GW2 Beta - second day impressions Spent all my time today (technically yesterday now) playing up a charr engineer (updated image on tumblr). Didn't actually stop and take too many pics. One because I was distracted playing. Two because the Charr Homelands aren't the prettiest of landscapes (too steampunk). Three because for some reason my screenshots come out much darker than how it looks in the actual game. *shrug*
I found the charr lower levels much easier to play. Maybe it's cuz I was actually doing the personal quests, which all give good EQ as rewards. So it helps level you up and gives you good gear, which kinda makes the personal quest more of a must do thing than optional (unless you're getting your gear from some other place, I guess).
But even accounting for the personal quests, I also found that the charr lowbie area was in general...I don't know if I'd call it "better designed"...more like there's more stuff to it. More dynamic events/cycles, etc. I guess I'll check out the human starting area tomorrow and see how it compares. (Also, I found quite a few juvenile critters in the charr starter area; why aren't there any stuff like this in the norn starting area? Discrimination!)
I got to level 11 (where the traits system is unlocked, but I didn't have enough trait points to actually do anything there). Also unlocked a few utility skills, since that's pretty the specialty area for the engineer.
Rifle turret - turrets in general seem like the best of the utility skills I've tried. Plop them down and they do damage for you while you're running away. They also tend to attract aggro away from you, which is nice. Two things of note - 1) while the turret attacks your target, it will also aggro targets in range if you're not doing anything, so be careful of leaving it in places where you don't want it to draw unneeded mobs, and 2) when you're done with the turret, always pick it up instead of blow it up; the recharge is much shorter if you do that.
Grenade kit - this was a disappointment. The grenades don't do all that much damage and its area of effect isn't all that big either. Plus there's a huge delay (in terms of combat time) between activating one of the grenades and it landing/exploding, so you have to estimate the target to be in front of the mob. This makes it really hard to target if you're not good at split second coordination, or if you're frantically trying to dodge. I'm concerned that the other kits (mines, etc.) are also going to have the same problem.
Flamethrower - Cool gimmick; it essentially makes up for the fact that engineers can't weapon swap, since this skill IS the weapon swap, with literally no recharge when activating/deactivating it. But I find that I don't actually use it too often, preferring my normal weapon skills. Maybe it's cuz the range of the weapon is not as far, and I don't get the sense that it's doing more damage than with my normal skills.
There are a lot of other utilities I haven't had a chance to try (cuz of the cost), so I wouldn't write the class off. At the very least, you could make a great build with just a bunch of turrets (+ combat drop elite) on top of your existing weapons skills. When the game officially releases, that's what my Asura Engineer is probably going to run.
Weapons-wise, the engineer has the narrowest selection available, which makes it handy for those people who don't want to worry about the tradeoffs between weapons and what to put in what slot. I find that I personally prefer the dual pistol setup, with good aoe damage and conditions. The rifle setup has slightly longer range, but appears to do less damage overall since the skills are bit more gimmicky. The third possible combo is pistol/shield, but I find that the two defense skills from the shield aren't all that useful, since if you're in a position to need it, you're probably going to go down despite it, and you're better off doing more damage with a second pistol to kill the mob that's killing you instead.
Also managed to squeeze in a bit of underwater combat. It wasn't a very big lake so what I could do was limited, but the fighting was pretty much the same as on land, except with different skills and an extra up/down direction added. Not a bad thing.
In general, I think I had a better time of it today than yesterday. Not only cuz it felt like I was progressing better and not having the annoyance of keeping to have to rez the pet, but also cuz there were more stuff I was able to join in on.