Engineer mini-guide: Igniting Leeches... what?

Welcome, aspiring Engineers!

With the Alpha well under way, this build gets its own guide to avoid the comparative/expositional baggage that otherwise came with Alpha mini-guides.
That’s not to say that gear/skills in this build is/are guaranteed to never change, but it should be safer than most. If anything, it may even be improved when Tactical Mode is repaired, when/if the Bot cap is raised to 3, when/if +minion stat caps are raised, and so forth.

Still, obligatory disclaimers!

Disclaimer: As 2038 progresses, much of the info in these guides is very likely to, or even bound to, not apply in the future. The purpose of these guides is to highlight how classes differ from their Global/SP counterparts, so as to provide leveling testers with more efficient ways to test later content.

Disclaimer #2: The builds outlined below are most often functional after lv30, as they do often use lv25-30 skills. It is noteworthy that not all such builds will be easy to start from lv1 with, either due to high gear dependency (ie Shrapnel) or a significant lack of AoE that would assist in leveling. Therefore, in such cases it is highly advised that testers either

  1. deviate from such builds in favor of more AoE-oriented ones early on, and later reskill to them, or
  2. account for the relative lack of AoE through the use of early/mid-game weapons that assist in that front, either by themselves or by providing AoE skills.

Now then!

What’s this build all about?

The focal point of the build is to allow the Drone to ignite bosses.
This requires a functional Drone that can equip guns, and is otherwise not demanding at all. Thus, any other build (that does, or can afford to, use a Drone) can make use of this approach while also performing as it otherwise would.

Skills.

Note: The planner takes a +1 to All Skills helmet for granted. Such gear as Doompulse, Lanzer’s Longrunners, Somberg’s Guise, and others, as well as rings, can provide even more points that the build can use.

4(3+1)/5 Inhibitor Bots, 3 Concussive Crash, 7(6+1)/7 Haste Bot

3 points in Inhibitor give access to the rest of the tree.
Unless one also chooses to use another Bot, they can also be actively used for their handy slow debuff.
Haste Bot supports the player, the Drone, and party members; increased RoF and decreased cooldowns are universally useful buffs.

4(3+1)/10 Construct Drone

This is the minimum investment that unlocks the rest of the tree.
Depending on the Drone’s survivabiltiy, this can very well be boosted further.

3(2+1)/7 Gun Retrofit, 2(1+1)/7 Sword Retrofit

The former allows the Drone to use a gun, which the build intends.
The latter allows it to use a sword; while it most likely won’t (and the Drone’s AI doesn’t really favor using both guns and swords at once), it also provides stat points.
Depending on one’s Drone’s feed needs, both can be boosted accordingly.

3(2+1)/10 Repair Drone, 3(2+1)/7 Armor Retrofit, 2(1+1)/10 Master Engineer

Repair Drone provides an invaluable means of healing the Drone.
Armor Retrofit allows it to use torso armor, and also provides stat points.
Master Engineer provides an armor boost which helps the Drone survive.
All 3 skills can be invested into further according to one’s tastes and needs, especially Master Engineer.

2(1+1)/7 Drone Aggressive Mode

A single point in this skill allows the player to force the Drone to be aggressive; a very useful tool, for this build or any other that uses a Drone.

2(1+1)/10 Beacon, 2(1+1)/7 Escape

Both 1-point wonders; Beacon provides a great debuff that parties can benefit from, and Escape provides a panic button.
Both can either be boosted or skipped entirely if one uses Somberg’s Guise and Lanzer’s Longrunners, or other gear that provides them.

2(1+1)/7 Smackdown, 7(6+1) Napalm Strike, 7(6+1) Shock and Awe

The traditional Strike core, this build can afford them and benefit massively from the AoE damage they provide.
Smackdown can be invested into further, and points in all 3 can be saved if one uses Doompulse (although it’s generally not recommended).

With skills out of the way,

Personal gear.

Any armor with +minion hp/armor will boost the Drone’s survivability. While +minion damage may also be useful, it’s of secondary importance since the focus is applying sfx and not dealing direct damage.

Since this build uses Strikes, any armor/weapons with +userate can be of use.

Duellos of the Duelist, SuE Steadiers, Eyes of the Maverick/Somberg’s Guise, and inherent or augmented/modded +crit in weapons can be of use, especially if one also uses CCM to boost personal damage.
Conversely, one could use Dunbar’s Disruptor, Nikola’s Polyphase Rifle, or other 1-hand or 2-hand guns with high RoF and make them into nova guns.

Notable gear choices also include Somberg’s Guise for its +crit chance, Beacon, and +curse duration (which affects Beacon), and Lanzer’s Longrunners for its +movement speed and Escape.

Drone gear.

Defensively, any torso with high +armor/+hp can be used; Sol’s Invictus would be a good candidate, but many Legendary/Mythic Templar torsos can also work. Torsos with +All Attributes/+stamina (or other +stats needed for potential feeds) such as Heart of Heaven can also be used with some safety.

On the offensive front, Lightning Leech Launchers are what make this build work.

…yes, really.

These Cabalist guns fire leeches that latch onto enemies and deal damage over time. This mechanic lends itself perfectly to applying sfx, since leeches stack, have a decent lifespan, and tick multiple times.
Thus, an Immolating Launcher with 4 Immolating mods can reach 1000+ ignite strength. While this may not seem like much in theory, the gun’s inherent mechanics make it work very well in action.

It’s noteworthy that an Immolating variant may be useful, but even lower +ignite amounts should work well enough.
It’s also worth noting that the same approach can work for other sfx, such as poison and phase, although their final performance will vary depending on the target’s sfx defenses.

Expertises.

Most of the popular Expertises should work, depending on one’s skill/gear choices.
Notable ones to either get or avoid include:

Enhanced Strength/Accuracy/Stamina/Willpower;
great stat sources, Stamina is most often useful due to gear feeds and Acuracy can be useful for builds that use +crit and CCM.

Surgical Precision;
a great expertise to get if one uses +crit/CCM gear.

Toughness;
a decent armor boost if one needs it.

Tranquility;
a decent power regeneration boost that one could consider if needed.

Affliction;
an expertise that might be of use if one wants to buff the sfx of their Strikes.

Cruelty;
a useless expertise in its current form, regardless of build.

Leadership;
a similarly useless expertise, its bonus is too low to be worth the points and the build doesn’t benefit much from +minion damage to begin with.

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