Mesmerise Me, Oh Dealer in Death

There’s a storm of speculation raging around the embryonic ideas of the Mesmer and Necromancer. In Guild Wars Classic (GWC), the two covered much of the same ground, namely curses and hexes. The mesmer was unique in her manipulation of the mind and her illusionary ways while the necromancer instead chose to command control over the dead while dealing in even more nefarious forms of magic like curses.

It’s the curses and hexes that bring mesmer and necromancer aficionados to blows. A hex is, unsurprisingly, a hex spell, but so too is a curse. The question becomes then: How can the mesmer and the necromancer become unique enough to legitimize their existence in the more profession-diverse world of Guild Wars 2?

Will hexes become the sole purview of the sinister necromancer? What would be left for the mesmer? Without hexes mesmers are left with fast casting and interrupts. A generous person would give them illusions as well and disregard the fact that a mesmer’s illusions are, in fact, a form of hex spell.

Or, will hexes be commanded primarily by mesmers? Necromancers would be left with dominion over the dead. Disease no longer exists in GW2 (maybe the monks committed mass suicide to rid the world of disease?) so perhaps in lieu of diseases a necromancer could draw on poisons. Of course, that could be stepping on the toes of the theoretical assassin.

When I think of hexes I think of the Pennsylvania Dutch. I don’t live in Pennsylvania (I live in the Midwest) but there are many immigrants of germanic origin in the area I grew up and learning these signs was part of my early education.

Most people, when they think of the word ‘hex’ will think of a witch’s spell to cause harm. When I think of ‘hex’ I do think of harm, but I also see the possibility for blessing. Hex signs like the ones on the right are blessings (click through to a link to a page about the meanings of the different symbols).

It’s this dual meaning that leads me to believe that hexes could still exist in a grey area. I think most people will agree that every profession will be able to have some positive effect on a group beyond providing damage and revival. An elementalist can heal with water spells, a warrior and ranger both can deflect projectiles and protect party members. It would be easy for me to say that a necromancer’s hexes will be degenerative in nature while a mesmer might make use of their more positive aspects but I’m just not certain that will be true.

At the core of the necromancer is his affinity, nay, obsession with death. He has looked into the maw of the great beyond and has not flinched. He knows how to reach his hands into the cold well of the dead and draw forth unlife. Through his intimate knowledge of the dead he is made more capable of inflicting pain and suffering on the living.

The mesmer walks a different path. Hers is the road of deception and guile. She is aloof, unwilling to sully her hands with the dirty work but no less dangerous for it. She will make you question your own motives, stumble where once you walked with confidence, and quaver where once you were sure. She will not harm you, but instead will lead you to destroy yourself from within.

In GWC we saw the first use of illusions. It is my hope that ArenaNet will expand upon this in GW2. Instead of an illusion being nothing more than a baelful-looking icon in the corner of our screens I would like to instead see the conjured phantasm that is plaguing me. It is my hope that an illusion can be seen only by the mesmer who casts it and her intended victim. If everyone can see the conjured phantasm then it is no different in practice than a necromancer’s undead minions. But if it is real to no one but the mesmer and her victim then she has succeeded in sowing doubt and chaos.

Illusions versus undead minions. Hexes, either to curse or to bless. The necromancer and the mesmer have nearly unlimited potential. Aesthetically and culturally they are very different, though functionally they can be very much the same. Will they be wedded even more closely in the future, or will they choose paths different enough from each other that they can both exist and thrive in Guild Wars 2?

Only time will tell.

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  • Comments (4)
  1. I was thinking about hexes too but in a different light. Since enchantments are no more and are in fact “boons” perhaps hexes have changed as well. The boons are instigated by the removal of a dedicated healer, so maybe thats not the case but i’ve still been thinking it over.

    beneficial hexes would be cool, and I like your idea of manifested illusions but not the implementation of only the caster and victim seeing it. it would run contrary to anets ideas about making things more visual to everyone, and deprives people of seeing would I imagine would be cool graphics.

      • Tigerfeet
      • July 27th, 2010

      Hunter :

      I like your idea of manifested illusions but not the implementation of only the caster and victim seeing it. it would run contrary to anets ideas about making things more visual to everyone, and deprives people of seeing would I imagine would be cool graphics.

      That’s something I had thought of as well.

      As far as boons and enchantments go, I just assumed it was more of a nomenclature change than anything else. You have all these other status effects and a boon is nothing more than a friendly status effect. My understanding is probably a little limited though.

      • honestly we know so little about boons its hard to say, but the way they put it, they described boons as being conditions with positive effects, which makes me personally think they’re a lot different than enchantments but, who knows? until we see more or they say something we’re in the dark.

  2. Yep, they’ve described boons as positive conditions. There is Might Boon, Fury Boon, etc, and they are applied by different skills.

    I don’t think we saw the Necro having hexes at all. While I think that’s a good think for the class (more active death-dealing), I do wonder how Mesmer can exist without the clever conditional triggers that make GW1 hexes so interesting.

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