Mantras. While this idea is similar to the guardian’s ability, it makes sense. There would be several, though prolly not more than 3-4. I’m thinking about a mantra that, when activated, decreases casting time; another that instantly recharges all non-elite spells during its duration; and another that makes all spells cost zero energy. It keeps the flavor of the GW1 fast-casting mesmer as well. It also allows for versatile casting styles that are likely to favor different types of spells. Maybe even a mantra that doubles the duration of conditions or something. Truthfully, it is pure speculation at this point regarding unique abilities. I saw adrenaline and pets coming (I’d have guessed elemental attunement too if we knew about the profession reveal ahead of time), but death shroud and virtues threw me. Enough on that. /endspeculation
So what can we expect from mesmers in GW2? Hopefully lots. While Anet hasn’t said there will be mesmers in GW2, there are a lot of facts, hints, and discussions out there that give us hope. Whatever the future of mesmers, they remain a big part of the games and Guild Wars 2 wouldn’t be Guild Wars without them.
About the author: Belzan is a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology who really, really enjoys Guild Wars. He created his character Belzan back in the days of Diablo II and he was his first character in GW. He enjoys writing fiction and has recently stepped up his blogging. He hopes you enjoy what you read. Feel free to catch him in game (Belzan Furu).