Little surprise: Yet another feedback for the engineer from someone 2k+ hours into the game, I at least think my opinion carries a certain weight (as far as it goes. There is the possibility that I have been doing nothing but playing garbage, but I hope the chances are slim enough ).
The engineer is almost spot on and imho, one of the most well-balanced careers that gives the game a new spin. The ability to use your “F” at liberty and be in control over its cooldown makes it less of an “ultimate ability”, but rather a 3rd piece of equipment. It is designed to fall somewhere between a ranged weapon and an active skill, and it works like a charm. The engineer has, so far, the best “Kit” of all carreers, with no completely useless talents, almost no talents that are blatently more obvious choices than others, and and thus, a very effective way to make multiple builds with high utility. The engineer can be both: a well-rounded jack-of-all-trades or a specialist. If I had my way, all upcoming and existing carreers would be modeled in his image. Fatshark, you did an absolutely stellar job with this!
Now, with that out of the way, there are some minor gripes I have with some talents. Some don’t seem to be working properly (at least as client) or completely as intended, some do work, but seem a bit underwhelming, some introduce mechanics that fall flat at a point where you’d think “Damn, that would be absolutely awesome if they’d followed completey through with the idea behind that”.
Let’s take a look at the individual tiers, and I will give my personal impression on how things could be tweaked.
Leading Shots: Currently the strongest talent in the row, by virtue of being consistent and working well with with all available ranged weapons (except drakefire cannon, see below) and allowing for some pretty nice builds. Guaranteed crits mean you can equip drakefire pistols with “Hunter” trait and can boost your damage at will. Also a good choice because it works with the crank-gun, which gives the multi-barrell version a consistent way to deal damage against super armour. Lackluster choice for handgun, though knowing you can dish out a crit with your next handgun is nothing do laugh at. Also not the best choice for graker, but it works.
*Suggestion *: Right now, it seems it does not work with drakefire cannon. Not only that, it seems to remove the abililty to land crits with the cannon at all, at least that’s what testing in the keep suggests (you can try it yourself on the dummy). It would be absolutely neat to fix this. Otherwise, this needs no change
Armour Piercing Slugs: Good choice for most ranged weapon, gives many weapons a completely different outlook. MW-pistol being able to penetrage SV and mobs allows for different setups and surprisingly good horde clearing ability if you’re in a pickle. Surprisingly strong pick for drakefire weapons: Pistol’s fireballs being able to hit two enemies in a horde or hitting a special through mobs is amazing, same goes for cannon that can absolutely wreak havoc on SV-patrols. Didn’t think it would make such a big difference, but it does. Okay-ish for graker and handgun, though it does help to snipe specials through hordes surprisingly often.
Suggestion: Imho, it is a very close second to Leading Shots, and of course in some cases outright preferable. My only gripe is that, well… the “slugs” don’t really turn armour piercing. You could argue it would make it OP, but I think the name of the game should hold up: it should make all weapons deal damage to super armour, and handgun should deal extra damage to super-armour. Now, I don’t mean full blown armour piercing. But also, all weapons should deal damage to CW and super-armour lords. How much, I don’t know, it should definitely be little damage, but it would give this talent more profile apart from more ranged cleave.
Scavanged Shot: This one is pretty good, also, and probably the most solid choice for handgun and graker. Not only does it make both weapons alot more sustainable (especially graker, which allows you to pepper hordes at much greater liberty, allowing the weapon to fill its role as ranged CC), and being able to fire 2 handgun bullets in quick succession or blast your graker 3 times makes both weapon feel noticably different. While I consider this talent 3rd place, it’s difficult to rank against both other choices because it favours handgun and graker where the other two talents don’t do too much for these two weapons. Extra melee damage lets you hit melee break points in lieu of an alpha-strike stagger talent.
Suggestion: My only gripe is that this one, again, doesn’t seem to work with cannon and also not with drake pistols. Which is a shame, because I see very little reason for this. It won’t be a good choice for pistols, since it will basically just give you one free fireball or one blast (which isn’t much of a boon, really), but it could be HUGE for the cannon, if it allowed you to get - potentially - one full charge of your cannon for free. I don’t think this would be OP at all, and allow for a different approach towards saving overcharge than how the IB-talent works.
I think all the level 20 talents are in a good place. “Full head of Steam” and “Superior Gaskets” are both equally viable and allow for very liberal and versatile choice of level 35 talent and weaponry. I am uncertain, though, if “Superior Gaskets” work as client, as it doesn’t seem like it does. But you get different choices between more power or more speed, and different types of pressure management. This makes Engineer very engaging to play, as you always have something to do with your equipment.
Suggestion: “Experimental Steam Capacitor” seems to be the odd of the bunch. I mean, if I don’t want to crank all the time, I go with “Superior Gaskets”, and if I want my craning to be meaningful towards my use of the crank-gun, I take “Full Head of Steam”. The extra time you get while firing because the pressure prevails during firing is negligible. This one needs some love.
My suggestion would be to either
a.) Add a 6th turn to the crank
b) Increase the speed of cranking by 25% to 50%
This would give a level 20 option that has no synergetic meta-utility towards your other weaponry, but one that is solely focused on creating more pressure fast and leaving you less vulnerable while doing so.
Ablative Armour: Little wonder, I think we can agree that this is by far the most useful pick on this tier, as it makes the glass-canon-engineer somewhat of an “off-tank”. It is well designed, it hat it’s defined weakness (disablers, AoE damage, horde-chip), and its benefit is not too strong. It allows you to counter your biggest weakness (low health and being vulnerable while using your crank gun), allowing you to be a little more daring in the use of your crank gun. Synergizes well with Bark Skin to counter AoE damage.
This one needs no change at all, though I am pretty certain it does not work as client right now.
Bombardier: This one is in a wierd place. It sounds good on paper, but it is highly dependent on how many grenade you find. The effect is great, it’s pretty straight-forward, BUT too situational to warrant giving up your Ablative Armour. Bombardier slightly enhances your offensive capabilities, something the Engineer already has heaps of, which usually does not justify giving up the additional safety provided by, essentially, free 25%DR against alpha strike damage. This talent needs more defensive versatility, and I do have a good suggestion on how to achieve it.
Suggestion: I have two suggestions. Number one: Increase the size of your utility belt by +1. Simple as that. Number two: “Reactive Armour”: When Bardin is incapacitated or disabled, selecting a grenade (pressing the “select grenade” key) drops a grenade at his feet, freeing himself from disablers and giving himself breathing room for rescue. Reduces damage dealt to yourself by grenades to 0.
Piston Power: I was very sceptical at first, but this talent is actually quite decent with the right weapons. Realistically, this one is basically only interesting for 2h hammer, MAYBE 2h Axe, and both shield weapons. With 2 hammer, it has surprising “oomph” and with shields, you have almost complete control over when to use it, and the shield strike is capable of stumbling SV and CW or send everything in front of you flying away. However, it is lack-luster on weapons that have their single-target attack on charged. It does provide both offensive power as well as utility for the team and “defense by proxy”, since you can give yourself breathing room with it.
However, as with Bombardier, you lose access to the very strong Ablative Armour talent. And for that, the talent does not yet bring enough to the table to truly justify a pick. It does too little to warrant a 15 second cooldown and with weapons like 2h hammer and axe, your control over when to use it is compromised by the fact that your CC is on your charged attack, something the shields can work around by good CC from their light attacks and their good push-angle and stamina. Also, both 2h weapons are limited by their cleave mass. With shield, you stagger everything your shield strike hits. Against tightly packed enemies, you can stagger multiple SV at once. With 2h hammer and even more so 2h axe, the fun usually ends when hitting the first armoured enemy. Being able to knock down CW IS powerful, but it is rather unreliable on the two 2h weapons.
Suggestion: I would like to propose two changes, one obvious and one less obvious.
a) Reduce cooldown. Either flat to 10-12-ish seconds, or give us the option to reduce the cooldown by doing… something. Cranking the gun (you could argue that your piston-arm also gets cranked), firing the crank gun (the pressure being transfered to your piston-arm), performing ranged attacks (the recoil getting stored in the piston), blocking (same reasoning, and my perfered option)
b) Give the strike also increase cleave
c) Add the following effect: Knocking down an elite or special causes a shockwave that staggers all nearby enemies (this one is, together with option a, my perfered addition)
The crank gun options are absolutely brilliant. “Linked compression chamber” and “Innovative Ammo Hoppers” are both equally valid picks and give you alot of different things to consider when choosing. My only suggestion would be to give “Linked compression chamber” +25% faster cranking, to follow through with the idea that the compression-chamber setup not only makes the barrels wind up faster, but everything being more fluid and fast.
Now, “Gromril-plated shot” is a weird case. It works and it does what it’s supposed to do, but it feels like it isn’t there just yet. The windup is slow, you get only a few shots out of your charge, and you need to jump a surprising number of hoops to hit relevant break points. My biggest gripe: IMHO, it deals surprisingly laughable damage against super armour. I am not expecting to one or two-shot CW, but the accuracy is too unrealiable for landing headshots consistently, and CW take too many bodyshots before dying.
A good way to demonstrate is this: Look how the regular gun performs against patrols when using a strength pot, and then try the same with a speed pot on Gromril Plated Shot (or heck, a strength pot, for that matter). The regular gun is, overall, better against hordes, better against monsters and a strength pot lets it shred basically anything in its way. The three-barrelled version cannot compete in this regard.
Suggestion: My suggestion for improvement is simple: Increase ability bar by 25%. Increase damage agsint super armour by 25% to 30% ish percent.