If you’ve played the Engineer over the course of all 3 Beta Weekend Events, you might have noticed changes to some of your favorite Engineer skills. ArenaNet has done some behind-the-scenes number balancing as well as complete skill reworks. I’m going to look at four previously lacking aspects of the Engineer’s arsenal and what the developers have done to revamp them!
Elixirs have been a major source of grief for many an Engineer. While I love the cool effects you can get through the elixirs, the randomness prevented them from making it into my arsenal. For example, the tool belt skill for Elixir B (Toss Elixir B) used to randomly give protection, regeneration, or swiftness. When I was in World vs World trying to move across the map, I would always want swiftness, so it was frustrating to not be able get that boon when I wanted it. I’m not going to say that all randomness is bad, but as a player you want to be able to react to different situations appropriately; having each effect be extremely situational and also be random is not going to be the best
ArenaNet acknowledged this criticism from it’s playerbase and made some nice changes for the better. They took Toss Elixir B and made it always grant Might, Fury, Swiftness, and Retaliation to allies in the area. Elixir U was changed to always grant Quickness but additionally grant a negative effect, which can be either 50% additional damage taken, being unable to be healed, or inability to regenerate endurance. They also changed Elixir X to only choose between Tornado and Rampage and not Plague. I think Elixirs for the Engineer are now definitely viable in all modes! I used them and rarely felt like I was rolling the dice to get the effect I wanted. I think that Toss Elixir S could still use a slight change, however.
There have been numerous small changes to the Engineer kits that have made them fit in well with many Engineer builds. The biggest one is the change of the Mine Kit from a kit with 5 mines to a Gadget utility (Throw Mine) that grants knockback and boon removal. I was quite excited for this at first, but the Engineer has so many knockbacks already that I think in most cases the mine isn’t worth the utility slot. Also the radius of the mine is way too small (compared to the Big Ol’ Bomb, the toolkit spell for the bomb kit) to be effective in PvP. The fact that it only removes one boon is not a saving grace, either.
The Flamethrower has seen some change as well. The gimmicky Backdraft, which would pull your target to you, has been removed in favor of an AoE Blind. I think that this solidifies the role of the flamethrower as a melee ranged tank kit. When traited, you can gain 200 Toughness (armor) and Stability (immunity to Crowd Control) when equipping the Flamethrower. If you like to run with a high amount of condition damage, but feel you need more defense against attackers, this is a great choice.
The entire Tool Kit was made better through some number changes (I am actually unsure of what numbers were changed). However, the Prybar skill no longer knocks back, instead applying confusion. You can trait the Tool Kit to have 20% reduced recharge rate now, as well. The Tool Kit is meant to synergize well with the turrets, allowing you to heal them in battle and cripple enemies to keep them in range of your turrets. ArenaNet has also made some nice changes to the turrets themselves, which I will detail later in the article.
The Grenade Kit was given needed buff, now always throwing 2 grenades, which can be traited to 3. However, some of the recharges on the abilities were increased. The Poison Grenade’s recharge was increased from 15 seconds to 25 seconds, and had its duration reduced. The Freeze Grenade’s recharge was increased from 15 to 20 seconds, and also had its duration reduced. Remember that the recent change doubled the base damage for the grenade kit and increased the traited damage by 33%, so the recharge rate increases were a result of the counter-balancing that was needed. Overall, the Grenade Kit is something to definitely reconsider for both WvW and PvE!
Turrets have always lacked that “oomph” that I desired when using them. I’ve always felt, above anything else, that they were boring. Even if they were the most effective way to play the Engineer, I wouldn’t use them. You used to just put them down, and that was it. The most you could do is hope that they target what you want them to.
Recently, each of the toolbelt abilities on the turrets was changed from detonate turret to a turret-specific skill. The Rifle turret gives you a damage nuke, the Net turret gives you an immobilize, the Thumper turret gives you an AoE combo blast finisher, the Healing turret gives you AoE regeneration, the Flame Turret gives you an AoE burn, and the Rocket turret gives a projectile that explodes on impact. That’s a big change, so now each turret utility skill gives the turret itself, the overcharge ability on the turret, the toolbelt skill for that turret, and the detonate for that turret. These are great changes! They make using the turrets an engaging, fun experience instead of a place-and-forget utility skill.
These changes are less drastic than the other three, but important nonetheless. The rifle animations have been improved to make less choppy movements. This was especially noticeable on the Overcharged Shot, I often felt like I was locked in place after using the ability. The recharge was reduced on Blunderbuss, allowing for more damage output from your best burst skill. It’s important to remember that Blunderbuss can hit multiple enemies. If you are using the rifle and are near a group of enemies, that ability is your best bet.
Next, the autoattack for the Rifle (Hip Shot) now pierces enemies, allowing you to hit multiple targets with one shot. This should increse the Rifle’s effectiveness in both PvE and PvP. Finally, the Jump Shot now applies vulnerability, making it’s usage paramount and making the rifle a very strong chasing weapon. The Rifle now has a legitimate place next to the pistol, making your weapon choice that much harder!
So what do these Engineer changes mean for the profession as a whole? I think it means that it will be much tougher to choose what path you want to go down. But choice is good! Maybe you’ll choose Elixirs, maybe you’ll choose kits, maybe you’ll choose turrets, and maybe you’ll combine them all! As release approaches, the future for the Engineer looks bright, adventurous, and full of explosions!
Some questions for the readers: Are you going to focus on one aspect of the Engineer (Elixirs, Turrets, etc.) or choose to combine them? Do you agree with some of the changes that ArenaNet has made to the Engineer? Are there other abilities that could use changing on the Engineer?
About the author: Traverse has been following Guild Wars 2 avidly since 2010. To prepare for release, he makes a few random Guild Wars 2 references in public a day (“That guy was so rude! What a bookah!”). When not thinking about Guild Wars 2, Traverse enjoys mango key lime pie and long naps. He is part of the guild <Unlimited>, which you can find at www.ugmrz.com