May 8, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 14 Comments
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Engineers of Guild Wars 2

There is a conversation between two famous engineers. In that conversation Scotty says, “Geordi, I have spent my whole life trying to figure out crazy ways of doing things.” And that is how I feel Arenanet designed the engineer. A bunch of crazy skills that do things.

I wasn’t sure I even wanted to play engineer at first. Eventually I decided that was why I would play it. To try out a class but still leave something fresh for release. It ended up being the class I tried out most extensively and thoroughly. I was surprised by how much I grew to like it.

The skills are simple at first. They provide a fairly straight forward set of strategies, at least in PvE. The interesting part is you can’t weapon swap. One of the few professions that can’t, so changing strategies, early on, doesn’t happen much. You have to wait and unlock those utility skills before things get complicated.

But very simple early on.

Choose the rifle and I often started off with a few basic Hip Shots. As they moved into range I used Net Shot to stop them and fire off Blunderbuss immediately after. Following that I might kite a little, firing off more Hip Shots, and depending on how much health they had left use one of the final 2 skils. If lots of health, use Overcharge Shot to put some distance between you and buy some time with the knockdown. If little health, either use Jump Shot to close the distance, or what I liked to do, use it at point blank range to finish them off with two doses of damage.

And that is your average PvE mob on a rifle. It’s functional and simple, with a tiny bit of diversity, but it wasn’t my cup of tea.

I felt like if you wanted to be effective with the Blunderbuss or Jump Shot you had to get up close and personal, and I’m more of a ranged person.

I always felt like I was wasting half the damage of Jump Shot whenever I left a position that wasn’t anywhere near a mob, theoretically wasting half its potential damage. More of a psychological barrier than anything. The recharge time isn’t helpful either, not that it’s terrible, just properly timed so that you can’t abuse it, which we all know is the bane of fun.

The Net Shot can immobilizes enemies before you get up close, but that doesn’t stop them from attacking when you go in for the big damage of Blunderbuss.

The Overcharged Shot puts them down, but it puts you down too. Any time a mob is down it’s valuable time to be unloading on them and it irks me that I lose that advantage.

It’s a fun weapon, certainly you can have a lot of good times with Jump Shot or Overcharged Shot, but it has too many skills that go against my instincts.

Anyway what I really liked were pistols.

I think part of the pistols allure was the breadth of conditions I can pile on. Bleeding, blindness, confusion, poison and burning. Rack up condition damage bonuses like you can with armour or sigils, and pistols on engineer becomes more about keeping up the duration of those conditions then doing a bunch of damage.

Not that you can’t keep up the damage, Explosive Shot does AoE and bleeding. It’s not as damaging as Hip Shot but with the additional bleeding it makes up for it, certainly in longer fights, stacking bleeding pretty consistently and on multiple foes. Against a group of mobs I’d take pistol’s Explosive Shot and Static Shot over Jump Shot and Blunderbuss on the rifle any day.

The damage on Poison Dart Volley doesn’t really matter, it’s more about keeping poison on the target. Typically the recharge winds down just as poison runs out. It’s more single target condition pressure than unloading a bunch of shots. You tend to miss on some of those shots the further away you get from the target in any case.

Static Shot is mostly about kiting, though the damage is surprisingly good when there are crowds around. The confusion doesn’t help at all, typically not racking up much (in PvE) damage, but that one shot of blind on 3 mobs is definitely great support in a group situation. The range on Static Shot is actually quite big, this is pretty helpful in a spread out fight, but it often tags unaggro’d mobs meaning you have to be careful as it is a bit of a curse as well.

Blowtorch burns things. There isn’t much more to say about it than that. It doesn’t do a whole lot of contact damage, but burning itself is a great degen. Once you’ve got the other conditions going you can see serious movement on the enemies health bar. The range is shorter than the other skills, so you have to be careful to get in close enough or risk wasting the skill from out of range. I’m not sure the animation was working for me every time but it is fun to see that flame spout go off.

What I like most about pistols is the feeling that I can start out a fight without having to pick and choose which skills to use strategically, for the most part. The first 3 skills are a toss up to begin a fight. Static shot can get in some early damage on multiple foes, though it does waste the blind. That shouldn’t be a problem as usually it will have recharged by the time you actually need it. If not Static Shot, Explosive Shot, or Poison Dart Volley can get the ball rolling with conditions

Of course if you do get into trouble there is Glue Shot. Not the greatest skill at the moment. It has a 1 second immobilize, and it may as well be 0 for all the difference that makes. It’s probably toned down due to it’s effectiveness in PvP but I’m not much of a PvP person, so hopefully it has a different duration if and when skills are split. Another thing holding back the favourite skill of hormone riddled adolescent boys is the precision with which you need to hit the target. Despite having a large ground radius, you need to nail the target or it won’t even stick them.

So there is one thing the rifle has over dual pistols, all its skills work as intended.

The shield has a different feel entirely. It’s far more about control than conditions or damage. I didn’t use it much but it certainly makes for good defense. Personally I don’t like the stationary aspect of the shields Magnetic Field, I’d rather be dodging, but the knockback is useful and I can see why one might like it. The 5th skill, Static Shield I don’t think I used much at all, so take my opinions with a grain of salt. Not long after unlocking the shield skills I went straight back to dual pistols.

Part of the problem with the shield is the recharge times. Actually it’s the majority of the problem, at least in PvE. You get maybe one shot to use them both during a fight. Both have multiple situational uses but only once. There may end up being changes, balance, or maybe there is a trait that reduces recharge time for shields, but overall I just felt like it was a waste of my time to have these two, fairly unique and interesting skills that they are, mostly on countdowns while I was running around. Add to that their partial stationary feel, and I just didn’t like them.

And most of these skills are affected by traits and of course how many trait points you pour into power or precision etc. But I’m not going to get into that here.

Also I’ll do another post about the utility skills I tried out during the Beta Weekend Event in Part 2. I didn’t get to try all of them but certainly I tried out a lot and I’ll go over which ones I liked and which I didn’t.



  1. I had pretty much the same feelings after the BWE. I thought Rifle was going to be my weapon, but Pistols were more fun. And shields have some really cool skills but I only found them effective in PvP and on World Boss type kills.

    I do want to point out a small detail. Overcharged shot does knock you and the target down, but knocks the target down for a little longer, so you can fire off one or two hip shots in that time.

    • This is true about overcharged, but I still felt like I was losing out, though I’m sure some people take full advantage of that gap in time.

    • out of interest is it possible to make yourself immune to knock down and then use overcharged shot? I recall a utility skill that prevented stuns etc.

      • There is a trait that gives you stability when you have flamethrower equipped, but to use it you wouldn’t be able to use overcharged shot. Rocket boots brings up this question but… I would have to test it to see what happens.

  2. I read at least one blog talking about the engineer kits ( I don’t played that class, I just feel that is a good class for play with asura or charr (rp reasons… I too think necromancer is a very good class for sylvari, but I read the first book, so I am biased), but I don’t want play charr.

    My guess, from what I read, is that engineer strong points come from the kits. It is interesting that they have a healing kit, but aparently all classes can work as healers (for example, elementalist have that aoe rain and guardians have that healing wind).

    I saw an engineer using a turret against a boss last beta, but I get a bad impression, because the turret was attacking the enemy banners but not the boss mob. However, I think that people just need learn how to use the skill the game give us and level up for have access to higher and usefull skills.

    • I like some of the turrets a lot, and I’ll talk about them quite a bit in the next post. The role playing aspects are definitely going to be interesting, but in general I don’t role play much.

      • I certainly will look for a rp server. This game have a lot of rp potential, and not the “shakspearean rp” stuff that make me mad. I am training for my asura engineer and elementalist: “bookah! I am a genius! I am one thousand times more inteligent than you! My genius is magnificient! See my amazing inventions! This turret shot hot honey, not only burns the enemy, but attack bees for sting the enemy! I am TOTAL genius!!!!”

        I too am training for my sylvari guardian: “Death to VEGANS!”

  3. Was running Ranger myself and I have to say, as much as I love seeing a big numbered crit, that +condition damage is niiiiiiiccce. The numbers may not be huge but damn there are a lot of them. Reminds me of farming smite crawlers just seeing all those little numbers shedding off the mobs and watching their health get eaten away. Played a bit with the engineer but not too much, it definitely looked to be another class that will benefit largely from that particular mod though.

    • I can’t wait to see what condition damage does with modifiers once you get rolling on higher level characters and how that plays out with degen. Could be quite formidable if you can kite a lot.

  4. Could you comment on the tool-belt skills, I would like to hear if it makes up for not weapon swapping, I hope.

    • I’ll keep that in mind in Part 2, good thing you brought it up because I hadn’t even thought to mention them yet.

  5. For me, one of the most fun parts of playing the engineer was simply having my charr character running around the norn or human areas with dual pistols, taking pot shots at everything, a big equipment pack on my back and dropping turrets just because I could. That just never got old. I hope there is some type of musketeer type hat and armor for charr, as that would make it even better. But perhaps that is more fitting for a dual pistol wielding non-charr thief?

  6. […] Hunter’s Insight — Engineering. “There is a conversation between two famous engineers. In that conversation Scotty says, “Geordi, I have spent my whole life trying to figure out crazy ways of doing things.” And that is how I feel Arenanet designed the engineer. A bunch of crazy skills that do things. I wasn’t sure I even wanted to play engineer at first. Eventually I decided that was why I would play it. To try out a class but still leave something fresh for release. It ended up being the class I tried out most extensively and thoroughly. I was surprised by how much I grew to like it.” […]

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