Massively goes to WAR: Spotlight on the Dwarven Engineer

Our time last Thursday talking Warhammer classes with Josh Drescher and Adam Gershowitz was illuminating on many levels. For example, did you know that the user interface for every class in the game has been given a complete makeover? Not only will every class receive a neat widgety component (ala the Goblin Shaman's Mork n' Gork heads), but the bar itself is themed to the class's role.

The action bar for the Dwarven Engineer, as you might imagine, is a sight to see. This defensive ranged specialist is a unique addition to the MMO landscape. And yet, we couldn't help but feel the stunty's gameplay was incredibly familiar somehow. In fact, the experience of playing an Engineer in Warhammer Online bears a lot of resemblance to that of the Team Fortress 2 Engineer. If the little dwarf had complained "Spies sappin' ma sentry!" it would hardly have been surprising. Read on below for more on this highly skilled specialist ... and a few words about the Chaos Magus all the way at the end.
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Bonus Trivia: Several classes have special 'back-slot' items. Engineers, for example, have backpacks instead of cloaks. Black Orcs have giant backracks of spikes and skulls.
The Dwarven Engineer is a ranged DPS class, but with a twist on the usual 'run and gun' concept. Unlike the mobility of the Shadow Warrior (for example), the goal of this class is to create a zone of control where opponents won't last long. As the designers put it, the Engineer is the redneck on the porch with the shotgun who shouts "Trespassers will be Shot! Survivors will be shot again!"

Previously, the Engineer had access to just gun turrets that would fire on opposing forces. They've opened out the Engineer's abilities primarily by giving him access to new and exciting turret types. The flame turret is a prime example of that. It's a counterpoint to the gun turret, which allows for long range responses. The flame turret only fires short-range cone area-effect blasts. A third turret yet is the Each of the emplacements has a special one-off ability that randomly fires. Every time the turret fires, there's about a 15% chance it will use these powers. The gun turret does a huge machine-gun fire mode, blasting away at a single target for huge damage. The flame turret does a 360-degree sweep of death, scorching everything within a short radius.

Bonus Trivia: As Engineers build their turrets, an animation of a crate dropping from the sky shows where it will be placed.
Another toy in the Engineer's bag o' tricks is the landmine. This ingenious device actually stealths after it is placed. Moreover, they've programmed in a devious few-seconds-long delay after its activated. This technically gives players the opportunity to leap to safety if they're on the ball. In practice, they put it in so that the front members of a war party would set off the mine, delay, and then hit the whole group as it passes overhead.

Yet another doodad allows the class to toss out a field of barbed wire. This is a quick point-blank area-of-effect, and temporarily roots all opposing players for a few seconds. His "Bugman's Ale" keg can be dropped to heal friendly targets and increase their AP regeneration.

Bonus Trivia: The beta right now offers players the ability to select characters on both sides of the war, for testing purposes. The final game will offer a themed character select screen and 'lock' your account to one side or the other on a given server.
Josh notes, "You'll see that in RvR engineers go to a flag or an objective, drop a turret, a keg, some landmines, and then wait for players - 'come get some'. What the engineer gives up in mobility across the map, they gain back in being by far the most effective location-specific damage dealers. They really shine in RvR siege. The fortress is there, you know, it's not going anywhere. You can help to lay down suppressing fire. The engineer is extremely effective in that role. It's tempting to say he's overpowered because he has options that no other class will have, but he's extremely specific in the role he can take on."

Conversely, the Shadow Warrior and Squig Herder are built for mobility. They do damage on the run, making them effective at moving the fight across the map and taking objectives away from opponents. Once they do that, though, they're going to want someone like the Engineer to hold their spoils.

The Engineer's abilities allows him to utilize more than just deployables. Firearms and grenades are also part of the equation. Firearm abilities are very straightforward, focusing on different kind of shots. Shotgun blasts are shortrange cones, from-the-hip quick shots are instant attacks, and incendiary rounds follow up the initial shot with a damage over time burn. Signal flares should be very familiar to World of Warcraft Hunters, an ability that marks opposing players and makes them more susceptible to ranged attacks.

Bonus Trivia: Spinning characters quickly around in a 360 on the selection screen can make them dizzy and weak.
Traveling down the class's Mastery lines results in some really interesting additional powers. The Engineer gets one in particular that no other class can touch at the end of the Path of the Rifleman. It's called, simply, Snipe. From a range of 150 feet (the range of many long-range heal spells) the player can focus down on an opposing character and blast them off of their feet. It has a very long refresh timer and requires the Engineer to be immobile, so it requires very specific usage scenarios.

The Path of the grenadier offers some first-rate boom-booms for these dwarven sureshots. Grenades are focused on splash damage and status effects, and tie into specific turrets. Other benefits down the line give him unique deployables like the phosphorus shell, a mobile mortar system which does huge amounts of damage in an AoE. The final Path is that of the Tinker, which improves deployables in numerous ways. Hunkering down behind a turret, for example, can give the engineer more of an armor bonus.

Given the class's singular gameplay style, and the fact that most classes have sort of a karmic doppelganger (the Goblin Shaman and the High Elf Archmage, for example) we were intrigued to ask what other class might share the Engineer's gameplay style.

Said Adam, "The Magus will be running in parallel to the Engineer. What we did with the Magus is, he can now summon demons. His demon-summoning is specific; they're required to stay within his summoning circle. But they can fling fire ... he summons pink horrors that are very much like a flame turret, he summons blue horrors that mutate things around him. He has his disc, which is just a bunch of crazy PBAoE stuff that fires off around him."

Warhammer Online Coverage Did you enjoy this? Make sure to check out all of our previous Warhammer Online coverage, and don't miss any of the rest of the articles in this series as Massively goes to WAR!

This article was originally published on Massively.