Ramblings of an Engineer

I like to identify with an MMO career in some way.  It’s important if I’m going to spend months leveling a character.  I’m not really interested in which class is best, or which spec is Uber, or if I win 1v1 or can survive a battle better than other classes.  Sometimes you choose an Uber class, sometimes not.  Besides, in PvP/RvR it comes down to who has the best team (or most numerous…).

The main thing to keep in mind is the long-term… MMOs always balance.  What is Uber today might be not so much tomorrow, and what is sucky by comparison today might be FOTM tomorrow.  Case in point:  DAoC Friar.  I played the class when they were under-rated all the way through them getting buffed and becoming the FOTM darlings of RvR.  I loved the class before and after the adjustments.

Before WAR went live I decided to play an Engineer.  Not just the class, but the Grenader spec line.  My guild and I had RvR’d for years in DAoC, been in I don’t know how many seiges, and I knew what role I wanted.  I didn’t, and still don’t, pay much attention to How-To posts on playing the class, or beating X class with Y tactics, or where to farm or PL.  I like to learn the ins and outs by actually playing the class, becoming familiar with the skills over levels and time, and finding tactics that match my play style and the role I want to fill in the group.  Those How-To’s always point out the obvious if you’ve taken the time to actually play the class anyway, so grats to the Captain Obvious’s and their many legions!  Bravo I say!  Now STFU and go farm gold4U.com.

OK, one thing to point out: Engineer was not my original choice.  That was Warrior Priest.  Seemed like a good choice for me, somewhat similar to my old Friar class & I’ve almost always played some form of healer since EQ.  But I left the path of Sigmar for simple reasons.  After years of RvR with my beloved Friar, I needed a different role.  Particularly, range.  But more importantly, Engineer seemed to have the utility I was seeking.

So here we are, almost 5 months after going live.  I do not regret the choice one bit. But, the Engineer is a weird class, really.

Technically it’s a ranged DPS class.  But unless you spec Rifle, don’t plan on being a critshot sniper.  Even then it’s arguably behind other rDPS classes.  I can’t speak for Tinkerer specs, but Grenade spec Engineers play a lot like the old Cabalist in DAoC.  You’ve got to parse out how to leverage your pet, your DoTs, and utility skills to be really dangerous.

This is not a class with clear strategies.  Granted, it’s not the most complex class either.  You can spec Rifle and do the ol’ critshot sniper role – shoot, kill, done.  You can spec Grenade – throw DoTs till your carpal tunnel flares, get massive scenario damage, and no kills.  Hmm.  Try specing Tinkerer.  Doh.  But where is the most Uberest Engineer skill of them all, so everyone who doesn’t play an Engineer says…?  Yep, deep in the Tinkerer spec line.  With Bugman’s Best, a skill that has more use in Roleplaying than on the battlefield (I know, there are decent skills in the tree… but I had to…).

CC abilities – Crowd Control.  People use this to define single target snare, roots, etc.  Not exactly crowds, but whatever.  Engineers get several of these skills.  Most are pretty weak when compared to other MMOs and even other WAR classes.  Engies get knock-down/knock-back, a snare, a root, and of course the despised Magnet.  But honestly, speccing for Magnet is purely for guilds with highly organized groups.  Not a lot of Engies take it since it gimps you in more ways that one “Uber” skill might ever make up for.

What we do tend to take is Stopping Power, which adds a knock-back to our Hip Shot ability.  That one ability opens up all sorts of utility.  Witch Elf on your healer?  Hip Shot.  If you go further in the tree there’s even a disarm skill to spec in, although I’ve found the 2 second cast time is too long in RvR where as long as you’ve disrupted the WE by knocking them down, they’ll get swarmed and killed before your disarm goes off.  If you do plan on going further into the Rifle line, Snipe is friggin mean.  Stay to the rear & pick off WEs from 150 feet.  Yes, Mon-Chi-Chi.  Run.

But know this – Engineers are fragile.  I have nights where I die repeatedly and often and feel like throwing laptop out the window.  Sure you can spec for Toughness and Wounds and get your Armor up.  It’ll buy you a couple extra seconds on the battlefield.  But Engineers are rDPS, and if you forget that, Destro will be happy to remind you.  This means you are always balancing risk and reward.  Get cocky, or leave yourself with no utility to deal with threats, and it’s a one-way ticket to frustration station.

That said, Engineers are great skirmishers.  I’ve pretty much experimented my way into several different roles depending on the situation.  Open RvR, I’m protecting healers and exposing/hunting WEs, and yes, they’re hunting me and usually winning.  Seige, I’m on the walls laying all kinds of AOE hell on Destro from relative safety, dropping turrets, mines, and death on those who would block backdoors and posterns, burning the ram with flaming Napalm.

It’s a fun class IMO.  You probably won’t be the hero, but you can sit back on a keg after the fight and rest assured that you put a little stank on just about everyone on the battlefield.

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