Okay, we have had a number of propositions regarding clones as a resource, and I think there may be a solution that allows for the most benefit with minimal adjustments.
The only changes here are application of damage: suicide bombers vs guerilla warfare and how the resource is counted: actively adjusting constantly based on clone existence vs static count of clones generated. The changes proposed would solve Mesmer complaints about not being able to use their shatters in many game situations, and unlink the application of shatters from the clones which makes it easier for enemy players to respond. Shatter effect could have a brief delay before the shatter effect happens, that way the animation of clones mosh pit chest bumping and screaming acts to telegraph the damage of the skill (Tells the enemy to use a defensive or dodge soon). This should function to remove most of the issues with increased variance of the shatters as well, normalizing their damage and allowing them to be tuned more effectively.
Reliability of skills increased, great for both the Mesmer player and their opponent. Lower variance in effect of skill application, better for the Mesmer and easier to adjust for developers if something is performing better than expected. Now I suggest not adjusting any numbers until after seeing if the changes make Mesmer too strong in any area because this is a functional change and requires a bit of adjustment for both Mesmer players and their opponents. The benefits gained in being able to adjust Mesmers meaningfully and have impact with those changes for the betterment of both PvE and PvP should be improved dramatically by this change.
Presently, I would like to invite everyone on these forums to discuss this proposition, and contemplate how it would allow you to play Mesmer in functionally the same way as you do now, or likewise how you could now play against one as you can clearly see when they have used a shatter (though they may need to add a pop of color around the shatter animations to represent which shatter was just used and thus what attack or defense is coming or active).