Or: How I learned to stop worrying, and love my rifle.
One of the things I love about online gaming is that every so often I’m hit with a class that just surprises me about how much I enjoy playing it.
The Engineer is one.
Let me put this in perspective. I don’t like playing “short” races. It’s a cosmetic thing, as much as anything else. In online games, the short races are generally squashed humans, with crazy facial hair. I’m also not a huge fan of playing ranged dps classes. It’s the whole “bow-boy” thing. Generally, you do lethal damage with a bit of string and a few sticks, but given a sharp metal pointy thing, you hit like a 4-stone weakling.
But this is a closed beta, and I’m supposed to be testing the game, so I decided to just have a short go in the dwarf area, to see what the area was like, see if I could find any bugs, and reinforce my opinion that dwarfs were “just short”.
I didn’t want a Rune Priest. I already had a Warrior Priest and an Archmage, and decided to keep some healing mystery in the beta. And an Ironbreaker looked like too much hard work. So Engineer it was.
Now, I can be all repressed Englishman here, and say that I was “mildly surprised at the enjoyable nature of the class”. Or I can be honest, and say that it was huge amounts of fun. I’m not going to go through the class features and skills, because someone with more patience and skill has probably already got a class guide ready to go with the NDA drop.
I will tell you what made the whole experience more than I thought it would be.
The gun. It’s not some sticky/stringy affair. It’s a proper shooter. And the sound it made as it fired just appealed to me on some subconscious, caveman level. I’d find myself shouting “Boom!” when it fired, and giggling like a maniac. Well, giggling more than usual.
The grenades. They’re lovely little debuffs that you lob about the place, that explode. It’s so cool! They’re just a lovely cosmetic for delivering debuffs, that was designed to make me smile.
The turrets. I’m not a fan of pets. They run about the place, and get you shouted at by the rest of your group when they pull an *entire zone*. But one that’s static? Novel. I can’t think of another fantasy game that has a static pet. And I wasn’t sure of it myself, at first. But I started using it, and suddenly it was more than just a flat surface to rest my pint on whilst shooting. For a start, I could have one that fired bullets, and later the range increases to grenades, or a flame thrower. So at later levels, I can decide which is best for the occasion. You can repair it in combat, and it doesn’t need feeding, loving, or training.
The wrench. Well, you start with a wrench. And later on you get ones with better stats. But you will probably use the odd hammer in between wrenches. Anything that gets past the shooter, the grenades and the turret gets a crack over the head with the wrench (or hammer). Ok, you’re never going to rival the Witch Hunter in melee, but you don’t hit like a 4-stone weakling either. It works well enough for PvE, and is satisfying at exactly the same caveman level that the gun noise works at. “Me Engineer! You lunch!” and all that.
Would I have an Engineer at release? Yes, I will. There will most certainly be an Engineer in my stable of alts. I’m a convert. Normally, and with no disrespect to the dps fans out there, I feel something is missing in dps classes. Generally, it’s the ability to heal. I can’t run past someone and heal them if they’re in a spot of bother. I can’t sort myself out with a heal if I’m in a spot of bother. And they never (usually) seem to have the same amount of options in combat that a healer does. But there’s something really satisfying about blowing greenskins away at range, to the extent that I forgot all about healing. And with the fact that you get more options in a fight, whether solo or grouped, than most dps classes out there makes combat more fun for me.
But most of all, the Engineer plays well in the “Movie-in-my-Head”. Playing one was an immersive experience, and I loved that. And my “short go” in the dwarf areas became a long stay, and a tall order of fun (sorry, I’ll get my coat).