Engineering: 2.3 and beyond

Amanda Miller
A. Miller|10.26.07

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Engineering: 2.3 and beyond

It would be an understatement to say that engineering as a profession has been sorely lacking for quite some time. Although there are those among us who have remained optimistic (and a touch crazy), the upcoming changes in patch 2.3 will do wonders to lift the spirits of browbeaten inventors everywhere.

Yet, the forums are still rife with creative new ideas for the direction of the profession, as well as glaring issues that have yet to be addressed. Today I will be summarizing some of the more ingenius and workable proposals for the future of engineering, highlighting some of the changes that Blizzard has promised to make, and bringing some much-needed attention to the problems that still plague this profession. Even if you aren't an engineer yourself, many of the suggestions for craftable goodies make for an interesting read.

Upcoming confirmed changes:

  1. While this particular item has not been promised for patch 2.3, Drysc has hinted at an upcoming frost grenade, although as Chris Miller points out, it will likely be a consumable and therefore not allowed in arenas.
  2. The craftable flying mount. Yes, I know, we've all seen the video footage, bookmarked the mats list, and had a /dance party about it, but I can't exactly leave it out of the list, now can I?
  3. A new field repair bot will also be worming its way in with the new patch. It can repair (being such a bot), and will be selling poison and spell reagents, bullets and arrows, and a limited supply of healing and mana potions. Blizz even recently announced that the mats required to build one have been cheapened, and Eliah did a nice little comparison for us. It will also have five charges, rather than being a one-time use.
  4. Jumper Cables XL, as of patch 2.3, will no longer be a trinket. As engineers everywhere can vouch, this is one step towards better trinket management.
  5. The innovative, space-saving mana and healing potion injectors will no longer require engineering to use. Might one actually sight *gasp* profit on the horizon?
  6. This one comes straight from the latest changes on the PTR. The details are hazy, and we don't have a release date, but we do have a photo! Meet rocket chicken, gyrocopter, and zeppelin!
  7. The adamantite arrow maker has had a mats change.

Enough technical stuff, let's move on to the wishlist! As I mentioned earlier, the profession forums are hopping with innovative concepts for engineering, and some are just too good not to post. Despite the fact that we are seeing some new things popping up, there are several changes that absolutely need to be made.

Top ideas Blizzard must incorporate or we'll make signs and hold an in-game candlelight vigil:

  • Schematics: As Patrius' wish list points out, engineers have virtually no Outland faction reputation schematics. This is such a shame, considering that we're all grinding the rep for heroics and raiding anyway. Engineers should be able to benefit professionally from this just like the rest of us. It was also suggested that old-world schematic drops be moved to rep vendors, or even trainers.
  • Scrapping: Like skinning, or the abilities of miners and herbalists to similarly harvest certain corpses as of The Burning Crusade, Vedon suggests engineers would be able to scrap certain mobs for various mechanical parts.
  • Belt buckles: These, as described by Ratboy, would work much like a leatherworker's various kits, and place various enchants on the belts. In fact, there seems to be a running consensus on the European forums that engineering should incorporate more elements of enchanting, just as leatherworking, tailoring, and other professions do.
  • Tinkering and Innovation: Logically, it seems as though an engineer should be able to learn and evolve in their trade. After all, they are the brainiacs right? One idea put forward is the tinkering skill, otherwise known as the ability to take engineered items apart, harvest some mats, and earn a chance to learn how to craft it from scratch. In addition, it has been proposed that engineers could learn to innovate, in much the same fashion that alchemists can discover.
  • More things to sell to players: Suggestions included specially buffed bullets and arrows, as well as items that would attach to range weapons (much like scopes) and temporary buffs akin to mana oils. My favorite ranged addon was a silencer, which would work to reduce threat. From the EU forums, players suggested everything from a gem socketing kit to safety deposit boxes, a 24-slot box equippable only in bank slots.
  • Utility belt: This would allow an engineer to equip more trinkets than normal. Another solution for storage would be the proposed trinket ring, which would be a handy addition for all level 70s, as well as an invaluable one for engineers.
  • Balance: Many of the attempts to balance engineering items seem to actually throw them off negatively. They either almost never work, or almost always backfire. To help combat this, the EU compilation of ideas suggests cheapening items that have a low reliability/utility, and reducing the chances of an item to fail or backfire in relation to skill.
  • Multi-tool: This would replace the several tools engineers must carry around in order to craft (and perhaps consume them to make).
  • Allowing more engineered items into arenas. After all, didn't many of you sign up because of the pvp benefits?

Now that we've covered the basic changes that should take priority in any attempt developers might make to fix the engineering profession, let's discuss the fun and zany!

From the EU compilation:

  • More flying mounts! Gyrocopter, jet pack, rocket car, and more!
  • Mini fel reaver and mini fel cannon pets (as well as upgrades to the dragonlings and chickens of old).
  • Cloning device; distract your enemies with multiple images of your handsome mug running around raising all sorts of heck!
  • Remote-controlled charges; set it, do the sneaky sneaky, and watch the show.
  • Lazorz! From pets with lazorz for eyes to ray guns, we demand more lazorz!
  • Goblin portable stove. Feel the need to have your own BBQ in the middle of Skettis (why, whatever for...)? Too sophisticated for those silly fires? Pop out your portable stove and roast up some fish-ayz!
  • Grappling hook, ala Batman. Uber handy when one trips into Un'goro (come on, we've all done it).
  • Pogo boots. Jumpz! Alternatively, ejector shoes, the footwear that throws you way into the air in an attempt to avoid danger. How thoughtful!
  • Chew toy, for the lovable little mongrels that chase yee.
  • Cannons and catapults; the ranged aoe that sometimes always targets properly.
  • Trick chests to lay out and trick mail to send. Turn your friends into leprechauns and, dare I suggest, your begging peers into particularly slimy oozes.
  • Unstable teleportation modulator. I'll let you work that one out for yourselves!
  • Transmogrification device. Handy random costumes for you and your pals.
  • Ultra family-friendly fembot! No minds in the gutter here; just try to resist her botty charms.
  • Hang glider or steerable parachute cloak. Don't just fall slowly like your friends. Now you can glide to new peaks from which you can mock your peers and ponder how you will e'er get down with this wretched cooldown.
  • Portable mini-forge and anvil! Now you can smelt and craft in the wilderness, or Orgrimmar.

Hopefully now that engineering is finally getting some developer attention and lurv, we'll start to see some of these wonderful suggestions materialize. Although we have some new goodies already in our sights, there is still a lot that is wrong with engineering. Many items never work, cannot be used in arenas, and cost way too much to make. Most items cannot be sold, or cannot be sold at a profit.

Perhaps most importantly, the underlying concepts of the profession are no longer living up to an RP analysis. The brainy, silly, tinkering gnomes and goblins with wacky concepts simply should be able to invent, to scrap for parts, to learn by disassembling objects, etc. The other professions, as of The Burning Crusade, evolved in some way, leaving engineering, the most creative and evolutionarily-prone profession, in the dust.

What suggestions and ideas do you have for the future of engineering? Are you worried that it could swing in the overpowered direction? What are the most important changes you feel need to happen? Feel free to elaborate on the ideas above, add your own, or link to your favorites.

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