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Old September 28th, 2012, 06:58   #1
Jinx
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A Mesmer's Guide to Gold (Peer Review Needed)

I've been spending some time on gw2guru, which looks horrible btw, and I've come across some people that complain we're weak in PvE, impossible to get gold rewards, unbalanced and so on. Buffs are always welcome but I think we do just fine.

I wrote this in hopes of helping people that just can't get a grip on the class. Maybe it's too simple or obvious, but this is how I do my high AoE damage and how I get my gold rewards on events so maybe it'll help someone out there.

I figured I'd post it here first for internal criticism before opening it to the public

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Hi, I'm Rahf / Jinx of [SoF]. I originally came to this forum seeking advice, theorycrafting on stats and scaling in particular, but instead found some people not really knowing what to do with their mesmer and generally complaining about their lack of AoE and damage.

Let me start off with saying that I am not an expert. I'm just a player that has been in love with the Mesmer since GW1 and was eagerly awaiting its announcement in GW2 for many slow and painful years. I am not a theorycrafter in the sense that all my findings are carefully calculated although I do bring out a sheet of paper and add up things from time to time. I am just here to share with you my build and playstyle in the hopes that it solves the problems you've been facing. Don't expect ground-breaking revelations, some of these might and will be obvious to most of you. This is for the folks that are complaining about not getting gold on events or not dealing enough AoE damage.

I've played Mesmer since BWE1 and several stress tests following that. On launch, my main was a mesmer and has been the only character I've played to date. My brother is a necro and he is my travelling partner in that we always do everything together. We 100% a zone before moving on the next, now we've got 6 zones to go. We often aggro everything in sight and AoE them down to speed things up. Of all events I've done, I get gold on everything that I've managed to be participating in since the start (some even came in late). I get silver on weird events (like the Font of Rhand one) where my brother and myself were the only participants and we both ended up with silver. I have completed my personal story (at the last mission), ran all story mode dungeons, and have done over 10 different explorable paths with little incident.

Now, to the guide!

Starting with traits:
http://www.guildhead...nlmaG0axzMomzkq

You have some wiggle room here: The first two illusion traits are not set in stone. You can also change the Inspiration trait if you want to Vigor on Shatter or cooldown reduction on glamours. Or none of the above and go for 10 in Chaos. Up to you and your play style. My recommendation is to keep the condition removal on heal for explorables since you will come across places with almost minute long burning.

This build focuses mainly on shattering clones. Your main weapon will be staff, and swap to GS in certain situations.

Your optional skills can be whatever you like, except for Mirror Images. You need that one. I usually find myself taking Blink and Feeback, but some people swear by Decoy and Mimic so there's a lot of viable options.

This is how tagging will work:

In an event with a lot of mobs:
1.Start off by damaging one to get into combat with it (Ideally, your target would be in the middle of the crowd) - You can start with Chaos Storm, Illusionary Berserker, Mirror Blade, Mind Stab, or even either auto-attack.

2.Once in combat, dodge forward into it, generating a clone (if not in combat, you wouldn't get one).

3.Use Mirror Images and you'll now have 3 clones up.

4.Use either Mind Wrack or Cry of Frustration, both are fine and I have no preference honestly (not on trash mobs anyways, but they both tag). The latter has a longer cooldown and works better on things that have fast attacks while Mind Wrack is good all around. - Use whichever is not on cd

5.Once you've pressed your shatter, use the Staff's Deceptive Evasion (2) to get back to safety immediately.
You've just tagged a whole bunch of them! Generally, you can just repeat this process of generating clones (dodging, Mirror Images, Phantasms, and such) and shattering them. Dodge side to side if you dont want to get close. I've seen some people call out others on wasting endurance when they should save it, and I partially agree. Keep in mind, however, we also have Phase Retreat, Blink, and Distortion to dodge stuff.

Don't forget your weapons' AoE abilities: the Staff's Chaos Storm is great for tagging. I usually start a fight with it since I'll be going into melee range: I'll get some boons out of it. You also get Chaos Armor for using Phase Retreat while in a Chaos Storm. The GS's Illusionary Berserker also deals great AoE damage but you need to use it a few times to get used to it. GS's Mirror Blade (2) and Mind Stab (3) work for tagging too.

For boss-type events:
The greatsword is great if you need to stay at range. Condition damage from the staff is generally negligible in big events where some people stack nothing but conditions. I might swap and drop a chaos storm on the boss for both damage and to help out the melee with random boons. It depends on the boss really - if you see an opportunity to get warlocks up then go ahead and do it, then swap back to GS. Otherwise, if the boss constantly AoE and kills your phantasms, then try your best to summon and shatter while auto attacking with GS. The Illusionary Berserker can cripple bosses, so having it up can help people escape melee bosses.

Once you get the hang of weaving in and out of mob packs, going close enough to shatter yourself and clones, getting away to safety with Phase Retreat and Blink, and using your AoE abilities you'll find yourself getting gold all the time.

I use this rotation generally vs 1 or many targets, so all my damage is high, AoE, damage. On prolonged fights, it's ideal to get 2 or 3 warlocks up (depends if your party has someone applying conditions) and staff clones, then swapping to GS and auto attacking with Mind Stab when possible. I find that if you have 3 warlocks and not enough conditions their damage won't be that high (they scale with number of unique conditions), so try to find a balance of clones & phantasms that works for your group.

I anticipate people will ask obvious questions like what stats are you building. I am not even sure how good my stat distrubition is, so don't necessarily copy what I have. I'm using rampager's (prec/power/condition damage) armor and staff and berserker's (power/prec/crit damage) jewelery and GS. I end up having high power, crit, crit damage, and mediocre condition damage (for the confusion mainly, but for bleeds from Sharper Images and general conditions from staff). Considering I have 0 defensive stats, I don't die too often but I play very cautiously in dungeons and I've not tested it enough there yet.

Some general tips & tricks:
•With Deceptive Evasion, just dodge once if you want to escape pursuing mobs. Your clone will tank them long enough for you to get away safely (just keep moving, they'll fall for the bait).

•With Illusionary Persona, you can use Distortion and Diversion with no clones up. Diversion can be used while stunned or channeling, so you can use it in a pinch (dodge boss abilties or while rallying a team mate). Diversion can be used to interrupt anything chasing your or an ally (or obviously channeling something).

•Time Warp is a solid elite choice, but you aren't restricted to it. While clearing trash mobs, swap out Moa Morph for particularly annoying mobs (like the Knights or Wurms in TA or grenadiers in SE).

•You can Blink while stunned, so you can get out of the way when you're knocked back. Phase Retreat will work too, to get you out of the way, but you will still be stunned.

•I love using GS 5 to get mobs off a downed ally, using feedback to shield him from ranged damage and rallying him. Don't forget to use distortion (it will not interrupt your rallying) if you see a red circle pop up under your feet, but you need be lucky and time it right

•Having 3 clones up by itself is a boon to your party. You just generated 3 additional targets that can absorb potentially 3 different hits.

•DON'T use the downed version of Phase Retreat unless you are in direct danger. Your friends will get upset (understatement) when they get themselves killed trying to rally your clone. I think this may have been fixed so that you are distinguishable by name color, but in the heat of battle stuff happens...

•With GS 4's cripple, Blink, GS 5, and reverse Phase Retreat, you can kite for a long time

•Staff's Chaos Storm can grant you swiftness for some tricky jumping puzzles (owe this discovery to my brother who kept inisting I must have some kind of swiftness granting ability)

•If you are using Ether Feast, and cast it with 1 or no clones up, use Mirror Images while casting it. You won't interrupt Ether Feast and your heal will count the 2 clones summoned for a larger heal!

•Chaos Armor (4) is not exactly the same as the Chaos Armor you get from combos. The Staff's ability also grants you with the protection boon (-33% damage taken) while the combo one only offers the self:boon/foe:condition on hit received effect.

•To maximize the number of mobs tagged, position yourself in such a way that you are at the edge of the cluster while your clones run in to shatter at your target. With Illusionary Persona, you will tag those close to you and your clones will tag the ones nearby your target!
Questions, advice, and criticisms more than welcome! I'm still learning myself but this works great for me
Thanks for reading, and I hope you found it even a little bit helpful.
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Old September 28th, 2012, 12:29   #2
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Hi Jinx,
This describes my mesmer's fighting style fairly well, though I'm staff and sword/torch; I like the sword 2 invulnerability, and torch 4 is great for shedding aggro; with Illusionary Persona I can move right in on my foes and get an extra shatter off myself.

I was thinking of picking up one of a sigil of stamina (refill endurance on kill) or a sigil of superior energy (gain 50% endurance on weapon swap), to fuel clone generation. Either of these would fill in for clone generation in those mass battles, with Stamina working better with lots of foes to kill, and Energy working better versus Champions. I think my current setup is a sigil of battle on each of my sword and staff, (2 stacks of 20s might on swap) and a sigil of luck on my torch, but that's not necessarily the most effective setup.

Have you played with the other illusion 30 trait (Imbued Diversion)? Since my shatters grant confusion and vulnerability, a group interrupt might be handy, I just haven't played with it yet.
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Old September 28th, 2012, 12:40   #3
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I enjoyed reading that guide, thanks for posting it Rahf. The only thing I could imagine the Guru populus will demand is some sort of video example of tagging a "tough" event (defend the outposts in Cursed Shore, I'm looking at you!) - with mobs being nuked in a matter of seconds, I imagine this is where the real challenge to get gold lies.

One other minor (and probly silly) thing - I have to say, from reading the topic I expected some sort of magic find/money making guide as that's my common interpretation of "gold" - maybe mentioning this is a guide re: events in the header somehow would be an idea? Not sure what others think.
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Old September 28th, 2012, 13:23   #4
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Thank you both for the replies. I'm actually worried I wrote another "Sky is Blue, Grass is Green" post, but I genuinely think that the tips and tricks are fun reads at least.

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Originally Posted by Epinephrine View Post
Hi Jinx,
This describes my mesmer's fighting style fairly well, though I'm staff and sword/torch; I like the sword 2 invulnerability, and torch 4 is great for shedding aggro; with Illusionary Persona I can move right in on my foes and get an extra shatter off myself.

I was thinking of picking up one of a sigil of stamina (refill endurance on kill) or a sigil of superior energy (gain 50% endurance on weapon swap), to fuel clone generation. Either of these would fill in for clone generation in those mass battles, with Stamina working better with lots of foes to kill, and Energy working better versus Champions. I think my current setup is a sigil of battle on each of my sword and staff, (2 stacks of 20s might on swap) and a sigil of luck on my torch, but that's not necessarily the most effective setup.

Have you played with the other illusion 30 trait (Imbued Diversion)? Since my shatters grant confusion and vulnerability, a group interrupt might be handy, I just haven't played with it yet.
Yeah, I believe people that aren't complaining are probably already playing some style of this (Obviously, you and I are living examples of how working variants exist). We both run up to the enemy's face and shatter. But where you stay and use Sword (2), I use Staff (2 / Blink to flee.

I'm already using Major Energy on my GS (which is the exact same as Superior, possible oversight on ANet's part). It's alright, but I almost never swap for the purpose of gaining that energy. My staff has a Superior Bloodlust for more power (250 power at 25 stacks), to buff my shatters and GS mainly.

I haven't tried swapping out Illusionary Persona because I'm really enjoying it so much (sometimes in boss fights I wonder why I bothered picking it up, but when I can use distortion without clones I remember why). It also seems counter-productive to daze them since the confusion on shatter and cry of frustration are already hard enough to tick. Actually, if you couple it with the domination trait that gives daze 50% chance to stun, you might have something there. Daze will also apply vulnerability with the Domination line. I guess you'll be trading Cry of Frustration and confusion damage for more powerful weapon attacks and cc.

I really want to try and pick up sword again, but I've gotten myself into a rut where I'm too comfortable with what I have and am not motivated enough to craft one.

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Originally Posted by Nightsorrow View Post
I enjoyed reading that guide, thanks for posting it Rahf. The only thing I could imagine the Guru populus will demand is some sort of video example of tagging a "tough" event (defend the outposts in Cursed Shore, I'm looking at you!) - with mobs being nuked in a matter of seconds, I imagine this is where the real challenge to get gold lies.

One other minor (and probly silly) thing - I have to say, from reading the topic I expected some sort of magic find/money making guide as that's my common interpretation of "gold" - maybe mentioning this is a guide re: events in the header somehow would be an idea? Not sure what others think.
This is a legitimite concern of mine. I'm worried I might have misunderstood their complaints (not about lack of AoE but more stuff gets zerged too fast to get the rotation off). But even so, it's never been an issue for me so I wanted to try and show them how I do it to get my gold. I don't think I would bother with a video, hardly enough time to play let alone upload one. I've been writing this a bit at a time during downtime at work.

Regarding the title, I agree it could be better. Thanks for the feedback; in truth, although this post's purpose is to help people get their gold reward in events I still think the tips and tricks to be the most valuable part. So a new title is in order.
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Old September 28th, 2012, 16:04   #5
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It might be worth mentioning that Feedback also seems to "tag" any enemy that uses a ranged attack, making it a nice go-to to get a bunch of hits in.

Traiting glamours to blind, and for blind to cause confusion, you can get Feedback, Veil, and Null Field to inflict confusion (and blind) where they are cast, which should tag any mob in that area that attacks.

I think perhaps something on underwater combat would be worth mentioning, since there are a few underwater events, and the skillbars are different; you can still generate clones and shatter them, but it plays a bit differently in terms of the skill rotation. I actually like the solo-killing events underwater (giant shark, etc) as the trident clones cause confusion, and you can get pretty big stacks going (resulting in pretty nice damage numbers), but it's much harder to catch multiple enemies with clones with the extra degree of freedom on motion.

Oh, and I understand about feeling like you can't pick up another weapon - I want to try scepter/OH sword as a swap versus bosses/in WvW, and give GS a try again now that I'm higher level, but I'm very used to my play style and it'll be hard swapping. My illusion traits are really hard to pick (too many good ones in there), and it seems like I want them all. Curious about what you trait - if you use GS and Staff, do you take the extra bounce on attacks?

Also, going to GS would mean giving up one of my sigils, which would be tough. Having two weapons is nice that way, I'm even tempted to try to make two 2-weapon sets work, though I can't imagine giving up my staff.

Is it just me, or is it almost impossible to get a run buff as a mesmer? We basically have focus 4, but I don't like focus as a weapon, and even with it you only get a small uptime on swiftness.
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Old September 28th, 2012, 19:17   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Epinephrine View Post
It might be worth mentioning that Feedback also seems to "tag" any enemy that uses a ranged attack, making it a nice go-to to get a bunch of hits in.

Traiting glamours to blind, and for blind to cause confusion, you can get Feedback, Veil, and Null Field to inflict confusion (and blind) where they are cast, which should tag any mob in that area that attacks.

I think perhaps something on underwater combat would be worth mentioning, since there are a few underwater events, and the skillbars are different; you can still generate clones and shatter them, but it plays a bit differently in terms of the skill rotation. I actually like the solo-killing events underwater (giant shark, etc) as the trident clones cause confusion, and you can get pretty big stacks going (resulting in pretty nice damage numbers), but it's much harder to catch multiple enemies with clones with the extra degree of freedom on motion.

Oh, and I understand about feeling like you can't pick up another weapon - I want to try scepter/OH sword as a swap versus bosses/in WvW, and give GS a try again now that I'm higher level, but I'm very used to my play style and it'll be hard swapping. My illusion traits are really hard to pick (too many good ones in there), and it seems like I want them all. Curious about what you trait - if you use GS and Staff, do you take the extra bounce on attacks?

Also, going to GS would mean giving up one of my sigils, which would be tough. Having two weapons is nice that way, I'm even tempted to try to make two 2-weapon sets work, though I can't imagine giving up my staff.

Is it just me, or is it almost impossible to get a run buff as a mesmer? We basically have focus 4, but I don't like focus as a weapon, and even with it you only get a small uptime on swiftness.
I didn't know Feedback tagged mobs, so that's something new.

Speaking of glamours, I've always wondered about some specifics. Who's condition damage does it take into consideration when calculating how much damage confusion does as a result of a combo? Does damage reflected by feedback contribute to your total damage dealt to the boss?

I suppose I can get something together for underwater combat later this week. Good idea

Actually, the trident itself doesn't deal confusion anymore since beta but the trident clones are the ones that apply it.

I do indeed take Illusionary Elasticity only for the fact that I use both weapons that can benefit from the bounce. It's pretty good, but like you, I feel like I want all of the Illusion traits

You can get swiftness from Chaos Storm. It's random, but it can!
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Old September 28th, 2012, 20:24   #7
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I didn't know Feedback tagged mobs, so that's something new.
It certainly throws up damage numbers when they attack, which makes me think that it tags them - I'll have to test. The little Asura pirates in Gendarran (and also at False Lake in Lornars) will kill themselves on the first spinning volley if you time the feedback right, so there's a foe you can easily kill with no other attacks. Assuming they drop loot when you do that (I think they do, but maybe I'm misremembering and might have tagged them with a staff shot or something), it would seem like they are tagged.
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Old October 1st, 2012, 06:39   #8
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Something new I learned regarding Feedback: projectiles its reflects count you as the source. Possible alternative scenario was that the game would register that the source damaged itself, but it seems that it's "recast" with you as the source.

I say this because of 2 things: First, the damage numbers that pop-up as you mentioned. And more peculiar, yesterday we were in Sorrow's Embrace fighting a golem boss that fires out his arms and brings people in to blow them up. I was using Feeback liberally trying to time it with a hard hitting AoE attack (which you can reflect!), but I must have cast it when he was firing his arms. What happened was that he pulled himself to me (so the pull spell was cast with me as the source, and not him simply pulling himself). I didn't try to confirm it but as far as we could tell, he didn't have any sudden teleport attacks so we're guessing that was what happened.

If this turns out to be true, then we've confirmed your suggestion that Feedback tags.
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Old October 1st, 2012, 17:07   #9
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As a ranger frequently on the receiving end of a similar reflection skill used by earth elementals, I can say that any effect on the attack will get reflected back. Dazes, stuns, burning, bleeding, poison, even conditions dealt as a result of a combo attack. It's a good thing to be aware of.
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Old October 1st, 2012, 22:36   #10
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Quote:
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I was using Feeback liberally trying to time it with a hard hitting AoE attack (which you can reflect!), but I must have cast it when he was firing his arms. What happened was that he pulled himself to me (so the pull spell was cast with me as the source, and not him simply pulling himself). I didn't try to confirm it but as far as we could tell, he didn't have any sudden teleport attacks so we're guessing that was what happened.

If this turns out to be true, then we've confirmed your suggestion that Feedback tags.
Yeah, I tested it and killed several pirates with just Feedback, and I get XP for it. Neat that it reversed the direction of the pull - I've certainly reflected things like knock down/back and conditions, but I wouldn't have thought of pulls working that way.
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Old October 2nd, 2012, 01:46   #11
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As far as underwater goes I've found that Trident clone auto attacks cause a bouncing confusion, even though your own Trident attack does not. If I recall correctly from the betas the standard mesmer trident attack used to do this so I'm guessing that this is an oversight when the skill got changed. In water you can basically spawn 3 clones and twiddle your thumbs. The clones will easily provide 15 stacks of confusion in a small area in a matter of seconds.
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Old October 2nd, 2012, 06:02   #12
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Underwater is not a problem for mesmers, barring generic underwater problems like 360 degrees of foes and respawn rates.

If it's a large crowd, I dodge in (for a clone) and use spear 5 (vortex) to get them to clump as much as possible. Then, follow up with mirror images and shatter. Quickly swap to trident and blind them with ineptitude, get clones up, and then shatter again.

If it's just the one or two I don't bother with vortex since they go down fast enough. Bosses, however, I find myself spamming phantasms and keeping my range with trident. If bleed is at 25 stacks, don't bother with trident's phantasm. I also use the Illusionary Defender underwater to help myself and others (things often get messy).

I always knew clones were applying confusion but I didn't realize how good it was, especially if it stacks to 15.

Recent revelation thanks to gw2guru: confusion deals double damage in PvE to accomodate slow attack rates.
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