I was pleasantly surprised to find my twitter feed buzzing with excitement over the engineer profession release today, a fitting addition after discussing the idea of advanced vs standard gameplay mechanics. Fans have been predicting the 3rd adventurer class for years; as it turns out, pretty much everybody was right. The most common guesses were engineer, gunner, and alchemist. Lo and behold, it would seem we got all three jam packed into one.
The same way the mesmer was iconic to what made Guild Wars unique, I believe the engineer will become the icon of Guild Wars 2 (sorry Nox-hexwise). It’s as though the very style of the new engineer profession embodies the key changes that make GW2’s gameplay revolutionary, but at the same time pays homage to the classic Guild Wars mechanics we love so much, such as trapping and spirits.
The engineer seems to be the king of area control, being tasked with tactical placements of turrets and mines, as well as keeping an eye on the location of allies and enemies alike. The profession has a lot going for it and seems to undoubtably eclipse the guardian as the most versatile of all, and probably will hold that title upon release. There’s a lot of excitement over the reveal, and with good reason.
As a tip of the hat to the highly-adored but unfortunately unreal commando, the engineer’s main standard weapons will be firearms (pistols, shields, and rifles), supplemented by explosives and turrets.
Their first unique mechanic is that of kits (tool, grenade, bombs, mines, and medic), which allows players to swap between damage types and roles, effectively replacing classic weapons. Here is where their versatility shines, allowing them to put out damage in many different ways (ranged, aoe, point-blank AoE, etc), support allies, or control enemies. They also have two weapon kits: the flamethrower which allows them do do straightforward close-range AoE and the elixir gun which is a more bag-of-tricks style that can have unpredictable results. Lastly, the engineer can place turrets, which again have a variety of uses within the roles of damage, control, and support.
Switching between these utilities is allegedly as easy as attunements for the elementalists (assuming out-of-combat) which allows for an engineer to plan his or her battle tactics ahead of time. Additionally, the engineer will have the ability to access certain skills from different kits without having to fully swap (for instance, detonating previously placed mines without switching to the mine pack).
Tears of Lore
Many fans are crying malarkey on the technological advancment bit, but I simply cannot agree with those stances. 250 years is a long time. Just think how far we as humans in a world with -no- magic have come since the start of our own industrial revolution (roughly 250 years ago for the U.S!). We’ve come a long way and it’s no surprise that Tyria’s inhabitants have as well. Engineers cater towards the stereotypical personality of the guy who hates or can’t use magic but loves explosions. They are inventive, creative, and perhaps a little mischievous. So be it; even in a world in danger there is room for fun and there’s tons of fun to be had here!
I think it’s an issue of culture shock; like those who strongly oppose the searing, many current players are finding it hard to grasp these new concepts and advancements for what they are. I don’t blame them. The thing is we don’t see that natural progression happen gradually. Instead, as players we are thrown into this completely new, advanced world and it feels off-balance or unreal. But we want the game to come out in 2012, not 2262, so it’s something we’re just going to need to get used to.
While versatility and tactics are great to have, I worry that there may be just a little too much going on within this one profession. Between kits, weapons, explosives, and elixirs, I can see the learning curve for truly unlocking the potential of this profession being a little steeper than the others. You’d likely be hard-pressed to find anyone who’d disagree that the engineer is the most complex profession thus-far, but it brings with it something fresh and exciting as well. Not that ANet was trying to hide their intentions of sniping gamers from other genres in the first place, but they’ve certainly tapped into a very unique niche here with the engineer. It will cater towards the misfits and the jokesters with hearts of gold. The idea of slack and hash is a turn-off to many who favor other types of games, but this profession could very well be the point that attracts those hard-to-please FPS / co-op players who might see GW2 as an opportunity to give ye’ olde MMORPG a good try.
The more I read about this profession, the more complex it starts to get as if I’ve already been hit by a frag grenade. I was glad to see I’m not the only one who’s found it hard to really grasp what’s going on with the engineer in one go, but perhaps that’s exactly the point. As with all true inventors and discoveries, it would seem this is one you’ve simply got to get your hands on to truly understand and appreciate and just hope they’re still there afterwards.
To the readers: So what do you guys think? Love it? Hate it? Weirded out? Do you think the mesmer is a MOST DEFINITE for the 8th profession?
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