Thoughts on Guild Wars 2 Engineer


I’ve been playing around with Engineer in Guild Wars 2 (GW2) for the past few days, my first hands-on time with the class since launch.

Part of the reason I was curious about Engineer is the broad perception that it’s an underpowered class, and the mechanics with the tool belt and kits create a very different playstyle relative to most of the GW2 classes. It’s worth pointing out that the majority opinion on classes and balance is often off-the-mark; e.g. Elementalist was broadly considered underpowered for the first several months post-launch, even moreso after the blast finisher nerf to the Evasive Arcana trait back in mid November, but I think we all realize know that there are some strong Elementalist specs.

Given that I’ve been playing Elementalist since Christmas, I figured that the adjustment to playing with more than two sets of weapon skills with Engineer wouldn’t be that big of a deal. What has been awkward is getting used to the activation of kits, given that the kits are slotted on utility and healing skill slots. Activating kits is very non-punishing: there is no swap-activated cooldown, so if you make a mistake switching to/from a kit, you can immediately switch back (and you can leverage this fact to trigger on-swap traits and sigils). However, for UI design consistency I would have preferred to see kits slotted on the profession bar, similar to attunements for Elementalists, as that seems more intuitive to me. On the one hand, I can rationalize my perspective because I tried Ele first, but the more I think about it, there really aren’t any other classes that have weapon (kit) switching based on healing or utility slots, as Engy does.

My point here is that the design of the Engineer class creates a unique learning curve from a control perspective. This creates an unnecessary hurdle to player performance – it’s going to be harder for players to get comfortable with Engy compared to other classes. Consider for example Guardian and Mesmer – these are popular classes and the way their profession skill bar is implemented is conceptually similar, so swapping between characters is straightforward. Just so I’m clear: I like the idea of having multiple kits to slot, but I don’t like the design of the controls, especially when compared to the other classes.

At any rate, the positive implication of being able to select multiple kits is that you can come up with a wide diversity of specs and capabilities. For example, here are two videos of very different setups:

Aside from the controls, there are several aspects that I like about the Engineer class:

  • The diversity of damaging conditions (bleeds, burning, confusion, poison)
  • The ease of sustaining quality-of-life and combat boons such as Swiftness. E.g. 10 points in the Tools trait line gives you access to the on-demand swiftness trait Speedy Kits, and you can pair this up with 10 points in Alchemy for the on-demand vigor trait Invigorating Speed. It’s important to note that Speedy Kits is far more useful from a mechanics perspective than most swiftness-granting abilities and boons, because these are often tied to abilities with meaningful cooldowns (e.g. Warrior’s Signet of Rage elite ability), so if the boon gets peeled off you, it sucks
  • The number of AOE options available

I’m still in the process of messing around with different Engineer specs in sPvP and thinking about whether I want to commit the time/money to leveling the class to 80. You can create some interesting tank specs with Engy, and that appeals to me.

I’d welcome your thoughts on the Engineer class, so please share ‘em.

P.S. I played a variant of TANKCAT, same slot skill selection, and with an emphasis on reactive boons (Protection and Retaliation). Here’s the spec: http://www.intothemists.com/calc/?build=-VRw;2sPFw0u5FQFx0;9;69TT;40;005957AN.

I also tried some Flamethrower (FT) builds with the Juggernaut and Deadly Mixture traits, but it felt more limited compared to other specs.

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Posted in Elementalist, Engineer, Game Design, Guild Wars 2, PVP
54 comments on “Thoughts on Guild Wars 2 Engineer
  1. Mattsta says:

    I’ve been leveling an Engineer in PvE and haven’t gone into PvP with it yet, so I don’t know much about the competitive and higher level usage with the class. The no cooldowns on the kits however kind of turns me off to them. It feels broken, especially with the swiftness trait you mentioned essentially giving me perma-swiftness just by equiping and unequiping my flamethrower every 5 seconds. The conjured weapons from Elementalist have a usage counter that will ‘use up’ the weapon after so many attacks. Then you have the Tomes for Guardian that have a duration and they are Elite! And both of those have cooldowns on their next usage. As you said, it is very non-punishing which makes it feel like a very less tactical choice. Even switching weapons on other classes comes with its own cooldown. I want there to be more risk/reward in the usage of kits.

    • taugrim says:

      Mattsta :

      The no cooldowns on the kits however kind of turns me off to them. It feels broken, especially with the swiftness trait you mentioned essentially giving me perma-swiftness just by equiping and unequiping my flamethrower every 5 seconds…As you said, it is very non-punishing which makes it feel like a very less tactical choice. Even switching weapons on other classes comes with its own cooldown. I want there to be more risk/reward in the usage of kits.

      I’m fine with the traits that activate on kit-swap and the kit swapping having no cooldown. It gives the Engineer a lot of flexibility.

      If a kit-swap cooldown was introduced, the class would need to be compensated in some other way.

  2. PeZzy says:

    My first 80 was an engineer. I went for a pistol/piston condition damage type engineer. In WvW it seems as though most people have selected the grenade engineer – I personally dislike how grenade throwing affects the way you control your character. A big problem I had with my engineer was when players surround you. With an elementalist or a mesmer, you can attack all sides. A pistol based engineer can only attack the people directly in front. Any kind of knockdown would disorient my character, making it even more difficult to target enemies. While I was deadly in a zerg vs zerg situation, I found myself to be hopeless with smaller numbers against melee-range and CC-ing classes. I eventually smartened-up and grinded a mesmer.

    • taugrim says:

      PeZzy :

      In WvW it seems as though most people have selected the grenade engineer – I personally dislike how grenade throwing affects the way you control your character

      The grenade kit is weird. The Grenade 1 ability can’t auto-fire, so you have to use your pinky a lot (not comfortable) or bind that key somewhere else.

      And it takes more hand-eye coordination to move the character while aiming the grenade reticle.

      I watched Teldo’s stream today, for the first time, and he is very skilled at aiming and moving. But this is not an easy thing to do.

      PeZzy :

      A big problem I had with my engineer was when players surround you. With an elementalist or a mesmer, you can attack all sides. A pistol based engineer can only attack the people directly in front.

      It’s the same way for most of the projectile-based weapons, across classes.

      When I play my Warrior in WvW with a Rifle-based build, a good melee can strafe on top of me and limit the damage uptime I have on Rifle.

      Classes that have sustained PBAOE mechanics have the advantage as you said of not having to face their target but still being able to land blows.

    • Gothic90 says:

      Speaking of that, I personally dislike grenade kit a lot after playing in WvW for some time with my Guardian. I just cannot seem to theory-craft any grenade build that has any decent control or support capabilities, which are crucial in zerg vs zerg fights.

      Grenade’s accuracy in wide plains is also questionable. I tested HGH grenade build and it is quite deadly in all sPvP maps except for the mid point of Legacy of Foefire (the node with a large circle). WvW fights might suffer from this problem as well.

  3. daniel4ing says:

    The engineer that we had in [oPP] decided last week to delete his character and play a different class. He didn’t feel like wasting more time and money on the class and felt the only thing he could do was to delete it. He felt really limited and gimmicky. He’s been playing an Ele and hasn’t looked back once…

    • taugrim says:

      daniel4ing :

      The engineer that we had in [oPP] decided last week to delete his character and play a different class. He didn’t feel like wasting more time and money on the class and felt the only thing he could do was to delete it.

      If it gets to that point with a given class, rerolling is the right choice.

      daniel4ing :

      He’s been playing an Ele and hasn’t looked back once…

      Once people get over the learning curve, most of the people I’ve talked to who have tried Ele really enjoy it.

  4. volmok says:

    I have an engineer since launch and only last month I switched to a guardian.
    The engineer can be speced to be tanky or high dps output even healing. I personally go for healing support (http://gw2skills.net/editor/?fcAQJAqel0p6ZX3SdF17IyoCfWoH4nhpWfeIXt1DC;T4AgzyvEeJ9S9lyLqaM1IqxWjrGZNDImFA) in WvW when I want to roam with a small squad (5-8 people) to capture objectives.

    Also in WvW I do not use Superior Runes if possible (for instance for my guardian I use Beryl Orb in gear). The spec above allows you to keep up your squad and also be effective at damaging enemies in close quarters fights due to the bomb kit).
    Also swapping kits creates a spell which ion case of elixir gun is one of the best: it creates a field that will regenerate allies in it and also allows you to combo with the gun’s 5th spell, provides a quick get away from enemy with 4th ability.
    The bomb kit applies conditions, heals allies and not to mention the knock-back on the toolbelt.

    I used elixir B, but that can be swapped for anything as it is a filler.
    I often use a variant of this spec; having 2 pistols and replacing Reinforced Shield trait with Energized Armor to drop some of the tankiness in favor of damage.

    • taugrim says:

      volmok :

      I have an engineer since launch and only last month I switched to a guardian.
      The engineer can be speced to be tanky or high dps output even healing. I personally go for healing support (http://gw2skills.net/editor/?fcAQJAqel0p6ZX3SdF17IyoCfWoH4nhpWfeIXt1DC;T4AgzyvEeJ9S9lyLqaM1IqxWjrGZNDImFA) in WvW when I want to roam with a small squad (5-8 people) to capture objectives.

      Do you normally run with people who provide Swiftness?

      I would drop the 10 points in Explosives to put into Alchemy for the Speedy Kits trait.

      volmok :

      Also in WvW I do not use Superior Runes if possible (for instance for my guardian I use Beryl Orb in gear). The spec above allows you to keep up your squad and also be effective at damaging enemies in close quarters fights due to the bomb kit).

      Do you prefer the raw stats or Orbs or is the cost of the Superior Runes a turnoff?

      volmok :

      The bomb kit applies conditions, heals allies and not to mention the knock-back on the toolbelt.

      I used elixir B, but that can be swapped for anything as it is a filler.
      I often use a variant of this spec; having 2 pistols and replacing Reinforced Shield trait with Energized Armor to drop some of the tankiness in favor of damage.

      Bomb Kit is great for packed fighting and it’s tool belt ability is one of the best.

      I love Elixir B, especially with any spec that has investment in Alchemy. The uptime for multiple boons, particularly for Retaliation, is excellent.

      • volmok says:

        taugrim :

        volmok :
        I have an engineer since launch and only last month I switched to a guardian.
        The engineer can be speced to be tanky or high dps output even healing. I personally go for healing support (http://gw2skills.net/editor/?fcAQJAqel0p6ZX3SdF17IyoCfWoH4nhpWfeIXt1DC;T4AgzyvEeJ9S9lyLqaM1IqxWjrGZNDImFA) in WvW when I want to roam with a small squad (5-8 people) to capture objectives.

        Do you normally run with people who provide Swiftness?
        I would drop the 10 points in Explosives to put into Alchemy for the Speedy Kits trait.

        The medkit provides 16s of speed buff on a 20s colldown. I usually get a speed boost from someone in the group.

        taugrim :

        volmok :
        Also in WvW I do not use Superior Runes if possible (for instance for my guardian I use Beryl Orb in gear). The spec above allows you to keep up your squad and also be effective at damaging enemies in close quarters fights due to the bomb kit).

        Do you prefer the raw stats or Orbs or is the cost of the Superior Runes a turnoff?

        I like raw stats more, I used to run with superior, but on last armor upgrade I decided to try them out and they do a good job.

        taugrim :

        volmok :
        The bomb kit applies conditions, heals allies and not to mention the knock-back on the toolbelt.
        I used elixir B, but that can be swapped for anything as it is a filler.
        I often use a variant of this spec; having 2 pistols and replacing Reinforced Shield trait with Energized Armor to drop some of the tankiness in favor of damage.

        Bomb Kit is great for packed fighting and it’s tool belt ability is one of the best.
        I love Elixir B, especially with any spec that has investment in Alchemy. The uptime for multiple boons, particularly for Retaliation, is excellent.

        I used to play a spec with heavy investment into alchemy for the same reason, but I wanted to try out some weird specs and see how they perform. Like I said I am not an assassin with this spec, but I help the squad a lot by healing and when fighting in open terrain I have noticed that players have the bad habit of clumping up, so bombs are great for this since the grenade kit is so weird to use

  5. Doyen says:

    I have played an ele since mid octoberish and also thought I would give engi a roll out. I primarily play wvw and solo roam or in a small group on my ele, so I wanted a build for the engi that could give mobility and such. As per one of your earlier blog posts about in combat mobility being a key feature for roaming.

    What I’ve noticed so far is that the enig doesn’t have access to any efficient knockbacks/gap creators. Off the top of my head so please correct me if Im wrong.. (Im prone to wrongness often ^^ ). Most of the knockbacks create small gaps and the rifle one, buts you flat on your back leaving you susceptible to further incoming damage and control from your opponents. The other thing I have found is that all these gap creators all function by having you face your opponent. This means you dont have access to abilities like RTL or Warrior GS etc meaning you cannot flee in the way you want to go to get out of los. So it requires alot of 180 turns and such.. raising the level of gameplay.

    Personally I think they need to look at these abilities and make them more on par with other classe’s ability to create gaps efficiently.

    My opinion is baised on the wvw roaming aspect so forgive me for that. What do you think though Taugrim ?

    • taugrim says:

      Doyen :

      What I’ve noticed so far is that the enig doesn’t have access to any efficient knockbacks/gap creators. Off the top of my head so please correct me if Im wrong.. (Im prone to wrongness often ^^ ). Most of the knockbacks create small gaps and the rifle one, buts you flat on your back leaving you susceptible to further incoming damage and control from your opponents. The other thing I have found is that all these gap creators all function by having you face your opponent. This means you dont have access to abilities like RTL or Warrior GS etc meaning you cannot flee in the way you want to go to get out of los. So it requires alot of 180 turns and such.. raising the level of gameplay.

      Personally I think they need to look at these abilities and make them more on par with other classe’s ability to create gaps efficiently.

      I agree the self-knockbacks are very annoying :(

      Engy has excellent Swiftness uptime, but in a WvW roaming situation, especially solo or small group, it doesn’t have the burst distrance traversal of an offhand Dagger Ele, Thief, Warrior with GS or Sword and Mobile Strikes trait, or GS Ranger.

      • ukaszg says:

        you can get rid of that knockback on rifle and rocket boots gizmo using stuff like utility goggles (imho best skill to use fot it) – which allows you to start applying damage or shoot a net while opponent is still down. It’s strange, requires a couple of skill slots but I found it extremly powerful.

        for escape tools/CC/attack tools – there is nothing better than slick shoes + super speed, make your opponent follow, or just run around / cross paths with ‘em. you can make a single dude slip at least 2 times with it.

  6. Simon says:

    Engy is fun, but underpowered. Take sPvP, it isn’t really top tier at any role, 100nades build is not bad, but a thief does the romaer/burst thing better, as a bunker / node defeneder again not bad, but a guard/ele/ranger does it better. Nor does it bring anything unique in the way a necro or mesmer do.

    It does not help that engy has had more nerfs than any other class (removed stability on juggernaut trait, elixir R nerf, big loss to survability when they nerfed smoke bomb, etc)

    However the biggest issue with engy is it does not live up to its alleged design premise of versatility, my Ele is far more versatile, for that matter there are builds on most classes that are as versatile, but also either provide more damage or more survivabilty.

    The concept of lower base damage and no weapon swap being compensated versatility provided by kits just does not work, for example it is ridiculous how many engy builds have virtually no condition removal (about 90% of non-elixir builds) in a class that is meant to be an all-rounder / versatile.

    The engy is also hindered more than most by the poor trait system in GW2 which is pretty inflexible and pushes toward specialization rather than versatiltiy.

    Grenade kit is fine example of this, I assume the idea is heh look just slot in grenade kit and you can have AOE, how wonderfully versatile. However the reality is grenades are hopeless unless you go 30 pts in to get the grenadier trait and that the AOE other classes (most of them, like cluster bomb on my theif for example) have is far superior to the non-grenadier grenades on an engy.

    The other obivous problem on the engy is much more valuable the three utlity slots are where you ae trying to make up for the lack of base damage / lack of weapon swap and still try and fit in things like stun breakers or condi removal, it just doesn’t work. It also leaves zero room for utility, when compared to mesmer it is night and day, I can quite easily get away with using just 1 utility slot on that soley fo rmy build freeing up the other two for things like portal, illusion is life,etc, that is impossible on my engy

    On the subject of portal, Anet said they are going to give a portal type skill to another class or two, the class most people thogth deserved it in the relvent thread was engy, both because it is considered UP, but also because the idea of a portal and engineer fits, but the problem is how are they are goign to fit it in, if it is a utility skill, no engy build will be able to sacrifice a slot for it, if it is in a kit it will make the kit OP.

    Engy needs a re-think, but I’ll doubt they will get it before it is too late based on most MMOs and Anets performance so far, you’d think that a company that promoted a game as a “e-sport” would be a little (or even a lot) faster to admit some things are not working, when the population of players playing the instanced PvP in their “e-sport” game has collapsed faster than the equivalent PvP populations in “PvE” games like Rift.

    • taugrim says:

      Simon :

      The concept of lower base damage and no weapon swap being compensated versatility provided by kits just does not work, for example it is ridiculous how many engy builds have virtually no condition removal (about 90% of non-elixir builds) in a class that is meant to be an all-rounder / versatile.

      Hmmm.

      Is that something that AN has stated before? I’d appreciate if you (or anyone) could provide a link.

      Simon :

      The engy is also hindered more than most by the poor trait system in GW2 which is pretty inflexible and pushes toward specialization rather than versatiltiy.

      Grenade kit is fine example of this, I assume the idea is heh look just slot in grenade kit and you can have AOE, how wonderfully versatile. However the reality is grenades are hopeless unless you go 30 pts in to get the grenadier trait and that the AOE other classes (most of them, like cluster bomb on my theif for example) have is far superior to the non-grenadier grenades on an engy.

      I agree with you that a given kit should be functional without a substantial trait point investment. The 30 point talent should buff Grenade Kit but not to the point of making it required.

  7. I’ve been playing Engi about 95% of the time I’m logged in since launch and I spend all my time in the Mists, so my opinions are entirely from s/tPvP standpoint. I play pretty consistent tournys with 2 teams and just got recruited by a third, and I would say my biggest strength for my team is my roaming/burst capability as well as other support I can bring that I find other professions can’t for my role. I run the 100 ‘nades build, but prefer the Teldo variant where he spends his traits on better damage and range for the rifle as opposed to having static discharge as well as perma vigor to go hand in hand with our perma swiftness. I’m able to float between close and mid point very quickly and drop most classes within seconds of arriving due to the insane burst of grenade barrage/kit refined grenade kit switch. If they’re still alive after that, my rifle damage is quite good as well, with auto-attack critting for around 1.5-2k on most targets, blunderbuss being around 3k per hit and jump shot sometimes doing around 6k. In addition, Tool Kit provides a great set up for burst or interrupt with Magnet Pull, as well as Gear Shield which is a great block on a short CD. Pry Bar can also hit for massive damage in addition to placing confusion on the enemy. With Elixir S you get an invulnerability you can use for stomping/disengaging and the throw toolbelt skill provides stability or invisibility, also amazing for stomps. If we’re running frees for practice, on the Khylo map I’m assigned to destroying their treb in addition to my roaming duties, which due to the extended range on my grenades from the grenadier trait, I’m able to take out the treb from the outside wall without even having to engage the opponent firing it. I agree with Simon in that Engi needs a little bit of a re-think, just for some things pointed in your article and Simon’s comments. It sucks having to use a utility slot to have equal amount of weapon skills as every other class, and a lot of attention has been brought to the fact that while our wide range of kits make it appear that we’re really versatile, we have to dedicate at least 60% of our trait points to operating one kit to use that kit moderately well. We joke in the engineer forums that we’re the ‘queens of versatility’ far below the Anet stated ‘kings of versatility’ Elementalists, who are able to be versatile without sacrificing very much for it. There’s definitely balance adjustments that need to be made, as Engi has been getting nerfed just about every patch and no one’s really sure why. As long as I’ve been playing this game and regularly frequenting the forums, I have yet to see a ‘engineer is overpowered’ thread. The upside of Engineers being thought lesser of and under represented is that the small tight knit group that we have on the engineer forums has come up with some pretty cool builds that are entirely unique in function compared to other classes. The ‘Tankcat’, that you featured here, the Static Discharge burst build, the 100 ‘nades build, etc. Hopefully some new features or tweaks are added to our arsenal, as we could truly use them. The trait lines seem a little quirky, as I’d like to see more traits like Kit Refinement that encourage using many kits and playing to our strengths instead of forcing us to work around using 1 kit to be efficient with our traits. This post has gone on waaaaay too long, and I apologize for that lol. Great write up, your points definitely hit the mark, I just hope you give our beloved engi a shot in sPvP at least, as there’s a lot of fun to be had. Many have tried Engi and agree that it’s short of where other professions are, but most of those have also agreed that Engineer is the most fun prof in the game to play. :D

    • taugrim says:

      Nick Choops Mroczko :

      I’ve been playing Engi about 95% of the time I’m logged in since launch and I spend all my time in the Mists, so my opinions are entirely from s/tPvP standpoint. I play pretty consistent tournys with 2 teams and just got recruited by a third.

      That’s awesome to hear. Grats :)

      Nick Choops Mroczko :

      I run the 100 ‘nades build, but prefer the Teldo variant where he spends his traits on better damage and range for the rifle as opposed to having static discharge as well as perma vigor to go hand in hand with our perma swiftness.

      From what I read this weekend, 100nades is glass cannon, right? Must be interesting staying alive without stealth or burst gap creation, although you mention Tool Kit so I’m sure that helps.

      Nick Choops Mroczko :

      With Elixir S you get an invulnerability you can use for stomping/disengaging and the throw toolbelt skill provides stability or invisibility, also amazing for stomps.

      Elixir S is one of those abilities for a class that I can’t play without. It simply has too much utility, especially for the tool belt skill as you mentioned.

      Nick Choops Mroczko :

      a lot of attention has been brought to the fact that while our wide range of kits make it appear that we’re really versatile, we have to dedicate at least 60% of our trait points to operating one kit to use that kit moderately well. We joke in the engineer forums that we’re the ‘queens of versatility’ far below the Anet stated ‘kings of versatility’ Elementalists, who are able to be versatile without sacrificing very much for it…The trait lines seem a little quirky, as I’d like to see more traits like Kit Refinement that encourage using many kits and playing to our strengths instead of forcing us to work around using 1 kit to be efficient with our traits.

      Yea I agree that any weapon or kit should be functional even without a trait point investment, and that investment should be to buff capability not make it functional.

      Nick Choops Mroczko :

      This post has gone on waaaaay too long, and I apologize for that lol. Great write up, your points definitely hit the mark, I just hope you give our beloved engi a shot in sPvP at least, as there’s a lot of fun to be had. Many have tried Engi and agree that it’s short of where other professions are, but most of those have also agreed that Engineer is the most fun prof in the game to play. :D

      I appreciate your taking the time to share so much perspective :)

      • It definitely took some time to get used to the playstyle. The build is quite glassy, but the Tool Kit block on a low CD is extremely helpful, but ideally you’re not getting focused. My role is to show up, soften up the called target with my rifle, then when his health is just around half way, attempt to magnet pull him to my feet, then drop the grenade combo. I’ve been playing it in sPvP just to get better at the situations where it all goes to hell and you start getting focused, and I’ve found that when your barrage burst fails, you’re able to kite quite well. If I magnet pull, do my burst and it fails, I immediately switch to rifle for the knockback. Follow up with the nades that apply chill. If it’s cleansed or they use a gap closer, I drop box of nails for the cripple and use the blind nades to give myself a little time to get away, usually with jump shot or just a few dodges, then it’s net shot and more kiting until your burst is back, which it should be in a second. You have Elixir S and the toss for if this fails, but usually this is enough. If we’re talking 2+ people focusing you, thinks get pretty tricky and survival is doubtful, but I assume this is normal for most glass specs.

  8. Mooftak says:

    This week’s reddit profession of the week was about engineers. http://www.reddit.com/r/Guildwars2/comments/184ocp/weekly_gw2_discussion_engineer/

    There’s not a lot there, but there are a few “I’ve thought about it” posts among the noise. Not that it’s annoyingly noisy, just not as much theorycrafting going on as one might hope, mainly statements of frustration. Side note, I’m sure you’re aware, but apparently flamethrower doesn’t do damage in the direction of the target, but rather the direction you point the camera? Can you guys above me comment on that? Is that direction of movement based or truly camera (panning with left mouse button)?

    • taugrim says:

      Mooftak :

      This week’s reddit profession of the week was about engineers. http://www.reddit.com/r/Guildwars2/comments/184ocp/weekly_gw2_discussion_engineer/

      Thanks for linking that. Always good to hear the collective perception of the players of a class.

      Mooftak :

      Side note, I’m sure you’re aware, but apparently flamethrower doesn’t do damage in the direction of the target, but rather the direction you point the camera? Can you guys above me comment on that? Is that direction of movement based or truly camera (panning with left mouse button)?

      My impression is that Flamethrower works the same as Fire 2 with Dagger mainhand for Elementalist. The AOE shoots in the direction you’re facing, so you have to rotate your character to spray your opponents.

      I actually prefer it to work that way, as you can better control how many targets you hit.

  9. I used to run an HGH/FT might stacking build for a while and in my experience using your RMB camera was the most accurate way to aim, due to there being slight lag between you mouse turning and your character aiming that way. There’s also still an issue with the FT hitting structures (keep door, trebuchet, etc).

    • taugrim says:

      Nick Choops Mroczko :

      I used to run an HGH/FT might stacking build for a while and in my experience using your RMB camera was the most accurate way to aim, due to there being slight lag between you mouse turning and your character aiming that way..

      I messed around with FT a bit.

      I’m assuming you also took Deadly mixture with that build, in which case I’m wondering how you managed condition removal, since you can’t take either Cleaning Formula 409 or Automated Response.

      • Actually I didn’t.
        http://www.gw2db.com/skill-builds/2446-alchenaut
        I would sit in the FT to keep the might stacks up, pretty much using it like I would a regular utility slot (for the knockback and AoE blind) and then switch to rifle for my main damage with the might stacks. Between the gear choices, trait selection, a good amount of CC on low CD and the double bonus of condi removal/might stacking provided from Elixirs, I was able to be quite durable, and although damage appears like it wouldn’t be great, it was entirely possible to be sitting on anywhere between 15-20+ stacks of might at any given time, increasing my damage greatly.Once you get used to the playstyle, it becomes possible to win 2v1′s consistently with even 3v1s being a maybe, depending on class makeup.

  10. I’ve been running a rather tanky/support Engy spec using Juggernaut and Elixir Gun traits. A lot of AOE healing, extra toughness from Juggernaut, and control via the various knockbacks and snares you can have access, too. The only thing I can’t decide upon is a third utility.

    I also run the build with Kit Refinement and Speedy kits, as this gives me two Super Elixir drops that stack on top of each, and also gives me infinite swiftness if I need it. (Great for WvWvW.) I also use medkit since it affords me a 20 sec heal via it being a toolbelt heal, and also swiftness/fury/might and a condition removal. The only awkward thing is adjusting from using your normal heal button to using whatever you bound to the F1 class skill slot.

    In sPVP, I’ve been messing with a Static DIscharge build that has some damage and has some movement to it. I’m not sure if it’s bursty enough for the bunker/burst meta at high end, but its kind of fun nonetheless. The build takes some of the rifle build traits for the blind on crit, but uses Rocket Boots, Tool Kit and Rifle Turret to keep triggering Static Discharge. In that manner, it can survive a little as well with the block on Tool Kit, It also has a lot of gap closers for hitting someone with the Wrench with the magnet pull, the rifle netshot, jumpshot, and the flying kick toolbelt skill.

    • taugrim says:

      aseriousmoment :

      I’ve been running a rather tanky/support Engy spec using Juggernaut and Elixir Gun traits. A lot of AOE healing, extra toughness from Juggernaut, and control via the various knockbacks and snares you can have access, too. The only thing I can’t decide upon is a third utility.

      It’s hard to not have Elixir S in my opinion.

      aseriousmoment :

      I also use medkit since it affords me a 20 sec heal via it being a toolbelt heal, and also swiftness/fury/might and a condition removal. The only awkward thing is adjusting from using your normal heal button to using whatever you bound to the F1 class skill slot.

      Aside from Elixir builds, Med Kit seems like the clear winner for healing slot, even moreso if you have the Inertial Converter trait. And the boons from Med Kit 5 are a nice touch to the healing/cleansing capability.

      • Light says:

        There are some specific support builds that use the recently buffed Healing Turret in PvE. But I assume you’re not interested in that ;)
        Anyway, I was very pleasantly surprised to see your writeup on engies, as the forum community seems to be very negative about the class abilities. Do you have any thoughts on random skill effect, like Toss Elixir U or Elixir X? It seems to me that their randomness is liability, but on the other hand, since you know what to expect, somewhat, you should be able to get more “hits” then “misses”.

        • taugrim says:

          Light :

          Do you have any thoughts on random skill effect, like Toss Elixir U or Elixir X? It seems to me that their randomness is liability, but on the other hand, since you know what to expect, somewhat, you should be able to get more “hits” then “misses”.

          Randomness is bad for the toss elixirs, since you can’t rely on what they do, unless you trait a predictable effect, such as condition removal via Cleansing Formula 409.

  11. Mattch says:

    Engineer quickly became my main after lvling a ranger a week after launch and realizing i hated the class. After i had a blast patiently lvling my engineer to 80, I ran in wvw with my guild as a grenade engineer for awhile but that eventually became a boring play style. SO i switched to conditions and ive been having a blast. I finally created a spec that i really enjoy – http://intothemists.com/calc/?build=-VRR;2sPFw0f6cQFx0;9;49J-JJ4;035;203-35;9;42C . I call it the “pistolero” build. it seems to include alot of the things you said to enjoy about engys, the multitude of condition types, speedy kits/vigor combo, and the aoe . Plus its tanky cause i prioritize rabid gear along with elixir s (twice with self regulating defense at 25%) and gear shield, elixir s couples with medic kit great cause you can use all 3 packs on yourself while shrunk. Also any build of mine must have decent cond removal and elixir gun w/ kit refinement helps quite a bit. But the kit refinement on medikit is a incredibly annoying explosion plus it doesnt make any sense coupled with the medic kit….also MAGNET PULL is the best. For foods in wvw id suggest rare veggie pizza cause it bumps your cond duration to give your burns some extra ticks.

    • taugrim says:

      Mattch :

      I finally created a spec that i really enjoy – http://intothemists.com/calc/?build=-VRR;2sPFw0f6cQFx0;9;49J-JJ4;035;203-35;9;42C . I call it the “pistolero” build.

      The tough thing about Engy as others have mentioned above is that the traits kind of shoehorn you into favoring one weapon / kit over the others. You have 2 kits that have offensive abilities, but it looks like you’d be most effective with your condition emphasis with either P/P or EG not the TK, especially for proc’ing your 2-sec burn.

      Mattch :

      But the kit refinement on medikit is a incredibly annoying explosion plus it doesnt make any sense coupled with the medic kit….also MAGNET PULL is the best.

      Yea the Kit Refinement effect on Med Kit doesn’t really make any sense.

      • Mattch says:

        Thing is besides the auto attack, the Tool kit works quite well for me. WIth kit refinement i get box of nailsx2 when fighting melee which helps with more bleeds, prybar applies 3 stacks of confusion and works great right after magnet pulling a foe, gear shield is just great in general, and throw wrench on the tool belt is a 100% projectile so when im loaded with conditions i just throw it thru one of my 2 super elixir light fields(or maybe both havent tested if it removes 2 conds that way). This is a great balanced build that has alot of tricks up its sleeve.(gear sheild, elixir s x2, toss elixir s for stomps (hate that RNG crap tho), acid jump to get distance, and plenty of condition removal. Definitely agree with you about engineers getting shoe horned with their traits. The engy class still needs alot of work. Just thought i’d share the build since i enjoy it so much

      • volmok says:

        taugrim :
        Yea the Kit Refinement effect on Med Kit doesn’t really make any sense.

        The kit refinement makes sense only when you build a healing build (this guy has several guides http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSwMdBxWBIY – for the guide skip to 4:00)

        I tried this build and it has a powerful healing combo with elixir gun Super Elixir ability in combination with Toolbelt Skill provided by the elixir gun. But other than being able to survive longer it does not do much by itself and to be an effective support you have to combine it with other utilities that either buff your team or allows you to debuff the opponents.

  12. Aaron says:

    I don’t have the experience some of the folks above me have had with the Engineer. I only leveled mine to 54? 56? Something like that. Plus a dozen or so sPvP matches. I keep trying to make it work, but it just doesn’t. At least not for me. The class is a walking gimmick. You can do fun things like creating a huge gap with rifle 4 then rocket boots then finally goggles to break your self stun. Fun! But … useful? At best situational and it took 2 of your 3 utilities to pull it off. Then of course there’s the Static Discharge build where you waste a slot for rifle turret just so you can have a faster toolbelt discharge for more lighting. That’s got to be the very definition of gimmick. You’re using an ability just for the side effect you get from not the main ability, but it’s tool belt skill that you get as a bonus then have to add in a trait to make it work. I facepalm thinking about it.

    Anyways…

    I have an 80 Guardian, 80 Mesmer and am now working up a Necro (54 currently). All of them feel like solid classes with only minor complaints here and there (mostly with the Necro but it’s still a great class). Engineer in contrast feels like a class held together with duct tape, shoe string, and a piece of gum. Fitting I guess, but competitive and on par with the other classes? No, I just don’t think so.

  13. taugrim says:

    P.S. I played a variant of TANKCAT, same slot skill selection, and with an emphasis on reactive boons (Protection and Retaliation). Here’s the spec: http://www.intothemists.com/calc/?build=-VRw;2sPFw0u5FQFx0;9;69TT;40;005957AN.

    I also tried some Flamethrower (FT) builds with the Juggernaut and Deadly Mixture traits, but it felt more limited compared to other specs.

  14. Picpoc says:

    I’ve been following your blog for a while, and for the longest time I was pretty set on playing warrior at GW2 release. At the last minute (literally) I changed my mind to engineer and it was my main class for the first 3 months or so. I mainly am a small group (2-5) WvW player with a lot of the time just me and Mesmer, so my experiences and builds tend to lend themselves to that play style.

    I’ve tried out just about every combination of kits, utilities, and builds you can think of for Eng in WvW and pretty much no matter what I tried, I always came back to using the same 4 kits and utilities. The general build is: http://intothemists.com/calc/?build=-W70;0B-sPku0l6JRFx0;9;5T-JJ;1358;135-37-S;56Rk06Rk05gy

    Med Pack – just the best heal slot by far. 20s or less main heal on Tool belt, 3 spot heals, condition removal, and decent duration fury and swiftness. Combine with Centaur Runes for perma-swiftness.

    Elixir Gun – best survivability and escape kit. 1 is your longest range bleed (if condition build), 2 is your best ranged cripple, 3 is your best access to poison when not using pistol, 4 is your best leap away skill (besides the fact it doesn’t break immobilize) and 5 is on demand condition removal (not documented in tooltip), heal, and regen that stacks with regen boon. Even better with Kit Refinement for a 2nd Super Elixir. Tool belt AoE regen is nice too. Every time I try playing without Elixir Gun I just feel like I am missing way too much uitilty and survivability. With Med Pack and Kit Refinement I find 3 on demand condition removals adequate in most WvW encounters.

    Tool Kit – Was decent before the buff, but almost the best kit after. 1 is a very hard hitting melee chain attack (if power build), 2 is on demand AoE cripple (double with Kit Refinement), 3 is a very hard hitting melee attack with strong confusion (good in both power and cond builds), 4 is a long duration block with short cooldown, and 5 is a very long range pull and knockdown that is reason alone to slot Tool Kit. Tool belt boomerang is very good burst when used correctly and can cripple if trait-ed. I pretty much cannot play WvW without Tool Kit any more, it is just too good in almost every situation.

    Slick Shoes – there are really 2 utilities (Elixir S) I feel can go here, but more times than not I found Slick Shoes to be the best. The on demand long knockdown can be used both offensively (just walk over them) or defensively, and is useful in most any melee ranged situation. Great to combo many knockdowns/backs together. Pull with Tool Kit 5, activate Slick Shoes and walk over them, Immobilize with Rifle 2, knock back/down with Rile 4, etc……very easy combo that takes someone out for 8-10 seconds unless they use a stun break. The Tool belt Super Speed is also the best get way skill you have. Its 5 seconds of in-combat, very fast movement speed (faster than swiftness) that is not affected by cripple and chill. This has saved my life more times than I could count. Combine with base Slick Shoes for close followers for almost assured survival. Elixir S is very good also, but I found Slick Shoes more useful in WvW overall, plus I have the Elixir S auto-trait.

    The good thing is all 4 of those can be used equally well when either built for Condition (Pistol) or Power (Rifle). Main weapon choice to me really comes down to that decision. Pistol builds offer lots of conditions and some nice defense with shields, but overall I found I just did not have the damage I wanted as pistol, even with multiple conditions stacked (bleeds, burn, poison, confusion, etc…). So overall, I found Rifle Power builds to work best for me (but I do still use both). The burst can be high, even though most of it comes from skill 1, but the control with immobilize, knockdown/back, and a jump I found suited me better than what Pistol offered me. I also felt Power based runes, armor, sigil, food, etc…worked better overall than condition based ones.

    You really have a lot of options for gear builds/stats, but I generally tried to stay pretty even between Power, Precision, Crit Damage, Toughness, and Vitality. I’d use a mix between Berserker, Valkyrie, and Knights for all pieces. Knights usually on the best stat-to-crit ratio slots (head, chest, legs, rings, back) and Valkyrie and Berserker on the others (shoulder, hands, gloves, amulet, earrings, weapons). When I was condition I’d use all Carrion and Rabid gear. I always use Centaur Runes because all the stats are useful to me, plus the Med Kit with 6 slot runes gives everyone almost permanent swiftness (and don’t have to take Speedy Kits). Sigil was usually Bloodlust, but after the buff I think Battle is easily the best because of how much Kit switching I do.

    Anyway, wasn’t trying to make a full guide so didn’t touch everything (trait details, keep fighting, etc…), but wanted to get enough across to cover most areas.

  15. kaelzikke says:

    As an elem player i always had the curiosity on using an engineer since at least 60% of the people get bored and drop them always with the same excuse, “underpower”. i decided to try an engineer strictly on spvp to see how it worked (since the pvp part of the engineer is where most of the players complain) and well i have to say after trying a few builds myself, its not the worst class, actually every class have weak and strong builds, i went first off for condition damage, it wasnt really bad but i didnt feel comfortable since you got all conditions using P/P but they last NO TIME, then i tried bombs it was a bit too odd for me just to run in circles waiting on people to die, so i took a look at my elementalist and said, hey lets make a build in which i feel comfortable and have some experience, so I WENT FOR HEALING, made a (believe it or not) grenade healing build with cleric(pth) stats, i was extremely amazed how this build worked for me, it has incredible damage output with an extreme survivability, from far away you destroy zergs, and when the zerg is on you it makes you last and even down some of them before they get you, its so nice i decided (perfected the healing nades last night) i would level up the engi and probably depending on how things goes it could even replace my tough elem, so as many and even you has suggested on previous statements, every character can be op, depending on HOW and WHO plays it, as you said some comments ago, its weird not having an auto attack and kind of uncomfortable to have to aim all your attacks, but it really is a strong build, its to kill and not to die, this captured zone is mine!, regards me :) (if you want to check the build out ill be happy to post it, didnt have the time to do so when i posted this hehe)

  16. Yamirashi says:

    My one problem I’ve had when playing with Engi’s is the way the toolbelt and slot skills works. Like your main heal being on F1 instead of 6. That always messed with my reflexes and muscle memory. Your solution actually makes PERFECT sense but changing it up at this point would only tick off the dedicated engi’s out there.

    If there was a way we could get the option to swap those it would be great though. I guess if you needed to we could always rearrange our keybinds, but that’s never optimal.

  17. Attic Lion says:

    If you want to try a similar build with a little more burst Taugrim, pick up Static Discharge and Kit Refinement. Static Discharge is self explanatory, but with Kit Refinement you get a 2nd Grenade Barrage when you swap to the Grenade Kit.

    One of my guildies likes to physically get inside someone else hitbox, hit Grenade Kit to trigger Kit Refinement, and then pops both Grenade Barrage and Throw Wrench for double Static Discharge procs. Works pretty well roaming in WvW.

  18. [...] Taugrim’s MMO Blog — Thoughts on Guild Wars 2 Engineer. “I’ve been playing around with Engineer in Guild Wars 2 (GW2) for the past few days, my first hands-on time with the class since launch. Part of the reason I was curious about Engineer is the broad perception that it’s an underpowered class, and the mechanics with the tool belt and kits create a very different playstyle relative to most of the GW2 classes. It’s worth pointing out that the majority opinion on classes and balance is often off-the-mark; e.g. Elementalist was broadly considered underpowered for the first several months post-launch, even moreso after the blast finisher nerf to the Evasive Arcana trait back in mid November, but I think we all realize know that there are some strong Elementalist specs.” [...]

  19. Teag says:

    I love my Engineer in fact the only class I’ve spent nearly as much time on was my Warrior running a similar build to your “Run and Gun” build. I actually never I could use a tool kit switch to give myself a speed boost because I’ve enjoyed using a very turret based build.

    http://intothemists.com/calc/?build=-V70;0B-cP-7-Q63TFx0;9;4JJT;048-39-29B;44;2N1-4JF04JF05BA

    I was wonder what stats would you use with this set up, I’m not even sure what role this would be used for as I’m uncertain of the lingo i.e. bunker build. I usually use it in sPvP to throw people off of points.

  20. Rizzat says:

    Kinda off-topic, but since the engi needs alot of kiting, I guess it’s maybe a little bit relevant. What’s the best way to strafe kite since there is a movement speed reduction on strafing? Feels awkward strafing sometimes when I don’t have a movement speed debuff on my enemy. Any help would be appreciated.

  21. Aaron says:

    Any update on the “Engineer experiment”? Considering it’s you, I imagine you’ve had at least reasonable success with it. I’m just interested in your analysis of it.

    • taugrim says:

      Aaron :

      Any update on the “Engineer experiment”?

      Not really. I messed around til mid-February with Engineer, then tried some different builds on my Warrior, including GS/Hammer melee uber-control build.

      I’m actually enjoying Ele more since the Feb 26th update, since several things were nerfed/fixed (Ride the Lightning cooldown increased 33%, Shocking Aura boon durations, Regen/Vigor trait for Cantrips).

      For Engy PryBar got buffed with the update :)
      TANKCAT was pretty entertaining to play.

  22. JEF says:

    Curious what your thoughts are on adjustments to EG/FT and the Kit Refinement nerf?

    • taugrim says:

      JEF :

      Curious what your thoughts are on adjustments to EG/FT and the Kit Refinement nerf?

      IIRC, previously each kit has its own cooldown for Kit Refinement, which I thought was fine. No need to share the cooldown across kits IMO.

      The change to Flame Blast to be able to explode the napalm burst on-demand was a good change, especially for close targets. The 10% damage bonus for the auto-chain ability only applies if the target is already burning, which means that you have to trait Incendiary Powder to get any consistent uptime from the bonus since the 1s burning applied by the auto-chain is for an auto-attack that takes 2.25s to channel.

  23. brandon says:

    May i recommend a Bomb kit build for lvling even with the nerf to bombs a Power build does great (juts want to see you make some good pvp videos for the engi really) i think the class is on par with war and ele but there are a lack of great engis out there so hurry up and lvl it dammit!

  24. Bonkeye says:

    Hey Taugrim. Engineer has been my main since launch but I’m a pretty casual player (rank 23). I’ve played my Engi pretty much exclusively in SPvP (not tourneys much) and for a long time struggled to find a good build.

    This last week I think I’ve cracked it: http://www.intothemists.com/calc/?build=-VRw;2sPVv0u53UFx0;9;5T;0J;135A;457X

    Only 50 points filled in, the last 20 depend on your preference. I’m currently running the last 20 in Alchemy for 20% faster elixirs and cond removal. If you like to dodge roll, another 10 in Gadgets for endurance recharge + 10 in Alchemy for Vigor on Swiftness also works – I ran this but found myself feeling the lack of cond removal. For me Speedy Kits and Power Wrench are essential. In Firearms of course Juggernaut is needed but the first two depend on what you like. Personally I like the extra range on my pistol and faster recharge to keep Poison up time high.

    This build takes a bit of getting used to, and a lot of kit swapping, but it’s worth it. It’s versatile and strong all round. You have enough CC to hold points, more than enough control for saving team mates from stomps, good damage dealing capability (both condition based and straight damage), good mobility through speedy kits, good survivability/escapability from various block skills + med kit + swiftness. Importantly, it’s a ton of fun to play, there is a lot of little tricks to learn and it’s engaging because you’re constantly swapping kits to leverage the appropriate abilities for the situation.

    • taugrim says:

      Bonkeye :

      Hey Taugrim. Engineer has been my main since launch but I’m a pretty casual player (rank 23). I’ve played my Engi pretty much exclusively in SPvP (not tourneys much) and for a long time struggled to find a good build.

      This last week I think I’ve cracked it: http://www.intothemists.com/calc/?build=-VRw;2sPVv0u53UFx0;9;5T;0J;135A;457X

      Only 50 points filled in, the last 20 depend on your preference. I’m currently running the last 20 in Alchemy for 20% faster elixirs and cond removal. If you like to dodge roll, another 10 in Gadgets for endurance recharge + 10 in Alchemy for Vigor on Swiftness also works – I ran this but found myself feeling the lack of cond removal. For me Speedy Kits and Power Wrench are essential. In Firearms of course Juggernaut is needed but the first two depend on what you like. Personally I like the extra range on my pistol and faster recharge to keep Poison up time high.

      This build takes a bit of getting used to, and a lot of kit swapping, but it’s worth it. It’s versatile and strong all round. You have enough CC to hold points, more than enough control for saving team mates from stomps, good damage dealing capability (both condition based and straight damage), good mobility through speedy kits, good survivability/escapability from various block skills + med kit + swiftness. Importantly, it’s a ton of fun to play, there is a lot of little tricks to learn and it’s engaging because you’re constantly swapping kits to leverage the appropriate abilities for the situation.

      Here’s my 2 cents, based on messing around with Engy in Jan/Feb prior to the patch.

      I usually found that having more than 1 kit in the utilities would cause me to not be able to take both Elixir S (which I feel is near indispensible) and another utility, such as Elixir B which would synergize with your cooldown redux on elixirs.

      Toolkit with the buff to Pry Bar is really strong now, especially if you are built for meleeing.

      My hope was that FT would feel stronger in terms of damage, and for WvW it did used to synergize with crit food, but overall FT even with the Juggernaut trait didn’t feel like it provided enough damage, and there isn’t much utility with that kit compared to some of the other ones. FT didn’t feel as offensive as I was hoping, and aside from the knockback it doesn’t offer much in terms of defense.

      If FT after Feb 26th is much stronger, then you can discount what I said above. I haven’t tried Engy since the patch, since I was messing around with Necro for the first time early in March.

      I would put at least 10 points in Alchemy to get Invigorating Speed – you can perma-boon with Swiftness and Vigor. Actually more points in that tree to get some of the elixir-related traits would be good.

      Let me know how things go.

  25. Dasde Thwar says:

    Taugrim, curious to know how your Engy is doing and if you settled on a build yet?

    • taugrim says:

      Taugrim, curious to know how your Engy is doing and if you settled on a build yet?

      Haven’t tried Engy since the Feb 26th patch, although some of the kits I liked (e.g. Tool kit, FT) got buffed.

      Been playing Ele, Warrior, and Ele over the past month.

  26. Casey M. says:

    I just picked up Engineer two days ago and I’m level 55. For the time being I’m going to be speccing my Engineer as a turret engie with traits 20/10/30/0/10, unless I find a build that looks more fun. My main weapons will be duel pistols. I hate the rifle, and IMO the shield cuts into your DPS too hard, unless you’re running the Tankcat build. My healing/utility skills are obviously going to be all turrets (I use Rocket, Rifle, and Net), with Supply Drop for my elite. For armor (once I hit level 80) I will be using Soldier-type armor with Dolyak Runes, and my trinkets will be Sapphire. My pistols are going to be Ravager-type with Fire/Corruption Sigils.

    I’ve discovered that turret engies are absolutely amazing in PvE (I can solo champions easily, and I’m not even level 80 yet) and absolutely horrible in PvP. They’re decent in WvW during sieges/defenses, but you get run over by zergs because it lacks fast burst healing or sustained condition removal. It’s got fairly decent control because of the snares, but somewhat lacks in DPS. However, you almost always have regen, and that’s a massive advantage. I’ll probably need to use an elixir or grenade build for WvW/PvP. Then again, if I need to rape in WvW, I can just use my ele or thief, lol.

    The sad part is I still think Engineer is an underpowered class (it has decent condition damage, but the direct/burst damage is beyond pitiful unless you’re using grenades). That being said, IMO it’s one of the most fun classes I’ve played. I’m horribly disappointed that they still haven’t fixed the crappy Death magic trait line for the Necromancer, and I’m just getting bored of my thief. Warrior/Mesmer I still love because I can respec to almost ANYTHING with those two classes. Their versatility and build variety always keeps things fresh. I think Elementalist is by far my favorite, though. It was daunting at first, but now that I’ve gotten somewhat used to switching attunements and using my Cantrips with decent timing, I love it. I always feel like I’m doing something, and not just waiting for my cooldowns to recharge.

    • Casey M. says:

      I’ve now hit level 80, and I’ve been playing around with my traits quite a bit. I’m no longer running a turret engie, since IMO it seems to lack effectiveness when you’re trying to be mobile (though as a bunker build it is impressive when trying to hold an area). Instead I’ve decided to be a heavily modified Flamenommer. It’s not really the same spec at all, but it does have the focus on using the flamethrower. However, I really like to use Elixirs for additional boons and cleanses. Having up to 6 cleanses available to you (half of them being AOE cleanses) is amazing.

      The build is 0/30/0/30/10. Firearms (V, VIII, XI), Alchemy (I, IX, X), Tools (VI). Weapons are pistol/shield with Fire/Battle Sigils (or Bloodlust/Corruption/Life depending on what you prefer). Utilities are Elixir S, Elixir B, and the Flamethrower. Healing skill is Elixir H, and the Elite is Supply Crate. The idea here is to be very tough and durable, while still putting out heavy amounts of AOE damage. This build I’ve found works well with groups of mobs, though sometimes bosses or particular enemies can be tough (if they frequently stun you, such as the gravelings in Ascalonian Catacombs). This build lacks range, but you can always switch a trait in Firearms to give you extra pistol range. Since there is no cooldown for kits, you can easily switch back and forth.

      And I’m just going to go ahead and say that grenade builds (mine is 30/0/0/30/10) for WvW are a ton of fun. You can completely shut down defenders that try to peek their heads over the walls by spamming them with nades. I singlehandedly destroyed all the cannons on Stonemist castle when the other two servers were busy fighting each other in different parts of the map. I was eventually found out and hunted down (spoiler: I died), but being able to annoy them was so worth it.

  27. I was having the exact experience mentioned above except with my thief. I looked at supposedly successful builds and copied a few and found them somewhat effective but essentially sacrificing the adaptability thieves are supposed to have in some vital way. I finally threw up my hands when I started going up against the level 50+ Risen and they were just melting right through my health, and with their enhanced speed, mostly could keep up with me and do persistent damage.

    The main flaw with thieves is really the lack of a persistent stealth option, something you can activate outside battle to wander around freely, position yourself in a stealthy area and then strike with everything you’ve got. Re-arranging traits I think I had a maximum of 12 seconds stealth which is pretty much useless when you’re dealing with monsters that can detect you from QUITE A DISTANCE AWAY.

    So, frustrated over having to limit myself to a specific build to even be viable as a thief I switched over to my Engineer and boy can I tell you, what a breath of fresh air! Their true gift and power lies in their skill diversity and the ability for you to adapt your methods DRASTICALLY for different enemy types. Need a long range kill? Okay, setup mortar + rifled barrels + rocket launcher + elixir/flamethrower damage boost and pelt them from afar with your elixir gun and toys. Need a close up weapon to cook a slow moving mob? Flamethrower tank/ Elixir gun + conditions. Need both? Sure, a rocket launcher, an Elixir S, supply drop, and go with whichever gun you prefer.

    I noticed an IMMEDIATE, DRASTIC improvement in my capability as both a solo and team player since I can now aid teammates with supply drops, thrown heals and buffs, all of which also apply to me and therefore require no juggling. I recently took on about 25 level 57 Risen with a friend and we were about 6 levels under and killed them all. This is in stark contrast to the trouble I would have when facing 2 or 3 as a thief and having to throw down a sanctuary to hide myself long enough to heal and get some dps going again.

    Not to mention that many Engineer skills have delay and potency traits that make their weapons not only fire more often but makes them more deadly. Combine that with the ability to deal intense fire damage, passable poison, decent acid, and augment with high % conditions like vulnerability and you have a class that you can pretty much mold into whatever you need at any given moment.

    Yes, I like being able to do that, and unlike other classes I’ve played I don’t feel the need to constantly reset and re-juggle traits to try and suit a given situation. My only issues with Engineer lie in the bugs that still plague the class (and other classes), such as traits that don’t actually work as they should, or indeed, at all. The elixirs on the elixir gun, for example, are defined by arena net as elixirs but they do not respond to acidic elixirs, nor do some elixir gun skills function properly with ranged barrels (the bouncing shot tends to not return to you if fired beyond about 800 of the 1200 max range), and one of the big ones being the flamethrower and poison gas often missing opponents when your player is turned away from facing right into the screen, or some of the skills missing objects entirely. There are plenty of other issues and little things holding Engineers back as well as the other classes that can be found on the official forums, I’m just making a point that in spite of some of these issues Engineers can be very formidable.

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