Guild Wars Profile Preview - The Mesmer

Our series of character profiles for ArenaNet's upcoming online role-playing game continues with the subtle magic of the mesmer profession.

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As you may have heard, Guild Wars will be an online role-playing game that stresses strategic use of different combinations of skills, rather than sitting at your computer for hours, fighting the same monsters until you've reached a higher experience level than anyone else. And though the game will feature missions and wilderness areas where computer-controlled monsters wander about, just waiting to be fought, the game's primary focus will be on competitive play. In fact, the developers at ArenaNet have likened the strategy of choosing the right skills for your character to the process of building a deck of cards in the collectible-card game Magic: The Gathering. In that game, you often have a huge collection of cards, but must limit yourself to a deck of 60 cards in most tournaments--as such, the game opens up what some call a "metastrategy" of building and designing a deck before a match is even played.

The mesmer will command intricate spells that will control, rather than destroy.
The mesmer will command intricate spells that will control, rather than destroy.

The same applies to Guild Wars, a game that will let you play as a character with two professions out of a total of six. And every profession possesses a whopping 75 skills each, so every character has access to 150--but you can take only eight with you into any given battle. We'll continue our profiles of the individual professions in Guild Wars with the mesmer. Keep an eye on GameSpot's preview section of Guild Wars for more character profiles in the coming days, and have a look at the exclusive developer interview and exclusive new footage linked below. These profile stories should help you decide what kind of character you'll play in the upcoming "world preview event" on Friday, October 29, in which ArenaNet will open up a test version of the game for you to try out. If you don't make it into that weekend event, but you're a GameSpot member, don't worry--you'll also be able to try out the game the following weekend in an enhanced event that will feature even more unlocked content.

The Mesmer

Like other characters, mesmers possess signets--special skills that cost no energy to cast, but have a long recharge time. But characters who adopt this profession exert control over their enemies by means of three major sets of skills: illusion, domination, and inspiration. Illusion skills create phantom burdens that slow an enemy's movement speed or ability to use certain skills. Domination skills inflict damage and other harmful effects on enemies whenever they perform certain actions. Inspiration skills actually steal away magic energy whenever enemies use specific skills of their own. The mesmer is quite possibly the most subtle and advanced character class in Guild Wars, if for no other reason than the fact that it's the only class whose skills don't have immediate and obvious effects in battle. However, mesmers can be powerful allies who can make tough enemies much more approachable.

Characters who choose this profession don't always destroy their enemies outright. Sometimes, they don't even have to.
Characters who choose this profession don't always destroy their enemies outright. Sometimes, they don't even have to.

Attributes and Abilities

Primary Attribute:
Fast Casting

The mesmer's primary attribute, which can be used only by characters who choose the mesmer as a primary class (rather than as a secondary class), lets the character cast all spells faster than normal. While this can make mesmers' debilitating spells even more effective in weakening their enemies, the attribute also applies to the character's secondary class--so a mesmer/monk could, for instance, use this attribute to cast more healing spells more often.

Additional Abilities:
Mantras and Hexes

In addition to fast casting, mesmers have access to mantras, a unique line of skills that provide protective effects for only the mesmer character.

Mesmers also specialize in hexes, which are dolorous curses that affect enemies for a specific period of time, causing them to either sustain damage or lose energy whenever they make use of specified skills.

Skill List

Normal Skills: Please note: This skill list is based on the current, prerelease version of the game and is subject to change. Each profession possesses 75 skills total, including 50 normal skills and 25 "elite" skills. Below you can find the most current listing of normal skills. Elite skills will be revealed later. (Additionally, ArenaNet is only revealing a handful of skill descriptions for each profession at this time.)

IconSkill and Description
Arcane Conundrum
Arcane Echo
Arcane Thievery
Arcane Mimicry
Backfire
For 10 seconds, whenever a target foe casts a spell, that foe takes 70 damage.
Blackout
Channeling
Chaos Storm
Create a Chaos Storm at target foe's location. For 10 seconds, enemies near this location suffer 7 damage each second. Chaos Storm drains 15 Energy whenever it strikes a foe casting a spell.
Clumsiness
Conjure Phantasm
For 14 seconds, target foe experiences Health degeneration of 5.
Cry of Frustration
Diversion
Drain Enchantment
Elemental Resistance
Empathy
Energy Burn
Target foe loses 10 Energy and takes 4 damage for each point of Energy lost.
Energy Tap
Steal 14 Energy from target foe.
Epidemic
Ethereal Burden
Ether Feast
Target foe loses 5 Energy. You are healed 14 for each point of Energy lost.
Ether Lord
Fragility
Guilt
Ignorance
Illusion of Haste
For 11 seconds you move 50% faster than normal, and the effects of the Crippled condition are removed. When Illusion of Haste ends, you become Crippled.
Illusion of Weakness
Imagined Burden
For 20 seconds, target foe moves 33% slower than normal.
Inspired Enchantment
Inspired Hex
Leech Signet
Mantra of Concentration
Mantra of Distortion
While you maintain this "Enchantment," you have a 75% chance to "evade" attacks. Whenever you evade an attack this way, you lose 3 Energy or Mantra of Distortion ends.
Mantra of Earth
Mantra of Flame
While you maintain this "Enchantment," whenever you take fire damage, it is reduced by 50%, and you gain 1 Energy.
Mantra of Frost
While you maintain this "Enchantment," whenever you take cold damage, it is reduced by 50%, and you gain 1 Energy.
Mantra of Resolve
Mantra of Hex Shattering
Mantra of Inscriptions
Mantra of Lightning
Mantra of Persistence
Mantra of Signets
Mind Wrack
Phantom Pain
For 20 seconds, target foe suffers Health degeneration of 3. When Phantom Pain ends, that foe suffers a Deep Wound.
Physical Resistance
Power Drain
Power Leak
Power Spike
Shame
Shatter Delusions
Shatter Enchantment
Shatter Hex
Remove a "Hex" from target ally. If a Hex is removed, foes near that ally take 70 damage.
Signet of Humility
Signet of Illusions
Signet of Weariness
Soothing Images
Spirit of Failure
Spirit Shackles
Sympathetic Visage
Unnatural Signet
Wastrel's Worry

Editor's note 10/27/04: The preview originally stated Guild Wars characters could choose 10 skills, when in fact they can choose only eight. GameSpot regrets the error.

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