Guild Wars 2 artwork for the Mirage class in Path of Fire

Throughout Guild Wars 2's history the Mesmer class has always been a problematic one. Its reliance on illusions and elusiveness have made it a nightmare to properly balance in PvP, while its ill-fitting abilities and lacking synergies have made it an awkward class in PvE. Nowhere is this more apparent than with Chronomancers - Mesmers that are downright mandatory in any serious content yet almost completely isolated from the rest of the classes. Combine this with the rather abusive relationship between Phantasms and Clones and you've got yourself a gigantic hodgepodge of mechanics and ideas without much cohesion or structure behind them.

With all of that in mind, I am very glad to say that ArenaNet has decided to undertake the gigantic task of reworking some of more troublesome areas of the Mesmer class. First and foremost, the Alacrity buff will be getting a considerable nerf in terms of overall duration and power, but in return it will be a part of the boon system and as such will be influenced by the Concentration stat and abilities from other players. According to ArenaNet's explanation Chronomancers will still be able to maintain current levels of Alacrity, but there will be a lot more interaction with it, and more importantly, a couple more sources to help plug in any gaps.

The second big change is in regards to Phantasms. Once the update hits they will no longer persist indefinitely, but will instead attack once and then turn into a clone. As you might expect, this will mean that the Phantasm damage will be getting buffed across the board, and perhaps more significantly, that some of the weaker Phantasms such as the Phantasmal Warlock will be getting a bit of a rework. The end goal behind these changes is to incentivize Mesmers to use their Shatter abilities, while also giving clone-based Mirage builds a reason to occasionally press that Phantasm button. You can read a little bit more about these changes over at the official forum.

As someone that has pretty much only played a Mesmer since Guild Wars 2 launched, I must say I'm quite happy with what I'm seeing here. Chances are the numbers will be all wrong when the update first launches, but once all of that is sorted out the Mesmer class is going to be left in a much better place. Not only will the Chronomancer actually interact with other players and perhaps even have competition, but there will finally be a reason to actually use all of those awesome-sounding Shatter skills without watching the numbers on the DPS meter plummet through the ground. So while the changes might be a bit scary, I do believe they are for the best.

Whatever the case may be, we'll find out soon enough as these Mesmer changes will be coming as a part of the next major update. When exactly that will be, ArenaNet hasn't said just yet, but it's expected to arrive in the relatively near future.