The state of Engineering in 3.1

Amanda Miller
A. Miller|03.31.09

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The state of Engineering in 3.1

In case you missed the memo, the short list of changes to the Engineering profession that have been posted for patch 3.1 are all you are going to get come patch day, like it or not. Bornakk confirmed that Blizzard feels that the "perks work out" compared to what other professions offer, and that they "have no changes planned at this time."

The relevant forum thread has grown to over 1300 replies and more than 50,000 views, suggesting that while Blizz might be satisfied, much of the Engineering community is not.

In fact, many are threatening to drop the profession and take up Jewelcrafting, which is something I hear about a lot. Of course, if your profession is really, honestly inferior to all others, then why is everyone trading up to the same one?

Pass through the break for a list of the upcoming changes, the major gripes, and a comparison of Engineering to other professions in order to put this all into perspective.
Upcoming changes in patch 3.1:
  • I hope you like Gnomeregan, because you'll be able to farm it for the schematics for Lil' Smoky and the Pet Bombling, which will be a vast improvement over the previous method.
  • Reticulated Armor Webbing will add armor to plate gloves.
  • Springy Arcanoweave enchant will turn your cloak into a parachute cloak and grant 18 spell power.
  • Flexweave Underlay will also grant 15 agility.
  • Nitro Boosts now grant 16 critical strike rating in addition to the speed boost. Activating the boost while holding a PvP flag will cause you to drop it, similar to how a Paladin bubble does.
Major arguments about Engineering viability:
1) Gnomish and Goblin specializations are too similar. In addition, switching specialties carries a ridiculous penalty.

While this may be true, it is actually true of every profession that has specializations. Blacksmithing specialties were primarily useful in BC, while Leatherworking specialties arguably were never any good.

Alchemy specialization is still viable, and Tailoring cloth specialization helps one produce a bit of extra fancy cloth, but neither of these specs are gear-oriented.

Of course, now that the two specializations are not particularly important, there is no reason for the harsh penalty applied to changing it. Whereas other professions merely lose the special recipes, Engineers lose their entire profession, and have to start from scratch.

2) Ulduar, for all of its machines and vehicles, really should connect with Engineers.

I'm not sure that I can argue this one down. On the one hand, it would be insane to give Engineers some sort of leg up in this raid encounter, especially since Blizzard is trying to stay away from causing players to feel forced into any particular profession.

On the other hand, there are enough Engineers that granting them some special skills might be viewed as akin to something like Replenishment, where the developers could assume most raids will probably have at least one Engineer there to assist with repairs or grant some sort of buff to the group.

At the very least, there should be some new schematics, an Engie-only quest line, a special trainer, or something else that is just for you guys.

3) The profession is good for PvP, but useless in PvE.

As many of the commenters on the forums pointed out, there is more to the game than PvP. I would also like to point out that there is more to the game than raiding.

I don't think that any one profession gives us quality goods for RP, PvP, PvE, questing, leveling, achievement or reputation grinding, etc. Alchemy provides us with dungeon/raiding consumables. Leatherworking, Blacksmithing and Tailoring give you gear that you can use right up until you start to raid, and no further, and their PvP gear is generally inferior to what you could get by simply spending a weekend in the BGs.

This doesn't mean that you don't have any PvE benefits, as you offer repairs and vendors, and even mailboxes, which are extremely helpful. With Ulduar on the horizon, it will be even more important, given the size and length of the encounter, and the fact that we're about to enter a phase of wiping and learning.

You do have some enchants, such as haste to gloves, that really are quite viable for several class-spec combos in PvE encounters.

4) Pets, goggles and other gadgets haven't been updated to be relevant to level 80s.

The devs have always been slow on this point, and it is definitely something that needs to be done.

5) There are plenty of things that could be added or updated that wouldn't exactly be putting Engineers ahead of anyone else. What about new transporters, flares or seaforium?

I completely agree with this.

6) We want better PvE epics and item enhancements.

At the moment, no profession can create epic gear that is actually worth making, at least not if you can get into Naxx, a raid encounter that is currently easily PuGable.

As for item enhancements, adding a method for attaching some of an Engineer's many gadgets onto existing gear was a long time coming. Still, it would be nice if they had one or two unique enchants, aside from the diminished bonuses that have been applied to many of the existing ones.

Since the belt buckle was given to Blacksmiths instead, Tailors can enchant their own cloaks (although my Tailor has no use for any of them) and offer thread for pants, and Leatherworkers have armor, bracer and leg kits, it would be logical at some point in the future to give Engineers something as well.

The main problem may actually be that your existing enhancements overwrite traditional enchants and other item enhancements. While this might work out for PvP, having +18 spell power to a cloak isn't as competitive as some of the other available enchants, although again, a few of the enhancements are actually superior to other enchants for that slot.

Because some of your enhancements are quite viable for PvE, and ideal for PvP, I don't see this as a make-or-break point, especially since the enchants offered by other professions are, for the most part, available to you as well.

Notable points
Despite the show of discontent on the forums, many Engineers are actually quite satisfied with what their profession has to offer, and indeed, are looking forward to a couple of the 3.1 changes. This group includes several of the Engineers on staff here at WoW Insider, and I tend to agree. While I believe that every profession currently has holes and items in need of updating, when put into perspective, Engineering is quite comparable.

It may be that Jewelcrafting is the single best method of making money through a profession in the game, but that would indicate an imbalance as a whole, rather than a direct comment on the state of Engineering.

How do you feel about all of this?
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