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Exploring Engineers

Like to make things go BOOM? Try an Engineer!

Engineers, the gadget and gizmo heavy profession, go through the early levels without starting to experience any of its cool factor until level 13. On a class that’s built to rely on its utility slot skills, early life with pistol, rifle, and shield weapon sets that are more defensive than offensive means kiting and dodging are a must, and the newly built engineer will be forced into a defensive, condition-damage heavy build. For new players who aren’t used to these mechanics, this is a class where they can get a lot of practice early on before using their slot skills. San didn’t find this as limiting as Star since she ran her max level engi with elixir builds until he was into his 70s while Star’s max-level engineer relied heavily on turrets and kits from early on.

Even so, relying on defensive weapons felt limiting to both of us and we feel veterans may find this frustrating unless they’re good at endurance and health management. We also wondered if new players would stick with the class since they won’t hit the fun zone of this profession until the teen levels. Perhaps not knowing and being surprised won’t bother new players or players new to the class. By level 10, though, we both felt that engineers running personal story steps could do with at least one utility skill either for greater survivability or better offensive power.

In order to combat the lack of utility skills and the stat slump, players may want to coddle their engineers, attaining a higher level than necessary before starting story steps or moving to higher level areas. A recommendation often seen in map chat these days is to level in all of the level 1-15 starter maps first.

Star felt that young engineers would be well-served by opening a turret, a kit, and a gadget as soon as possible in order to maximize their versatility and relieve the monotony induced by the engineer’s limited weapon-based skills. Once utility slots open, amassing skill points in order to open more options becomes more important than the skills provided by weapons. This includes underwater skills. Even though the fifth water skill opened at level 23, Star had already developed the habit of switching to grenades or bombs when underwater and used those instead of the harpoon gun. San feels the engineer harpoon gun skills are fun and more offensive than the land weapon skills so moved into a mix of harpoon gun, turrets, an elixir and gadget while underwater. (In reality, we just like to hear the BOOM sounds.)

gw461At level 17, San broke the NPE with a bug she thought had been fixed in a patch: she equipped a kit and suddenly unlocked the last slot skill and the elite skill slot. On checking to see whether selected slot skills would disappear when unequipping the kit, she selected two skills which did not disappear, and suddenly had a full land-based build at level 17 (underwater the elite was still locked).

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Full build minus the still locked F4 skill which opened at level 19.

Star also noticed this glitch but didn’t try equipping more skills. It’s worth noting, however, that this bug will likely be fixed if it hasn’t been already.

Conclusions
One aspect of our study is to explore the stat slump and stat burst. As part of this, Star noted that her engineer’s health stat was affected by a near-constant buff. At nearly every level, through level 23, this buff remained, even when he stood naked in Blazeridge Steppes. However, at levels 16 and 17, and only for these levels, this buff disappeared. The only thing that might have been providing a passive buff was the healing skill which is odd since the default heal skill is Elixir H which has no noted passive health regeneration. It is also possible that this was caused by the profession-based vitality boost, though we don’t claim to be sure (see gallery of screencaps below).

In our opinion, Engineers are a slow build to greatness and their reliance on utility skills for weapon functionality has been greatly limited by the NPE. However, players willing to put in the effort to level them and collect skill points won’t be disappointed. The slow opening of function skills may allow a player new to the class to experiment and learn how to incorporate these extra skills into their strategy. In a way, this slow start acts as a balance to the later awesomeness of this class. Whether or not it is worth waiting for will depend on the individual player.

~San & Star

Next time, we plunder with thieves!

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