Hello all and welcome back to the discovery of the Mesmer! Big Sister here, ever stumbling along in my quest to uncover the mysteries of the butterfly-wielding spell caster. I’m still holding onto my warrior’s helmet, but I’ve painted a mask on the visor and, fresh from my adventures, I’m eager to report my findings.
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you can find the beginning of this Pink Brick Road here. And before anyone calls PETA, I released the butterflies after they pitched tents on the lilac branch I gave them and refused to leave unless better flowers were given to 99% of the butterfly population and not simply the 1%. Screw that.
Now, as a former warrior, playing the Mesmer has been a completely different experience. There’s a lot more pink than I’m used to and using my sword for things other than chopping off limbs has shaken up everything I’m familiar with, but for a lot of reasons this class brings the same sadistic grin to my face that I got whenever I cleft an enemy in twain. The Mesmer is a spell caster unlike anything I’ve played in my travels. Here’s why:
1. Manipulating Perception
Every class has been built around a simple, central theme from which it branches out and becomes more complex. The Thief centers around the element of surprise, the Elementalist around wielding… the elements, and the Warrior around harnessing roid rage. What does the Mesmer do? They only manipulate that pesky little thing called reality.
Spell casters, by nature, are not the toughest player classes in the world, and so there comes a point where it’s adapt or die horribly as you’re hacked into tiny, bloody ribbons or impaled by hundreds of arrows 300 style. Avoiding both of those scenarios and more is the expertise of the Mesmer. We’re here to drive the enemy insane and ultimately into the cold hands of Grenth, and all without getting blood on our masks.
2. Clones, Illusions, Phantasms, Oh My!
The primary means through which the Mesmer messes with the enemy’s perception is by constantly throwing out copies of themselves, or illusionary servants. Literally every weapon skill set the Mesmer possesses has an ability that allows the Mesmer to summon ethereal companions, and these companions serve different roles depending on the weapon. The staff summons a servant whose damage increases based on the number of conditions the enemy is suffering, while one-handed swords create servants that cripple and bleed foes. Mmm, my favorite things.
Clones/illusions give the Mesmer the opportunity to ready another skill, attack from a distance, or play upon the clones’ insecurities about their purpose and make them kill themselves for your benefit. Clones are self-destructive by nature and are more than happy to put themselves out of their misery if you ask nicely. It also helps if you tell them it’s for the greater good and they’ll be rewarded in The Mists for their sacrifice. It works every time.
So, when that Thief thinks you’re a poor little Mesmer all alone in the wilderness with no hope in the world, it’s at least worth a laugh to see the expression on the little pick-pocketing punk’s face when suddenly he’s staring at an army of smirking Yous ready to run in and kamikaze themselves on your behalf. Just imagine the pleasure you’ll receive when that Engineer thinks he one upped you with a sudden battering ram, when really it’s one of your copies taking one for the team and you’re giggling in the bushes getting ready to blast the bolts out of the ego-drunk tinkerer.
Remember, there’s no I in team, but there is a Me. Sort of. You know, if you rearrange the letters.
3. Now You See Me! Oop, You’re Dead
The Mesmer also has the powers of teleportation, and transporting oneself away from combat in an instant is useful in any combat situation. Mesmers aren’t tanks, much as a certain Guild Wars Insider columnist (me) keeps forgetting they are. They’re spell casters, they’re puppeteers… They don’t wear a lot of armor, okay?
But this isn’t a burden to a Mesmer, oh no. In order to avoid the bite of a honey deprived bear or prevent another shield bash from a Paladin wannabe, the Mesmer does have skills that allow them to disappear in order to gain the upper hand elsewhere. Several allow the Mesmer to summon clones/illusions in their place, causing an enemy to strike a false foe rather than the actual target. Can you hear the “Nyah, nyah”? I can. Wait, it’s me who’s saying it.
4. Now You’re Fighting… With Portals!
One of the Mesmer’s skills that has been flaunted over and over again is that it is able to create portals, and we don’t need a gun to create them, either. The portal system is another way of avoiding attacks. Planning an attack against an enemy that’s probably a touch too strong for you could be easily resolved with some carefully placed portals. Once things seem dire, simply step backwards into the portal and give yourself some distance between yourself and that veteran dire boar. Or, you could use it to ring doorbells and disappear before you’re caught.
Portals are useful in allowing allies to transport from one point to another in a short period of time. It really cuts down on the wear and tear of boots. They can be the difference between holding the line in PvP matches or watching enemies spill over the walls of your keep like neckbeards scrambling through the doors of the local game store at a Call of Duty midnight release. Not a pretty sight, I assure you.
5. Conditions, Conditions, Conditions
Now, it’s been mentioned before, but it bears repeating. Mesmers are not the most hardy of classes. They have to focus on not only preventing damage, but dealing a lot of damage in a short period of time in order to avoid MORE damage. This is where conditions come in. Not only does every weapon class have a skill where you summon a clone/illusion, but they also focus on applying conditions. Dazed, bleeding, crippled, blinded, random; the Mesmer does it all. Conditions are, basically, the equivalent of someone screaming, “Die, die, die, die, die, die!” Only, conditions actually work in keeping enemies from slapping you around.
Mesmers are here to play with the minds of our enemies and create chaos on the battlefield. For you non-Mesmers, be careful. Sure, butterflies might not be very threatening, but if you think you have the upper hand, you might find yourself facing an illusion ready to explode in an instant. If you think you have us pinned down, you might find yourself chasing reflections and being wracked with pain. We might not be hulking masses of muscle, or hiding behind towering shields of steel, but we have our wits, our clones, and if all else fail, we can turn our enemies into moas.