Seriously now, mesmer or warrior?

GW2 Combat Mesmer

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.


  1. Definatly Mesmer here, I also have a guardian who i love to play when i’m feeling lazy because as you said with your warrior she is way less complex than my mesmer. I play my guardian when i just want to kill things fast with no strategy involved at all just pure Slice and Dice :) But with my mesmer i run a shatter/condition build and that takes a lot of dodgeing and shattering at the right time and having control of the moment your in at the time :) I love it!!


    1. Oh yes, lazy might be the right word here. ;)

      My build is actually a support-heavy build with lots of confusion on the enemy (and time warp, of course). But it works just fine when soloing. I’m curious how the warrior will play when she’s 80. She’s only 71 so far, but I think that’s enough to get a feeling for a playstyle. ;)


  2. Personally, the warrior is one of my favorite professions but then again I always like melee classes, specially the ones that can use point metal things like swords. :)

    It is definitely a simple class though and it can be fun in its own way. It is also a good class to recommend for someone beginning with the game.

    Mesmer is probably the next character I will give a try (already made one of every other profession. >_<). I didn't like them much during beta for… some reason I can't put a finger on. But after seeing others playing Mesmers after launch and what they can do at the high levels I really want to give it a try again. Just need to decide on the race.


    1. Warrior is my second favourite profession, obviously. ^^ I like that she’s not that squishy, especially with that health regeneration. I have “Deep Strike” traited which gives me precision for every unused signet. This is a very lazy build but especially at lower levels, it made her kill mobs very fast. So, as long as everything went well, it’s great. But if you’re getting overwhelmed, there isn’t much you can do.

      I will have to dig deeper into different builds when she’s 80 (currently 71). But I doubt I’m going to change my mind about my main character. ;)

      If you like melee, then I guess playing the mesmer with a sword is the right way to go for you. In combination with the staff, you have some nice mobility. And race… well, race shouldn’t even be a question! ;)


      1. My warrior has been created recently and is still level 10. So can’t say much about them besides that I really, really love them. There is just something special about them for me. :)

        Hm. I remember two-handed swords on mesmers not feeling very melee like. More like they would use it as a ranged weapon, having it floating and launching rays through it. But that was a long time ago, during beta and I do have a terrible memory.

        I agree though that the staff was a pretty nice weapon. I remember it feeling uber compared to the other options and definitely required some mobility to use well!

        In any case, I will test all weapons again since I will want to unlock their skills. So I will see which ones I like best this time around. :)

        As for race, alright, I guess you convinced me! Asura it is. There is one of their storylines I started during beta but never finished. I have been curious to see how it ends. :)


        1. Nonono. Sword. Not Greatsword. Greatsword is ranged, magicky. Sword, the one-handed version, is melee. I pair it with the pistol because it’s stylish and I love the two skills you get from the pistol.

          I love being able to jump into a fight with the Illusionary Leap and then switch to the staff and jump back with Phase Retreat.

          Well, you can see a few sample pictures above with the asura mesmer. Isn’t she cuuuuute? ;) Though I found the warrior pictures a tiny bit disturbing in comparison (mesmer has butterflies, after all!), with all the red I found on the screenshots. O.O It was just the target dummies in Lion’s Arch! On the other hand, that’s probably profession-specific and not related to the race… the tiny asura just doesn’t seem to be this… violent when you first see her. ;) Which storyline is it that you want to see?


          1. Ah! You are right! They can use swords too! I forgot about it. So yes, I think it will do nicely as a melee weapon. I also remember them being rather fun with a pistol too.

            Yes, she is very cute. Well, all female asuras are cute. :)

            I don’t find the warrior pictures all that disturbing. It is more like she was trying to show how fierce she is. :)

            The storyline I want to see is the Statics one. I already saw the Dynamics one (which was pretty fun too!) with Rakuno. Sadly I might never see the Synergetics one unless I get crazy enough to make another asura or convince someone to make one and let me tag around for the story. The first option is pretty unlikely since I already have one of every other class and I rather save the option of making another of the same class in case they ever release a new race. The second option though might be more doable. @_@


  3. [Quote]The pistol in my mesmer’s off-hand may not be the best choice, but it is fun and stylish.[Quote]

    I asked my friend to try GW2 and he went through about four professions and wasn’t liking the feel of the game at all. Then one evening he called me and told me that he has levelled an engineer to ~7 level and had the most fun in a game in recent times. I logged on and partied with him, and he showed me his dual pistols and told me he never wants to wield another weapon in this game. :-)


    1. Ha, that’s funny in a way.

      I decided for the rifle with my engineer, but then realized that I like pistols a lot more. It’s a bit sad that not many can use pistols. I’m still hoping mesmers can get a second pistol, though. ^^


  4. It’s been awhile since I’ve commented on a blog but, I couldn’t resist this post. (No prizes guessing what I’ve been so busy doing that I haven’t taken the time to chat on the interwebs ;-p … 7 characters at level 80 and one in the 40s)

    I re-read my comments from back during the “pre-BWE” days and had to chuckle a bit.

    My mez (Typoezz) runs with Greatsword and Sword+Focus. I use Mirror for healing and usually run with Feedback, Decoy, and Null Field as my utilities… Time Warp is almost always my elite skill. (Obviously I swap out occassionally to other utilities such as Portal when circumstances call for it.)
    Traits have ended up being 20 in Domination with Crippling Dissipation and Greatsword Training.
    30 in Inspiration with Glamour Mastery, Warden’s Feedback, and Shattered Conditions.
    and 20 in Illusions with Compounding Power, and Dazzling Glamours.
    For those who use GW2 shorthand that’s;
    20 V, X
    30 II, VIII, XI
    20 III, VIII

    His equipment is a mixture of Knight’s/Emerald with some Carrion (so mostly Toughness, Pwr & Precision with some Cond Damage, Pwr & Vitality.)

    Mesmer was my 7th character to reach level 80, and I created and deleted no less than 5 before I finally found a playstyle within the class that I could stick with… However, once I got rolling with him he really worked out great for me. Mez is definitely a current favorite and is usually the one I play when duo-ing with Meowska’s ranger (Mrs ArcherAvatar.)
    (Her 2nd character is a charr warrior btw… early days yet, but i don’t see it replacing the ranger as her main.)

    I was nodding my head when you were talking about your reaction to situations while playing your mez… so much control, so many good options. I love seeing a rapid-fire projectile skill getting started from an enemy and dropping a Feedback bubble on them. It often feels like I’m “toying” with my opponents very much like a cat with a mouse.

    Honestly, the only thing that was missing from the class for me was better “swiftness” options. I was very jealous of the classes that had the 25% movement speed signets also, but I switched to a set of Runes of the Centaur, and that combined with my Focus skill basically gives me swiftness 100% of the time… so problem solved.

    Killing with butterflies is perversely hysterical also…
    safe travels


    1. I’d seen you online in GW2 and figured you’re just busy playing the game. ;) But yes, you were missed here. *g*

      Flummi had several greatswords… it always took about 5 minues to realize that no, this weapon is not for her. ;) The same goes for my warrior. No greatsword for her either. I spent about half an hour or an hour yesterday trying to find a good build for her and then chose one that, with the exception of one trait skill, is exactly the build I have for her now. ;)

      I didn’t know about the centaur runes. They sound nice! I, too, have been jealous of all those running past me. Why can’t they carry me, at least? ;)

      My newest project is a ranger (after sending my engineer to early retirement). I just love seeing juevenile animals in the world and collecting them all. Oh, and the profession itself is also fun to play. ;)


      1. Ranger is a great addition to a stable of characters, and I really enjoyed the “baseball trading card” feel of collecting all of the possible pets. Meowska loves her little asura ranger, and I must admit it’s been very nice being able to call on her for help getting certain things accomplished in the game.
        BTW, the pets in general are much improved over how they were during the BWEs or at launch even. Should be no worries there.

        Personally, I prefer running with 2 canines (wolf and alpine wolf usually) and at least 15 pts in the Beastmastery trait line. It reduces the CD on the swapping to only 15 seconds, and gives you a burst of quickness when you do so. Also, the wolves almost always perform their Brutal Charge (leap+knockdown) skill when they are swapped into an ongoing combat so I get a fresh pet with 3 stacks of might (Mighty Swap trait) some control on an opponent in the form of the knockdown AND a couple of seconds of some double speed rate of fire… what’s not to love about that?

        GL with your ranger, and safe travels.


        1. I love running with a moa, because they’re just funny. ;) Other than that, I haven’t found any favourite pets yet. But your setup sounds really good. I’ll have to try that one out. :)

          Oh, and which weapons are you using? I’m not a big fan of the longbow, but the shortbow is really nice.


          1. Both bows for the ranger have their own pros and cons, and each is useful for certain play styles. Skirmishers and folks who are used to being highly mobile tend to prefer the short bow over the long bow if they are planning on using the bow as a primary (preferred) weapon set.

            Choice in weapons also somewhat drives which direction you go with your traits and your overall build. If you go with a condition damage build then obviously the longbow doesn’t have much to offer you, while the bleed stacking and poison of the shortbow can fit into such a build rather easily, and the reverse is somewhat true for a Crit style build (longbow crits can hit some pretty nice numbers.)

            Personally, I never like to sacrifice mobility, and I have a tendancy to dive into combats where I have to deal with multiple opponents.

            I have 30 pts in Marksmanship, primarily for the trait Remorseless which refreshes Opening Strikes for myself and my pet whenever we kill an opponent. The rest of his traits are 25 pts in Wilderness Survival and 15 pts in Beastmastery.
            My preferred weapon set is usually Axe+Torch. My secondary or swap weapon set varies depending on situation/mood. I will throw a warhorn there if I’m doing considerable running and/or want the buffs for combat (fury and might) or a second axe there for better range defense, or either of the two bows.

            Strong burning condition damage supplemented with bleeds and some poison, as well as highly mobile combat style makes for some very effective offense and very good defense. He has more than enough health due to Carrion focus on the equipment, and gets some good toughness from the Wilderness Survival trait line.

            I found it to be an excellent build for soloing in PvE, and fearless take on pretty much anything … including most champions.

            I also liked the greatsword for ranger, but never really used it all that much, and I wasn’t able to get comfortable with the way the sword kept messing with my camera angles during combat.

            That’s basically my take on the ranger’s weapons. Hopefully there some info there that will prove useful for you as your looking for your own preferred style with the class.


        2. Oh yes, there’s lots of good information there. Thank you. :)

          I’ve actually started to like the axe in the main hand, so I’ll give that combination a try.


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