After over 1000 hours on the engineer which included getting the Dungeon Master title, semi-regularly running high level fractals, acquiring the legendary rifle, and a doing a lesser amount of WvW my build has changed several times over the months and can now change daily without any inconvenience even in a dungeon or fractal.
There are many ways to build an engineer and I want to do something different. Instead of showcasing one build that anybody can/should use I'd like to showcase some options if one or more playstyles don't appeal to you. Personally I am more inclined to make and use more DPS focused builds. I would do this even if the meta was different so make of that what you will.
Grenades(High DPS/Group DPS Support):
The grenade kit is simply the best damage option that engineers have doing both excellent direct damage as well as substantial condition damage while stacking extreme vulnerability in an AoE. Bombs may do more direct damage than nades by themselves but they don't stack near as much vulnerability helping your entire party do more DPS. If you aren't a fan of the nades (perhaps if you enjoy not having carpal tunnel syndrome or the constant button mashing just bores you) I understand. A couple variations are on offer for grenades that vary slightly in gear choice and playstyles. This is my recommended build for pugs of any experience/skill level.
Summary: If you like doing the most damage and helping your team out with the best vuln stacking in the game, this is what you should run.
The Build: 30/30/0/10/0 (6/6/0/2/0) http://gw2skills.net...TciTcilCYRdVA-e
I have been using a 30/20/0/20/0 just about everywhere for the past few months. The build has the excellent vuln-stacking that engineers do so well, and adds the minimal amount of survivability needed for the highest of fractals. 2000 health, 20% boon duration, a constant health regen tick when you have a kit equipped(which should be 99% of the time), and most importantly the alchemy trait line brings permanent vigor in combination with infused precision from firearms. The April 15 patch changes this build slightly.
The ferocity change means that a grenade build no longer has to focus on building insane amounts of critical damage. Berserker/scholar is still the best pure dps set but I feel that strength runes are currently more valuable on an engineer. Without scholar runes, the sustain from Backpack Regenerator is no longer required. For my variant I want to maintain at least 50% might duration. 10 points in alchemy(that I would be taking for vigor anyways), and 6 of the revamped strength runes are able to achieve this. Because of these changes, the 30/30/0/10/0 setup would be perfect in every single area of the game with either a med kit might OR a fire bomb might setup.
This build is now fully updated as of the April 15th change. Open the spoiler for the build specifics.
Heal Skill: Med Kit VS Healing Turret
This is where a "standard" grenade build differs from my personally preferred build.
In general for PvE engineers I actually recommend Healing Turret over Med Kit. Why? This is because heal turret is the best heal skill to use while learning how to play the engineer. It is a "fire and forget" heal that sticks around and also heals your allies. It is one of the best party condition cleanses that an engineer has to offer. The fact that it has 2 water fields on short cooldowns and it's a blast finisher means that it brings many useful things to a team for very little cost. The blast brings versatility so that it can be used to stack might or stealth in fire and smoke fields respectively.
That isn't to say the turret is only for beginner engis. It is just as useful if not more so in an experienced player's hands. The key is integrating the healing turret into your fire bomb might rotation. Knowing exactly when to pickup or detonate your turret to make sure you get the (heal/might/cooldown reduction) that you need in combat is a very important skill and will become easier with experience.
Where med kit has the edge however is in my very specific variant of a grenade build. With at least 50% boon/might duration, an engineer can maintain 18 stacks of might in combat permanently using this skill.
This is done by using at least 6 runes of strength(might duration), a sigil of battle, and the enhance performance trait instead of short fuse in explosives. With this combination you get a substantial amount of might either on weapon swap or heal skill use. Equipping med kit fulfills both of these conditions. This translates into an immediate 6 stacks of might at the beginning of a fight and a permanent 15 in a sustained one without losing any time in grenade kit. Healing turret would not be near as effective in this setup.
The swiftness and fury on 5 is a nice offensive boost and I make a point into putting this skill into my rotation. It has the highest healing of the four (not counting blast finishers in the healing turrets water field or the AED lethal damage proc) as well as a condition removal on a 15 second recharge. It is a more selfish heal but it is my heal of choice. You can also use it on the move quickly swapping in to drop any of the skills for immediate healing or condition removal.
3 Explosions on every button press that stacks vulnerability is extremely useful not just to you but your entire team. Not to mention the traited chance for bleed, aoe bleed, chill, blind, and poison fields. All of this can be used from a range of 1500 for added convenience. Simple, but effective.
An important note; just because the range on grenades is extremely generous does not mean you have to be as far away as possible. In some cases where stacking is needed or you are better off in melee range, grenades are still your number one option.
The main downside to grenades at range damage wise is the travel time. At maximum range one skill of nades can take almost 3 seconds to reach your target area, and this can affect your condition stacking in between barrages decreasing your party's overall damage. Also, if your enemy is mobile, 3 seconds is plenty of time to avoid your strike severely limiting your damage output and perhaps wasting a skill with a semi lengthy cooldown.
Now there are some bosses where you really don't want to be in close proximity to obviously, but on other mobs or bosses where you can survive in flamethrower range or closer, you should be in those ranges spamming your abilities for maximum damage output and condition duration.
The stun breaking toolbelt which is an aoe regeneration buff for your allies. Super elixir for the extra heal and light field. Acid bomb for the blast finisher/escape which also does some solid damage. A kit I rarely put into my normal rotation but I've gotten used to having the tool belt at all times. That and an extra heal insurance policy if you truly need it.
Gives a 6 second quickness for faster attacks and more DPS in a pinch. The random negative effect from thieves or wars isn't a huge factor most of the time. It is another stun break for emergencies. The toolbelt skill is a ground targeted thief smokescreen(projectile absorption) or a guardian wall(projectile reflection). There are so many uses for projectile mitigation/reflection in higher level content that this skill is almost a must have in fractals regardless of team composition.
Elite Skill: Supply Crate
An obvious choice. A 2 second stun and blast finisher that also drops several turrets and med packs is much more useful than an elixir that forces you to play in semi-melee range with ripped off skills from other classes. It does grant stability though which is an interesting touch.
Don't even get me started on that other elite that forces you to remain stationary and is outranged and outdamaged by our main kit's auto attack.
Optional Utilities/Alternate Setups:
I'm just showcasing some situations and which utilities that you will want to take into battle for that specific instance. The first one is an all-purpose setup that is differentiated from my own by its process of stacking might.
Fire Bomb Might Stacking set: (Grenade Kit/Bomb Kit/Elixir Gun(Throw Mine)
This build stacks might by laying down blast finishers in the bomb kit's fire field(#2). It works great with healing turret and pistol/shield to get off 4 or 5 blasts in a single fire bomb. Provided your team stays around you or it happens to be a fight where you stack in a corner, you can put 12-15 stacks of might on your team with a good uptime by yourself.
Trash Running: (Elixir R/Rocket Boots/Elixir S/Elixir B **Bomb Kit for stealth
Med kit, B, or teammates for swiftness, R for the 2 extra dodges, Boots if you get snared and S or B for stability. If coordinating with team for stealth, bring in bomb kit and as many blasts as you dare.
Any level Fractals: Elixir U
[spoil] Seriously. Just swap it in for anything you don't feel you need at the moment. Your party thanks you.[/spoil]
Gear: Full Berserker Gear(Armor and Trinkets) surprise surprise...
With the critical damage nerf, Rampager gear is probably even more viable in PvE than it was before but because of the the runes that I have chosen for the build berserker gear simply scales better.
6 Superior Runes of Strength
No matter if you prefer using bomb kit to stack might in your grenade build or my med kit version, I recommend strength runes. An engineer should ALWAYS have might on in combat no matter the build he or she is running or what teammates he or she has. There are only 2 other rune sets that I would use personally.
Scholar and Traveler.
Traveler has less power than strength does, not enough boon duration to enable med kit might stacking and loses 7% flat damage. What is does have is 10% condition duration which is useful if you use ascended weapons and the convenient move speed.
Scholar is an all-around solid DPS set. Trading the Might Duration for critical damage has become less effective than it was pre-patch for engineers. The 7% guaranteed damage of strength is also much more forgiving than a possible extra 3% damage or negative 7% from scholar.
Exotic Giver's Weapons, Ascended Berserker Weapons
Because of the Sigil change in two-handed weapons it really doesn't matter what weapon you have equipped and comes down to personal preference. I recommend Pistol/Anything for Giver's stat weapons and Pistol/Shield is near required if you choose to run a fire bomb might setup for the blast finisher.
Why not run Ascended Giver's weapons? Well thats because they do not exist. .....Anet plz.....
Superior Sigil of Battle, Superior Sigil of (Strength/Night/Force/Slaying)
Self-explanatory if you read how I use Med Kit.
Currently, I have a Strength and Force in my Predator for versatility and a Pistol of Battle with multiple shields to use depending on where I am.
Overall, I would recommend battle and strength if you didn't have several options to choose from. This capitalizes on..... you guessed it... do I even need to say it anymore?
Rare Veggie Pizza/Koi Cakes: Extra condition damage and a whopping 40% general condition duration which is extremely helpful. Koi Cakes give the exact same benefits at a cheaper price than the pizzas for a shorter duration.
Any Slaying Potion: Probably the best in slot utility food no matter where you are. Obviously the potion depends on the dungeon/fractal that you find yourself doing. If there isn't one for your desired area, use toxic sharpening stones.
GuanglaiKangyi - His grenade build does the max damage at all times with the fire bomb might play-style mentioned in the spoiler. It is the place to go to learn about grenades from someone who preaches the power of grenades with the math to back it up. This is a thread you should absolutely check out if you plan to use grenades at all. Definitely worth the read.
Rifle/Static Discharge(High Burst DPS/Moderate Control)**Outdated** editing soon...
For Predator-owning Engineers or Rifle lovers in general, this build setup does respectable burst damage from its main combo. In sustained fights it won't put out as much damage or vulnerability as other kits but in my testing I rarely noticed a difference in speed for most dungeon/fractal content. Having a proper auto-attack is also incredibly liberating coming off of a grenade build(even if I still mash 1 like my life depended on it anyways). Can stack 21 vuln in the blink of an eye but has trouble maintaining anywhere near that amount by itself. It brings some utility and snares to the table through immobilize/defiant removers and has the flexibility to bring support skills or blast finishers.
Summary: Definition of a glass cannon engineer that doesn't stack as much vulnerability as its explosive counterparts. High skill cap on positioning due to extremely low survivability but worthwhile in a team with good might-stacking. Also transitions well into WvW solo/squad roaming.
This is my current PvE Rifle build. Incendiary powder is a key trait to grab and the sacrifice is worth it due to scope becoming useless while stacking for certain fights. I understand this would be different with guards/ellys in the party but I'm going for an all-purpose setup for now.
Empowering Adrenaline: Reminds me of a theif trait I used a long time ago. That comparison makes a lot of sense now that I think about it. This build has low survivability and no defensive stats whatsoever. The only way to get some endurance is by spamming toolbelts... and its fortunate the entire build is centered around this. The dodge key is your best friend here.
Incendiary Powder - More DPS from the trait line and an extra unique condition from the trait itself, worth taking after the shift up a tier.
Sitting Duck, Rifle Mod, Modified Ammunition - Standard Rifle traits that sets up an insane burst combo
Static Discharge - Key burst trait for AoE and single target damage
Speedy Gadgets - Helps uptime of personal fury and synergizes well with the brand new heal we recieved today
Heal Skill: Med Kit (AED/Healing Turret)
Med Kit remains my go-to heal no matter what build I'm running, but for static discharge rifle it isn't a core part of the build. Take the turret for group support or blast finishers, and AED for places where you know you'll be taking damage.
As of right now AED is very situational, but is interesting enough to make me at least give it a shot for PvE and it fits into this build much easier than my grenade build.
The skill absorbs a fatal hit as well as proccing a massive heal after this occurs. Considering how squishy the build is, a more reliable elixir R(toolbelt) when in trouble that also heals over 2/3 of the health bar in the same motion on a traited 32 second recharge sounds like the absolute perfect compliment for the playstyle. In situations where you find yourself out of endurance in a red circle or slowly dying from a condition, you would end up having to use your heal anyways.
Now you can be proactive by letting yourself burn out(or get pummled in the face), get back up to almost full health, and keep your sigil stacks. The fact that it has a 30 second base cd toolbelt skill that strips a defiant stack or stuns is simply icing on the cake.
Utility Goggles, Rifle Turret, Rocket Boots(Elixir U)(Battering Ram)--PvE
-Great Toolbelt skills to be spammed off of cooldown
-Swap boots for Elixir in fractals
-Battering ram for a little more control/DPS
Full Zerker EVERYTHING -- Ruby Orbs/6 Scholar Runes -- Sigil of Force/Night/Bloodlust
Love Dat Damage, berserker is king.
Orbs over scholar on a budget. Force during day dungeons.
As for a tanky set soldier armor provides the highest survivability increase for the least investment. I only recommend switching to this armor for times where you find yourself getting downed so much that it becomes a problem. (WvW Zerg/Mai Trin)
1: Lead with Net Shot into all four toolbelts for optimal burst
2: Jump Shot->Blunderbuss for a non-projectile close range burst
3: Overcharged Shot for control/small escape, combo with stun break immediately after for no auto attack downtime
Bombs(High DPS/Group DPS Support)
Bomb kit has been and should be used as an extremely solid utility skill in grenade builds and as such I have a sizable amount of experience with this kit in PvE. Pure Bomb builds on the other hand have always been a bit of a grey area for me as I just don't like using it by itself. It reminds of the original Guild Wars where you would pay a powder keg vendor to follow you around and keep picking up and dropping his explosive barrels over and over to hard mode vanquish Drakkar Lake extremely easy. As fun as that was, I just don't feel the same way about bombs in GW2. Phineas provides a viable build for dungeons and fractals that retains many of the useful traits and quirks that the engineer has to offer while using the bomb kit almost exclusively.
Summary: Melee range kit with comparable damage to grenades. It brings utility to your team with dedicated might stacking, but lacks in vulnerability stacking when compared to grenades. It performs best in corner-stacking situations or extreme close-range fights.
Flamethrower/Elixir Gun(High General Group Support)
There isn't much for me to put here. This is the build I used for a large amount of time when leveling my engineer and in early dungeon runs. No one knows more about the flamethrower/EG combo build than Phineas so that is where I will direct you. Very knowledgeable guide.
A Comprehensive Look at the Flamethrower and Elixir Gun
Thanks for reading if you made it this far and I hope that this guide if nothing else, gave you something to think about when building your engineer. Cheers !
August 5th 2013: PREDATOR!!!
October 13th 2013: A few edits here and there as well as condensing with spoiler tags.
December 10th 2013: A shift in focus for the thread, and updated nearly everything that wasn't already revamped as of the most recent patch.
April 14th- May ?? 2014: Updating both builds as of the April 15th feature pack update
Any questions/comments/concerns? Feel free to reply in the forum or send me a PM @ Dropdead Aim(Lord Reks.8421)
Edited by DropDead Aim, 19 April 2014 - 05:14 PM.