Illusionary Speculation

October 6, 2011 at 7:23 pm | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 26 Comments
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Only one silhouette remains.

The release of the 8th profession approaches, though no one can say when. The class that will “appeal to fans of the mesmer”, the last scholar class, and a class that has been described as “controversial”. It seems almost certain to be the mesmer, but how would that be controversial?

Mesmers were mentioned outright in both novelizations of Guild Wars 2. They were a pet class of Arenanet during the original Guild Wars. As a profession that interrupted skills, diverted them, or controlled action, they are a class that on the surface most would say fits seamlessly into the control/support/damage scheme that Arenanet is trying to promote.

I wrote about the future direction I saw for the mesmer almost exactly a year ago. There I comment on just how much of the old professions mechanics are not applicable in Guild Wars 2, so I won’t repeat myself, but essentially a good case can be made that the mesmer may be significantly different.

I still think it’s going to be a mesmer and going to focus on control, but lately I’ve been open to the idea that we could be surprised by what we find when it’s revealed.

One idea that has been percolating in my head that even I don’t put too much weight in is the notion of the swashbuckler.

Mesmers have always had this classy, aristocratic, and charming feel to them. Their armour was typically elegant and proper, sometimes roguish and beguiling. Customized features were coiffed and courtly.

That seems out of place in Guild Wars 2. Time has moved forward, things have changed. While there is a storyline involving human nobility, mesmers don’t fit in that way with the other races. Aside from that, if you look at the classic idea of a sophisticated and elegant adventuerer, you get people more along the lines of Errol FLynn in various movies. A swashbuckler.

Everyone speculating about the mesmer seems entirely convinced that the mesmer, in addition to spellcasting weapons, will use pistols and a sword. The old mesmer skill Illusionary Weaponry encouraged squishy spellcasters to join in on melee, usually with a sword. Pistols just seem like a mesmer weapon, the nobility of pistols at dawn seems appropriate. All of these things seem like they could both match the description of a mesmer and a swashbuckler.

There’s also the possibility that the influence of pirates could be seen. They’re certainly a problem in Tyria, and we’ve seen good and bad pirates alike in the demo and novels. A good swashbuckler is usually a pirate in disguise.

If the new mesmer is less a spellcaster and more of a swashbuckling light armour class, I could see that as being controversial.

But I’m just speculating, and I still think it’s probably just going to be a mesmer. Only different.

Side note: Thieves vs mesmers or ninjas vs pirates…. same argument?



  1. I agree with your thoughts. We are likely to see a swashbuckler style mesmer 2.0. It fits with the aristocratic idea and pays homage to the early concept art of the mesmer with a sword. Very Shakespeare.

    I don’t think it will be an outright pirate anymore than the thief is an outright ninja. I think if people want to play those professions off as such, they’re welcome to fight in the streets for supremacy.

    Still, a swashbuckler style mesmer fits better with non-human races. The aristocratic mesmer of old was very human-centric. It fit the culture. I can’t picture a charr in a frilly shirt or billowing gown.

    It is a caster profession though, so it can’t be too hearty. I could envision a swashbuckler character to be more of an adventurer profession than caster. It fits better. And then there’s the role from GW1 of interrupts, energy steal, dominance, etc (most of which are foreign concepts in GW2).

    I’m seeing a caster profession with heavy use of illusions for survivability. Strong control ability–what we’d expect from a mesmer–but also able to solo fairly well and survive a few attacks from a greatsword. Necromancers have death shroud and life steals for survivability. Elementalists have water and earth attunements for healing and protection (read: survivability). Mesmers need something to keep them from being squishy. Illusions, illusory weapons, and perhaps summoned phantasms all sound plausible to me.

    Interrupts work in GW2 through effects such as daze, knockdown, knockback, launch, and stun. Tie these effects to a spammable, instant recharge weapon skill (I think the mesmer should have one on each weapon) and you’ve reclaimed the mesmer’s GW1 interrupts. These can be handled by spells or, if you’re feeling clever, pistol shots. There’s already a precedent for it.

    Add in a melee weapon that is not a dagger (e.g., sword or axe, though more than likely sword) and allow for dual wielding pistols and you’ve got your swashbuckler. Rangers are much more mobile with a sword and don’t get me started on thieves. Again, there is a precedent.

    Where I finally come down from all this speculation is what will make the mesmer unique. Honestly? That’s a stab in the dark at this point. Interrupts? Not likely as the unique mechanic. Illusions? Nah, more like what we see from guardians as regular skills. If I was a betting man, I’d say mantras and/or stances. These were pretty unique to mesmers in GW1 and they offer the opportunity for role change in a profession we’ve seen wearing masks for years now. Mantras that augment spellcasting would be smart (e.g., a mantra that reduces all cast/recharge times to zero for a duration; a mantra that causes all skills for the next X seconds to interrupt; etc). Another non-stretch idea would be “mantra of the warrior” that buffs your health and defense, gives you an illusory greatsword for a duration. You could make a “mantra” for each profession and turn the mesmer into a profession chameleon (not my favorite idea, but a possibility).

    So that’s where I’m at. A swashbuckler is a distinct possibility, but there are lots and lots of alternatives–some more GW1 mesmery and some not so much. All that remains is that I’m excited to finally find out.

    • I totaly agree with this… I wonder if the “mesmer” will use a torch… Isnt ranger and guardian the only 2 classes that use torches?

      • I suppose its possible, but it doesn’t really seem like a mesmer thing to me.

        • I suppose thats tru… But i never imagined a ranger with a greatsword either.

    • No I don’t think a mesmer will be an out and out pirate either, but from some of the 3d modeling we do know that pirates will have quite an influence and as time moves on and we see more and more pirates, it just seems like mesmers almost have to take a large chunk of their charisma from them.

  2. I’ve also felt about the possibility of a corsair or swashbuckler aesthetic fit to the mesmer. I’m mainly just hoping that the mesmer inherits some Ritualist aspects, possibly concerning illusions replacing spirits in some way.

    • I wouldn’t put much hope into the ritualist aspect, guardian seems to be the only likely candidate for ritualist like spells and spirits.

  3. My bets on a pure control class, an offensive control. Mind control, backfire type of mesmer. Sword and pistols sounds fine.
    Not sure how they’ll do it, given that the human starting sequences ask if your noble or not, I doubt theyll make it noble or that would make it a bit strange.
    I want to see a lot of control type mechanics, get it wrong and youll get killed though they did say the hardest profession is already out. bummer.
    I guess near the end of the month in paris.

    • I’m sorry, which did they say is the hardest profession?

      • Yeah they mentioned the theif as being the hardest. The war and Ellie the easiest. They were talking in terms of mechanics btw not OP-ness

    • I think it’ll rely heavily on control but not necessarily “pure” control. My guess is the mesmer will be out pretty soon as well.

  4. Doesn’t the “swashbuckler” concept step on the toes of the adventerer classes? ANet has done a fantastic job of giving each class it’s own “vibe” so far, and it seems like they would continue that with the final one.
    “Mind over Matter” seems to be the theme they would go for with the 8th class “that will appeal to fans of the Mesmer.”
    Illusionary magic for certain, but also perhaps telekinetics – literally mind over matter, and then there is also the concept of “mind control” that seems like it should be somewhere in the mix (perhaps being able to take temporary control of mobs as a pet? …or maybe as simple as a longer duration stun.)
    It seems like there is still a spot open for more of an “old-school” arcane, wizardy type spell slinger.
    Bolts of pure ethereal energy
    Telekinetic knock back (or knock down)
    Conjure phantasm (except this time it creates literally a doppleganger of the mob which then forces them fight one another for at least a short time.)
    The whole reflective force thing like the GW Empathy skill.
    Time manipulation skills – your skill recharges take longer and mine go quicker, or a lieteral “time out” healing skill.
    Temporary illusionary creatures to serve as some sort of minions.
    Implosions of concussive force thru telekinetics.
    Ethereal mists (aoe) that literally obscures sight on a small part of the battlefield creating a new obstacle to manuveur around or through temporarily.
    you know…. “Magic”
    I can’t remember where, but I’m sure I’ve made a comment like this somewhere else before on the interwebs. I just hope some industrious ANet employee saw it said, “hmmm…. hey guys…”
    As far as weapons are concerned; elegant would be the watch word. Swords yes, but rapiers for fencing, not broadswords for hacking. Daggers, and Staves and Scepters would all fit well also. If there must be a firearm then pistols would be acceptable surely. It would almost be better without the swords or pistols. We already have a theif class in dashing black leather outfits weilding swords and pistols… let them have their schtick.

    • I like you ideas I could certainly live with this. Good post. Which bit is controversial bit but? That’s why I am going with mind control and feedback spells which most nongw players might think is controversial but probably not most gw players

    • It’s fair speculation about the wizardly elements, but I don’t think a swashbuckler necessarily has to wear leather armour or be an adventurer class. At least there isn’t any strict rule to it. Some swashbucklers wear nothing but an open shirt and pants, not the heavier leather bound stuff. That matches some of the light armoured classes we’ve seen. I think a swashbuckler is adventurous in a more broad sense.

  5. From what we have seen in the proffessions so far in terms of distance I guessed

    Close range: you will be able ‘hurt’/’effect’ those that touch you(an aura you apply to yourself),

    Mid range: there should be some kind of ‘pull’/’push’ skill(to further control distance),

    Long range: something that slows(with conditions) and/or effects the enemys ability to move.

    • Well I’ll have to come back to this comment to see if you were right. Although I’d say a slow down probably comes with every profession.

  6. Well my thought is somewhat against the swashbuckler because that name alludes to a heavier armor type to me. I think leather armors, not cloths. Plus, I figure they’ll definitely want to stick with the whole theatrical appeal of the previous Mesmer. Masks and fancy gowns, etc.
    Being that the class is being described as controversial I doubt it’ll just be a “mesmer” again. As far as play style, the issue with a class that is all about control is that it doesn’t really allow for soloing and has diminished usefulness in situations where control isn’t needed for the encounter. Of course, every encounter could be tuned to require control effects when in a group situation but then you run into problems with making the new mesmer be required in every group. This is a mistake made in MMOs from pre-WoW that I doubt would be made again.
    So my thought is that a heavy CC class when most other classes have very little to no hard CC isn’t likely. I think a buff/debuff class is more likely if following that route.
    That said, I don’t believe the new class will be either of those things. Currently the game has no melee casters and only 3 of the 8 classes are melee at all. I have a feeling that the new class will be something more along the lines of the Herald of Xotli from Age of Conan, a melee caster class.
    So back to the beginning maybe a swashbuckler isn’t out of the question. Maybe something like a bard, minstrel, musketeer, performer, acrobat would be a similar concept to the swashbuckler. If they go full caster perhaps illusionist or enchanter, maybe a psionic, hypnotist, etc. if they go the psychic concept over magic as a power source.
    Anyways, class titles are just guesses. I strongly believe the class with maintain the theatrical look of the mesmer and I somewhat believe it’ll be a more melee or close range class… beyond that everything is “up in the air” for me.

    • The problem I have with your theory is there are actual Mesmers with the title Mesmer mentioned all throughout Edge of Destiny, so if the 8th class is representative of GW1’s mesmer, then it I believe it simply must be called “Mesmer.”

    • Hard to figure out just what you’re thinking from this comment but I don’t think we’re really all that far apart. A swashbuckler aesthetic with a mesmer profession is really all I’m saying.

  7. […] Speculation About Guild Wars 2 Eigth Profession | Hunter’s Insight Share […]

  8. Nope, the revised mesmer profession will be an evolution of the original. While some NPCs (Queen Jennah) still practice the old ways, the new form will be: ‘The Raconteur’. Using wit, sarcasm, a knowing glance, or a devastating flirtatious smile; they’ll defeat even the most dangerous opponent using humorous anecdotes or a timely backhanded compliment. Weapons will be: hand fan, powdered wig, incredibly expensive glass of champagne, golden walking stick, and dinner party invitation.
    As with the more technological profs originating from the asura or charr, this would seem mostly for humans, yet like those others anyone could be a raconteur. Since the later revealed professions are, in theory, a bit harder to play, this ties in as quite a challenge: the witty norn, a wig wearing sarcastic charr, flirtatious asuran , or a naive sylvari dealing with the horror and backstabbing of polite society dinner etiquette. 🙂

    • Who says an evolution rules out swashbuckling? Wit strikes for 20 damage! critical hit.

  9. […] Speculation About Guild Wars 2 Eigth Profession | Hunter’s Insight Share […]

  10. I have said it before and i will say it again:

    Mesmers will be controversial because they will be “pet class” with human/charr/whatever sentient humanoid thralls.

    • Well it’s an interesting theory, do you have any evidence to support it?

      • the queen and thackery; mesmer and pet. you know he was mindcontrolled or mesmerised somehow….

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