So I want to start off by saying that I’m not crapping on the OE. His kit is wonderful and I feel like he’s one of the more fun classes to play. Also for the record, I mostly play Legend/Champ so I’ll freely admit I don’t know how things are at Cata+.
One of the things I really like about him is his customization. You can pretty much select how you want deal with the crankgun (whether it’s heavy or light shot, burst or sustained, your main weapon or a side to deal with particular enemies). However, there’s a couple of places where it’s lacking: accuracy, adaptability (I mean, how quickly you can use it when pulling it out [not in that way, Slaaneshi umgaks!] or how long it takes the barrels to ramp up) and ability to snipe. Standard shots are quite inaccurate with range (and the lack of penetration means you need quite a few shots to take out Stormvermin or Maulers. Ratling Guns are especially hard to deal with on the move because you’re so inaccurate when moving and standing still and getting hit makes your shots go all over the place. Gromril Shot is almost impossible to hit something long-range.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, “just take a Masterwork Pistol or Handgun” and you’re right that would solve the problem, however it’s not that the class is unable to deal with long-range threats but that you’re forced into MWP or Handgun, when he has access to one of the best horde-clearing weapons in the game: the Drakegun (flamethrower). Unfortunately, if you want to take the Drakegun you force yourself into either being unable to hit long-range targets (Gromril) or not being able to take down armored targets (Innovative/Linked). Meanwhile, Linked Compression Chamber is geared towards builds that use the gun as a backup only (melee and ranged-weapon builds) but as far as I can see (and I’ll admit I’m using googlesearches so I don’t know the full details) it’s not as popular as the other two. Gromril clearly has it’s own purpose as a specialist anti-elite weapon (especially for warriors) and Innovative Ammo Hoppers is clearly for mowing down hordes/sustained use.
What I think he needs is a Tomislav. For those who don’t know, TF2’s Heavy Weapons Guy has a minigun (like our dear Dawi), which has rampup but they introduced a weapon specifically without any rampup at all. I think Linked Compression Chambers needs to follow in it’s footsteps, and be a weapon to be used for both sniping specials and as a melee backup weapon. By having only a single barrel (maybe just one of the Gromril barrels, placed in the center) it doesn’t need to rotate and would be available to fire at full speed right after swapping; meanwhile if it’s accuracy was comparable to the Handgun or Crossbow it’d be a valuable talent for sniping Sorcerers/Assassins/etc. Give it medium penetration to allow to kill Stormvermin but not Chaos Warriors (except maybe on a crit and even then only for light damage); a speed that’s in between Gromril and Innovative Hoppers; and a bonus to weapon-swap speed (to have it appeal to melee-focused builds, letting you swap to it, fire off a few shots, and move in quickly) and I think FS could turn what is IMO a dud talent into something unique, give OE an option to specialise in sniping and taking out mid-sized targets, and give Drakegun engineers a MASSIVE quality of life upgrade.
Of course, there is the big ‘B’ word to consider: Balance. Is it balance-able to allow OE Bardin to do everything? I think so. Bardin already sacrifices quite a bit. He is extremely squishy, without much of the defensive talents that other classes have. He practically has no Ult, and as such he has no real emergency button (like Dash or Oi), and he doesn’t really have anything to burst (like Bounty Hunter or Shade), even GK had burst. He has to stay in place to fire (and while this would ameliorate some of the positioning woes, he’d still be as immobile as ever while firing). What he gets for all these sacrifices is the ability to equip himself with two ranged weapons, in a sense he is meant to be most adaptable of all classes (IMVHO) able to have a means to take out any enemy, but that is contradicted by the fact that specials and mid-armored targets break his playstyle, either taking an inordinate amount of firepower to take out (mid-armored targets are overkill with Gromril effectively wasting pressure, and Assassins/Specials need massive amounts of firepower to actually hit with Innovative/Linked) or being completely unable to hit without sheer luck (Gromril’s spray is abysmal and Innovative/Linked can’t deal with Chaos Warriors even with Leading Shots). Add to that that the damage wouldn’t be amazing, lacking the punch of Gromril Shot or the sheer DAKKA of Innovative Ammo Hoppers and I think it’s very doable to create a balance between three levels of shot.
So, yeah, that’s my modest proposal for Outcast Engineer. Feel free to call me Umgak for messing with un-Dawi technology when a good axe would do the job. I’ll admit I’m only talking from “feel” so I could be completely wrong, but this is something I feel is lacking whenever I go Drakefire&Gromril.