Engineers. The most multi-faceted, multi-functional class in Guild Wars 2. Because the Engineer has so many variable skills based on the “bundles” you decide to use, it can be a pretty unapproachable class. It’s also primarily a support class, so if you try going toe-to-toe with a Warrior or Guardian, you’re going to have a bad time. That is, until you learn just how powerful the Engineer really is. As part of an ongoing section here on the NAG site, I’ll be looking exclusively at the Engineer and its role in both PvE and PvP.
PICKING A RACE FOR ENGINEER
There are five races in Tyria, each with their own starting areas and capital city, racial armours (mostly aesthetic) and a handful of racial skills. You can read up more about each race, on the Guild Wars 2 Online Manual. For future reference, my own personal pick was the Charr. I may explore the other races at a later date.
There is no “win” race/profession combination, but knowing your racial skills may come in handy depending on the type of Engineer you want to play. For example, the Humans get a skill “Prayer of Dwayna”, which is a self-heal. All classes have a natural heal spell, so it doesn’t really matter in the long run, but if you’re going for a theme-build based around a central idea, it’ll help to know what the various racials are. Note: Racial skills are not available in structured PvP, and most racial skills are earned at certain levels.
The most useful reference for racial skills is the Guild Wars 2 wiki, which is currently very intermittent due to the game having just launched. Here’s a quick breakdown:
Pain Inverter: Confuse nearby enemies.
Radiation Field: Creates an area-of-effect at target location that inflicts Poison and Weakness.
Technobabble: Daze target foe.
Summon 7-Series Golem: Summons a companion that fights for you.
Summon D-Series Golem: Defensive summoned ally.
Summon Power Suit: Summons a Power Suit that you or your allies can enter, has it’s own skill bundle.
Battle Road: Gives Might and Fury to nearby allies.
Hidden Pistol: Shoot target foe with hidden pistol.
Shrapnel Mine: Throws a mine that bleeds and cripples foes.
Artillery Barrage: Airstrike at target location for damage.
Charrzooka: Rocket launcher bundle with it’s own skills.
Warband Support: Summons allies from your warband to fight with you.
Prayer of Dwayna: Restores some health.
Prayer of Kormir: Removes 3 conditions.
Prayer to Lyssa: Grants random boon to you, random condition to enemy.
Avatar of Melandru: Transforms you into an Avatar of Melandru, has it’s own skill bundle.
Hounds of Balthazar: Summons two hounds to fight with you.
Reaper of Grenth: You become a Reaper, causing Chilling and Poisoning around you.
Healing Seed: Drops a seed at targeted location that gives nearby allies Regeneration.
Grasping Vines: Target foe becomes tangled and cannot move until vines are destroyed.
Seed Turret: Creates a Seed Turret at target location, which attacks enemies.
Summon Druid: A Druid Spirit fights at your side.
Summon Fern: A Fern Mastiff fights at your side.
Take Root: You become immobile, but several turrets grow near you.
Call Owl: An owl attacks your foe, causing Bleeding.
Call Wurm: A wurm pops out of the ground and attacks, your foes.
Become the Bear: You become a bear, with it’s own skill bundle.
Become the Raven: You become a Raven, with it’s own skill bundle.
Become the Snow Leopard: You become a Snow Leopard, has it’s own skills.
Become the Wolf: You develop an insatiable lust for sheep. Also, you become a wolf.
As I said before, it doesn’t really matter which one you pick, all the races have great racial skills, but some might be better suited for any kind of thematic build you have in mind.
SO WHY AN ENGINEER?
Being a support class, the Engineer is not the most obvious choice for most people. In fact, quite a few people will look at you funny when you tell them you picked Engineer, because their own experimentation with the class didn’t go well. The Engineer doesn’t carry a big sword and leap into combat, an Engineer can’t go invisible, or summon fireballs out of the sky, or raise the dead.
In fact, the Engineer has some of the most limited basic weaponry: pistols, rifles and shields. You can either use a pistol and shield, dual-wield pistols, or have a rifle. The Engineer doesn’t get a fast weapon-swap skill either, like the Warrior, who can charge in with a rifle, then swap to a sword when in melee range. The Engineer makes up for the lack of diversity in weapons, by having the most weapon bundles of any class. During a fight, an Engineer can use any of the main weapon sets, and also switch to a Flamethrower, or Grenades, or start dropping Bombs, at any time. When facing an Engineer, you never know exactly what type of Engineer you’re seeing, until things start exploding. If you count up the weapon kit skills, the Engineer actually has access to six additional weapons other professions don’t get.
The Engineer’s main focus is that of flexibility. It’s one of the few classes that can fill all the basic roles, like tank, healer, ranged damage, suppression and point-defense. The Engineer changes its entire play-style, depending on which “bundles” you have slotted into your Utility skill slots.
The Engineer gets access to a variety of turrets, like the Gatling Turret, Rocket Turret, Thumper Turret, Flame Turret and Net Turret. Depending on which of the five Traits you specialize in, your turrets can gain Auto-Repairing functionality, deal more damage, or be target-deployed for tactical placement. The Mortar Turret is an Elite skill, which builds a stationary mortar that you or your allies can use, which has it’s own skill bundle of hard-hitting area-denial skills. Great for Player vs Player, when defending a capture point.
By juicing up on special brews (or throwing them at your allies and enemies), the Engineer can turn the tide of a skirmish. Some elixirs will convert all negative conditions on you into boons, or grant you Protection, Regeneration and Swifness. One of the three Elite skills is Elixir X, which turns you into a huge, rampaging brute with it’s own skill bundle (or if underwater, a tornado). There is an Elixir Gun bundle you can equip, which gives access to a whole bunch of condition-causing skills. The quickest way to win a fight in Guild Wars, is to make sure your enemy is as incapacitated as possible. If you chain all the Elixir Gun shots one after the other, you can make an enemy Bleed, Weak, Crippled, Poisoned and Vulnerable, while at the same time healing your allies and giving them Swiftness.
When you use the Grenade Kit, your main skills are swapped out for five grenade-based skills. Some cause Blindness in foes, others just do a lot of damage, and their throw-arc make them great for tossing over walls at enemies. There are Trait points you can spec into, that increase the number of grenades thrown, and their explosion radius.
The Bomb Kit is the ideal “chase me if you dare” bundle. When used, you gain five different types of bombs you can drop in rapid-fire, which explode after a short time. You also get a Big Bomb special you can use, which blows enemies away when it explodes. If you combine the Bomb Kit with the Slick Shoes, you can be a real terror for melee characters trying to chase you down. Slick Shoes, when used, spray oil behind you which causes Knockdown on enemies that chase you. Combine that with a huge cluster of bombs dropped behind you like limpets, and Warriors will think twice about following your escape.
If you pick the right Trait, you can become a pyromaniac juggernaut. The Flamethrower sprays fire, blasts out a ball of napalm, can push foes back with an air blast, throw down a wall of flame that if allies shoot through will make all their attacks cause Burning, and you can vent your flamethrower to blind nearby foes for a quick escape.
The Med Kit is an emergency system for getting your party back up to speed as quickly as possible. You place (or throw, if you pick the right Traits) bandages, antidotes and stimulants. If you’re quick, you can heal, cure conditions and grant Fury and Swiftness to your entire party. There are Traits for giving yourself increased speed and armour while using a non-weapon bundle like the Med Kit, making you an indestructible angel. The Supply Crate Elite skill works great in this role, as it airdrops in a bunch of turrets, health packs and a healing turret, perfect for defending a point or during a boss fight.
The final bundle is the Tool Kit, which is generally used if you’re going for a turret-centric build. You gain skills to smack enemies, hard, and repair turrets at the same time. You can scatter nails around you that Bleed and Cripple foes, confuse enemies by hitting them with a pry bar, you have a Gear Shield for defending against pesky ranged enemies, and a magnet to pull said ranged foes into your turret’s killzone.
There are a few small utilities the Engineer can rely on for adding some spice to a build: The Personal Battering Ram is a functional skill for knocking back enemies, the Rocket Boots let you make huge backwards leaps (and it removes all movement-impairing conditions from you), Throw Mine lets you booby-trap an area, and the Utility Goggles let you break out of Blindness and apply Vulnerability to enemies.
There is a lot to go into with regards to just a single profession in Guild Wars 2, the Engineer even more-so. Over the coming days and weeks, I’ll be going into more specifics, like what builds are good for running around in the PvE areas, what builds are good for PvP and World vs World, and keeping track of any changes made to the Engineer profession in upcoming balance patches.
If there is anything specific you’d like to know, or see covered in future articles, feel free to drop a comment below.