This will be a mini-guide as usual, since I’m by no means an Engineer expert. This should help newcomers who are looking to build their Engineers towards party support, while still maintaining their efficiency as solo players.
Disclaimer: As 2038 progresses, much of the info in these guides is very likely to, or even bound to, not apply in the future.
This guide keeps gear dependencies at the bare minimum. In other words, you won’t need +skills on gear for this build to function, outside of a basic +1 to All Skills helmet. It does benefit massively from such pieces, however, both early and when you reach the endgame, so gear choices will of course get their own section.
This is the skill allocations you’ll be looking for by lv50. Since the planner is very inaccurate for Engineers at the moment, I’ve put in 5 extra points that you won’t need. Namely:
-2 Inhibitor Bot
-3 Concussive Crash
The initial skillpoint is allocated to Inhibitor Bot, so that’s a given. You won’t need to invest in these to reach Haste Bot, however.
So, a brief explanation of the skill choices here.
7 (6+1) Haste Bot
Your most valuable support asset, Haste Bot is amazing for you and parties. It increases Rate of Fire and attack speed, and reduces cooldowns. You can save points by using a cast set for this, which will be explained below.
7 (6+1) Rocket Bot, 10 (9+1) Molotov Assault
The Rocket Bot makes leveling much easier, and provides ignite for beefy bosses and Regenerating Champions. It also makes use of your +minion damage on gear, unlike Haste and Inhibitor.
2 (1+1) Spider Mine
This amazing 1-point wonder makes great use of +minion damage on gear, and provides single-target damage for most solo encounters.
2 (1+1) Drone Aggressive Mode
This 1-point wonder makes your Drone engage with enemies more forcefully. Keep in mind, however, that it may chase them too far for you to Repair it, and it makes Medpak Retrofit harder to use – so you may want to turn it on and off accordingly.
4 (3+1) Construct Drone, 4 (3+1) Master Engineer
Those two make your Drone tankier. For point economy, both can suffice at lv4 – while also letting perfect cast sets (2 guns with +3 to each) max them out.
3 (2+1) Repair Drone, 2 (1+1) Gun Retrofit, 3 (2+1) Armor Retrofit
Repair Drone lets you heal your Drone when needed – and if you use Aggressive Mode a lot it will need it often. Gun and Armor Retrofit let you use gear, as the names imply.
7 (6+1) Napalm Strike, 7 (6+1) Shock and Awe, 2 (1+1) Smackdown
Finally, this is the Strike core that can let you level comfortably. Furthermore, Strikes can provide party support through sfx, although not leveling Smackdown doesn’t help this approach.
You can max Smackdown as well, but the build can’t afford it without introducing gear dependency – which will be explored below.
Next, a few 1-point wonder skills can be acquired from gear.
- Rings: rings are always an option, but they may be temporary if you eventually use Unique rings which come with no +skills.
- Weapons: some weapons can be used as cast sets, or even as dedicated skill providers. Ideally you’d want to augment +skills of choice onto endgame weapons you don’t plan to change.
- Armor: some Unique armor pieces also provide skills, and they remain very viable for endgame characters because of their other properties.
A single point in this suffices for a panic button. You can get this skill from Lanzer’s Longrunners.
This skill increases all damage dealt to your beaconed target. You can get this from Somberg’s Guise. Of course you can also max this later, if you get enough skillpoints across various sources to complete the core build assets.
This skill gives you an invaluable AoE stun option, and the first skillpoint being in Inhibitor Bots already lets this be acquired from gear such as Mastodon.
A very valuable party support asset, Medpak provides healing and shields to you and all allies in range. You can get this from Pierson’s Braces. If you want to focus more on party support, or like your heals to be more reliable in general, you can also consider maxing this skill later.
#1.5 Concussive Crash over Rocket Bot
As a final note on skills, the Rocket Bot has been chosen for this build for 2 reasons; it helps with leveling and overall damage, and it provides a somewhat reliable way to ignite tougher bosses.
That said, Concussive Crash is a very viable option as well, as it provides the following benefits.
- Massive crowd control – Crash provides a very reliable AoE stun, which can help you clear Ancient Bloods more easily and sooner. It is also more support-oriented, and helps your team more.
- Lesser investment – Crash requires 3 points in Inhibitor Bot, 1 of which is allocated by default. It can also function with 1 point, while maxing it still costs fewer points than Rocket/Molotov (3+6 over 6+9).
It is thus a very viable option to consider; you can safely swap the Rocket Bot in this guide with Inhibitor/Crash and still be very viable for parties. I’ve kept Rocket for the aforementioned reasons, but if you’d rather focus even more on support you can definitely do so.
On the subject of gear, then, Engineers need the typical +attribute affixes for feeds as well. They also need movement speed, and can benefit from +power and +power regeneration if they’re playing more skill-intensively. Being a Hunter minion class, they also benefit from +minion stats, and +Tactical userate/+Combat damage/+damage affixes. How much each player focuses on any of the above strictly depends on their priorities, build, and gamestyle.
In terms of weapons, anything that can kill enemies reliably can suffice. Of course certain weapons can also come with useful +skills, +sfx of choice, or +Tactical userate and +Combat damage for Strikes.
In terms of armor, the main dilemma for this build comes from focusing on +minion stats or +Tactical affixes, and there’s some merit to both.
Minion stats affect your Drone and Bots. For support build Drones +minion armor/hp can suffice, but some +damage is also useful for both it and Rocket Bot/Spider Mines.
Engineers have few Tactical skills, but they’re all crucial. The most notable Tactical skills this build uses are Strikes and Medpak Retrofit; +userate has a visible benefit on them.
#2.5 Cast sets
“Cast sets” refers to weapon sets that offer +skills, which players can use to cast a skill and switch back to their main weapons. Naturally, this build can also benefit from them. The two most notable cast sets for Engineers are the following.
Drone: Construct Drone, Master Engineer
The perfect cast set for the Drone consists of 2 1-handed guns, each with +3 to both skills. This is why this build leaves them both at lv4 (3+1), but it’s very hard to get since no guns come with them by design.
The same concept applies to the Haste Bot. 2 guns with +3 each can let the player save 6 points to use elsewhere, and are relatively easier to get. Gunny’s Mistress can be used as a substitute, since it’s a 2-handed weapon with +3.
With all of the above in mind, let’s walk through the leveling process. As we do, keep in mind the following:
#1 Never invest attribute points anywhere unless gear feeds require it. You will need points in the endgame for your final gear feeds, as well as to pump your stat(s) of choice.
#2 Don’t invest skillpoints as soon as you get them. You may need to invest many skillpoints at once when you hit certain levels that unlock a bunch of useful skills.
#3 Don’t bother augmenting early gear unless you’re absolutely sure you’ll use it in the endgame. It’s a waste of resources, and most of the game can be beaten quite comfortably.
#4 Don’t shy away from parties. Remember that being in a party yields more exp, and frankly makes the game more fun.
The first few levels are relatively slow, because the Drone is still fragile and there are few AoE options. For personal guns you should likely stick with Bolters, but a Firefox Launcher can also help clear crowds as you work towards building your mechanized army.
By level 10 you should have a Drone that can equip guns and be healed, as well as Spider Mines, a basic Rocket Bot, and Napalm Strike. Drone Aggressive Mode is a bit risky at this point as the Drone can’t wear armor yet.
For Drone weapons, consider guns that are homing or AoE since its AI is… lacking. Firefoxes are always a decent early option for this reason. The Cabalists’ Swarm Hives are an excellent starting option, so you can use the quest reward Mac Kenzie’s Hive. Alternatively, you can use the Templars’ Surgecasters, such as the quest reward Empyreal Cannon.
By this point you should start being able to solo Ancient Bloods with some caution. While gun options are still limited, you should now start having considerably more AoE through skills.
By lv20 you get key skills that begin to shape the build: Armor Retrofit that finally lets your Drone use torso armor; Smackdown that provides a second Strike and +sfx synergy; Molotov Assault that buffs your Rocket Bot; Haste Bot that lets you ditch Inhibitor.
Most notably, in this level range you can get Lanzer’s Longrunners for Escape and movement speed, as well as Reaper’s Hell Rails at lv20. Those can drop from Reapers in Ancient Bloods, and offer massive damage as well as +Tactical userate for your Strikes. Finally, since you can now access Stonehenge, you could swap your Drone’s Swarm Hives with Infernous – or keep using Swarm Hives, Firefoxes, Surgecasters, or whichever crowd-appropriate weapon you prefer.
The class really kicks off in this level range, as you can already use Reaper’s Hell Rails and start upgrading your key skills. Your Rocket Bot should now be a reliable trash killer, your Drone should survive and kill more, and your Strikes should start clearing rooms with ease. If you’ve stacked some +minion damage, your Spider Mines should also oneshot some Champions and tougher enemies.
By level 30 you should have Shock and Awe as your final Strike that provides +radius synergy, and Master Engineer that will help your Drone survive. You should now have upgraded your Bots and Strikes enough to level comfortably.
In terms of personal gear, you can now start using more endgame-viable gear. Namely:
Pierson’s Braces provides Medpak retrofit without you needing to unlock it through Sword Retrofit. It also grants an amazing +20-30% Drone skill userate which reduces its cooldown, as well as +minion damage. You may want to augment this piece if you intend to keep it.
Reap3r’s Reinforced Jack provides shield penetration, +minion hp, and an amazing +radius that affects your Strikes. Also worth augmenting if you intend to keep it.
Fontaine’s Impressive Pair provides +minion armor, +Tactical userate for your Strikes and Medpak, and massive +power regeneration.
Platinum Spans provide +minion armor and hp, equally impressive +power regeneration, and +Combat skill damage for your Strikes.
Tiffney’s Nefarious Boots are far less impressive, but they provide some decent movement speed and Escape if you’re lacking Lanzer’s Longrunners.
Your Drone should not have many new options yet, but if you haven’t found a good torso armor piece yet you can now use Sydonai’s Thorax, which has decent armor and some +stats to mitigate feeds. Alternatively you can also use Sol’s Invictus for more base armor if your feeds can afford it.
As the in-game tip says, “you should really know what you’re doing by now”. In this level range you finally maximize your skillset, settle into your guns of choice, and finally delve into the Abyss for rings and dye kits.
As you start exploring the Abyss you should soon get the Feasibility Modulator dye kit, whose +radius bonus affects your Strikes. There are of course other options, but you’ll likely be wearing this one for a while. You should also start using rings, which frankly deserve their own guide for text economy. Rings will, most notably, allow you to get 1-point wonder skills without needing specific Unique gear.
In this level range, your Drone finally gets more viable weapon and armor choices. Most notably, you can use any Surgecaster or other Aoe gun with some shield penetration and ignite strength for the tougher enemies, but you can also consider viable alternatives. Consider the following, among others:
Zart’s Considered Opinion – amazing for raw damage, and homing projectiles. Shield penetration also lets it apply poison, phase, and any other sfx you mod into it.
Aladdin’s Final Wish – this and other Infernous can offer comparable damage to Swarm Hives, and are also homing.
Cliff’s Meatsaw – this and other Bladefrenzies provide massive +armor for your Drone. Keep in mind that their damage is very low.
R. J. Donald’s Diplomat – this gun offers very low damage, but also AoE stop for more crowd control.
Necrosis – similarly, Necrosis provides stop, as well as high inherent poison strength, shield penetration, and +Strength to help with feeds.
In terms of personal weapons, you may now consider the following, among others:
Ravager – this gun doesn’t really cater to Engineers, but it does provide Napalm Strike and +Combat damage. It can also be built as a reliable ignite gun.
Mastodon – the Engineer counterpart to Ravager, Mastodon provides +minion damage and Concussive Crash. It also has great inherent stun strength for some more safety.
Tropical Storm – a set of these can provide decent damage, movement speed, and +Tactical userate.
Odin’s Legacy – this gun offers decent base damage and high inherent phase strength, as well as shield penetration and +Tactical userate.
Doompulse – this very underwhelming weapon can serve as a main weapon for those who prefer to use skills than shoot. It offers +3 to all Strikes, which can free many points to be spent elsewhere; if you choose to use this and a +1 AS Ihringer’s (explained just below) you can max all 3 Strikes with just 2 points in each.
In terms of armor, you may now consider swapping some pieces with Techas and other Uniques. Notable options include the following:
Somberg’s Guise – this amazing helmet allows any of your guns to apply phase, and also grants Beacon for free. Finally, it doubles Beacon’s duration through +Curse duration. However, it has no minion or Tactical affixes.
Ihringer’s Encasement – this helmet offers some +minion damage, as well as +1 to all Tactical Skills. Augmenting this helmet with +1 to all skills can yield a massive skillpoint benefit, since it can give +2 to all Strikes, Medpak, Escape, Beacon, and even Rapid Fire if you choose to get it.
Techa Battlecore – this contender with Reap3r’s comes with uniquely high +minion damage, decent shields, and +userate for all skills.
TechaWeave – this contender with Lanzer’s comes with uniquely high +minion health and +Willpower. However, it lacks minion/Tactical stats, and Lanzer’s provides unique benefits for its slot.
Techa Gauntlet – this piece comes with uniquely high +minion armor, +Stamina, and massive stun defense.
Techa Deathstompers – this otherwise unimpressive piece comes with shield penetration, which is unique for its slot and lets you have some without investing other slots into it.
Of course, Uniques are by no means the only option. Mythic pieces can come with massive +stat affixes, the Dominating affix for minions, and any other affixes of choice. Don’t be afraid to ditch Uniques for perfect pieces that suit your playstyle, should they come your way.
#5 So what can this build do?
Finally, I’ve deliberately left expertises, dyes, and rings open to personal choice. This build can focus more on the Tactical side for more AoE damage and better Medpak uptime, or on +minion stats for a more reliable Drone and stronger Bots. Your final choices in this front will depend on your tastes, party preferences, and intended encounters.
Nonetheless, this build should safely and quickly solo Ancient Bloods for leveling, while also having enough sfx options to tackle bosses that require more than raw damage. It can grab Rapid Fire and an igniter gun and face Dessy, or support groups with Beacon, Haste Bot, Medpak, Crash, and the Drone’s own presence. It is by no means the perfect Engineer build, but it should be efficient enough to see you beat most of the game while supporting your teams.