Tag Archives: GW2 Mesmer

Seriously now, mesmer or warrior?

GW2 Combat MesmerBefore the release of Guild Wars 2, I had already asked myself whether I wanted the warrior or the mesmer profession for my main character. Oddly enough, I am not the only person wondering about this choice as I have regularly seen readers come to our blog because of the very same “dilemma”. The game has been out for several months now and I figured I would revisit this topic. Keep in mind that for me, the subjective measure of “fun” is the most crucial deciding factor and “min/maxing” or “doing the most damage” is a lot less important. So your mileage may vary, but perhaps I can still help you get a feeling for those two professions.

GW2 Combat WarriorWhen a game hasn’t been released yet, I look at which classes/professions I have liked playing in other games to judge which class/profession I may like in the new game. My usual routine in MMOs is to choose such a character to play to max level first, but on my way there or after reaching max level, I realize that the character actually is not the one I want as my main and switch. In World of Warcraft, I had a warlock then switched to (frost) GW2 Combat Mesmermage. In Warhammer Online, I had a Black Orc (though an odd choice for me at the time as I had never been a fan of melee or tanky characters until then) and then switched to shaman. In Lord of the Rings Online, I had a runekeeper and then switched to a warden (at that time, this choice was a lot less odd as I had since realized that I actually love playing tank classes). And in Guild Wars 2, I started with my mesmer and once she was at level 80, I switched to my warrior.

I don’t want to keep you in the dark, however, my favourite profession is the mesmer! My warrior had a short time of being my favourite but she quickly lost to the mesmer again. So, what is it about the mesmer then that makes her that much better? Let’s have a look at their playstyles.

GW2 Combat WarriorWith my mesmer, I primarily play with a staff and a sword/pistol combination. With the warrior, I usually play with a sword/axe and rifle combination. As you can see, both professions offer me the choice of playing close to or further away from the mobs. The difference here is that with the mesmer, I usually start at ranged with my staff and if the situation allows, I switch to the sword, teleport to the mob (“Illusionary Leap”) and hit in melee. With the warrior, I start by jumping towards the mob (“Savage Leap”) and if I find the situation too dangerous, I switch to the rifle and start kiting the mob.

GW2 Combat MesmerThe pistol in my mesmer’s off-hand may not be the best choice, but it is fun and stylish. I wish she could use a pistol in her main hand as well! On the other hand, I love going into melee every once in a while. It just feels more energetic and dynamic as a whole. Being a clothie, one would assume that the mesmer can’t survive in melee, but she can! “Flurry” is great for that as it gives her immunity to damage for a few seconds. “Magic Bullet” stuns the first target and dazes the second one for 2 seconds each. I play a condition-build and also have “Signet of Domination” equipped which, when used, stuns again for 2 seconds. And if all that doesn’t help and I need to get some distance, I switch to my staff, click “Phase Retreat” and teleport myself away from the mob. So far, I haven’t had much problems fighting against veterans, even with adds.

GW2 Combat WarriorMy warrior uses “Healing Signet” with my warrior which gives her passive health regeneration that manages to outheal poison. Very convenient if my skill to remove conditions (“Signet of Stamina”) is on cooldown. I love the signets with my warrior. They give me lots of passive goodies without having to worry about activating them all the time – unless I want to. But apart from that, there isn’t that much tricky gameplay with her. This is very likely due to my chosen weapons/build, but it is also because I miss the mesmer’s illusions. There is certainly less confusion (quite literally) for the enemies, and it feels lonely. I also regularly find myself thinking “kill it faaaaster” when there’s a dangerous situation (like a veteran with additional mobs coming in and my health going down faster than it regenerates) whereas with the mesmer, I just think “oh, this gets interesting now” and I find myself looking at which skills are still on cooldown and which skills I can use. E.g., can I heal, then stun/daze, then use damage avoidance until I can heal again? And if my own skills are on cooldown, I can destroy my illusions and use “Diversion” or “Distortion”.

GW2 Combat WarriorLong story short, I enjoy the gameplay of the mesmer a lot more than that of the warrior, even though sometimes, especially in dungeons, it can get frustrating because switching to melee can get too dangerous. You really need to know what the mobs can and can’t do and you need to judge when to jump into the middle of the combat and when to stay away. The warrior, on the other hand, allows you to go crazy even in melee, but she feels less complex.

Bookahneer’s Geekwatch (May 25, 2012)

Welcome to today’s Bookahneer’s Geekwatch! The place about miscellaneous interesting news related to gaming (will most likely include at least one piece about Guild Wars 2 ^^).

We’ve heard sad news yesterday: 38 studios layed off all their employees yesterday (including all from Big Huge Games). What I found fascinating and encouraging was how fast the hashtag #38jobs appeared. Not long after, a Google document was created listing the various gaming companies that currently have job offers available. That’s what I love about the internet and the sub-communities. People sticking together and helping each other out! Let’s hope those people that are currently without a job will find a new one soon!

The Guild Wars 2 community is as active as ever. Just two examples today: Tilion from DragonSeasonCom gave an interview about their website to Video-Games24.com. Since it’s a Greek website, most of us would probably not understand a single word, so Tilion posted the English translation. Valerian from commentarilies posted a really good piece about the melee mesmer in Guild Wars 2. Yes, I’m biased here because I myself fell in love with that class. Although so far, I prefer a pistol as off-hand weapon. I’ll have to try the other options more, though.

The last week of the Newbie Blogger Initiative is ahead of us. The World’s End Tavern has a list of the new blogs. Have a look at it and maybe you’ll find your favourite new blogger over there!

And last but not least, there’s Because We May starting on May 24 and running till June 1: Independent developers putting their games on sale:

“For the last week of May (May 24 through June 1) our games will be deeply discounted to celebrate online stores that give us control over pricing: The App Store, Google Play, Steam, Desura, IndieVania, and a few others.” (quoted from their website)

Choosing between the mesmer and the warrior: Which one wins?

Update: The following post is from before the game’s launch. I wrote about this topic again after having played both professions for a bit longer. You can find the post here.

In case you’re new to my blog: I’ve been to the EUFanDay in Brighton where we got to play Guild Wars 2. After our return, we were allowed to write about our game experiences. So I’m not breaking an NDA here by writing about my time in the game and my thoughts about the warrior and the mesmer class. You won’t find any deliberate beta leaks (it’s sometimes hard to know where somebody got their information, especially on the game wikis or the various websites listing the classes’ skills) in our blog! But enough of that. On to the great big horrible dilemma: Should I play a mesmer or warrior (as my main character)?

You may wonder why it’s even a question because those two classes are really different. But now that we don’t have roles like tanks, damage dealers or healers anymore, it’s really a question of which playstyle you prefer. And no, it’s not even as easy as melee or ranged as both the warrior and the mesmer are capable of both. Though it’s physical DPS with a rifle or longbow for the warrior while the mesmer has a scepter, a staff or a greatsword for ranged magical damage. Yes, a greatsword. And since there are no auto-attacks, this means that the mesmer doesn’t actually hit enemies with the greatsword.

What I like about the warrior-class in general is that they’re usually… well, not exactly “easy to play”, but straight forward. They jump right into the battle and are generally not as fast to die than, say, a cloth-wearing mage class. And I do tend to get my character into trouble regularly by running forward without looking around the corner first. ;) So a warrior-class is usually the better choice for me as it leads to less frustration. While I was in Brighton, I tried out the warrior, of course, and the mesmer. So what was it like playing them? I played the mesmer for the first few levels in the Norn starter area. And I played a warrior in structured PvP (level 80, of course) and in a dungeon (level 30). I know this doesn’t make both classes 100% comparable. But I did get a general feeling of how it could be like to play those classes.

The warrior was more or less the standard that you would expect if you have played such classes before. I was told by two others that the warrior can dish out quite a lot of damage when played with a two-handed weapon (I was dumb and didn’t realise I could have two weapon sets once she was set to level 30. This was no upscaling, by the way! We had an NPC that allowed “members of the press” to level their character to 30 immediately, which obviously was too much input at once for me ^^). I went for my usual routine: Sword and shield! Together with traits/skills that gave me health regeneration, less incoming damage etc. I must say, I didn’t die that often during our dungeon run. I also don’t think I was in downed state too often (I didn’t count, of course). All in all, I was happy with her. She jumped into the fight and dished out damage. Occasionally, she could stun the enemy for a second or so (if I remember correctly, that even worked on bosses! What didn’t work was a knockback on some bosses. But my memory could trick me here ^^). What I loved, however, was the active blocking. I could activate this skill and block incoming damage for a few seconds while waiting for my healing skill’s cooldown to run out! Lifesaver in more than one situation, let me tell you. That was just a short overview of what I experienced. It was… as I had expected. A brute playstyle, always in the middle of the fight, never hiding or backing down. Well, dodging away but only to jump right back into the action! Guild Wars 2-style, of course! So yes, I had a lot of fun playing her. You do notice that the combat is different than in a lot of other MMOs. So even the warrior class, as straight-forward as it was, wasn’t boring to play at all. And that was just one weapon set (and just imagine what I could have done if I had realised I could use two weapon sets… silly me). There are so many other weapons to play with – and, of course, other traits and skills to choose.

The mesmer, one would think, is the kind of class I wouldn’t enjoy: She’s a cloth-wearing class that has a melee sword in her hand. That can’t go well, can it? But, amazingly, it did! At least for the few levels that I played her! Now she’s not as brutish as the warrior. She’s a mesmer, after all, elegant and skimpily dressed. You never play alone as a mesmer as you can have up to three illusions with you! ;) There are two kinds of illusions: The first one is called a “clone”. Those look exactly like you do. The second one is a “phantasm”. They are see-through and thus, easy to differentiate from you. They also have different weapons than your character (you can find more information on the official website). But you can’t control them in a way a pet class can. Which is good for me because while I like the control, I’m also usually annoyed with the whole micromanagement. You can, however, switch positions with an illusion for a few seconds after calling one (depending on the skill). Now, if your enemy (mostly thinking about PvP here) has you as their target, you won’t just disappear from their target when you call an illusion. However, if you’re in the middle of a fight and somebody else from the other side appears, it will certainly be fun hiding in between the illusions. Okay, I admit, I have no idea how difficult – or easy! – it will be later on once we’ve all got tons of experience under our belt. But I assume it’s great to have this moment of confusion for yourself.

As I said, I played my mesmer with a sword and a pistol. The pistol gave me two skills. One is a shot that gives a debuff to three different targets. Well, it gives three different debuffs, to be more precise. And the other is a phantasm with a pistol. I have to admit, I never paid attention to how much damage each of my illusions did. I only know that I was intrigued by this playstyle. It’s certainly not comparable to how a warrior jumps into the middle of a fight and still survives due to brute force. The mesmer relies on tricks (switching positions, going invisible for a bit, teleporting, etc.). The end result, however, is the same: Both attacked in melee, which I love doing, and survived, which is a nice side-effect, isn’t it? ;)

So, which one does win? It’s hard to say right now. I know that when I first heard about the mesmer, I was intrigued because it reminded me of my frost mage back in Burning Crusade’s WoW. But after playing the class, I know it’s even better. It’s a mix of that frost mage (playstyle-wise) and a melee class (if played with a sword) and it almost sounds like it was made just for me! I’ll definitely also create an asura warrior. But I guess the asura mesmer will be my main character. I like melee but I’ve been looking for a class like that frost mage (back in BC, the playstyle in PvP did change since then, unfortunately) and I’m just excited about trying out the mesmer and I do hope this class will give me what I’m looking for… which is a melee-capable class with lots of annoying tricks up its sleeve (and no, thief is out of the question because I’m too impatient for stealth).

My gameplay experience at the EUFanDay

It turns out, we’re actually allowed to write about our game experience now! Three cheers to ArenaNet for allowing us to share our experiences with you! And there’s no need for them to worry either because except for two tiny things, I enjoyed myself immensely in the game and all in all, I can’t wait to get my hands on the real game. So, in case you’re curious about my gameplay experience, I’m going to try to memorize what I did and thought about the game. ;) The short of it is: I played a norn through their starter area, I played structured PvP, I played through a dungeon and I experienced the downscaling in the open world. The classes I tried were mesmer and warrior.

Before we started playing, we told each other which race/class we want to play once the game releases. Nobody mentioned the poor norn (you can probably guess which race I am going to play first… ^^). Ironically, the first thing we did was play the norn starter area. ;) This race is too big for me. The characters and the starter area are well-done. The norn themselves just aren’t what I like playing myself. So, as soon as I had the chance, I switched to playing a female charr. Much better! I tried both the mesmer (melee-style!) and the warrior. I can say that I have no idea which of those two classes will be my “main character” in the end. But I guess that’s what “alts” are for. ;)

I played the norn mesmer with a sword and a pistol. It was nice being right at the mob in melee combat. I never had the feeling that I was squishy. All in all, the mesmer has some nice tricks up her sleeve. I had called an illusion (who looks exactly like my character) and then got kicked away from the mob. After calling this illusion, you have a few seconds to click on this same spell again and switch positions with the illusion. So, if your illusion is still close to the mob and you get kicked away, activate this skill and you switch positions with it and can continue meleeing the mob. Or, well, player if that happens in PvP. ;)

Anyway, as I said, I switched from norn as soon as I had the chance. So once we started playing structured PvP (no WvW because we were only 25 people and that would’ve been a bit boring), I played a female charr warrior. I did mention to Stéphane how the female charr’s breathing sounds reminded me of Darth Vader. Weird noises, really. But I guess I’ll either get used to it (and my headphones did have a strange sound to them… tinny, in a way) or maybe they’ll change it if more people think so. ^^ I liked everything else about the female kitteh. She’s cute, cuddly, furry,… ;) The warrior class was lots of fun as well. During the PvP, I ran around with a gun. I had a hard time remembering all skills, so I refrained from switching to my melee weapons. Of course, that meant I didn’t play as effectively as I could have. ;) Still, I had lots of fun, even though I always need lots of time until I can find my way around on the different maps. We played Battle of Kyhlo (for gameplay videos, you can have a look at our youtube-channel where we uploaded several videos from last year’s GamesCom about people playing on this map. We do not have any current videos because we weren’t allowed to film it) and Forest of Niflhel.

The next day, we played the Ascalonian Catacombs dungeon. Once again, I missed something. I thought I couldn’t switch my weapon sets and only had one: Sword and shield for my warrior. For my traits, I had chosen some that gave me more defense and hitpoints. I wanted to make sure I don’t die immediately, so that it gave me more time to react. We played the story-mode and it was… easy. Again, fun. But easy! We hadn’t been in there for long when our 5th group member had to go (it was the second day, so I assume he had to go in order to catch his flight). We continued with just four players and still, it was easy! Of course, “easy” doesn’t mean we went through there without dying. We all died a few times (that is, we were in downed state several times and a few times, we also died). We also had a wipe at one of the bosses.

What I like is how you can play through the story-mode with a PuG (and we were kind of like a PuG, after all. With us sitting further away from each other, there wasn’t much discussing a tactic, etc.) and don’t need to worry about wiping countless times before giving up completely frustrated. As we were only four people, we didn’t even try the explorable mode. Stéphane said that if we did try this one out, we would endure pain. Lots and lots of pain. When glancing over to my right, I saw Tasha Darke and her group die countless times in the explorable version. They tried their best but eventually, gave up. So there is certainly a huge difference between playing the story-mode and the explorable mode. And that’s the way it should be, if you ask me. If you just want to go through the dungeon to experience the story and be able to say that you’ve done and seen it, then the story-mode is perfect for you. If you want and need the challenge, then continue with the explorable mode! And since you get downscaled to the appropriate level if you’re higher level, there is no way to go back to a low level dungeon and just run through it without paying attention. If you’re above level 30, you will get scaled down to 30 when you enter this dungeon.

Speaking of downscaling: I took my level 30 warrior to the charr starter area and was downscaled to level 13. I was alone for a while and did one of the events there. Then a group event started. I figured I should try it. Yes, I was downscaled to level 13 but surely, being a level 30 in reality should give me an advantage? And I had a shield and had taken a trait to not receive as much damage! Bravely, my kitteh jumped into the fight. When the mob was at around 50% (ok, probably closer to 60 or even 70 ^^), I died. While running back from the waypoint where I got resurrected, I saw that another player had arrived. Together, we killed the mob. I was pleased about that. The downscaling (at least from 30 to 13) worked very well! And if there is something like a stat-cap, then I highly doubt that being a level 80 downscaled to 13 would have given me any advantage. I then inspected the area further and saw a skill point challenge on the map. After arriving, I found myself surrounded by level 17 – 18 mobs. I looked at the lower left corner: Yep, still level 13 effectively. I looked back up at the mobs: Nope, not a chance. None at all. I died, again.

My kitteh licked her wounds and strolled over to the lake to test out the underwater combat instead. This one feels just like the normal combat. Except that you use different weapons and thus, have different skills on the left side of your skill bar (the right side wasn’t affected, I think). Sometimes, it’s a bit difficult to see where the mob is exactly that you’re attacking (you can move up and down which just makes it a bit harder to spot the mobs). But other than that, it was as much fun as the combat was outside of the water.

What I’ve seen seemed like a solid game whose gameplay was fun for me. Apart from the weird female charr breathing sounds, I found one other “not-so-great” thing: When playing with lots of other players, there was a lot going on on the screen. Lots and lots of graphic effects from spells/abilities from all around you. If they could tone this a bit down, I’d be very happy. Other than that, I didn’t have anything to complain about. There’s only one thing that’s even worse now than it was before: I don’t really feel like playing any other MMO at the moment. I’d much rather continue exploring the world of Guild Wars 2 right now (preferably with asura… *insert dramatic sigh*). Then again, I do still have single-player games left to play through. So there’s plenty to do while waiting!

If you have any questions about my gameplay experience, feel free to ask!

Now that the mesmer’s out: Which class do you want to play?

Guild Wars 2 has finally revealed its 8th class which, I’m sure, most of you already know by now. :) In case you missed it, here’s the mesmer on the official GW2 website (and they also posted a link roundup for the mesmer to see all the reactions and interviews they did!).

Now we know that Guild Wars 2 will allow us to play the engineer, thief, guardian, warrior, elementalist, necromancer, ranger and mesmer.

Did the reveal of the mesmer change your mind about which class you want to play first? Were you hoping for another class or is the mesmer all you ever wanted? Or are you now hoping your favourite class will make a return in an expansion? ;) In my case, I’d at some point hoped that the dervish will be introduced again but I knew this wouldn’t happen because the scythe wasn’t listed as weapon in the game (we did know which weapons will be in the game before we knew about all of the classes).

But my favourite class in Guild Wars is the warrior and there’s always some kind of warrior in games like these. ;) Besides, warrior was one of the first classes that were announced. By now, I’m just not sure anymore this is the class I actually want to play. My main concern is that the class is “too easy”. They did say that it’s the least complex class to play and since there are no tanks in this game, I guess its primary role is DPS.

I know that I don’t like the sneaky classes that first have to get into the back of the enemy before they attack – I definitely lack the patience for such a playstyle. And I get bored when all a class can do is deal damage. *yawn* I want to be useful to the group besides having a high DPS. I want to have some kind of support. I don’t, however, like the guardian too much. Don’t ask me why! ;)

Maybe a ranger would be nice as well? I tend to prefer ranged classes for having a better overview of the battle, especially in PvP. Then again, having a pet that needs to be micromanaged can get quite distracting. I’ll have to see how it works here in Guild Wars 2. Pet pathing is always an issue as well. I hope they can do it well. So far, I’ve been the least annoyed with it in WoW (well, once they made them able to jump down cliffs with my hunter instead of slowly and happily running down the paths we’d just tried to avoid… helloooo, Wailing Caverns). Warhammer was… ugh. Not too well. But I played an engineer and her turrets never moved, so I didn’t have a problem with that there. ;) I deleted my first loremaster in Lotro pretty quickly when after running around in the meadow and frolicking, my bear was gone. There had been no obstacles, nothing. It hadn’t been stuck. I now know that when your character gets a movement bonus (passively on items, so it’s always there), your pet apparently doesn’t get it. So after a while, it’s so far behind you that the game ‘puts it away’. And ArenaNet did write that you need your pet (That was in the Q&A on Reddit – which you can see in a nice-to-read-version here).
I quote:
Q: I it possible to play a ranger without the pet and manage on par with other classes?
A: No, as soon as you enter combat your pet comes out. Trust me, you will want them. :)

So I have to see for myself whether they did a good job with the pets or not. ;) But the part about “your pet comes out” when you enter combat sounds like it’s usually not there? Or maybe you can, if you want, put it away but never during combat. Either way, if it works automatically, then there’s no need to worry about your pet following you around all the time. On the other hand, not having it out is also a bit sad. I know I was sad when WoW changed it because I loved having my troll hunter on her raptor mount with her raptor pet next to her and now you can’t have your pet out anymore when you’re mounted. Anyway, WoW was also when I tried PvP with such a pet class and I had so much fun in Warsong! The crowd control and micromanagement – despite disliking it during PvE settings – was great in PvP.

The third class that’s now on my list is the mesmer. I like what I’ve seen so far and the utility this class brings sounds like fun. The teleporting from place A to B especially. Being able to play aggro ping-pong with yourself? Yes, please! ^^