Guild Wars 2 artwork for the Mirage class

The more complex and interesting a class is, the more difficult it is to balance. Nowhere has this been more apparent than with Guild Wars 2's Mesmer. Its ability to summon illusions and disengage from battle at will, as well as dish out heaps of positive and negative effects, has made it a nearly mandatory class in any serious content, yet it has also made it a bit of a balancing nightmare. After all, how do you improve some of the underperforming skills and weapons without making the Chronomancer specialization even more powerful?

The answer, as you can probably guess from the title, was to rework the core principles behind the class itself. As such, Phantasms now only have one powerful attack after which they turn into a generic clone, all primed and ready to be shattered. This might sound like a silly little change, but it goes a long way towards preventing the Mesmer playstyle from degenerating into "stand still and auto-attack with three Phantasms up". Similarly, the Chronomancer's Alacrity buff has been tweaked so that it's much more interactive, and more importantly for PvP, dispellable! The changes are quite technical, so if you're looking to find out more you should head over to the official blog.

On a less Mesmer related note, the recent update has also brought with it the Lunar New Year festival, as well as a whole bunch of balance changes. While I would love to say good things about the festival, I'm afraid this is one of the most boring ones I've participated in so far. The previous Winter festival had plenty of activities and achievements to collect, while this time around you're looking at only one mini-game and achievements that require a frankly ridiculous amount of gold. On the positive side, there are some nice cosmetics to collect through the Gem store, so if you have a bit of spare gold you should still be able to find something of interest.

As for the balance changes, there are simply far too many of them to cover in brief. You can get all of the details over at the official website, but before you do so I would recommend brewing a cup of coffee since you're going to be stuck there for quite a while. Have fun with the new Mesmer, and make sure to try out the various new power builds!