I hate to ask one of these, what profession should I play questions, but I really need some info here. To start off, I am a caster. Always have been, always will be. The problem resonates from the fact that as a non beta tester I don't really know much about class playstyle. As a Mage, I would most likely understand everything the Elementalist offers. But the Necromancer doesn't seem to fit the WoW warlock mold. I didn't see much that felt like a ranged caster there. While the Mesmer, which seems like a cross between an arcane mage and shadow priest, looks enjoyable, I am not sure how it is going to really be useful. I hated the point where a class became one of those dime-a-dozen classes, and the elementalist seems it is going to hit that right off the bat based off popularity. So I guess I actually have 2 questions. 1.) Is the Necromancer going to keep up with elementalist damage, with the right weapons setup in the hands of a skilled player? 2.) Will the Mesmer be useful enough from its debuff utility to justify its lower damage? Will a skilled Mesmer be able to output enough to be desirable?
The biggest thing I can recommend is to make a character and try one. I can honestly say that the play style is different among each class. You won't play a Mesmer like you play an Elementalist.
1) No. Elementalist will probably be one of the higher damage dealers in the game. However, they lack some things in the survivibility area. When it comes to Necro, what they lack in damage they make up in survivibility. Next to Warriors, the necro has one of the highest health pools in the game. They also have death shroud, which is essentially a second health pool. When you enter death shroud, you gain a new health pool and gain access to new abilities. You can also steal health from your opponent and inflict a lot of conditions on your opponent.
2) In my opinion, the Mesmer and thief are some of the hardest classes to play in the game. The mesmer has access to many abilities that can interrupt you. They have access to the most skills that cause confusion, which you take damage for every skill you use. Mesmers rely more on punishing you for your actions rather than just dealing the most damage. They also have access to invisibility and powerful shatters that allow them to deal damage, confusion, daze you, or cause the mesmer to evade your attacks.