This profession guide is accurate as of BWE2.
Mesmers are magical duelists who rely on deception and confusion to keep their opponents in check. Indecision is their greatest ally. Using powerful illusions to distract, they make sure they never go toe to toe with an enemy; they use their powers and tactics to set up an unfair fight.
-Official Guild Wars 2 Website
Chaos. That one word perfectly sums up the mesmer profession in GW2. Many skills involve random boons or random conditions. Confusion is also a highly-prevalent condition in other mesmer abilities. Then there are the clones, designed for causing confusion to enemies (the actual thing, not the condition). Their unique class mechanic lets them create up to three illusions and shatter them for varying effects. There are two types of illusions: Clones look almost identical to the caster and simply auto-attack their target (causing essentially no damage), while phantasms are easily identifiable and have a specific ability they use.
Greatsword – The greatsword is a very straightforward, ranged weapon. Yes, the greatsword is ranged. It’s all about doing damage while keeping enemies away from you with this weapon. Mirror Blade throws a bouncing sword out that creates clones, and Phantasmal Berserker creates a greatsword-wielding phantasm to cripple enemies.
Staff – The mesmer’s staff is much more suited to condition-based combat and actual deception. Phase Retreat teleports you in some direction generally away from your enemy and leaves behind a clone. The staff also has Chaos Storm, which can become very powerful with a ranger or other fast-attacking ranged class nearby.
Scepter – The scepter is more of a confusion-oriented weapon, more concerned with making your enemies kill themselves trying to attack you than actually confusion the enemy. The auto-attack chain from Ether Bolt confuses enemies and creates a clone on the third attack. Illusionary Counter can also create a clone when it blocks an attack.
Sword (MH) – The main-hand sword gives mesmers their only melee option. It focuses on safely fighting the opponent up close, opening their defenses and removing boons. Illusionary Leap sends a clone to your target with which you can then swap places.
Focus – The focus focuses gives a solid movement advantage over enemies. Additionally, Illusionary Warden creates a phantasm to protect an area from projectiles.
Pistol (OH) – The pistol gives you a powerful bouncing defensive shot, while Illusionary Duelist summons a phantasm to barrage enemies with its duel pistols. I have no idea why your illusions can use two pistols but you can’t.
Sword (OH) – The off-hand sword gives more ways of creating cillusions. Illusionary Repost creates a clone if you’re attacked, or you can daze enemies if you aren’t attacked. Illusionary Swordsman creates a blade-wielding phantasm to attack your foes.
Torch – The torch gives you a nice stealth combined with blinding and burning for enemies. Illusionary Mage also summons a phantasm to confuse enemies and give retaliation to allies.
Spear – The spear is weapon that gives a lot of extra evasion and movement effects underwater. Feigned Surge moves you toward the enemy and teleports you back, leaving a clone behind. Illusionary Mariner creates a phantasm that attacks enemies while dodging.
Trident – The trident causes confusion to enemies and gives a decent amount of defense through blinding and sinking foes. Spinning Revenge gives nearby allies retaliation while creating a clone. Illusionary Whaler creates a phantasm that shoots enemies with a harpoon gun. Again, I’m not sure why your illusions can use weapons that you can’t, but we’ll go with it.
Mesmer’s slot skills are just as sporadic in effect as the rest of the mesmer skills, creating a truly unpredictable profession. Of their healing skills, Mantra of Recovery provides the most amount of healing over any period of time, but it requires you to cast it ahead of when you need it with a long cast time. Ether Feast heals you and gives you extra health for each illusion you have active. Mirror reflects incoming projectiles and heals you, making it the best in a tight pinch to make up for its long recharge.
Glamour – Glamour skills have various AoE effects with various purposes. The most well-known of these skills are Portal Entre and Portal Exeunt, which create a two-way portal that you and your allies can use with a HUGE range.
Manipulation – Manipulations are several miscellaneous skills without any real common point. From Mimic’s ability to absorb and reflect projectiles to Blink’s teleportation, there’s really nothing that ties these together aside from the name.
Mantra – Mantras are all very powerful skills that can be used any time, even while casting another spell, without interrupting the current action. To make up for this, mantras must be pre-cast before use and have a long cast time.
Signet – As with all signets, each skill has a passive effect that can be put on recharge for its activated component. There’s nothing overly special about the mesmer’s signets, though Signet of Illusions plays handily with the mesmer’s class mechanics.
Elite – The mesmer has three very powerful elites. Mass Invisibility has an extremely short recharge for an elite and stealths you and your allies. Time Warp creates an AoE that gives you and allies quickness, doubling your skill recharges and casting speeds. Moa Morph is a fun skill that turns your target into a moa, complete with moa skills.
The mesmer’s five trait lines draw their names from GW mesmer attributes and themes of the mesmer class. The final trait line has the mesmer-only attribute, Guile, which reduces the recharge on shattering illusions.
Domination (Pow/Exp) – The minor traits give extra ways to cause vulnerability and increase damage to inactive foes. The major traits cause clones to cripple when damaged, buff shatters, add confusion to glamour AoEs, increase signet recharge speed, buff power while wielding a greatsword, cause torch skills to rmove conditions, add stun to dazes, and allow (non-healing) mantras to be used twice per channel. The final skills are Confounding Suggestions and Harmonious Mantras.
Dueling (Pre/Pro) – The minor traits add vigor to criticals, create clones when you dodge, and cause illusions to confuse when killed. The major traits cloak and clone you when below 25 percent health, increase the range of manipulations, buffs mantras, phantasms fury, cause illusions to bleed enemies on criticals, and give you fury when you interrupt foes. The final traits are Blurred Inscriptions and Protected Mantras.
Chaos (Tou/Con) – The minor traits give regeneration at 75 percent health, add protection to regeneration, and buff condition damage. The major traits give you chaos armor when you rally, cause random conditions when clones are killed, buff reviving, give retaliation when downed, add extra effects to interrupting, increase toughness with staff and trident, increase cloaking (stealth) duration, reduce incoming damage for each illusion you have, reduce manipulation recharges, and remove conditions when you use signets. The final traits are Cleansing Inscriptions and Prismatic Understanding.
Inspiration (Vit/Com) – The minor traits buff phantasms. The major traits increase movement speed for each active illusion, buff glamour skills, reflect projectiles while reviving, remove conditions when healing, increase phantasm health, reflect projectiles with focus skills, add extra healing, give vigor to allies when shattering illusions, and buff condition damage with scepters. The final traits are Restorative Illusions and Restorative Mantras.
Illusions (Mal/Gui) – The minor traits buff shattering and reduce recharges on skills that create illusions. The major traits increase your damage for each active illusion, buff shattering illusions, add confusion to blindness and increase confusion duration, add reflection to distortion (evading attacks), cause glamour skills to blind, and add retaliation to Cry of Frustration. The final traits are Illusionary Persona and Imbued Diversion.
The mesmer isn’t hard to do okay with in PvE, but takes a bit of learning to do well. In PvP, the mesmer is easily the hardest class to learn and master. Not only do PvP mesmers have to learn how to use their skills and learn a build that works for them, but they also have to learn how to visually deceive other players by blending in with their clones. If you’re a PvE player, mesmers aren’t bad for a first profession, but I’d really pick another profession to start out PvP.
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