Thursday, 17 March 2011

The Mesmer's "Hook"

Now that the second adventurer profession has been released (the Thief - just in case you aren't into Guild Wars, or you are an have had your head firmly lodged up a large animals back passage for the past week) the Guild Wars 2 community train has once again stopped at speculation station, shoveling information coal into our logic based steam engine, taking on idea passengers and creating rather stretched and stilted metaphors about outmoded forms of transport. Choo choo!

The community has largely agreed on at least one thing: we are getting a Mesmer. The Mesmer is one of the more complex professions in the first game focusing on using interupts, hexes and energy denial to turn their enemies skills and attacks against them. There's a whole host of concepts, literary references, pictures and ideas which support the claim. There is little point in me listing the evidence here, really, we all know its coming and we know its just a few weeks (months?) away.

What will be truly interesting will be the "hook" that ANet choose to assign to the Mesmer. By this, I mean the defining characteristic or mechanic which sets the class apart from the others: for the Warrior it was adrenaline, for the Elementalist it was attunements, for the Ranger its the pet, for the Necromancer its death shroud, the Guardian has virtues and the Thief has initiative. Each of these mechanics complement the profession's skills perfectly, and should allow each class to perform certain roles better than any of the other classes.

Each profession's "hook" is comparable to a primary attribute in the first game; a trait that only that single profession could utlitise. Primary attributes were very important in the first game, because when any class can use any skill (if their secondary profession would allow it) there needed to be a way to ensure not every player in the game would just run the most powerful elementalist build or whatnot. In GW1 the Mesmer's primary attribute was Fast Casting - an attribute which decreased the cast and recharge time of Mesmer spells considerably, allowing the Mesmer to quickly throw out powerful spells one after another.

I can't imagine Fast Casting making its way over the precipice between GW1 and GW2. It doesn't feel like it fits with the overall ethos of the game - strategic and thoughtful combat. I can imagine Mesmers having the ability to slot in traits which might decrease cast time on their spells and such, but in a game where all of the professions are very mobile and active during combat, I can't see Fast Casting as coming as much of an advantage. Also, I'd like to think that ANet is more imaginative than that.

Here's just a few ideas:

Illusory Visages

The Mesmer has the ability to create 2 or 3 illusions of themselves which last 30 seconds. They move and cast and look almost exactly like the player (perhaps surrounded by a purple/pinkish glow when up close - or even with luminescent eyes!), when you target them they can be attacked just like the player but they die after 2/3 strikes - disappearing in a puff of smoke. They are limited in their skill bar (possibly to one or two skills) which do minimal damage but still keep up the facade that they are the player. After one visage is killed there is a 30 second timer before you can summon them again.
The player would be able to equip traits to increase their damage, health or even possibly give the player the ability to summon an extra visage. (This is inspired by Queen Jennah's actions at the end of Edge of Destiny)

Illusion of Haste

The Mesmer could have the ability to move at +50% movement speed for 8 seconds - leaving a visage of themselves behind and trailing a purple haze in their wake. Before the end of the timer the player could choose to warp back to their original position or to stay at their new location. If they chose to warp back to their original position, a similar visage would be left at the location they warped from. The visages would stay active for 5 seconds after the end of the timer and would be subject to similar rules as the illusions in my first suggestion (except I don't think they would attack). The Mesmer could slot traits to increase the timer length, reduce the recharge on the skill or the increase the health of the visages created (This is inspired by the Mesmer's Illusion of X skills in GW1).

Mirage Cloak

The Mesmer could create shimmering barriers on the ground behind which all players are obscured. Mobs and enemy players standing on one side of the barrier would see just a shimmering wall and the landscape behind, whereas the wall could in fact be cloaking any number of characters. Before placing it, the Mesmer could choose to bend the wall - not all the way round but around 45 degrees - in order to obscure themselves from further angles, or to spread it out straight to obscure over a wider area. This would be really interesting for creating ambushes and luring enemies into traps - as long as the AI would recognise that players behind the wall were not visible. The wall would not be impenetrable and any player or monster could just walk through it. The Mesmer could slot traits to increase the length of the wall or increase its duration (this is inspired by any movie where an army of hideous monsters has walked through an ephemeral wall - see Stargate).

Obviously, these are ideas are a bit off the wall - but that's what we are looking for, right? RIGHT?... right.


  1. I tried to post this the other day, but I would definitely play a class that could go all "mirror image" on someone. Man that would be fun in PvP!

  2. I tried to post this the other day, but I would definitely play a class that could go all "mirror image" on someone. Man that would be fun in PvP!



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