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As a casual player: Virtuoso, Chronomancer or Mirage?


Cookiemonster.6327

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I got my Mesmer to lvl 80 and asked in the channel what would be a good Elite Spec to start with if you are a casual player. I was given the advice to go Virtuoso.
Now, I can't really agree that its an easy spec as I feel really fragile, even more so than I did as core Mesmer using a Greatsword + Scepter / ****.

Was I given the wrong option? I'm gathering more Mastery Points now and I wonder if I should keep putting points in Virtuoso or go for one of the other specs?
I would be grateful if you motivated why I should pick the spec you suggest 🙂

Edited by Cookiemonster.6327
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Virtuoso's a safe pick indeed. If you play it as a condition damage dealer, Jagged mind and Bloodsong work well together, even moreso with the dueling spec for Sharper images, Master fencer and Duelist's discipline (if you fancy the pistol) on the offensive side, with your choice amongst other dueling traits for the defensive side. Add the illusion spec and you can safely recover a fair amount of health while dishing out as much condition damage as you can!

The power side can hit hard too, going down the domination (for Egotism & Vicious expression) & dueling (for Superiority complex) specs.

The dagger anyway is a ranged weapon, so you have the safety from playing at range; and if you don't feel confident, you can rely on the inspiration spec to have better self-healing (especially for the power build). You can mix & match skills and traits depending your needs, so feel free to experiment!

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I was wondering about roughly the same thing not long ago and from what I've been told/read, it's not easy to say which between Mirage and Virtuoso is the most casual-friendly elite spec.

It mostly depends of context (game modes), and the way you're used to play. But really if you're casual, the selling point IMHO should probably be what's going to be the most fun for you, and for that you can go check out the Mesmer elite specs in the PvP lobby.

That video (at 7:18 for Mesmer) can also give you an insight :

 

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Virtuoso and Mirage both have their pros and cons.

 

Both of those specs are really Condition focused. Mirage is the most resilient Mesmer spec but it's also the slowest to kill enemies. Wielding two Staffs is recommended

It uses Dodging constantly to activate its Mirage Cloak and Ambush skills. These are how the Mirage gets most of its damage and it also keeps you Evading so you don't get hit as often as other specs and it keeps Regeneration active. Swapping weapons replenishes Endurance so you can dodge more if you have the recommended Sigils.

Virtuoso is the highest damage Mesmer. The best way to build it is with Dagger/Sword and /Focus. Use Phantasms all the time because the multiple hits they do each create Bleeding conditions and generate Blades so you can use the F1-F5 skills which you should also be using as much as possible.

Virtuoso is fully ranged so it survives by moving out of damage zones and it heals based on the amount of damage your conditions do. 

It can be more vulnerable but I feel it is much better suited to taking out large groups of enemies because it's illusionary blades persist after killing your target so you don't have to take the time to summon your clones every time you kill an enemy.

 

Mesmer has been the class I've spent at least 80% of my time with since starting last year. Mirage just is too boring and slow to play in my opinion. Virtuoso I find the most fluid and capable.

But if you want to take out the toughest Champion or Legendary bounty bosses solo then you'll probably spec to Mirage... But you can only do that if you can keep a fight going without mistakes for 15 minutes.

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Also Virtuoso may be the cheapest spec to get gear for in the game.

 

Full Rampager gear and use Rune of the Afflicted and Relic of the Aristocracy will get you 95% of the way to your end gear.

You'll be able to slowly work on adding pieces of Sinister or Viper gear but Rampager is one of the best in slot gear sets because the Virtuoso is so reliant on getting Crits to generate Bleeding conditions so the top priority is increasing Precision, then Condition Damage and Expertise can come after that.

 

For Mirage I think there is a much bigger jump from the cheap gear sets and the Viper or the Celestial set that is great. But Celestial is difficult to acquire if you didn't use a Level 80 Boost.

Edited by Roadkizzle.2157
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I play Mirage staff/staff and it's something I will always recommend to -anyone-.
The endless dodge, the smooth gameplay, smooth and easy rotation, GOOD damage and amazing alacrity support, you just can't go wrong with it.

https://metabattle.com/wiki/Build:Mirage_-_Alacrity_Support_Condi_DPS

Virtuoso is a good call too, but there are things to consider which personally annoy me:
- Daggers that float above your head, regardless if you're out of combat.
- Annoying dagger animations 

Edited by Blur.3465
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5 minutes ago, taara.3217 said:

why do you think so?

I could have sworn that was the gear recommended by all of the build sites when I was respeccing my Chronomancer to Mirage.

 

But that was before I got bored with Mirage and went to Virtuoso.

 

Celestial recommended?

Edited by Roadkizzle.2157
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To get farther into the details, I'd classify the different e-specs as follows for novice-friendly use: virtuoso > mirage > chrono. It takes some getting used to with chronomancer for its wells and their delayed activation, the continuum split and the management of illusions for your shatter skills, so I'd put it as the least friendly. Virtuoso as the easiest to get used to simply because there are no clones, they're stored on you as blades to feed your bladesongs; mirage in-between, because your illusions summoning potential is higher than chrono, the skills do not take as much time as the chrono's wells to trigger, but you may want to keep clones around to feed your debuffs. Finally if we're adding core mesmer to the list, I'd put it between mirage & chrono - but you're missing on such utilities that it's rather something to consider after acquiring experience with the class.

When opposing power & condition builds, power builds are easier to manage for a novice rather than condition ones because of how clones work. They're capable of spreading a weaker version of your conditions on auto-attacks, so you won't be willing to shatter them blindly unless there's a real interest; for power builds, only sword wielders may want to keep them around a bit to feed the vulnerability stacks or rid their target of boons. Otherwise, power builds only use clones as shatter fodder.

For having fun, only you can tell - @Roadkizzle.2157 finds mirage boring after one year playing, I've been enjoying it the most out of our e-specs since its release five years and a half ago. Keep looking for hero points to try as many options as possible! Chrono & virtuoso alter their shatter options to stay closer to core mesmer gameplay, mirage disregards it to alter its dodges and keep acting (instead of the rolling animation), allowing special attacks in the meantime depending which weapon you're using. Maybe that'll help you have an idea of what you'd favor over the others!

In the variety of possible gameplays, I'd classify mirage as the most varied, chrono as the least. The mirage's ambushes (see the link above) and Mirage mantle allow a large variety of possibilities, not necessarily the most efficient, but clearly with the most choices possible IMO for the sake of your fun. Chronomancer is quite the opposite since all wells are power-based skills and often is hard-pressed to keep up with its ability to provide precious boons (quickness and alacrity), which is understandable though considering how powerful they are. Virtuoso in-between as there are fewer opportunities than mirage to match your favorite specialisations, but clearly more than chronomancer!

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People are giving you the wrong advice left and right here… Virtuoso and Mirage are the meta picks for Mesmer but they are NOT the most casual friendly. Both specs may be somewhat easy to learn, but they both require you to be very precise on timings and are unforgiving when you make mistakes. Chronomancer on the otherhand is not only easy to learn, but easy to play,  and very forgiving of mistakes… the reason no one has suggested Chronomancer to you is because it is not the meta pick. The only difficult part of chronomancer is mastering the use of Continuum Split, which you can actually get by just fine not even using in most content. So as a casual player learn the spec without worrying about continuum split and then when you feel comfortable with how it plays practice adding it into your routine before attempting more difficult content.

 

because I know someone out there is going to accuse me of giving bad advice on this I’ll explain exactly why Chronomancer is the most casual friendly mesmer espec.

Chronomancer is the ONLY mesmer espec that plays exactly like core mesmer. Even when you do learn how to properly use Continuum Split the playstyle is still identical to core. You don’t have to learn a new playstyle to play chronomancer. With Virtuoso you have to learn to play mesmer without clones to occasionally take damage off of you, Virtuoso is still easier to learn and play than Mirage though… Mirage is by far the least casual friendly since you have to maintain mirage cloak at as close to 100% up time as you can get it not just for survival but for damage too. One mistake on Mirage can very easily mean death. With Chronomancer the only thing you have to worry about is clone management and shattering… everything else will just happen as you do that. Exactly like core mesmer.

Chronomancer: Core Mesmer with an extra shatter and ground target AoEs.

Virtuoso: Mesmer without clones, learn to be highly mobile as standing still will kill you.

Mirage: Turret mode mesmer, very little movement required but mistime a dodge or mirage mirror and you will die.

Edited by Panda.1967
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4 hours ago, Roadkizzle.2157 said:

Celestial recommended?

Dire/Trailblazer's + as for the Celestial - I think that it can be one of the option, but not sure the preferable one...

Edited by taara.3217
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6 hours ago, Roadkizzle.2157 said:

But you can only do that if you can keep a fight going without mistakes for 15 minutes.

10 minutes time limit for champion bounty and no limit for OW champions

Mirage is quite loyal for mistakes in a certain sense - that's why is the strongest in OW PVE...

Edited by taara.3217
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All specs have their strengths and weaknesses, so you must really ask yourself for what purpose are you building it exactly?

I'd assume for general open world purposes, since you were advised Virtuoso. Yes in the open world Virtuoso shines the best: Blade stocking allows you to skip clone management and delete stuff faster, which tends to come in groups in the open world. The condi variant has some baked-in sustain as well, making it quite surprisingly durable. And lastly, its biggest selling point: its DPS rotation is the most simple out of the 3 specs. This means you could be pressing buttons randomly and still does respectable damage, allowing you to join end game content groups without much trouble. The downside is that Virtuoso is just that, big damage and nothing else. So it shines best in PvE instanced content; very few play it in WvW, and bringing it into PvP is suicide with how easily the knives can be destroyed/reflected.

Rivalling and potentially out-DPS a Virtuoso is Chronomancer, but it has its share of problems. In contrast to Virtuoso, the optimal rotation is very hard to pull off especially CS is considered, clone management makes it less efficient in taking out large groups of enemies and it's not the best when it comes to clone spamming, and it lacks self-sustain so it feels noticeably squishier than the other 2.  But the upside is that the support rotation is much easier, and Chronomancer can share 100% uptime either Alac or Quickness with 0 boon duration investment. Along with some very beneficial Wells (namely Well of Precognition pulsing Aegis), it's best played when group support is needed whether it be a PvE squad is missing Alac/Quick, or something like WvW. As a bonus, Chrono has 25% movement speed increase baked into it, so it makes a great class to pick up when starting to play and roam in WvW. 

And somewhere in between is Mirage. Mirage can pull some very impressive numbers, but between the clone-retargeting unpredictability and the bugs I've seen very few who play Mirage to be pure DPS. As demonstrated in here, most people play Mirage as the supportive staff/staff variant instead. This variant takes ages to kill a group of trash mobs, and so it's easily the worst one to use in the open world. But what sets Mirage apart is that it's easily the tankiest Mesmer spec with endless clones, dodges and teleports, and is often used to solo plenty of stuff that's otherwise would be impossible for other classes, even the 2 other Mesmer specs. In terms of group play, staff Mirage used to be a strong Alac contender but now is losing its edge to Chronomancer as the Alac provider in groups. Long clone ramp up time, clone-depended unreliable duration and having to use Ritualist's gear are the main reasons why it's far less attractive than Chronomancer at that role. Boon support being tied to clones is also why it's not seeing play much in WvW/PvP where clones melt way too fast before they can share their boons.

In short: For open world and general PvE purpose, Virtuoso is the most effective. For group support and roaming, Chronomancer. For niche uses, Mirage.

Edited by ZephidelGRS.9520
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I'm just gonna throw this out there since no one else, including the OP, has: You actually don't have to use any of them. I spend the vast majority of my time playing a core mesmer and doing just fine, or at least as fine I can be getting kneecapped at every patch. But you don't have to limit yourself to just those three. We got 5 core specs for you to mix and match with. Play around with them.

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On 11/4/2023 at 12:24 AM, Blur.3465 said:

For PvE Viper is the recommended gear for Mirage.

For endgame instanced content, yes, because you have supports to keep you up and you're just looking to maximise damage. For open world, celestial and trailblazer's are incredibly competitive because they provide big increases in survivability for relatively small losses in damage output. Experienced players can often get away with full glass for anything short of soloing group events (or some of the really hostile locations most people don't regularly go, like some of the underground areas filled to the brim with hostile Awakened in PoF maps), but that doesn't mean that viper's is indisputably the best for mirage unless you're bringing it to raids/strikes/fractals.

On 11/4/2023 at 3:49 AM, Panda.1967 said:

People are giving you the wrong advice left and right here… Virtuoso and Mirage are the meta picks for Mesmer but they are NOT the most casual friendly. Both specs may be somewhat easy to learn, but they both require you to be very precise on timings and are unforgiving when you make mistakes. Chronomancer on the otherhand is not only easy to learn, but easy to play,  and very forgiving of mistakes… the reason no one has suggested Chronomancer to you is because it is not the meta pick. The only difficult part of chronomancer is mastering the use of Continuum Split, which you can actually get by just fine not even using in most content. So as a casual player learn the spec without worrying about continuum split and then when you feel comfortable with how it plays practice adding it into your routine before attempting more difficult content.

 

because I know someone out there is going to accuse me of giving bad advice on this I’ll explain exactly why Chronomancer is the most casual friendly mesmer espec.

Chronomancer is the ONLY mesmer espec that plays exactly like core mesmer. Even when you do learn how to properly use Continuum Split the playstyle is still identical to core. You don’t have to learn a new playstyle to play chronomancer. With Virtuoso you have to learn to play mesmer without clones to occasionally take damage off of you, Virtuoso is still easier to learn and play than Mirage though… Mirage is by far the least casual friendly since you have to maintain mirage cloak at as close to 100% up time as you can get it not just for survival but for damage too. One mistake on Mirage can very easily mean death. With Chronomancer the only thing you have to worry about is clone management and shattering… everything else will just happen as you do that. Exactly like core mesmer.

Chronomancer: Core Mesmer with an extra shatter and ground target AoEs.

Virtuoso: Mesmer without clones, learn to be highly mobile as standing still will kill you.

Mirage: Turret mode mesmer, very little movement required but mistime a dodge or mirage mirror and you will die.

You're not wrong, but I think there are a couple of things you miss:

First, chronomancer is more awkward to unlock - it has the HoT elite specialisation unlock system whereby you need to unlock virtually everything else before you get your first grandmaster major and can fill out an entire build. Later elite specialisations have a more sensible system whereby you can unlock a full row with considerably less hero points, allowing you to get started much more quickly. My advice for newer players is typically to get a PoF or EoD elite specialisation first as a result.

Second, while chronomancer is the closest elite specialisation to core behaviour... this isn't necessarily better for a new player. Virtuoso works out simpler because you don't have to balance out whether to use clones, just let those daggers fly when you have a full set, and virtuoso can bring additional defences to make up for the distraction effect that clones can provide. Mirages can be very tough, especially if you make use of sigils and other sources of additional endurance, and playing mirage means you can get away with ignoring shatters altogether (although more advanced mirage play still uses them).

Ultimately, though, I suspect the real consideration is not to blindly follow glass cannon builds that were designed for endgame content with healer support. Changing gear for casual players is easier said than done, but marauder's, celestial, or trailblazer's are worth considering if you can get access. Probably more significantly, don't be afraid to take more defensive aspects of the build. Be willing to bring Chaos or Inspiration rather than three damage traitlines (or at least work in Evasive Mirror if you're running a Deceptive Evasion Mirage and expecting to face projectiles). Bring skills like Feedback, Well of Precognition, Sand through Glass, and/or Blade Renewal that can help to avoid damage rather than a full set of damage utilities, maybe even bring a shield for the blocks. These are often more valuable than just doing more damage in the open world (unless you're doing a DPS race meta like Dragon's End) and experienced players will often sub in some of these skills even in instanced content to help deal with specific challenges.

I would note, in direct reference to the OP, that if you're running a power virtuoso with greatsword and sceptre, that is a fairly glassy build. There are ways to make it less so (see above...), but virtuoso being seen as a good open world build usually comes about through leveraging the self-sustain that comes from using Jagged Mind on a more condition-oriented build. If you're running power, you might be better off starting with a power mirage (this is probably a good starting point, although you might consider trading out Illusionary Ambush and possibly Mimic for more defensive utilities. Also, consider a Sigil of Stamina for the greatsword if reasonably practical) and if that doesn't work for you, consider transitioning into power chronomancer when you have the hero points. (I'd have to admit that it's been a while since I've played power chrono in open world, though, so I'm not sure which specific build I'd recommend. Planning to take it out for another spin after the update - I'd been planning to switch to chrono for SotO, but dagger/greatsword mirage proved too much of a temptation.)

Edited by draxynnic.3719
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For casual play, anything BUT Virtuoso. People on these forums in particular always overestimate your average player and underestimate the breathing/thinking room that having AI helpers provides when you're exploring alone or soloing a difficult enemy and all aggro is on you. I'd recommend Staff Mirage over Chrono and both of them over Virtuoso.

Edited by Ariurotl.3718
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8 hours ago, draxynnic.3719 said:

For endgame instanced content, yes, because you have supports to keep you up and you're just looking to maximise damage. For open world, celestial and trailblazer's are incredibly competitive because they provide big increases in survivability for relatively small losses in damage output. Experienced players can often get away with full glass for anything short of soloing group events (or some of the really hostile locations most people don't regularly go, like some of the underground areas filled to the brim with hostile Awakened in PoF maps), but that doesn't mean that viper's is indisputably the best for mirage unless you're bringing it to raids/strikes/fractals.

Mirage itself is incredibly tanky even with Viper gear. Instead of spending gold on celestial / trailblazer, you can instantly go with Viper and be set-up for any content.
As Staff/Staff mirage I had no trouble soloing champions and staying alive in open world. Many dodges and fast endurance regeneration, clones and staff utility are more than enough to keep you going and kicking! 
Mirage damage is already low as is, so lowering it even more for the sake of survival isn't a good trade-off. You want to have damage to kill enemies -- it already has more than enough survivability tools @.@

Edited by Blur.3465
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On 11/3/2023 at 12:49 PM, Panda.1967 said:

People are giving you the wrong advice left and right here… Virtuoso and Mirage are the meta picks for Mesmer but they are NOT the most casual friendly. Both specs may be somewhat easy to learn, but they both require you to be very precise on timings and are unforgiving when you make mistakes. Chronomancer on the otherhand is not only easy to learn, but easy to play,  and very forgiving of mistakes… the reason no one has suggested Chronomancer to you is because it is not the meta pick. The only difficult part of chronomancer is mastering the use of Continuum Split, which you can actually get by just fine not even using in most content. So as a casual player learn the spec without worrying about continuum split and then when you feel comfortable with how it plays practice adding it into your routine before attempting more difficult content.

 

because I know someone out there is going to accuse me of giving bad advice on this I’ll explain exactly why Chronomancer is the most casual friendly mesmer espec.

Chronomancer is the ONLY mesmer espec that plays exactly like core mesmer. Even when you do learn how to properly use Continuum Split the playstyle is still identical to core. You don’t have to learn a new playstyle to play chronomancer. With Virtuoso you have to learn to play mesmer without clones to occasionally take damage off of you, Virtuoso is still easier to learn and play than Mirage though… Mirage is by far the least casual friendly since you have to maintain mirage cloak at as close to 100% up time as you can get it not just for survival but for damage too. One mistake on Mirage can very easily mean death. With Chronomancer the only thing you have to worry about is clone management and shattering… everything else will just happen as you do that. Exactly like core mesmer.

Chronomancer: Core Mesmer with an extra shatter and ground target AoEs.

Virtuoso: Mesmer without clones, learn to be highly mobile as standing still will kill you.

Mirage: Turret mode mesmer, very little movement required but mistime a dodge or mirage mirror and you will die.

I'd like some of what you've been smoking.

I've been playing Mesmer as my main character since starting 1 year ago. Of those I've spent almost 10 months playing Chronomancer only played Mirage and Virtuoso mainly for about 2 months this summer.

I'm speaking from my personal experiences not from what is meta.

 

Yes Chronomancer is just Core Mesmer+. But that doesn't make it the most casual friendly. The other elite specs remove most of the challenges that Core Mesmer has and generate power MUCH more easily.

Chrononancer gets a ton of its power from Shattering Clones. But those clones die to most boss AOE, vanish when their target die and are just not that easy to manage. Sure they distract enemies but they can't stop all damage from coming in and have the least ability to regain their health to keep fighting. If you want to keep the enemy distracted on your clones then you can't use your Shatters and you're killing your ability to fight especially against groups.

 

Mirage is the closest to a one button build the Mesmer has. Yes you have to dodge but the one button for dodging does EVERYTHING for you. It buffs you, it increases your damage, it evades enemy attacks, it can heal you, it can generate clones. A casual player can do nothing but press the Dodge button every few seconds and use their movement keys and they'll be able to do more than most Chronomancer players trying to play the piano on the keyboard.

It's very forgiving because if you miss a dodge you already have Regen to regain the health you missed.. Mirage is the closest Mesmer has to a pet class because they want to keep the Clones out so they can use Infinite Horizons. They don't have to shatter to get their power. But they can if they want to.

 

Virtuoso doesn't have clones for distraction but they have consistent healing based on damage they do. They generate Blades a factor of magnitude faster than other Mesmer specs can and they don't lose the blades when killing targets so they can keep fighting without slowing down.

Their gameplay is much easier than Chronomancer because the blades are much easier to generate, and manage than clones are. Just make use of the range the Virtuoso has and you'll be great.

 

 

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On 11/5/2023 at 6:52 AM, ShadowKatt.6740 said:

I'm just gonna throw this out there since no one else, including the OP, has: You actually don't have to use any of them. I spend the vast majority of my time playing a core mesmer and doing just fine, or at least as fine I can be getting kneecapped at every patch. But you don't have to limit yourself to just those three. We got 5 core specs for you to mix and match with. Play around with them.

I'm intrigued.

What do you find appealing about using Core Mesmer over any of the elite specs?

 

Since reaching lvl 80 I've only used the core spec a few times to try out a Domination/Dueling/Illusions build. 

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