I have a confession to make. My Engineer in Guild Wars 2 was the first character I leveled to 80. It was also the first character I stopped playing at the cap, because I realized I just didn’t like not having a melee focus in GW2. Silly right? It took me 80 levels and then some to figure that out. But Heart of Thorns could change all that, with one simple thing: a big ol’ two-handed hammer.
As so many folks have been pointing out since the first Heart of Thorns trailer, it seems the Engineer is getting a hammer in the first Guild Wars 2 expansion. Every profession is getting a new Specialization, sort of an advanced class, which will allow them to wield a new weapon never-before available to that profession. The Engineer is going steampunk with what looks to be a big hammer and floating assistant drones. We’ve even seen some models of said drones datamined from the client (se picture further below).
While we’re waiting then for some solid info on the Engineer specialization, I figured I would opine as a former hardcore Engineer player as to what would bring me back to playing the Engineer regularly when Heart of Thorns releases. This article is purely conjecture and wishful thinking, so if it doesn’t come true, that’s OK. Assume none of it will, and I’ll hope for the best. Are you with me? Let’s get started!
GIMME THAT HAMMER!
This is probably the most guaranteed part of the Engi’s elite spec. It’s all but 100% confirmed to be the new weapon. As an aside, the image above points to something else too, and that’s the Engineer wearing some heavy armor. Could the Elite Spec for the Engineer also give the profession access to heavy armor? It makes sense, basically turning them into a mechanized mobile swat team. But since the Revenant is the long-wanted third “Soldier” profession, I wouldn’t count on this. (EDIT: As a commenter pointed out, that's the Magitech armor skin, so there go my hopes and dreams. /sadface)
But that hammer? Yes, PLEASE. My old Engineer build was entirely dependent upon the Took Kit. I would use that because I wanted so desperately to be a melee focused Engineer. I loved whacking people with my crowbar, or Smack/Whack/Thwacking them with my wrench. But it wasn’t enough. I eventually found a new love in the Guardian, and never looked back. So with the HoT elite spec, I’m hoping the hammer is a true melee focused weapon with both knockdowns and stuns, plus a killer 5-slot skill that does some great PBAOE damage.
WHAT’S UP WITH THE DRONES?
There are a lot of theories out there now on Reddit and Fansites as to what the drones are and how they will play into the specialization. Here then, is my official theory/wishful thinking. I’m thinking the drones will always be out, and you’ll change their role and effects via corresponding skill keys. In the datamined image below, there are six – enough for each utility skills. It’s not impossible then that each one corresponds to a skill, including one for healing specialties.
While it would be nice to customize what each drone does, I expect our options here will be limited by the nature of ArenaNet saving room for adding more later. Instead, I think each drone will have a specific role, from healing to blinding, to bombing, torching, and so on. On the tail of each drone, in the image below, you see the symbol for “blind” showing up. That_Shaman (the dataminer extraordinaire) says there are also symbols for the other status effects as well.
I just hope that the drones provide both static effects, letting players choose whether to run with a multi or single-drone build, and active effects where they do something when we press their corresponding button. In a way, this would make them like signets, but hopefully more interactive and on shorter cooldowns to preserve the active nature of the profession.
PRESERVE THE UTILITY
Despite leaving my Engineer behind for the Guardian, I loved the sheer utility of the profession. In fact, as I’m writing this, I’m booting up GW2 to log in and see how my old Asuran Engineer is doing. There’s something innately cool about the profession. Like the Mesmer, it’s distinctly Tyrian in nature, the kind of “class” you don’t get in other MMORPGs. Part of that coolness comes from the fact that the Engineer can pretty much do anything outside of traditional MMO roles. They can burninate fools with a flamethrower, lay traps in the form of mines, toss bombs and grenades all willy-nilly, and whack people with wrenches.
While I absolutely long for a melee focused specialization, I just hope it doesn’t come at the expense of being able to juggle so many other tools and gadgets. If ArenaNet can blend the current utility of the Engineer into whatever the new Specialization will be, I’ll be a happy camper because then I’ll have the best of both worlds.