What I Learned While Building
A reader commented on my last post asking why I went to the trouble to boost my elixirs but ultimately only put one on my skill bar. And honestly, my initial build for discussion had 2 elixirs and the Elixir Gun. But in discussing support for the Engineer, I realized I wanted to talk about crowd control, which I was lacking. So I changed it up a bit. I'm also unsure about the Elixir from the Elixir Gun. Will they be affected by the traits such that Elixir F also gives might? I don't know yet.
When I was responding to the comment, I realized that I learned three important things while thinking through the builds:
- Traits are more permanent than in Guild Wars.
This is the core of why I pulled the other Elixir out. Traits complement your playing style more than they complement your current skills. What I mean is, you can swap your skills out at any time, but not your entire trait line. Yes, you can change major traits, but each trait line is tied to two attributes that really affect what skills you use. So you really need to think about how you intend to play within that trait framework, not the skills you choose. This leads to the next thing I learned.
- Trait lines are as much about boosting your attributes as they are about the actual traits.
Maybe even more. Three hundred points or three hundred percent is not a trivial addition. If you put zero trait points into something that yields more damage, your play style is going to always be support and survival, no matter which skills you have equipped, otherwise your damage will suffer. When choosing traits, don't just select cool traits, but keep in mind what you are buffing.
- The kit system is more limiting for the Engineer than I initially thought.
This one is a little sad for me. When the Engineer was announced, many fans bemoaned the lack of weapon switching. They claimed it brought the number of skills an Engineer can use way down. I quickly pointed out that if you equip a lot of kits, you get a lot of skills. And yes, you do. But the reality is that having a lot of kits is too complicated. Also, now that we know more about traits, we see you can really only focus on one or two with your distribution.
And here's the kicker, which we all knew but maybe never thought about. You always have to have a Rifle or a Pistol. Even though you have many kits that can dish some damage, you always have to lug around a gun. If you decide you want to focus on Flame throwing and mines (like my AoE build), you still need a gun. If you don't take at least some traits in Firearms, it feels like a waste.
I understand why the kit system is the way it is, but because the rifle and pistol are so similar, it's a choice that's almost forced on the player. I don't plan on shooting a gun, why do I have to carry one with me? Well you just have to, because there's no other choice.