Weapon and Device Kits are staples of the Engineer and have really defined our play-style. They’ve also sparked a lot of controversy because we don’t get a weapon-swap skill like every other profession, except Elementalists. They don’t count though…they can make stuff explode with their minds. They don’t need extra weapons.
Today I want to take a short look at some of the positive and negative points that people come up with for these kits. Some short analysis later, I’ll make my decision on how I feel about the whole thing. Y’know, because my word is law, right? This is true, and the law requires you to read on!.
Outperforms the rifle, pistol, and shield by a wide margin in specific situations
The number 1 example of this is Area of Effect. Other professions get massive AoE all day with their silly weapons, but we equip weapon kits! The Grenade Kit, the Flamethrower Kit, the Bomb Kit and the Elixir Gun are all primarily AoE or cone effects. These kits are by and far better than our “regular” weapons for dealing with groups of enemies. Dual pistols aren’t bad for AoE, but the recently buffed Grenade Kit does more damage (“finally,” I might add!).
Tool belt skills can be phenomenal
The Tool belt mechanic is actually one of my favorite parts of Engineering. I honestly think we have one of the best, if not the coolest profession mechanics in all of Guild Wars 2. The skills we’re afforded on the tool belt are honestly just underpowered Utility Skills. We get an extra self heal and a group heal, which don’t put out awesome numbers, but still help in a pinch. Sometime, a pinch is all you need! There’s also a tossed AoE and a dropped AoE for some extra damage. I keep Grenade Kit on my bar all the time for it’s tool belt skill, not just for the kit itself. Finally, we have a basic attack modifier that adds burning to our attacks and an ability that let’s us chuck our wrench. That last one’s mostly because Thieves aren’t worth the ammo we waste on ‘em!
Kits provide excellent defensive and point-holding capabilities
Engineers are a really reactionary profession. As much as I hate to admit it, most of us don’t actually fling grenades around like party-favors; we operate on a more tactical, calculated level than that. Certain kits really make that kind of Engineer shine, because most of these kits operate in a defensive manner. The kits are all about making the second move after your opponents have bumbled through their initial strike. A great example of that is the Bomb Kit. D’ya know how pissed people get in WvW when they’ve finally broken down a door, rush in and get immediately caught in a Glue Bomb? Priceless. That’s just one example. The Flamethrower and the Bomb Kits are both excellent for holding points, and the Tool Belt is an excellent access-denial kit!
Takes a utility slot up…
…But we get a tool belt skill in exchange! Not exactly as powerful as a full utility skill, but when you factor in the skills of the kits themselves I think they pay for themselves.
Persisting bugs/design flaws are annoying
There are two “design decisions” that bug people about these kits: the inability to place a kit in the weapon swap slot and the fact that the game doesn’t remember that I turned on auto-cast for Skill 1. It’s really annoying to have such an awesome feature (read: auto-attack is a “feature”) be rendered completely useless by being reset on every kit swap. As to our first complaint, we don’t want to get out of giving up a utility slot, we just want to be able to switch in and out of a kit with the “~” key like everyone else does with weapons! Is that so much to ask?
Tool belt skills are generally on a long cooldown
There’s no getting around this one and the skills themselves don’t really make up for the cool-downs That’s the tradeoff though; we’re effectively trading 1 utility skill for 6 abilities when we equip a kit. While I would disagree with ANet on this one, they seem to think that awesome needs to have a cap and that we’ve exceeded it somehow. Oh well.
Overall, I think that if the two “bugs” I mentioned are cleared up I’d be pretty happy with where these kits are at. The other cons are simple tradeoffs for all the benefits we receive for being able to carry around condensed, weaponized explosions without immediately dying. The ability to assign a kit to the “~” key is a big issue that can be solved on an individual level with key remapping, but it’s something that would mean a lot to us if it were addressed. I know, I’m whiny. Someone has to be! In the end, kits are fairly balanced right now, if a bit underpowered damage-wise. I’m not sure what kit I’ll be using at any given point, but you can always be sure that I’ll have one on tap!