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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Communications Manager: ArenaNet
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