Wednesday, August 31, 2011

[GW2] The Mesmer

Well seeing as everyone knows it is coming, I thought I'd jot down a few ideas about the form I think the profession is returning in.

It can be hard to define a profession that was previously built around 'punishment', but have it fit in a game where each profession has more versatility in the roles they can perform, oh and hexes are no more. Mesmers, more than any other class were annoying in the wide array of hexes they had, they might even have used some obscure, useless ones just to mess with my head because I could never remember what most of them did. So the basic mechanic of most mesmer skills is no more, what could they have in their place?

I'm going with the mechanic of 'if the enemy is doing X, then Y condition is applied and/or takes damage', and twinned with the more supportive mechanic 'if your ally is doing X, then Y buff is applied and/or gains health'. I like the symmetry, and it definitely makes for a much more complicated class, but fits with the goal of having the player actively looking at their surroundings and what the enemy and other players are doing than focusing on the UI. There could be some controversy with 'if the enemy is casting a spell, then they are dazed', which is in effect an interrupt, they said they were going to play down interrupts or rather the mechanic of an 'interrupt' is no more, but instead you need to daze, stun, knockback/down/up, so it is a distinct possibility.

What appearance would I give this profession, because I think more than 'mesmer' could fit that mechanic. Arenanet has talked about creating a wide range of archetypes in the game, so there is something pleasing to everyone. There is at least two commonly occurring classes in MMOs that prove quite popular, a martial-artist/monk and a bard/minstrel. It would be odd to see a monk return with limited ally healing, but I'll leave that right there. I'm more drawn to the bard archetype, for the reason that in GW1 most mesmers tend towards the theatrical! Although, bard is likely not the right word more a travelling performer, a player or a trouper. I doubt they would go the musical instrument route which I find a bit silly in most games, but rely on the power of voice, either beguiling enemies or empowering allies. I like the concept of paragon chants and the various names indicating what effect they will have, arias, choruses, ballads and lyrics.

The profession mechanic I'm leaning towards is 'Echo/Refrain', i.e. the player can choose to extend any of their skills for a longer duration. Did I mention I'm a big fan of paragons and looking forward to a potential revamp, so I may be a little biased. Illusions, seem to come up a lot as a suggestion but I don't think it is very likely seeing as it could prove very hard to create a workable mechanic around it. Conjure phantasm/nightmare are something that I'd rather see on a necromancer, like the shadow fiends they already have, and hopefully they'll get other more ghost like minions too. Illusionary weapons if implemented is going to be too like elementalists conjures, who can call a flaming greatsword down from the sky, which would be a hard act to follow.

I can understand why they are delaying the reveal of the mesmer class, the primary mechanics may still be up in the air, after they pigeonholed themselves by deciding against the use of hexes. Whether they are called curses, debuffs, etc in other MMOs, they are so widespread in their use that it's hard to imagine a class that probably should be using them but doesn't, well I gave it my best shot.