Welcome to our first post-launch edition of Big Swords and Butterflies! It’s okay, take a moment and let that sink in. Back? Excellent! Now that we are able to login and play to our hearts content you might be considering creating a Mesmer. After all the class has a lot of depth and is a blast to play, but what do you do while leveling? What are some good general tips to help you reach the max level? This week and next we’ll be providing tips and strategies for making the most of your talent points and skills to help you achieve max level.
Ah to be young again, those care-free days when all you have to worry about are your weapons and your utility skills. Enjoy it while it lasts because these levels will go flying by.
During these early levels you’ll want to focus on getting each of the weapons and unlocking all of the weapon abilities. Doing so will ensure that have the options available should you come across a shiny new item. There is no feeling worse than picking up that new staff only to find that you have no skills unlocked to make the most use of it. Thankfully drops are not the only way to acquire weapons, so if you have the coin stop by a weapon merchant and grab whatever you’re missing.
When you reach level 5 you’ll unlock your first utility skill. It’s okay, you’re going to start seeing some changes, this is perfectly natural – you have a few options available but personally I recommend Mantra of Pain. Since mantras are able to be cast twice this makes it worth the time investment and this mantra can do a good amount of damage. Push this button often and make sure that you always have it charged when out of combat! Also with Mantras (not sure if this is a bug or by design) if you teleport to a waypoint, or load into another zone, you will need to recharge the mantra. Don’t be caught unprepared!
At level 10 you will unlock your second utility skill slot. If you are playing up close and personal with your enemy I would recommend that you go with the Signet of Domination. This will give you another daze should you find yourself in a pinch, plus it adds additional condition damage which is never a bad thing.
Once you reach level 11 things begin to change again. You’re starting to get more room to grow and you’ll have a whole new world of options available to you. At level 11 you get your first trait point and you will continue to get additional points each time you reach a new level.
For the 10 points you receive in this range I would suggest going with the Dueling trait line. There are a few reasons to like the Dueling line: first, it gives you Precision and Critical Damage which means that you’ll see crits more often and for larger values. Second, at just 5 points in you unlock Critical Infusion which grants you 1 second of Vigor each time you get a crit. More vigor means more dodging and that really helps you stay alive!
Putting the last 5 points into Dueling will give you your first major trait and there is a bit of wiggle room here. If you are running with a sword in either hand then get Blade Training as you will gain an additional 50 Precision, bumping that critical chance even higher.
There are no additional skill slots to worry about until you get to the end of this range at level 20. When you do get to level 20, and have that final slot, pick up Mirror Images. This skill provides significant synergy with our profession and can be used in a variety of ways, such as popping this just before using Ether Feast for an extra big heal. Summon the clones right before you get ready to shatter for additional damage, confusion, or distortion. Use them as a means of distracting your enemy and adding extra confusion (not the condition) to the battle field. There are so many good ways that Mirror Images can be used that it should find a home on your bar as you level.
These next ten levels will reward you with 10 more trait points and a shiny new elite at the end. Since we’ve maxed out Dueling at this point we need to move over to another trait line, and the Domination line offers some good options.
Placing points in Domination will give us additional Power, which makes us, hit harder for non-critical strikes, and increased condition duration. At 5 points the trait Illusion of Vulnerability is unlocked – this trait provides us with a way of applying the condition Vulnerability to a target whenever we interrupt them. If you took Signet of Domination then that is one means of interrupting a target, another would be with the skill Magic Bullet. Use those skills at the right time and watch your enemy weap in pain!
Continue to place points in Domination until you get to the major trait slot. Like before there are some options available so feel free to pick what you like, but my recommendation is for Empowered Illusions. Illusions include both clones, the weak ones that look just like your character and do little to no damage, and phantasms, which are the amazing clones into which you have put so much of your power that they don’t clearly reflect your character. With Empowered Illusions you’ll be buffing the damage output of both versions, but the biggest bang for your buck is the extra damage that your phantasms will be doing.
For an elite skill you really can’t beat Moa Morph. Through the use of your fantastical Mesmer powers you actually convince your enemy that, for a time, they are a giant chicken. What could be better? This forces an enemy to not use the skills that they would normally have and instead have to use the skills from this big bird. Works wonders in PvP and PvE as the only mobs that are immune are the massive dragons. I’ve been able to Moa everything else, even King Adelbern.
As you work your way up these last few levels to the half-way point there are another 10 points that need to be spent. Decisions, decisions. In this range you will start to notice that getting hit hurts and as we’ve mostly focused on improved damage it’s a good idea to pick up some addition protection.
To accomplish this goal we could go with the Chaos line that grants us additional Toughness (aka armor) and increased boon duration. While additional armor can be nice, frankly, I prefer to have more hit points. Instead we’ll be going with the Inspiration line for the increase to our Vitality (more juicy hp) and Healing (bigger heals when we need it).
At 5 points you gain Vengeful Images which gives retaliation to your phantasms. What I like about this trait is that it punishes the enemy for trying to take out your Illusionary Duelist (as an example). While it may be in their best interest to attack that phantasm they will also suffer for it as part of the damage is reflected back to the attacker. It really is a win-win.
Maxing out the line unlocks the major trait, and I like to go with Mender’s Purity. Conditions play a large part of the game and having a method of removing those is beneficial. Trying to get away and finding yourself crippled puts you in a very bad position, but if you can use your healing skill and remove that, then you are free to get away and recover. Use whatever the situation demands, but this has been a great help to me in my leveling.
At this point you are well on your way to reaching the max leveling and having a good time doing so! Next week we’ll look at the 41-80 range and finish our trait spec. Until then, keep ‘em guessing!