And so it came to pass that on this day, 12/12/11, the final GW2 Profession was released. And by “released”, I actually mean “leaked ahead of time” by yet another site that has proven to be untrustworthy. This trailer was released 2 days early by Gamereactor, but of course my link goes to youtube. I would prefer to not give sites like this any traffic; it only encourages this behavior. As much as we all have been awaiting the release of the Mesmer, I don’t really think anyone is happy about this leak. Even those who participated in the colossal Mesmer thread on Guru are most likely thinking “I could have waited 2 more days”. Sure we have official confirmation, but the whole experience is just cheapened. Of course, it isn’t like this hasn’t happened before. Honestly, IIRC the first GW2 Demo, Necro, the Thief and maybe even the Guardian were all leaked prematurely. Were there any others? Honestly I don’t even remember anymore, I’m just no longer surprised by it.
It’s really a shame too. I feel really bad for pretty much everyone involved. As a blogger who doesn’t receive any kind of heads-up for news releases like some of the bigger names in the community may, even I feel a bit betrayed that they get to jump the gun so much. I don’t really mind that I have to write reactively to news; I write quickly and like to do it. That said, although I can get something out the door just a few hours after other sites, and even before some, I can’t compete with a 2-3 day early advance on the subject. I feel even worse for the people who are trusted enough to get the info and have to sit on their knowledge patiently because they are truly loyal fans, not to mention ethical journalists. Generating site traffic is hard work if you care about that sort of thing, and it sucks to feel penalized because you are being a good human. Most of all though, I feel bad for Arena Net. They have to give this info out early in order to maximize their own press. Make no mistake, getting game journalism sites and blogs the word to spread is vital to both information (vs misinformation) and to hype. Unfortunately, time and time again the larger sites have broken embargoes. Whether it is through blistering incompetence or calculated to gather site hits and steal them from others, it’s just plain awful and there is no excuse whatsoever. What can ANet do though? If any game journalists are out there that have leaked or contemplated leaking info are reading this, I implore you: DON’T DO IT. It tarnishes your name, it ruins the experience for the fans, and worst of all it probably makes the developers feel like shit. They pour so much of their lives into these games and they want to present them as best they can. Don’t be an asshole and ruin it on purpose.
Anyway, if nothing else I can do a bit of speculation based on what we say in said video leak. We don’t have the official word on any of these skills, but there are really plenty of tidbits to latch onto if one looks closely. First off, weapon sets. I’m actually pretty happy with them and only one seems a bit weird. From what we see, there are:
There might be some other weapons they can use, but that seems to be a pretty comprehensive list. Honestly, all of them fit pretty well with what I predicted except the greatsword. That said, I think that it was used in a cool way by having it hover while having spells channeled through it. Anyway, let’s just take a look at each skill section individually. The Mesmer leads in with a field that applies cloak to all allies (and himself) that enter the field. We don’t know the duration of the field or the cloak, but I’m gonna say it will probably be a few seconds at the most. We also don’t know if the cloaked players will retain the cloak for a short time if they leave the field. What I will say is that it looks to be mighty tactical, especially in PvP. The ability to set up a rapid ambush by stealthing the whole party is pretty awesome, as is its ability to sew chaos during a big fight. In PvE it will probably be used either to break aggro or potentially to just skirt past annoying enemies. Following that he uses the Inception lightning bolt. Looks like a pretty standard albeit pretty attack, but I really love the sound effect, and it shows up again. Given the history of Mesmers being tied to performing arts, I hope they have cool musical cues to many of their abilities. Anyway, onto the second video. Our little Asura leads off with some form of multiple-images that appear to be controllable, deal damage, and are able to be detonated for damage. Aesthetically I love all of it, especially that the detonation looks like shattering glass turning into butterflies. Fantastic. As for how effective it is, that depends on several things. My guess is that this is their unique mechanics. I could be wrong, but they use it in two different videos. It seems to me that they can be at least somewhat controlled, and can be detonated on purpose. That alone takes a lot of commands for just one single skills, it would be very fitting for the F1-4 keys to play into this. Further, it seems that in the second video they clones have different weapons (dual pistols vs sword and pistol) from the real Mesmer. If this is in fact their unique mechanic, I hope that it can be controlled in several ways so that you can promote trickery and slight of hand, say be having one attack, one stay still, and you attack with them. That way you can try and force enemies to figure out the real one and play on their psychology. Anyway, after that he uses a line that slows enemies and gives allies swiftness; a pretty useful dual-skill tactically speaking. It makes chasing easier by harming the foe and helping allies, but it also works in reverse; placing it in front of fleeing allies will give them a boost and slow the chasing enemies. I expect a lot of the Mesmer’s skills to have dual natures like this.
For the third video we have what I consider to be the more classical looking Mesmer: a human in a frilly purple dress with a staff. Now, what happens in this video is a bit hazy to me. It seems like she casts an AoE that stuns the enemies and perhaps inflicts random conditions? I don’t see how else that one gets poisoned. My bet is that it’s called Chaos Storm if that is the case. She also seems to cast something that lights an enemy on fire. As per the usual, the staff seems to be more AoE and condition oriented. For the next video, the Sylvari does her clone ability except this time they are using dual pistols and unleash a flurry of ranged attacks. Again, the fact that they are now attacking first, then moving in, then blowing up leads me to think this is the F1-4 mechanic due to its complexity. Finally, we get to the greatsword. He starts out by laying down a PBAoE circle of prettyness. Backpedaling a bit he drops another and reveals that it works as a two-way teleportation circle. My guess is that this will be able to be used by the Mesmer’s allies as well as himself. Again, this is a very tactical skill, especially for PvP. It completely changes the way the battlefield is perceived. Just imagine making one of those on top of the clock tower and another at ground level. Even if that is too far, you get my point. Finally, he finishes with another Inception Bolt, this time bigger. Note how when he does this, the greatsword leaves his grip and floats between his hands, acting almost like a reverse lightning rod. Really spot on with the animation.
Anyway, like I said, this whole thing is a big shame. I’m very excited to see the post on Wednesday; I’ll likely write more then.