We’re so close, I can almost smell the start of the Engineer apocalypse. So close in fact that my next column would land during head start under normal circumstances! Fortunately my editor is a wise, benevolent creature (no, not the Quaggan) and had the foresight to run everything before launch. I’d like to say that makes him a nice guy, but when I put too many commas in my post he turns all green and rips his clothes off.
So with launch as clear in our minds as it is, I decided I’d give some starter tips for those wanting to try out the Engineer. This is somewhat of a teaser for next week’s article which will effectively be Engineering 101, so be sure to bring a pencil! I won’t go into any heavy detail this week, but there are a few systems in place that might confuse newer players so I wanted to give an overview of how the time spent from level 1-15 should feel. By that point you’ll have experienced enough of the profession to start making some decisions for yourself!
Your Weapons and Abilities
This is a super high-level overview, but for those of you who don’t know, the weapon that you equip on your character defines the skills you have. For purposes of questing, I recommend toting around the Rifle for its moderate damage and awesome CC (crowd control). While other weapon sets can give you some much-needed finesse, the rifle will definitely be carried around by the hardiest of us!
Your First Few Skill Points
Skill Points are a nifty feature that combine the one thing that all gamers love (Collectibles!) with another common interest: blowing stuff up! Skill Points are used to unlock the different Utility Skills and can be spent at certain vendors later on in the game. Honestly, after a while you’ll be swimming in these skill points (especially if you participate in World vs World PvP) so go ahead and purchase whatever skills you think look cool! Keep in mind that while you have to wait until level 10 and 15 to be able to equip 2 and 3 Utility Skills, but I do have an opinion to share on what your first few points should be invested in:
Throw Mine – Seriously, I cannot praise this thing enough. Need to run away? Toss down a mine and run over it. The enemy will get knocked back. Need to remove a frenzy effect of some kind on a foe? Mine’s remove enemy helpful effects! Want some extra damage in a big hectic fight? The tool belt skill throws down 5 of these bad boys, albeit without the knock-back feature. I plan on taking this as my first purchased utility ability.
Flame Turret – Turrets are stupid. They have some bad artificial intelligence that causes them to attack any enemy within its range, not just the enemies that you attack. Turrets are also useful: they’re excellent distractions when an tactical retreat is required! I choose the Flame Turret over the Rifle Turret because of its short range; Flame Turrets don’t attack far away enemies outside the fight because they simply don’t have the range to!
Elixir B – This is an awesome, all-purpose skill to have. Basically, you chug the vial of glowing purple liquid and gain a bunch of helpful effects that boost your damage and movement speed. Once you toss enough points into the Alchemy trait line, you can have an almost 100% up-time on it too!
Keep in mind two things when spending Skill Points. Firstly, you’ll need 10-30 of them once you’ve achieved level 30 to purchase an Elite Skill. If you don’t know what an Elite Skill is now, don’t sweat it. You’ll learn all about it for those first 29 levels! The second thing you should keep in mind about your Skill Points is that there is no limit to the amount you can earn. You get at least 5 in every zone you complete, 1 for each level you earn (past level 5), 1 for each Sentry taken in World vs World, and 1 for each time you “level-up” past the cap of 80.
Your First Trait Line
While leveling, you’re going to acquire Trait Points. These points get tossed into whatever trait line looks appealing at the moment for an immediate boost in stats, as well as an effect every 5 levels for so. Pick whichever one you want while questing, but I highly recommend the Alchemy trait line. The passive boost to health and Boon duration alongside the specific traits picked give you immense survivability. Engineers, for all their brain (and occasionally brawn) are really squishy. Alchemy keeps us just one more step away from death.
If you’re having trouble making a decision on which trait you should pick first (which is at level 20 by the way), I recommend Fast Acting Elixirs.
The Rifle Strategy
In the beginning of today’s column, I talked a bit about weapons and the fact that you’ll want to use a rifle. I have some rational behind that, because a questing Engineer has 5 awesome skills that work together into a “skill rotation” of sorts. These skills are:
Hip Shot – Standard damaging attack. This will be the shot weaved between the other abilities
Net Shot – Fire a net that keeps an enemy from moving for 2 full seconds. Awesome for getting away!
Blunderbuss – This is the skill that redefines our “rifle” as being a “shotgun”. Who says you need something pointy to be a melee profession? This does more damage the closer you are to the enemy when it fires.
Overcharged Shot – Deals some damage while knocking you backwards and your target forwards. Annoying, but effective.
Jump Shot – Ah, the coup de grace of Engineer badassery! Point our rifle at the ground and fire while jumping to a target position. Deals damage when we launch and when we land!
Those skills used together can make you really hard to take down as in single-combat. Even if you didn’t read this column, I bet you would have found yourself using this skill sequence naturally while using the rifle!
Start at a distance from your target. Use Jump Shot to land on top of them. Some Engineers will actually run into attack range and use Jump Shot in one place, damaging the same enemy with the jump and the landing. After hitting the ground, immediately squeeze out a Blunderbuss shot, getting as close as you possibly can to the enemy. Fire the Overcharged Shot to get some distance between the two of you and start to fire a volley of Hip Shots. Once they’ve gotten up and are running at you, use Net Shot to keep them at bay and gain some more ground on them. Wait for Jump Shot to finish cooling down and repeat until the enemy is a bloody pulp on the ground. It should take one round of these moves to take down a standard enemy, and will often take less than that.
And With That…
I hope that some of my more regular readers weren’t bored by the proposition of a leveling “guide” but I felt it pertinent with launch so close to us. Next week, you can look forward to a few more pre-launch ramblings as I sing the Engineer’s anthem. For the most part, the anthem is just me blabbering on about how awesome Engineers are, why Throw Mine is such a cool skill, and where one can purchase a stable of Journey records and memorabilia. I know, I know. It’s not the greatest anthem in the world, but we need one!
Until next week, I bid thee adieu!