Welcome to the all new Leveling & Open World Compendium. Once again the old guide has reached its editability, so it is again time to pack everything and more in a new one.


Disclaimer: The intention of this compendium is to offer guides that work in a wide array of content. The theme is more “casual” for a reason – getting into the game and the mechanics is the first step, perfection itself a whole journey. Discussion is welcome, but I do not intend to add builds that only work in very specific aspects of the game (like high level fractals or dungeon speed running).


1. Leveling Guide

1.1 Leveling Guide: Part 1 – The Basics
1.1.1 General Advice: Did you know?
1.1.2 What grinds my gears: Stuff

1.2 Leveling Guide: Part 2 – Leveling
1.2.1 Leveling 1-20: Me, Myself and I – How to blow up the guy in the mirror.
1.2.2 Leveling 21-44: I see myself four times. I must be trunken twice.
1.2.3 Leveling 45-70: Leveling 45-70: Nothing but an illusion, until it blows up in your face.
1.2.4 Leveling 71-80: All good things come to an end.

1.3 Leveling 1-80: TL;DR Version

2. Build Section

The Lazy Kai Build 2.0

Most parts have been update by now, thank you for your patience.

1.1 Leveling Guide: Part 1 – The Basics

Leveling as a Mesmer is – unfortunately – not as lazy as most other classes. So before you can get lazy, you will have to make your way to the pinnacle of existence, known as level 80.

There are several stages in the ascend of a new Mesmer, and I will try to cover the shifts as simple as possible.

1.1.1 General Advice: Did you know?

Nourishment – Food:

There is a plethora of food in Guild Wars 2. The good point – some of it is dirt cheap. Why would you bother? Well, most food give a 10% experience boost (some 15%) for all kills, which will, over time, sum up. The food is actually so cheap, even a level 2 can get some off the auction house (just search for food and sort by price). So just buy it. You won’t get much food in the open world, unless you become a cook, but that’s another topic…

Nourishment – Utility:

As with food, utility buffs (from slayer potions, maintenance oils, sharpening stones and tuning crystals) also offer a 10% experience boost. The great thing is, one food buff and one utility buff will stack. They are all crafted by thier respective professions, or you can simply buy some off the auction house.


Boosters can further improve your leveling speed. They can be randomly aquired out of Black Lion Chests or directly from the Gem Store or for laurels (from daily login rewards). The new boosters are fairly straight forward to use and include the functionality of several old boosters. They will stack with potions/food.

If you happen to still own old boosters, here is some useful information. Combining anExperience Booster, an Improved Experience Booster and a Laureate Experience Boosterwill already give you additional 180% kill experience. This can be pushed by a further 100% with a Kill Streak Experience Booster, as long as you keep up with killing things.
If you want to invest real money to level, boosters can be a great help to speed things up, but they are in no way a necessity. My advice is to at least save your Laurels for gear instead of investing them in boosters.

1.1.2 What grinds my gears: Stuff


Power is what you want as primary stat. Secondary is Precision. If both is on the armor, perfect. Leveling is all about killing things fast, this will help.
Personal advise: Armor is cheap on the trading post, most of the time, you can get level accurate stuff for about the same coin it will give you back when you sell it to a merchant. Keep your gear up-to-date.


Greatsword + Sword/Focus, same stats/advise as armor.

What to put in slots:

While leveling you will change your equipment – a lot. In early levels probably several times a play session. So buying upgrade components is not the best idea. You will probably find yourself running around with empty slots on your armor most of the time.
You can find some upgrade items from different sources, use them if they offer useful buffs.
Later on it is very helpful to at least choose a sigil for your weapon to help you with an area you feel lacking (probably condition removal or simply more damage).

Gathering and salvaging:

The first things you should buy the moment you earned your first few coppers are somegathering tools and salvage kits.
Gathering will give you experience and resources you need for crafting, that again will also give you experience (you can level a character completely with crafting).
Salvaging will also give you resources and will help you to manage your limited inventory space.

1.2 Leveling Guide: Part 2 – Leveling

1.2.1 Leveling 1-20: Me, Myself and I – How to blow up the guy in the mirror.

Here we go, after wasting hours on the character creation screen to find a name that is not taken, you have arrived in the world of Guild Wars 2, Tyria.

The good news is that you are wielding a rusty little sword right now, a formidable choice. Swords will be your friend on your way to 80, so get some practice with it. Do not replace it unless you find a better sword or – even better – a greatsword. Well, you can fool around with other weapons and you should, but for leveling itself everything with the word “sword” in it is your first choice.

The third sword skill will generate an illusion – to be more specific – a clone. There are two kinds of illusions, clones and phantasms.
Clones are as pretty or ugly as you are, doing close to no damage and are as durable as ice cream in a melting pot. Sounds promising? Do not despair, clones are mostly seen as a resources for the Mesmer’s profession skills – aka shatters. More about that in a bit.
Phantasms look like you too – sort of – just without textures and more transparent. They actually do good damage and can take a hit, and they also are a resource for shatter skills.
The maximum amount of illusions you can have at a time is three, if you cast a new illusion with three illusions out, one of four things will happen:

1. If you cast a clone, the oldest clone will be replaced by the new one.
2. If there are three phantasms, the clone will replace your oldest one.
3. If you cast a phantasm, the oldest clone will be replaced by it.
4. If there are three phantasms, the oldest phantasm will be replaced by the new one.

So what to do with all those illusions? The same thing you do with all stuff you no longer need in real life – blow them up! Shatter skills (F1-F5) will cause an effect which will get stronger the more illusions you have available. While you can use all shatter skills without a single illusion, which can be very useful in certain situations, it is more often the wiser choice to cast a full shatter (three illusions) to maximize damage.

Your first shatter skill “Mind Wrack” will unlock at level 5. It is our bread and butter and what else you would put on a bread skill. It will be hard to get enough illusions on the screen below level 10 to cast a full shatter, as the mob will be pretty dead until then anyway. Remember, illusions are bound to the enemy they got cast on and will disappear the moment this enemy dies. It is therefore better to cast a Mind Wrack with only one or two illusions, if the enemy is close to dying anyway.

When you reach level 6, you will get the choice between a greatsword or a torch. This is actually not a choice, it is a test. If you pick the greatsword you have been reading the guide carefully up to this point. If you take the torch, god help you. I surely can’t. Only excuse, you found a better greatsword on the way, or on the trading post…
The greatsword is a great weapon. It is ranged, everything hits more than one target and its fourth weapon skill, which gets unlocked conveniently at the very same level as your first phantasm skill, is the “Phantasmal Berserker”.

Now that you got your first phantasm, you also got a decision to make every single fight: To shatter the phantasm or not. Sure, while the phantasm is alive, it will cause great damage, but if it dies, you have missed the opportunity of a stronger shatter. If you ask me, and you should, let the phantasm do its job once and then, with some clones around create butterflies – which means use it for shatter fodder. Later on you will get a better feeling for when it is right to wait, but for now, you should get some practice on how to shatter in the first place.

At level 10 you will finally unlock the ability to swap between two weapon sets – good times ahead. While one of the sets will be the greatsword, your second set should consist of a sword and a focus. You might have expected a sword in the offhand too, as I said everything sword it good, and yes, a second sword would be a good choice, but for leveling, the focus is simply better. Especially the skill “Temporal Curtain” which gives you swiftness is great. Besides making you run faster it also has many other uses.

Now that you can swap weapons, it will be fairly easy to produce enough illusions for a full shatter. General rule is:

Start with greatsword skill 1 (Spatial Surge), skill 2 (Mirror Blade, your clone generator) and skill 4 (Phantasmal Berserker), swap to sword/focus and cast skill 3 (Illusionary Leap, your second clone generator) which gives you a full shatter for F1 (Mind Wrack).

Now you still have your focus phantasm left, which gives you some nice damage for the time when your shatter is on cooldown. The sword is also preferable in melee range as it does more damage, which is why we start the fight with the greatsword and then swap to the sword/focus and not the other way around.

At level 11 two things are happening. Firstly, you get your second shatter skill, “Cry of Frustration”. It is called that way because you are mad that Mind Wrack is on cooldown and you have to use this inferior shatter to cause damage. But until level 21, you can mostly ignore this skill.
Secondly, you can now pick your first utility skill. My personal advice is to spend four points into “Signet Training” to get both, “Signet of the Ether” – your new healing skill, and “Signet of Inspiration” – your first utility skill.

Signet of the Ether will give you some passive healing, a good base heal and a way to reset your phantasm timers. So even if you do no need healing, you can use this skill to greatly buff your damage. Signet of Inspiration is very nice, as it gives you swiftness and together with the focus you can have permanent swiftness uptime.

At level 15 and again at level 19 you will unlock your next shatter skills and a utility slot. The two shatter skills “Diversion” and “Distortion” are only of very limited use for leveling, so I will skip them for now.
Your second utility skill should be “Blink” which is to be found under “Manipulation Training” and your third the “Signet of Illusions” from “Signet Training”.
Blink is just awesome. Getting out of tight spots never was easier and you can also use it to get faster from A to B. Signet of the illusion keeps your illusions alive a bit longer which is not bad, but the main reason we are picking this signet is the active part. Being able to reset shatters will be very useful later on, especially when you start producing even more clones with the upcoming traits.

1.2.2 Leveling 21-44: I see myself four times. I must be drunken twice.

You did it! Yeah, you might not have realized it, but you have left your early days behind and are now to become one of us. What made the difference? Traits. If you were as greedy with your hero points as I have hinted earlier (like not spending them on skills to actually experiencing the beauty of GW2), you will have some left to dump into your traits. The obvious question is, where to put them. And if you are reading this, the obvious answer is: You have no idea. Fear not, the answer is at hand.

You will have to pick one trait line, and the one you should choose is Dueling. From now on, EVERY SINGLE HERO POINT you earn is to be spent here. You should have enough hero points to actually get some nice stuff. We are specifically aiming for Phantasmal Fury (adept), Fencer’s Finesse (master) and Deceptive Evasion (grandmaster). Getting these traits is your Nr. 1 priority. Nothing else matters. If you do anything else with your hero points, you will regret it later on, be warned.

Chances are slim that you will get all the way up to Deceptive Evasion right at the start. So as a rough guesstimate you should aim for level 31 to get Deceptive Evasion as a follower of this guide from the start. Things change quite a bit as you produce a clone whenever you dodge in combat from now on. What the happy little trees are in the “joy of painting”, the fragile little clones are in the “joy of mesmerizing”. From now on they are everywhere and you should not be greedy with them. The trick is to use dodge clones as fillers when your other illusion skills are on cooldown. Most of the time you might not even need to swap from greatsword to sword/focus to kill a single enemy.

Level 31 also unlocks your elite skill slot. What you want in that slot is Time Warp. But wait a sec – just forget about that. You might want it, but you won’t get it. Why? Ain’t nobody got hero points for that. But praise the six gods, with the new trait system, racial elite skills are unlocked by now. So unless you are a Norn, you might actually find something useful on your list.
The problem with hero points is, that at level 45, you will unlock you second trait line, and at that time, you want a kitten 52 hero points saved up to get down to business. So unless you grind all hero challenges on your way to level 45, you will probably not going to get close to having enough points for your traits and Time Warp. You will get it later, you will survive without it, you will enjoy it when you finally get it. It is always good to have something you can look forward to.

1.2.3 Leveling 45-70: Leveling 45-70: Nothing but an illusion, until it blows up in your face.

So you made it this far. Good. Level 45 offers you another choice to make. Which trait line will you unlock next? If you want to make the choice by yourself, go ahead, if you want to make the right choice, read on.

The best choice (with exception of all others) would be investing heavily into Illusions. You will benefit greatly from the minor traits Illusionists Celerity and Master of Misdirection as well as getting a serious amount of extra punch from the major traits.
The traits you want to pick are Compounding Power (adept), Shattered Strength (master) and Master of Fragmentation (grandmaster). With Illusions as second trait line, you will generate illusions faster, have a shorter cool-down on shatters and hit harder than ever before. A win-win-win situation, especially for the play-style we use with this leveling guide.

Not much more to say here, all you need is to safe up 52 hero points for level 71. Depending on your focus (PvE/WvW) you should have enough hero points to spare for getting Time Warp by now. If not, remember that filling up trait lines as soon as they unlock should be your Nr. 1 priority.

1.2.4 Leveling 71-80: All good things come to an end.

If you have been following this guide and reached 71 by blindly accepting my questionable decisions, you will have at least 52 hero points to spare and a choice. Yeah I know, choices have not been a thing I have offered before, but it is time to learn standing on your own feet.

Luckily for you, I will give you some clear advices first. Your third trait line to pick shall be Domination, dump your 52 hero points there. Good.

Now if you liked the way you have been leveling your Mesmer the last few dozen levels, you should get Empowered Illusion (adept), Blurred Inscriptions (master) and Mental Anguish (grandmaster). Your play-style won’t change much, but your shatter damage will significantly improve.

If you want to relax a bit while playing you can also simply use the trait setup found in the Lazy Kai Build below from now on. It is top efficient in open world and quite fun. You can also fool around with different weapon setups with your free secondary set while mainly using a greatsword.

That’s it, thank you for following this leveling guide.

1.3 Leveling 1-80: TL;DR Version

1.3.1 Leveling 1-20:

Step 1: Level to 10 preferably with greatsword. While it is difficult to maintain a rotation because of cooldowns you can go with greatsword 1, 2, 4 shatter f1.
Step 2: At 10 equip sword/focus as second weapon set. Rotation is greatswords 1,2,4, weapon swap sword 3 shatter F1.
Step 3: At level 11, pick “Signet of the Ether” for healing and “Signet of Inspiration” as utility 1. At level 15, pick “Blink” as utility 2 and at level 19 “Signet of Illusions” as utility 3.

1.3.2 Leveling 21-44

Pick Dueling as your trait line, spend all your points there to get Phantasmal Fury (adept), Fencer’s Finesse (master) and Deceptive Evasion (grandmaster).
Safe 52 hero points for level 45.

1.3.3 Leveling 45-70

Pick Illusions as your second trait line, spend all 52 points there to get Compounding Power (adept), Shattered Strength (master) and Master of Fragmentation (grandmaster).
Safe 52 hero points for level 71.
If you can afford it, get Time Warp.

1.3.4 Leveling 71-80

Pick Domination as your third trait line and:

A) Spend 52 points there to get Empowered Illusion (adept), Blurred Inscriptions (master) and Mental Anguish (grandmaster)

– or –

B) Spend 44 points there for playing the Lazy Kai Build.

2. Build Section

2.1 The Allrounder: The Lazy Kai Build 2.0 Now with 100% more useless explanations!

For years the Lazy Kai Build has been a very popular build (at least for myself) and as we got all this new trait stuff happening everywhere, it was about time to give the build some love.

If you are new to the Lazy Kai Build, you will probably ask yourself what is this, it looks great(sword)! Or, if you are a PvP fan, probably not. The Lazy Kai Build is in it’s core an optimization for PvE open world play. It is efficient and simple, so that you do not feel like you have had a math exam in quantum physics every time you log out of GW2. If you likethat kind of stuff, the Crazy Kai Build might be something for you, to be found here soon.

So here we go, time to sing along together!

Trait lines: Domination/Dueling/Illusions

Domination: Who wants to live for greatsword?

II Empowered Illusions: Could it be that it’s just an illusion?
VI Furious Interruption: Like a virgin, interrupted for the very first time.
VII Imagined Burden: Stop – greatsword time!

Dueling: It’s one on one (on one on one on one) tonight!

I Phantasmal Fury: It’s the hard knock life for us!
IV Blinding Dissipation: Close your eyes, give me your loot, baby!
IX Deceptive Evasion: Papa was a rolling clone…

Illusions: Is this the real Kai? Is this just fantasy?

I Compounding Power: I are family!
IV Shattered Strength: There’s a thousand clones, there’s only one of me!
VIII Master of Fragmentation: Phantasms and clones may break my bones!

Armor: Berserker for all slots, we are too lazy to search for something else!
Rune: Superior Rune of the Centaur x6. Just because it has always been that way.

Extra lazy advise: Zhed’s Armor is exactly what you want!

Weapon1: Berserker’s Greatsword gets it all done, no need for other fancy stuff!
Sigil 1: Superior Sigil of Air for more damage, and it is cheap too.
Sigil 2: Superior Sigil of Stamina for more dodges -> clones -> explosions!

Weapon2: What ever rocks your boat, you won’t need it anyway.
Personal advise: I like the focus. This is my guide, so you like the focus too.


Ether Feast: And when I get that feeling, I want illusionary healing!
Blink: Right here, right now!
Decoy: It wasn’t me!
Signet of Illusions: I got a little something for you!
Time Warp: Let’s do the time warp again!

Most important advise for lazy players:
Go Options/Combat: Activate Fast-Cast Ground Targeting!
Clicking twice for an attack, sounds like a chore!

Genereal GS playstyle:

Attack 1: get aggro so the mob does not kill clones
Attack 2: clone (and tagging event mobs)
Attack 4: iZerker (and tagging more event mobs)
Dodge to target: clone (and closing gap for max shatter dmg)
F1: shatter

Most mobs are dead or sort of dead by now.
Veterans, just go on: generate more clones/ iZerker and shatter.
Boss with AoE damage, go with rotation, if not, be extra lazy, avoid shatters let iZerkers do the damage.

Additional skills that could be useful if you are not super lazy:

GS 3: More AoE damage if you feel the need for it.
F2: If F1 is on cooldown and you want to shatter.
GS 5: There are some mobs around and it looks like one is using a skill. Free quickness.
F3: There are some mobs around and it looks like one is using a skill. Free quickness. Used preferably if you have no illusions around.

Here we go, ready to kick some kitten without even lifting a foot. Safe that energy for potsing all the loot you got without effort.

Have fun – the lazy way!


Additional Guide Tips Welcomed!