The Mesmer. The master of the mind, the scoundrel of the arcane and clearly the most fashion-forward profession in the Guild Wars-verse. I need to point out that there is no official confirmation that Mesmers are the 8th profession. This post is 100% speculation or analysis of information that leads me to believe without doubt that the Mesmer will be our final scholar. I also want to have a shout out to Conjure Phantasm, a blog devoted entirely to the Mesmer.
Evidence that Mesmers are more than just an illusion
Gosh, where to begin? I suppose we can start with some of the less solid but more commonly known pieces of information. Mesmers were in GW1. That isn’t saying everything there is to say because we know the Monk isn’t returning, but all of the other core 6 are at this point. Mesmers are/were believed to be one of the most unique professions in GW1. There aren’t many MMORPGs out there that have entire professions being dedicated to essentially being the counter-profession. Any of you who play Magic: The Gathering would know that Mesmers were basically the Blue Magic of GW1. They are both complicated and subtle. If nothing else, those are reasons Mesmers should be in GW2.
We know that they are still around at least in the game world during the events of GW2. The books specifically name drop Mesmer magic, in fact the Queen of the humans is a Mesmer. While the books are not specifically accurate with regard to gameplay mechanics, only one other profession was ever specifically named in the books, that being the Necromancer, and that was released shortly before the Necromancer was revealed to be in the game. Circumstantial? Definitely. It’s still another piece of the puzzle though and shouldn’t be discounted, not to mention the fact that they proved that Mesmers are powerful in the GW2-verse in the book. Speaking of Mesmers in the world, there were Mesmer ghosts in the open house event in the catacombs of Ascalon. Now, many are quick to point out that Monks were also there. While true, and while they are there to represent the classes of old, I feel it bears mentioning most of the monk skills are shared with the Guardian skills and it would only be fair for the Mesmers to have some skills from their real counterparts. Again, just more little things to note.
We’ve had evidence from long ago however. Back at GDC 2010 there was a long slide-show of concept art. This was even back before the Elementalist was first revealed that year. Mixed into that slide show was a set of 5 pictures that all shared a very common design aesthetic:
Now, when these were released, Guru (and others) were quick to point out the aesthetic similarities, and profession speculations were abound. Some of them were fairly obviously from GW1, namely the first two being Warrior and Ranger. Many called the black one a Thief or Rogue (assuming that the name Assassin would be changed), the blue one became known lovingly by many as Blue Mace Lady (or BML), and the final one was strongly suspected to be a Mesmer by many. Some time passed, and we were greeted by the introduction of the first official profession, the Elementalist:
Now, the visual similarity between this one and the others is hard to deny. Still, many resisted the thought that we had caught a sneak peek of the professions so early. Really though, the Warrior is what settled it, followed by the Ranger:
These two images were 99% the same (approximation of course). The only real difference for the Warrior is that he is holding a sword instead of a hammer… even the pose is the same. The ranger has a bird in the picture, otherwise pretty much the same. At this point most of us knew we were onto something and all there was remaining to do was guess what the other three from GDC were going to be/be called, and what the mysterious 8th profession was. It was mysterious because there was no concept art, not because it was the last to be revealed; the Engineer has since fit that spot. When BML was officially revealed as the Guardian and the black clad fighter was the Thief, in my eyes the Mesmer was all but guaranteed to use that pink-purple picture for its art.
That’s enough talk about the art though. Onto the other piece of almost irrefutable evidence. Earlier in the year, back when the Guardian, Thief and Engineer were unrevealed, it was explicitly stated by ANet staff (though I am forgetting specifically who at the moment) that of the remaining 4 professions, at least one would be completely new to the GW-verse, at least one would have things in common with a profession from GW1 but would be renamed and altered somewhat, and at least one would be returning from GW1 in name. Looking at the roster, the Engineer is quite obviously something new and the Guardian is something blue (har har). Seriously though, the Guardian clearly gets a lot of inspiration from both prot and smiting monks in GW1, both in feel and even in skill names, as does the Thief from the Assassin in both skill names and somewhat playstyle. That covers the completely new and the heavily influenced classes, but leaves out the returning in name class. With only one left, the final profession must logically be a returning profession. We know it isn’t Monk. That leaves us with: Dervish, Paragon, Assassin, Ritualist and Mesmer. We know it is a scholar profession, so that pretty much rules out Paragon. We know that Assassin is clearly heavily in the design of Thief and Dervishes don’t make as much sense in the multi-racial and multi-religious culture of GW2, not to mention they aren’t scholars anyway. That leaves the Ritualist and the Mesmer. Now, I know that lots of people like Rits, but let’s be honest: Mesmers are far more iconic to GW1, and that picture sure looks a lot like a mesmer. And they were name dropped. And I want them.
There are of course a few smaller hints like the fact that interviewers have been emphasizing things like “Will the final profession blow our minds?” and the ANet folks have played along nicely without explicitly saying anything. They have said that the final profession will perhaps be the most complex and play the most differently- I can think of no profession that fits that bill better. Besides, one of the most iconic GW1 characters and most memorable mascots Gwen was a mesmer. So there you go, there is my grand speculation.
The Mesmer’s theoretical arsenal
- On Hand: Scepter, Dagger, Sword, Pistol?
- Off Hand: Dagger, Focus, Warhorn, Pistol?
- Two Hands: Staff
I think it is a given that Mesmers will wield scepters, focuses and staffs. They are mages after all, those seem to be pretty standard fare here. I don’t think their list will be quite that extensive as 9 weapons is more than almost every other profession. Aside from the caster weapons though, I feel the Mesmer has a very roguish feel to it. Not necessarily in that Thief kind of way, but more in that charming show-off bard kind of way. Swords, daggers and pistols all fit the aesthetic I’m talking about here. Also, they would be the only magical profession to have access to pistols which would be kind of neat.
What I think Mesmers will do
Overall I feel that Mesmers will lean more toward the Control end of the role spectrum. That’s where I would have put them in GW1, and I think their overall feeling would be most suited for it. Obviously they will be able to deal damage; every class in GW2 is able to do that. Whether that will be primarily from conditions or simply magical damage is hard to say. ANet has explicitly stated that hexes aren’t in GW2 largely because of their complexity to the system and the more casual player. That said, there is still plenty of room to have magically inflicted conditions. Immobilize, Daze, Stun, Knockdown, Chill and Blind all work just fine as magical purple swirls and zaps instead of physically having them done to you. Blackout is reported to be a condition, and no other profession can inflict it thus far, which is yet another strong point in favor of the Mesmer’s existence given that blackout was a skill in GW1 that did the same thing (locks out all skills for both players). My hope is that their illusion skills from GW1 will summon magical phantoms that live a short time and attack foes, simulating the degen over time effect but much more obviously and prettily.
Why this profession will be for you
If you like playing something that is tactically demanding but exacts a heavy toll of frustration upon opponents when successfully mastered, you will want to be a Mesmer. If you have a flair for the dramatic or theater, Mesmers are consummate performers. If you love pink, magenta and purple, you’ll be in luck.
Again: All of this is speculation. There is no official confirmation that Mesmers are playable professions in GW2. I just assume they are. This is purely for fun.