Alright, so I totally would have done this post a few months ago. In fact, I’m pretty sure I had a few drafts of how I would change the Engi/Magus to be more relevant. I think to bring that down to a more concise post, I’d rather just talk about one class, hell, one spec line at a time.
I can see you can see where I’m going with this. Heh, straight for Tinker.
Now, the sad part about WAR is that a lot of the classes have one tree that is more or less useless when compared to the other two. Engineer is no different. By this I mean that both Rifleman and Grenadier are fairly solid trees that one could justify fully speccing in without feeling like they NEED to spec something else. They both work as MAIN spec lines.
Attempting to spec full Tinker requires a hefty amount of gear so you aren’t gimping yourself on stats due to the amount of survivability required, especially for a Light Armor class. Also, EVERY ATTACK in this path is an AoE, so they have all been pretty abused by the blanket AoE nerfs, much more so than either Grenade or Rifle were. Those are the general problems with the spec. It’s very close-range dependant which means getting hit in the face, and it has 0 burst capability.
Herewithin lie my proposed changes.
Core Tinkerer Abilities
Land Mine – None with 1.3.5 changes
Burn Salve – Swap with Flak Jacket, increase armor value based on mastery points.
Static Discharge – Add a 5s duration 2s Cooldown increaser. Change CD to 15s.
Flamethrower – None
Steam Vent – Increase channeled time to 5s
Friction Burn – None with 1.3.5 changes
Blunderbuss Blast – None
Mastery Tinkerer Abilities
3 – Well Oiled Machine – None
5 – Lightning Rod – Increase range to 65′ GTAoE and 40% Snare in radius
7 – Runes of Warding – Increase Disrupt buff to 15%, reduce range to 20′
9 – Bugmans Best – VERY SIMPLE. Change 120 Healing/3s to 150 Morale/3s. Increase Cooldown to 60s.
11 – Tracer Rounds – None
13 – Electromagnet – None
15 – Fling Explosives – +50% damage output
*note about specced M4’s – Most spec M4’s aren’t worth the extra point compared to the core M4’s. I think any specced M4 should be 20-50% more effective than the core depending on the type.
Hail of Doom (Core path), does 300/.5s over 5s for a total of 3000 dmg.
Range 100ft, 20ft GTAOE.
Scattershot (Rifleman), does 600/1s over 4s for a total of 2400dmg.
Range 40ft path
Artillery Barrage (Grenadier), does 600/1s over 4s for a total of 2400 dmg.
Range 125ft, 30ft AoE
Fling Explosives (Tinker), does 600/1s over 4s for a total of 2400 dmg.
Range self, 30ft AOE.
Fling Explosives (Tinker), does 900/1s over 4s for a total of 3600 dmg.
Range self, 30ft AOE.
Okay, that was a rather long explanation. Back to the abilities!
First one on the list is swapping Burn Salve out for Flak Jacket. Corp resist isn’t going to help a close-range light armor nearly as much as a hefty amount of Armor would. With Flak Jacket in a spec line, we can have it scale upwards as an Engi devotes more of his spec to being an up close and personal skirmisher, without turning into a gratuitous bloodstain. Currently, Flak Jacket is 880 Armor for 20 hits, Warlord bonus adding 10 hits. This should be fine as a base for being unspecced. However, for each spec point I’d like to see and additional hit, and 40 armor added to it. Fully specced Tinker would get 35 hits at 1480 Armor. This should last at least 30s when engaged in melee combat. Also, adding a check in there to make sure that only physical damage knocks off hits would be a bonus.
In full Invader, with the Armor Tactic slotted, this would be 3349 armor, or ~77% physical mitigation. With a good armor pot and some talismans, you could probably push this to 90%, but that would waste a lot of the DPS you’ll need to avoid embarassing yourself. Although, it’d be pretty cool to tank as an Engineer. This should be on par with MDPS classes speccing defensively (taking higher base wounds into consideration), or RDPS classes (SW and SH) armor boosting via stance/pet (my SW in anni is 80%).
Alright, good solid defensive ability that puts us on par with other ranged-turned-melee dps classes. Moving right along!
Static Discharge is a confusing ability at the moment. It does very poor damage based on INT and has a 5s cooldown with no utility behind it. This could have gone three ways, increase the damage dramatically, increase the damage slightly and remove the CD, or what I proposed (which is much more fun). Cooldown increasing abilities are a pain in the ass when it comes to any spamming class. Group healers and melee trains are both stopped dead in their tracks when you grey out their ‘1’ key for a couple seconds. Combine this with Concussive Mine and the Engineer will be able to nearly lock down a backline of healers if left to his own devices.
THAT is exactly the kind of utility I would give up my top damage in scenarios for.
Steam Vent Just seemed underpowered and lacking in utility, a small boost to it’s area denial would bring that in line.
Lightning Rod is an ability that would fare MUCH better if it wasn’t a self target, and it would make some sense seeing as the animation is self-assembling. Tie the first part into a FireBomb throwing animation, and the second into the building. You have a 1s cast ability that activates after ~2.5s. That’s the most important part. Now, moving along with the utility theme for Tinkerer Engineers, adding a snare component to it’s pulsing damage would be perfect. Less than Mistress of the Marsh or Sticky Feetz, but also capable of dealing some marginal amounts of damage. There you have another necessary, but not overpowered addition to the Tinker line.
Runes of Warding 5% Disrupt really isn’t much of a drop in the bucket. Move this up to Hold The Line levels (stackable with it of course), and you have a tactic that is now much more valuable to take in the Tinker path. With the increase in power however, comes the reduction in range. The hardest part of this tactic would simply be getting your team mates to stand next to your turret.
Bugmans Best is a great idea for an ability. If it stacked with Ballistic instead of Willpower it would have some potential for decent AoE heals every few seconds, or even if it got better with mastery points. Unfortunately it does neither. Change those HP’s into MP’s and you have a whole different ability that doesn’t try and encroach upon territory that it has no place. Besides, since when does Bugmans Best heal your wounds? It’s highly concentrated liquid courage if anything! A 60s cooldown on this is much more appropriate, especially considering the 60s cooldown on using Morale abilities anyway.
So where does this line leave Engineers in the end? Tougher and more versatile without adding a whole lot in the way of big numbers. The only significance is adding utility to the AoE’s that were nerfed into the ground so many months ago since they were the only strength in the spec line. This utility does a much better job at keeping the engineer alive and supporting his group while being a stinging pestering little bastard.