In a recent post, somebody asked me if I could share tips and stylish winning strategies for playing an Engineer. I was drinking a carbonated beverage at the time, and I had to stop reading for a second to deal with the blinding pain of Diet Pepsi shooting through my sinuses. This wasn’t because I have an odd fetish for nose bubbles, but because that’s like asking Gargamel how to thwart the Smurf menace.
Anyone who’s played with me knows a couple things about my Engineer: (1) that I am fearless in RvR, and (2) most of that fearless nature comes from lying on my back, dead. If there is a way to die, I’ve found it, and at times my avatar seems to rebel against the wishes of my keyboard and simply fling herself onto the sword of any oncoming Destructoid. But still, if you ask, I’ll share what I’ve learned, and perhaps you’ll do the exact opposite and become the Scotty to my Doc Brown.
The first thing you should do is get over to WHA and read Givianti’s excellent post, “So You Wanna Be A Dwarf Engineer, Do Ya?” Loads of great info, and I’m not just saying this because Giv is the GM of our guild. But it is true that his mere touch will fix any machine and eliminate DRM and make your heart so pure that unicorns frolic in your presence.
If you need any other advice from a guy who’s — just like you — trying to figure out the ropes of this surprisingly complicated class (in terms of how to wield them properly), here’s a few thoughts I jotted down:
- One of the hard, brutal lessons that an Engineer must first learn is how fragile we are. Flimsy. Delicate. Squishy. Lightweight. With only light armor at our disposal — cool-looking though it may be — our only other reliable form of protection comes from Flak Jacket, an armor-boosting skill that doesn’t scale with gear, has 20 charges and a 2-second cast timer. Although Flak Jacket goes down incredibly fast, it’s imperative to keep recasting it every time you have a small break in the action. Against PvE, I’ve noticed a difference in survivability; in PvP, I have no idea.
- Barbed Wire is just about the greatest thing in the world. It’s an AOE, instant-cast root that works wonders in tripping up the enemy if following you (or following someone else you’re trying to protect), or if you need to reestablish a bit of range. It does wear off or break pretty quickly, and the 20 second cooldown means that you should save it for an important occasion, like rooting the Pope.
- Flame Turret — no matter what actual damage our turrets do, I find that enemy players just hate these things. The flame one in particular is annoying, since it does so much AOE damage and graphically lights up the place. Stand on top of one of these, and a melee opponent has to decide if it’s worth closing range on you for the beatdown. Later on, add Lightning Rod (tinkerer path) and Land Mine for close-quarters protection.
- Blow Up Turrets — I haven’t gotten this ability yet, but it’s one of the most powerful in our arsenal. You can trigger a turret to self-destruct, which causes AOE damage and (best of all) a five-second knock-down. Five seconds is a short eternity in PvP, and you can use it for a quick getaway.
- Bombardment Turret – I don’t use these as much, although the explodey grenades are somewhat disconcerting to enemies.
- Gun Turret — The weakest turret overall, the gun turret has a useful place on the battlefield with its armor-reducing debuff and long range. I like putting these in hard-to-spot areas and letting them act as sentries (versus close-quarters defense like the other two turrets).
- You can also snare people by putting a Hex on them (which comes from various abilities in your skillset) and then Spanner Swiping them. I don’t do this too often, but it’s a viable option.
- Unless you specialize in the rifle mastery path, don’t expect to be Mr. or Mrs. Sniper, carving off huge chunks of health from waaaaay accross the battlefield. Instead, think of your gun as an excellent opener, to be followed up with a slew of DOTs.
- You have to discern when’s the time to create a defensible position (with turrets, land mines and barbed wire) and when you should be running and sniping and acting like a guerrilla fighter. I do the former only when I have teammates backing me up.
- Acid Bomb is da bomb. I love it more than life itself and I keep it up on whole groups of enemies as often as I can.
- Engineers shine when the attention is focused away from them so we can help support teammates with tricks and dps. Don’t be afraid to run when attention comes your way.
I wish I had more to share, but as I said, I’m still just figuring this all out and fiddling with attack order. It is frustrating not being able to really pump out the ranged dps like I thought, but that might change in future levels. Any current engineers are welcome to leave comments with their own suggestions.