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GW2 Upcoming Mesmer Changes with Balance Patch

GW2 Mesmers will be receiving some major changes with the upcoming balance patch.
A message from Robert Gee, Guild Wars 2 Systems Team:

Today I wanted to give you all a heads up on some important changes coming to the mesmer profession in the coming update. These changes affect phantasms, which are a core part of the mesmer profession mechanic (illusions) and as a result, will have a large effect on how the mesmer profession plays after the update.

In one sentence, these changes can be summed up as, “Phantasms become clones after their initial attack.”

Here are the specific details of how it works:

  • Phantasms no longer will persist indefinitely. Instead, a phantasm will attack once and then automatically be destroyed. If interrupted during its attack the phantasm also will be destroyed.
  • Phantasms still can be targeted by skills and take damage while alive. Phantasms can be destroyed by damaging skills before they finish their attack.
  • A destroyed phantasm will be replaced with a clone based on your current weapon set. This clone will spawn regardless of how the phantasm was destroyed. The clone is spawned at the location of the phantasm at the time it was destroyed.
  • Shatter skills no longer destroy phantasms, and phantasms no longer count towards the maximum illusion limit.

This is a pretty large gameplay shift so I wanted to talk a little bit about why we are doing this and what it means for your mesmer gameplay.

The Illusion of Choice

Mesmers always have had a tension between clones and phantasms; this tension was designed into the profession when the game launched. The idea was that shattering clones would be good for burst damage while leaving phantasms active would be an option for sustained damage. Choosing whether or not to shatter was intended to be one of the core decision points for those playing mesmer.

However we’ve discovered as the game has developed and evolved that providing this tension usually ends up removing the incentive to use the profession’s core mechanic and leads to more passive gameplay. This can be seen in a lot of “optimized” builds for mesmers involving summoning three phantasms and then auto-attacking for extended periods of time in order to avoid destroying the phantasms by using another illusion skill.

Mirrored Gameplay

In the past, we’ve made some corrections to professions with this type gameplay as seen with the changes to the warrior’s Adrenal Health and Berserker’s Power traits, which previously rewarded saving adrenaline over spending it. Phantasms are a mechanic entirely based on discouraging the use of shatter skills and as a result, correcting this has touched a larger number of skills and traits than it did for warrior. However our primary goal with these changes is the same: to create a more active profession gameplay loop that rewards spending profession resources over saving them. For mesmer this means play patterns which revolve around generating and shattering clones while phantasms can be summoned for utility, bursts of damage, or some combination of the two.

Power Return

Because the power level of phantasm skills and traits usually assume that the phantasm will not be destroyed immediately, we have done an extensive balance pass on all skills and traits related to phantasms as well as several related traits and skills. We’ve also taken this opportunity to re-evaluate some of the under-performing phantasms to rework them into more impactful skills. For example, the Phantasmal Defender skill now taunts foes instead of buffing allies and the Phantasmal Warlock skill summons two phantasms, each with a new attack.

Phantasmal Feedback

While we’re committed to making this change to phantasms as we feel it will improve the gameplay health of the mesmer profession, we also recognize that there will be an adjustment period where players will need to adapt to these changes. This is one of the largest changes we’ve undertaken for a single profession short of creating new specializations, and we realize that it may be jarring to some players. We’ll be watching the feedback on our official forums after these changes go live and make adjustments where necessary.

P.S. I’m sure that at least a few of you are wondering what this phantasm change means for Chronomancers in raids because the phantasmal avenger is a key component of keeping up alacrity for the party. For more information, please read today’s forum post about alacity.


By Dulfy

MMO guide writer and blogger. Currently playing and covering SWTOR, GW2, and TSW.

44 replies on “GW2 Upcoming Mesmer Changes with Balance Patch”

RIP Mesmer profession.

It was a decent class while it lasted. I guess we have to wait for another year or so for the devs to get their head out of their backside and revert the changes back… they tend to be rather slow on bad decisions realisation.

Thank god I leveled other professions out of boredom earlier. Guess my Mesmer will now be just a pretty barbie mule…

I like it conceptually – as they listed the exact feeling I had while playing mesmer. No idea what it does to the classes viability though.

Same. And I’ve learned to never underestimate the playerbase and their ability to find new/unintended uses for drastically altered professions.

Since I’ve done an extended break from GW2 for almost 1 year+ now. I’ve to say, that the method that made Chrono-phantasm spam that was popular in PvP. I literally made up within the first 30 seconds of trying it out in the beta. It’s was quite fun how long it lived. It was like having a gattling-gun of Shatters condi burst. And if they managed to get close? I could just distortion/Block and then summon even more. After after a full “cycle” aka F1 and F2 with the alacrity. I would have enough to do another round of phantasms to just indefinitely spam it.

Chronomancer is the single most OP and irreplaceable profession for every party scenario for well over 2 years now. Saying it was “decent” is not even an understatement – it’s a lie.
Even if Mesmer becomes a trash tier (which is highly unlikely) for next 4 years, Mesmer mains would still enjoy longer viability period than Necros ever did.

I have found it interesting that the old raids never seem to become easier. I was expecting class diversity and minor power creep to eventually make them less intense – instead you get these global party nerfs which keep the difficulty up.

Yeah, especially things like the first alacrity nerf and Grace of the Land rework counterbalanced (is that a word?) the powercreep… for now.

Eventually it may reach a point where ANet does a flat balance pass over the raids and reduce boss HP and damage, but I wouldn’t hold my breath for it. It’s a shame, really, because I think that power creep could ironically be a GOOD thing for raids. As an example, look at what happened to dungeons. At launch, dungeons were basically where raids are now; dominated by a “meta”, and if you didn’t conform to that meta, you got kicked. Then HoT came out, and the power creep it brought via Ascended gear, new stats and elite specs made it so just one or two good players could carry a team of newbies. And just like that, dungeons became fun and accessible again. You could just grab a PUG, head in, and as long as one or two people could explain to the rest what to do, you had decent chances of completing the dungeon within a fair amount of time. If it wasn’t for the fact that dungeon rewards got seriously nerfed, I bet you’d see a lot more people doing dungeons now.

Two things. The first is that while powercreep would help a bit in most raids, lots of raids only wipe if you step in the fire, not if you produce low dps – and in those mechanics based raids, slightly stronger classes would have no effect on the ability of pugs to complete them.
The other thing is that as far as I can tell there has been powercreep to most the newer classes but in the form of jack-of-all-trades+1 instead of master-of-a-niche+1. In the newer classes, you rewarded with a few stacks of might, fury and occasionally even swiftness if you pull of the combos correctly. The issue with this is that in raids you don’t want a % of your classes’ power going into providing fury as other classes are dedicated to capping boon uptime – which means the newer classes which provide lots of little boons are less optimised for group play then the old classes which do one thing very well.
Additionally if you required to keep track of more complex rotations in raids which feature complex rotations, you likely to either lose track of what’s going on in the raid and wipe the group or greatly mess up your rotation to keep up with the raid – which drops your effectiveness below hot classes. Obviously this isn’t an issue for pros but it makes optimal play in pugs much harder and much less likely to happen on a random grouping. The other issue with the newer professions is that their odd mechanics are often at odds with the exact positioning required for raids. In raids you have to move in very specific ways for most of the time – then when you consider the random teleports of mirage, the rooting of deadeye and the stationary condi puddles of reaper you start to see a bit of an issue. Any profession mechanic which impedes your heroes sword-up-bosses-butt uptime is inefficient damage wise and is likely to get you killed in the fire zones :/

When you play mesmer you are either pure power or pure condition damage. You choose your weapons and your utilities.

What is anet talking about? There is no tension… it is called playstyle…

I wonder how are the going to revamp EVERY utility phantasm without destroying the skill.

Edit: RIP OP Mesmer Chronomancers. Saying the profession is dead because it actually might begin to require skill to face roll opponents is highly inaccurate.

My main issue is that even on a power build I was doing next to zero damage. It was hard as is to finish solo living story instance achievements which require a time limit. Now I’ll have to switch to a new dps character just to do the LS which is a pain since I did all past ones on this one. But yeah I don’t really give a rat’s ass what the profession was like in pvp or in group content, my problem is its a pain for solo play, and since anet insist on solo instances in LS sometimes, it becomes a pain to play a class that does zero damage.

I’m amazed at how people can state that changes are going to ruin a classes dps, when they haven’t even SEEN what they really are, or how they actually play.

I have played since the changes. Condi Mirage as power was worthless as hitting them with tissue paper. With condi I had decent damage and was not a drag on my party, I could get up as the clones finished off an almost downed enemy. Now I die continually ,and do less damage than I did as a power mirage before I retooled for condi -all ascended. Put a fork in the class – it’s effectively dead except for people needing portaling for their guild or running trains.

Im honestly not sure if this is a nerf or a buff based on how current mesmers play it sees more like a buff to me than a nerf even more so with the chronomancer spec. It now means you get way more shatters per second when using chornophantasma for example.

I think its not necessarily intended as a nerf or a buff (even though of course, it will end up as one, no doubt). The intention I believe is just to give mesmers a more active style of play, and to make the mechanics more straight forward. Clones are easy to understand, they distract from the main player, and are otherwise useless until shattered. But then phantasms exist, with sustained, ramp-damage ability, the average player wouldn’t know whether to shatter or build up damage in a gimicky fashion. I think Anet wants to simplify and streamline the mesmer concept, clones are now made to be shattered, and the phantasms will do a flashy cool trick before disappearing (basically a spell with a health bar). Its a lateral change, rather than a buff or nerf.

any mesmer who left his clones on autopilot just told everyone which one he is. Clones have a slower rate of fire and generally don’t move unless chasing their target to being it back in range. I’d kill him in an instant – as would most players. I think this myth about Mesmer plays just drinking coffee while using auto attack is false and needs to die. And I played a condi mirage until yesterday, because it’s worthless in PvE and PVP/WVW now. Switch to my weaver with a sword/dagger because the ele – yes the ele – is now more survivable and does crazy DPS compared to the crappy DPS of the Mesmer.

Having played since the update as a condi mirage axe/pistol. Its a massive nerf. There is no buff about it. My survivability has been trashed, and my ups in PvP went from 240k per match to 30k per match – though yesterdays update patch brought that up to 120k. The PvE nerf is about 40%. My mirage is now a very good looking portaling service and nothing more. He’s not fit for combat as he can’t do decent DPS, and he can’t get up from downed nearly so well. What they needed was class balance in PvP and WvW, instead of nerfing mesmers – they needed to match players by class so that a Mesmer was balanced by a guardian or necro to keep the teams even. Trying to make all classes equally competitive against each other in WvW and PvP is a huge mistake. What they should be doing (and they are rewording the WvW system no so it can be incorporated) is put my Mesmer back like it was and implement CLASS BALANCING so that you don’t have a team of mostly mesmers up against a team of mostly engineers for instance. Classes are like rock/paper/scissors. Mesmers are not the be-all-end-all class – necros and guardians and even eles can mess us up terribly (even before the nerf I was worried about guardians and necros in PvP). Balance the teams by class, and stop destroying the class mechanics that a class competitive as anything but a taxi service for guild puzzle missions and newbies needing mastery points.

On one hand I’m pissed at drastic changes to a core mechanic.
On the other hand, I’m super happy to be able to use phantasms as Mirage, and I understand their reasoning, so I can’t be mad.

Maybe if shatters could apply lots of condis to the enemies condi mesmers would shatter the illusions instead of maintaining them.

Why dont they change the shatter mechanic itself?

If you have never been hit by a cond mesmers shatters you would know that the shatters do infact apply some of the hardest condi burst in the game right now. Even more so with mirage.

No one eve leaves their phantasms up they just insta shatter them for burst. At least in pvp mesmer is the only class that can condi bomb you and insta melt you with little time to react.

I personally think its the mesmers ability to perform the most actions in a single instant than any other class that makes it op. Being able to dodge/be invuln, while casting a channeled spell and shattering while teleporting or mantra stunning is pretty broken imo. No other profession can do as many actions per second as mesmer can.

Now Hopefully these changes the shattering mechanic will change that a bit.

Your point is kinda unclear.
You suggest: “Why don’t they change the shatter mechanic itself [to make it viable for condi damage]?”
He explained that it CAN be viable for condi damage as is.
“So changes are unnecessary.’
So the shatter mechanic does or doesn’t need an update to improve condi burst?

As I see, there are some points are missing here: illusions are not live after their target is dead. They are also fragile, but in some builds it been changed over years.
Feeling like all this talk about only pve content with long boss fights, raids, fractals.
Complexity of class in any other content will degrade, because one of most interesting mechanic will be replaced with row of single time use abilities. Yes, they will have very special mesmer animation: not you doing damage or perform utility action, but your phantasm.
Hard to say if community will like those changes in general, but personally for me, who choose mesmer from very beginning because of this very unique layer of gameplay it very possible be a game killer. Was waiting all this time for update in interface to keep in track who of my guys are still alive with some icons corresponding for each phantasm type, but ended up with completely removal of whole idea.

I wonder if it will have much impact on my Mirage Condition-Tank, as it used pretty much only clones (weak-sauce attacks, but the same juicy conditions). My [4]-pistol might see some more use actually.

Disappointing. One thing the dev failed to mention is the fact phantasm still dps if you are downed and can assist in rallying. Now, that is taken away from us.

Yeah but where’s my clone death traits and why is deceptive evasion still grand master? Does anyone on the dev team actually play mesmer?

Big nerf to mesmer rallying from being downed because Phantasms continue to do damage after mesmer is downed allowing the mesmer an improved chance at rallying. Now, after one attack phantasms are gone so mesmer down state recovery is reduced.

Rip, i just geared my mesmer I could sit back and spam #1 after I have my phantasms out. What am I suppose to do now? You know me; and buttons…

To be honest I think its a nice change to make mesmer being played in pve a bit more. Right now mesmer is prob the least played class in pve. So having a change in the class mechanic will make it so some ppl will be willing to try it out. For right now phantasms are boring as hell. The only reason I don’t main chrono is because its boring to play in pve, you cast 3 phantasm’s off CD and gg try not to fall asleep waiting for CD.

What are you talking about? Chronomancer is the most important class in pve like fractals and raids and it is played alot because of that.

I am now playing my sword/dagger condi weaver in PvE because it is more survivable than my newly nerfed axe/pistol condi mirage in PvE (yes I played since the patch) and the weaver has way higher DPS and better survivability now thanks to the patch. My Mesmer is now for guild missions and trains so I can portal people who fall. He’s not a viable fighter with these changes. I’m terribly disappointed because Mesmer was my favorite to play for the fun factor – but dying continually because you just cannot kill things decently with your DPS trashed takes all teh fun out of it – especially in PvE and doubly so in WvW and PvP – added to that the end of getting up when downed as my clones finish off the bad guy and I’m unimpressed. May delete him and put a necro in the slot, and let some other sucker do the portaling. Glad I finished my griffon with my Mesmer before the patch or I’d be screwed because he couldn’t fight his way out of a paper sack now.

Well THANK YOU for those changes… Oh you can’t hear the irony? Sorry. I’ll make myself clear. THANK YOU FOR RUINING MY MESMER. REALLY. I APPRECIATE. “to create a more active profession gameplay loop that rewards spending
profession resources over saving them. For mesmer this means play
patterns which revolve around generating and shattering clones”. Maybe I don’t want to shatter my clones. Maybe I like having clones around me as support. Maybe I am a player who has some health issues that mean that I can’t play “actively” and need my simple patterns. Why would you take away the choice from us? My mesmer wasn’t insanely strong, I didn’t even gave her a specialization because I wanted to make two more mesmers with a specialization each, but she was a reliable mesmer and was durable. Now? She can’t do damage and she can’t even save herself. She became useless. I can’t play her anymore. She was one of my very first characters, she’s one of my favorites and she’s the one with whom I was doing the story. THANK YOU FOR RUINING HER. THANK YOU.

Great, the reason I loved playing Mesmer you have thrown in the toilet.
Does ANET even play their own game?
WHY DID BUFF THE WARRIOR FOR PVE?? That’s the last thing you needed to do!
Same with Engineer! Are you just trying to turn everything in berserker? There is virtually no reason to pick ANYTHING else other than pure DPS.

You are making this so casual, soon I can play this on my phone. Just stop ANET. Fucking stop.

Wow..mesmer sucks so bad now. All other classes can pwn me easily. Clones die in 1 shot. We have next to zero defense now! Any AOE can just wipe us out. This is the worst. The play style sucks! If phantasms cast once then gone, they may as well not exist. May as well just be a spell. This is stupid.

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