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Guild Wars 2: Engineer - Interview mit Eric Flannum und Jon Peters (english)
Autor: DeBussy, letztes Update: 19.05.2011

DeBussy: 250 years have passed in the world of Tyria between Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2 and there are Warriors still swinging their swords and Rangers trusting in their Bows. But at some Point someone must have said: "Erm, guys... we made a little bit of progress over here! Let’s use that." Can you give us a short overview about "who" and "what" this Engineer of yours is?

Jon Peters: The Engineer is one of our medium armor professions. And he sets the stage for our transition into the future. Guild Wars 2 will be taking place 250 years after Guild Wars 1. So a lot of the technology has advanced and the Engineer is the profession that embraces this the most. So we talk about explosives and grenades, other kinds of gadgets and turrets that you can deploy. He is very technology based.

One of the things that really sets him apart is that he only uses a single weapon set - unlike the other professions (aside from the Elementalist). But he compensates that with special healing and utility skills that are called kits. And what those do is, when you activate them they swap out your weapon skills for a whole new set of skills. So an Engineer potentially can have up to five or six weapon sets actually on his bar by having all of the utility skill slots filled up with kits.

In reality Engineers tend to run about two to three kits. Just like the same amount of weapon sets the other professions use. That is the sweet spot for the amount of stuff you can keep track of. But it gives you the option to be much more versatile - which is, what sets him apart.

The other thing is, that he is able to deploy stuff on the battlefield. The Engineer is the profession for people who like to plan, who like to think ahead on the battlefield: "OK, there's going to be trouble soon, and I need to switch out to my med-kit and lay down a couple of med-packs on the ground. So when people need help, they can come back through here." It's for the kind of person who wants to be thinking one step ahead of everyone else.

DeBussy: Where did the Engineer come from? Is there a connection to lore, like some sort of academy that first specialized in educating Engineers?

Eric Flannum: Engineer technology really developed with the Charr first and foremost. And its one of the specialties developed by the Charr Iron Legion. When we talk about the Engineer he is very much a Combat-Engineer and good in inventing things that are useful in a combat situation. The Iron Legion is the start of all of this, and the Engineer profession has spread to the other races from there. The People of Tyria have seen it in combat over the past few years and have seen the effectiveness of an engineer. And so you are going to see Engineers of all races although it is a little bit more common to see a Charr Engineer than anybody else. So it all started with the Charr and their technological development.

DeBussy: The Engineer sounds like a master of technological superiority. What devices and gadgets will he incorporate in his fighting style - and once on the battlefield, what mayhem might he unleash on his opponents?

Jon Peters: So we talked a little bit about the turrets. There are five kinds of different turrets that you can decide to bring as an Engineer: A rifle turret, a net turret, a flame turret, a healing turret and a thumper turret. I think most of those a fairly self explanatory but I think I explain the thumper turret a little bit more and give you an idea of how the turrets work as well.

The turrets have a similar feel to minions: they have a toggle skill and if you place them down they swap to a new skill. That let's us limit how many turrets you can have out by how many you equip on your bar. When you deploy a turret the toggle skill is an overcharge that powers up and makes the turret do something a little more powerful than it did before. The thumper turret is an AOE turret with a point blank radius of effect. So it attacks everything around itself. And then when you overcharge the thumper turret it does a big smash on the ground and knocks enemies down. That's the turret side of things.

There are two other kinds of gadgets: The kits, which will give you kind of different backpacks and weapons. Some of those weapons a kit gives you are a flamethrower - which is a very close range and AOE high damage weapon. And then there is an elixir-gun which is a more supportive but a hybrid support-and-damage weapon. And that leads towards one of the other things the Engineer uses: He doubles a little bit in alchemy and uses elixirs. He has his backpack filled with a couple of tubes of elixirs (editors note: Yes, we are all thinking about Kranxx here, I guess). The gun has a container on it that shoots these elixirs out. But he has also elixirs that he can slot as regular utility and heal skills. And all this elixirs have this unstable, random nature to them. For example there is this elixir called Elixir B. An Engineer can drink it and it gives him one of a set of random buffs that we have in the game.

There are also explosive kits. So there is the grenade kit, the bomb kit and the mine kit. And each of those kind of have a different take on how explosives work. You deploy the mines and then they toggle into skills that let you chose when to detonate them. The grenades are ground targeted and you throw them out and then they explode. And the bomb kit turns the Engineer into more of a point blank AOE character, where he is dropping bombs and then they explode after a short period of time.

Eric Flannum: A good way to think of the Engineer is that he is actually a profession that can slot an alternate weapon in any of his second five slots. And so the Engineer - althought they only have one kind of normal weapon set, that they can equip at a time - they have all these other kits and things that are essentially weapons that are exclusive to that profession.

DeBussy: You mentioned a healing turret and yes it is pretty self explanatory on what it does. But how will it work - does it shoot out little syringes filled with healing potion or flasks of elixir?

Jon Peters: It's actually mist. It sprays out a healing mist which is in the air and you breath it in.

Eric Flannum: It shoots out an alchemical compound that helps people to heal. It kind of looks like a little version of those water sprinklers that you know of from the human introduction video. So yes, it sprays out this constant stream of mist. It ties into the Engineers background as an alchemist.

DeBussy: The Engineer is the first Profession that can not equip a pure melee weapon (they can only equip pistols, a rifle and a shield). Do pistols and rifles have a minimum distance? And how does an Engineer cope with being forced into close combat? Will his fighting style be a dance between himself, his enemy and stationary gadgets and mines?

Jon Peters: No, they don't have a minimum distance - but he is not the sturdiest profession. He is not a Warrior! And so he tries to stay away, and he has a lot of stuff on his pistol and rifle that tends to let him do this. So the pistol for instance has a glue shot that he can shoot down at the ground that sticks guys he tries to get away from. The rifle has an overcharge shot, where he launches the enemy back and pushes himself back at the same time to give himself distance.

But then on top of that, if you really want to be a "in your face!!!11"-Engineer, the flamethrower is pretty much the goto weapon for you.

Eric Flannum: Also the bomb kit! The way it works: it gives you a number of bombs that you can use. When you use a Bomb it is placed at the Engineers feet and then it explodes a second later. And so the bomb kit is also a kid that is good for running around and sort of blowing things up while you're running around in the midst of you enemies.

And the Engineers also have an ability if they want to cause even more problems for enemies up close. They have an ability where they can spray oil on the ground which causes anyone who crosses it to slip and be knocked down. So engineers have a variety of ways of dealing with people who are up close to them.

DeBussy: A side question to cross combat relations: can this oil be ignited by,... say a Elementalist?

Jon Peters: We haven't totally explored that yet. We talked about it but we haven't really explored it yet.

Eric Flannum: It might be possible. There are not many professions that actually use oil in the game ore anything like that - pretty much just the Engineer. So it would be pretty limited to a combination only the Engineer could do. But yeah, it is a possibility.

DeBussy: How long can I use such a kit? Do I switch freely between them, or can the provided weapon-skills only be used once - and then the skills automaticaly reset to my normal weapon?

Jon Peters: You toggle them, and then that is just the weapon set you are using until you decide that you are done using it. They are balanced around the idea that you switch them situationally. Some of them have different pacing to them. So for instance the med kit: you drop a lot of med packs on the ground and if you just send them all out quickly then you are left with not much to do. And so you can switch back and start doing more offensive things.

For example with the grenade kit. The regular grenade throw has no recharge on it and the other grenade throws are pretty low on their recharge as well. So if you want, you could just be a grenade engineer. I have people seen do this - just running around throwing grenades. And that's just what they want to do. And they rarely switch back to their rifles and pistols.

One other thing about the kits - and what also applies to some of the other utility skills: The Engineer has a tool belt. These are his special F1 to F4 skills located above the normal skillbar. Any of the backpack kits have a skill that you automatically get on you tool belt when you put them on your bar. The best example is the mine kit. If you put a mine kit on your bar and you activate it skills 1 trough 5 are replaced by mines. And as you throw them out they turn into separate detonate mine skills. So you could detonate each mine individually. But we wanted the mine kit to have more synergy with other weapons and other kits as well. So when you switched away from it you lost the ability to detonate the mines. So what the tool belt does for the mind kit is: it puts a skill above your bar that you can use regardless of whether or not you are in the mind kit, that detonates every mine.

So what the Engineers do is: switch to the mine kit, throw out their mines, lay out a defensive area, and then pull out their rifle again and start firing. And then, when they are ready, they don't have to switch back to the mine kit to detonate them. They can - if they want to detonate them individually. But they have always the tool belt at hand to detonate all the mines.

All the kits have skills like this. So for instance from the med kit, you actually get your self heal up in the tool belt. And for the grenade kit there is a grenade barrage that comes out of the tool belt. So just because you chose to take the grenade kit, we didn't want you to feel that you always have to be in it to get some of the benefits from it. And that's what the tool belt does.

DeBussy: Oh, I can see the picture in front of me: mine spike incoming in 3... 2...1. BOOM!

Do the cool-downs of the abilities from the kits get locked of you switch away from them, or do they progress in the background? So could you actually wait for a kit to become useful to you again while you are using another one?

Eric Flannum: The cool-down of the abilities on the kits happen regardless of whether or not the kit is active. So this will going to give you a lot of versatility. It's basically the same as weapon swapping. When you swap away from a weapon the skills on it are still recharging.

DeBussy: The engineer sounds like a real offensive force. But he can also equip a shield. Will this toggle a more defensive orientation? What should I expect from an Engineer that charges at me with a pistol and a shield in hand?

Jon Peters: Yes, the Engineer with a shield is a little bit more support and defense oriented but I wouldn't say that the engineer is very offensive. I actually think he draws the line fairly evenly between all the things. If anything he is being as supportive as the most support oriented professions in the game if he needs to be.

The shield for the Engineer is a fairly defensive weapon. One of the things he can do with it - that sets him apart from a Warrior is: when a Warrior has a shield he can get down and block attacks. An Engineer with a shield crouches down and can absorb a projectile into his shield with a device that he puts on the shield. And then he can take that projectile and throw it back at enemies, depending on what they threw at him. If you throw a chain lightning at an Engineer and he absorbs it, he can throw it back at you and it will bounce off of you and your allies. If its a fireball, the fireball will come back out of the shield and explode in an AOE. He has an interesting way to use other peoples powers against them.

DeBussy: But the Engineer is not only a technician but also a well versed alchemist. Earlier you mentioned Elixir B witch provides random buffs. Are there any more elixirs?

Jon Peters: There are numbers of elixirs. There is one healing one called Elixir H. There are currently three utility elixirs that are elixir B, U and F. And then there is an elixir X which is his elite elixir. When he drinks that, it gives him a random elite power from a different profession.

DeBussy: From all the elite skills in the game?

Jon Peters: We picked a handful of powers from all the other professions that we thought where appropriate. That we felt like: "Yeah, I could see this getting bottled up in an alchemical elixir." And we threw those into the pool of what he can get out of it.

DeBussy: But this is independent from whom the Engineer is currently playing together?

Eric Flannum: Yes.

DeBussy: One of the key elements of Guild Wars 2 is the fast paced and movement oriented combat system. How well will this work with the stationary turrets of the engineer. I remember most of the classes in other MMOs, which rely on stationary items, always had their fair share of problems whenever there was a lot of movement involved.

Eric Flannum: The main way the Engineer works with that is, that he can get up close to people but he still doesn't want to stand toe to toe with them. He tends to want to weave in and out between them. And the turrets are able to support him while he is doing that. It is like the turrets support the engineer as well. The Engineer can be played as a bit more of a stationary profession if you want to play him that way.

But for example the rifle with the Engineer has a lot of things that encourage movement. With the Engineer rifle you have that one ability Jon talked about that knocks an enemy back. You also have an ability, which causes you to leap quickly from one spot to another - and you do AOE damage when you leave the spot and you do AOE damage when you land. It also has a couple of different shots that operate at different ranges. Your basic attack on the rifle is a long range shot and your most damaging attack is more of a close range shot. The rifle Engineer for example is always trying to do this dance where he is getting in close to do his big attack and then trying to pop back out. By either immobilizing his enemy or moving away himself. And so the Engineer has a lot of movement in that way.

One of the funniest things about the grenade kit is that all the grenades can be thrown on the run. And so you are just throwing all of these AOEs down while you are running around. And so I think the Engineer has a lot of ability to keep moving. If you chose to take a lot of turrets you are probably going to end up being a bit more stationary. But in general I think the Engineer has a lot of things that encourage movement out of him.

DeBussy: At one point during the planning of our April fools' joke we said: "Ne, we can't do the engineer, that might be a bulls eye". So how relieved where you over there at ArenaNet that we went with the "Alchemist", knowing that we where still pretty close with that one?

Jon Peters: Well, NOW we are relived. Now that we know you didn't do it. *laughs*

Eric Flannum: It is funny actually if you combine our April fools' jokes like combine the commando and your alchemist. That is almost what our Engineer is. *laughs*

DeBussy: We joked that our Alchemist could blow himself into downed mode if the situation seamed hopeless. Any change the Engineer will have something similar?

Jon Peters: No, I don't think he can blow himself up. But we have talked at some point about him having a self detonate to blow up everything around him from downed mode.

DeBussy: While we are talking about downed mode: How will this work for the Engineer? Will his turrets remain in fight, or will they despawn once he gets downed? Can he still overcharge them if the are still working? Or simply put: What does an Engineer do, if he is lying on the ground?

Jon Peters: I think when an Engineer is defeated his turrets go away. When he is downed he can't overcharge them anymore but they are still there and they could defend him.

DeBussy: Well you have done it, I have found my new favorite profession for Guild Wars 2.

Eric Flannum: Excellent (editors note: I imagine some Monty-Burns-like gesture on the other side of the phone here)

Jon Peters: There is one left, so hold on...

DeBussy: Yes, there will be. So listen to me carefully, CAREFULLY!... With only one profession left to be revealed you only have one remaining possibility *clears throat* to 'change my 'MIND'' again.

Eric Flannum: *laughs* Well, we’ll see. We may be able to "change your MIND".

DeBussy: *cheers* Well, so I thank you for this wonderful interview. I hope we got the message across, that the engineer will be THE most awesome thing in Guild Wars 2, yet! I am pretty excited about it.

Jon Peters: We had a lot of fun building it. It is something that plays very different than everything else because we were able to open things up with the technology.

DeBussy: Thank you very much.

Eric Flannum: Thank you.

This interview was conducted by DeBussy from 


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