One of the players in my group expressed the desire to play a Mesmer in the next campaign, so I took a look at the class. I posted the original at the end of April, and I’ve learned a lot in two and a half months — and it was pretty rough even then.

Guild Wars Mesmer Class (Apr 29, 2013)

The first thing you might notice is that I formally attached the Mesmer to a class archetype — the Wizard. I’m loathe to admit it though since there are already a gazillion Wizard classes, but the Wizard did inspire the class a little.

Here’s the Revised Mesmer class:
Download: Essentials Mesmer (Wizard) v.2

Now, the first actual change I made to the class was to convert Dazzling Defense from a feature to a power. I wanted to make it an “obviously defender” power. Now a Mesmer also gets to shift, and the power is a reaction instead of an interrupt — that also means a minion can deal damage before being vaporized.

The second thing I did was drop all the damage dice from d12 to d10. Though I was drawing from the Elementalist Sorcerer before, I realized the Elementalist also used more commonplace energy types that were more easily resisted. Of course there’s also the point that the Mesmer is primarily a defender and not a striker.

Then came the change to Backfire. I was unhappy with the crowded appearance of the class and wanted to clean it up a little by reducing the number of powers. What I did was make Backfire a feature that enabled Opportunity Actions, and giving more weight to Bolt of Chaos — which can no longer be used as a melee basic attack.

This change also means the Mesmer targets Reflex defense more than Will.

I renamed the Cry of Frustration feature to Feedback and bumped it to 1st level. I wanted a more clear choice for the Mesmer’s Standard action from the get-go, and I think it’s an interesting twist on an older (almost defunct?) defender concept.

Diversion Expert got pushed back to 5th level, where I think it will enjoy a little more prestige. The Mesmer suffers a little for being less accurate — not really. They swing for the NADs, which means they don’t need the accuracy boost right away.

Slippery Mind got an overhaul, in part to make the Superior Will feat worth taking. The Mesmer should already have a great Will defense but I wanted there to be a tangible benefit to taking such an awesome feat. You can’t dominate a Mesmer.

Now for the biggest change — Empathy. Previously, the power saw a lot of play and raised a little controversy in our group over how effective it was at squashing minions. On the one hand, it prompted another change to our minion rules, but it didn’t seem like enough to change just how the monsters worked — the power was “off.”

The power is usable on an encounter-basis. This seemed appropriate given the abundance of melee attacks in the game. Empathy now occupies the prestigious position of being the “class power.” I also slowed its growth so it scales better.

Empathy is no longer “strictly better” than the Swordmage’s Aegis of Shielding.

Beyond 1st level, I overhauled Shatter Hex and bumped it to be a 2nd-level utility power. Power Spike got pushed back to 6th level and scales a little different as a utility power. Hex Breaker got pushed back to 9th level.

Finally, the Mesmer got a new capstone feature — Mindsense, which is rather specifically designed to work in combination with the Feedback feature.

I’ve also worked out some Paragon-tier powers and features, and I may have a Paragon Mesmer soon enough. As always, play at your own risk.