Head to Head: Mesmer vs Thief
With the mesmer right off from the press, I thought I’d do a head to head with it. And who best to compare with than the … thief? What was I thinking?
Well, in a recent interview, a dev described the mesmer as “a fencing, dueling, finesse, mind game profession”. Does it sound like a thief?
Also, there are many commonalities. High mobility, lots of disables, sneak-based skills like stealth, can use a sword and pistol, do I really need more? Players who like to annoy other players (or foes) will be interested in those two professions.
The first obvious difference is that the thief is an adventurer, and the mesmer is a scholar. This of course means that mesmers will want to keep a larger range most of the time. Mesmers have some melee options, even then, it’s likely that, like the thief, the melee is more meant for hit & run rather than stay at melee range and dishing it out.
More likely, the mesmer will spend more of his time at medium- and long-range, whereas the thief will be keeping it to melee and medium-range. [more]
Control: Evasion tactics
Mesmer and thieves won’t be tanking. Neither has much health or armor. Rather, thieves will rely on movement to survive. Mesmers too, but mesmers will also rely on clones to distract their foes. Each main hand or 2h weapon gets at least one clone skill. This means that mesmers always have a way to make a decoy. Combined with sneaks and instant movements, mesmers can easily be nowhere near where a big attack hits. For example, one decoy skill makes a clone of yourself, and then stealths you so you can move out of the danger zone without being pursued.
So while the thief relies more on movement and the mesmer on illusions, they both rely on confusing the enemy and being sneaky and misleading.
Control: Shutting down foes
Both professions have access to skills that shutdown foes like snares or blinds. The major departing point is that mesmers tend to have their skills usable at a longer range. Mesmers also have skills that punish foes for activating skills, whereas thieves rely more on shutting them down without direct punishment. Also, both professions have a skill to bring foes into an AoE: the thief can harpoon a foe to him, the mesmer can swap position with a foe.
Both professions offer ways to support allies, like providing stealth. However, the main support they bring is shutting down foes. In particular, the thief does this by being the mosquito via hit & run, the mesmer by providing mosquitoes via clones and phantasms. This redirects foes’ attention away from allies and onto the mosquitoes. The difference between this and frontline / minions is that mosquitoes are not built to take damage, they are built to distract. The clones and phantasms are clearly not meant to last, as you even get four distinct ways to blow them to bits via shatter skills assigned to f1-f4.
I’ve been saying that I could see the mesmer as the scholar version of a thief. I think the argument can be made for it. Both would make great additions to a team, filling in similar roles… but they differ greatly in style and in gameplay.
If I had to pick one, I would pick the mesmer… but mainly because he has access to summons. I do like my summons. What would you pick?