It’s time for another meeting of the Alchemists, Tinkerers, and Explosions Anonymous! Today I want to talk about how Engineers are faring underwater. I see a lot of us struggling with underwater combat when we start out because we’re really gimped as far as harpoon gun skills go. Our harpoon skills have good utility, but lack the direct damage needed to kill underwater baddies. After accidentally switching to the Grenade Kit while swimming, though, I think I’ve found the answer. Grenades are a fantastic solution to our woes because they’re cheap (at a measly 1 skill point) and easy to pick up and perform well with, and they’re easy to master … after a few tips, of course. Read on for 5 tips to get you started using grenades underwater!
Before we get started, we should clear up why grenades are so much better than the harpoon skills. There’s one simple reason: they’re ludicrously overpowered when underwater. While on land, the high damage and utility of grenades is offset by the fact that you need to take the time to aim every throw and have a chance to miss. While underwater, your grenades travel in a straight line towards your targets and do not need to be aimed. Couple this with the relatively short cooldowns on the skills themselves and the fantastically high damage of Grenade (your “basic” attack), and you’ve got enough firepower to take on anything that Davy Jones throws at you!
Tip 1: Make sure to actually click your targets
This is what some of you might consider a “Well… duh” kind of tip, but you need to make sure you’re actually picking targets and clicking them. During a lot of your early events, you’ll be overwhelmed at just how many dozens upon dozens of enemies are thrown your way. I’m looking at you, Iron Barracuda Event. If you’ve decided to try out the Grenade Kit as your underwater weapon, you’ll notice that your grenades will never go where you intend them to go if you’re not picking targets. Make sure you click the enemies to target them, and make sure you always target the center baddie of the group when you’re fighting multiple enemies.
Another great reason to actually click your targets is to resolve what might be a bug. As it stands, if you just turn your character in the general direction of an enemy and throw a grenade, one of the two will fly in a straight line towards the baddie while the other meanders off in some random direction, like a Thief who sees something shiny. If you click your target, though, I’ve noticed that both grenades have a more targeted direction. Making every grenade count is just as important in a single-target situation as a multi-target situation!
Just like every other weapon set, conserving your utility abilities for when you need them defensively is a must. Flash Grenade and Freeze Grenade need to be saved for when you’re about to take a hit, but Shrapnel Grenade and Poison Grenade should be used on at every possible opportunity. The Bleed effect and the Poison will kill groups faster with some damage over time. It’s worth noting that this only really applies when fighting groups. Just spamming Grenade will be much more effective against single targets that aren’t veterans or bosses.
I don’t care how much time you spend underwater, you shouldn’t build your character around that kind of combat. I play a Flamethrower Conditioner on land while using grenades underwater and it all works just fine. If you happen to play a grenade-based Engineer on land, though, you will be at a slight advantage because of Power-scaling and your 3rd grenade.
You have a different set of utility skills for underwater, so keeping a different set of two supporting skills is a good idea. Pick up Elixir B for its awesome boosts to damage and speed. Elixir B is a damage-boosting skill and can be swapped out for whatever you want, but my second choice is pretty much mandatory. Take the Thumper Turret as one of your utilities because you’ll need a distraction from the hordes of angry underwater baddies. That leads me into the next tip…
Tip 4: You’ll be an aggro magnet. Deal with it.
With the way the Grenade Kit functions underwater, you’ll be putting out a lot of damage. When fighting a group of enemies, you’ll quickly become the center of attention, and will probably die. There are a few ways to deal with this:
Deploy the Thumper Turret as a distraction.
Dodge a lot. Use Throw Elixir H in hopes of a Vigor (or endurance regeneration) buff.
Always try to rally instead of swimming to the surface. Chances are you’ve damaged something to the point of being almost dead. Finish it off and get back in the fight!
Save your Flash Grenade and Freeze Grenade for putting distance between you and the baddies.
Try to stay near an ally with a large weapon, such as a greatsword. These guys tend to “spin-to-win” and take a lot of the attention from you.
Keep Swiftness up if you have means to. It works underwater.
Swap out of the Grenade Kit to launch a Net Wall, then swap right back in again!
One major thing I have to bring up about death in the watery abyss is that once you recover you’ll have to re-equip your grenades. Without support and in large events you will get downed a lot. Don’t waste precious time shooting silly missiles when you could be throwing more grenades!
Tip 5: Grenade Barrage doesn’t work underwater; Thrown elixirs do!
Quite a few of your usable Utility skills don’t have an accompanying Tool Belt skill for underwater scenarios. This isn’t such a huge deal because you won’t find yourself needing the Tool Belt underwater all that much anyways, but bonuses are always nice, right? Toss Elixir H and B are two skills that you’ll probably have while underwater, so take advantage of them. When throwing an elixir underwater, it will always travel in a straight line in front of you. It’ll float forward for about 900 units before self-detonating, and you have the option of detonating it early if your allies are close or you want the effect for yourself.
Now go out and try it!
I try not to say things like, “This is the only route to victory.” Sometimes, though, certain options are simply better than others. Grenades are better than our harpoon gun skills, and I hope that after reading through my tips here you’ll go out and try it. I still encourage you to play with the harpoon gun if you choose, but only if you find the style of play more enjoyable. Do you guys like to use the harpoon gun or the grenade kit? Do you choose something else entirely? Lemme know in the comments below!
I’d like to end today’s column by saying that I started to use grenades underwater because I heard the damage output was great. I’m going to continue to use grenades underwater because they’re hella fun! See you all next week, and don’t blow anything up without me!