Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Starting a Mesmer in Guild Wars 2 (Part 2 of 2)

Last week, I introduced you to the mesmer with a discussion on active combat and weapon skills. This week I take a closer look at the remaining skills, as well as underwater combat and traits.

As review, the weapon(s) you equip determine the first five skills on your bar. The sixth skill is a healing skill. You begin with Ether Feast, but you can use skill points to purchase Mirror, which reflects damage and heals. You start earning one skill point per level after level 5. You can earn additional skill points by completing skill challenges. Purchase skills by accessing the skills tab on your hero panel (H).

Before moving on to the utility and elite skills, I need to address underwater combat. When you first dive below the surface, a trident replaces whatever weapon you have equipped, and you must unlock a new set of skills. Mesmers can also equip a spear and swap between the two weapons. Try to unlock all your skills in the starting zone. If it’s not fast enough to your liking, subsequent zones have more underwater content and enemies, but you may often find yourself overwhelmed. Proceed with caution and make sure nothing is below you before attacking what is ahead of you. An ill-timed Spatial Surge may attract more enemies than you are prepared to handle.

The next three skills are utility skills that allow you to customize your play style. You unlock the first utility skill slot at level 5, the second at 10 and the third at 20. Some utility skills such as the teleportation skill Blink can be manually ground-targeted, as can some weapon skills; in fact, that’s the default setting. If you find yourself struggling, and you are willing to sacrifice control for ease of use, go to Options and select fast cast ground targeting. I recommend visiting Neato’s Tips and Tricks for alternate solutions to this and other common concerns.

You unlock your tenth skill, the elite, at level 30. My favorite elite transforms a foe into a moa bird; there’s nothing like stealing an elementalist’s thunder with a well-timed moa morph. Other mesmer elites are mass invisibility, which grants you and your allies stealth, and time warp, which grants you and your allies swiftness.

Finally, you have traits that allow you to enhance your preferred play style. You acquire one trait point per level starting at level 11 that you can allocate to different trait lines via the hero panel. The more points you allocate to a specific trait line, the more minor and major traits you unlock. This aspect of character development is the most complex and personal. Changing your point allocation in PvE costs gold so choose wisely. Keep in mind that you can go to the PvP lobby to test different builds against battle golems at any time, free of charge.

I hope this introductory guide helps you approach the mesmer with greater confidence in Guild Wars 2 whether you tried the mesmer during the first open beta or you’re about the experience the profession for the first time during the second open beta beginning this Friday, June 8th through Sunday, June 10th.

Next week I will examine the latest mesmer updates following the beta weekend event, including details regarding the new tiered approach to utility skills, elite skills and traits.

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