Thursday, May 10, 2012

In Praise of the Past: WAR's Engineer

Despite being over three years old, Warhammer Online is still a favorite game for many MMO players to hate (and I am no exception). From its horrible attempt at world PvP to its very lackluster PvE, Mythic managed to do very little right with a game that had garnered a great deal of hype and excitement.  With one exception:

The Dwarf Engineer

I have played nearly every major MMO release since I began playing them nearly ten years ago.  As such, I have played a ton of different classes.  While there are a few that might rank higher than WAR's Engineer, the Engineer still ranks incredibly high in my favorite classes of all time list.

The Look:

Ever since reading The Hobbit I have been enamored with dwarfs.  MMOs like Everquest and Dark Age of Camelot gave me a chance to live out my fantasy as a tough, drunken, vaguely Scottish bad ass.  After all, dwarfs have awesome beards, great accents, are super strong, and - despite lifelong bouts with alcoholism - still get shit done.  

WAR's Engineer is no exception to any of this.  As a dwarven engineer, his beard is braided with metal locks, his accent rings just as true, and his alcoholic breath also has a hint of machine oil and gunpowder.  Dressed in steampunk style armor, the Engineer manages to combine goggles and horns without the slightest hint of embarrassment.  Few things look as bad ass as the Engineer.

Nor do they sound quite as good.  Sure, lag often left me listening to the turret deployment sound on repeat like a bad techno track, but that gun fire sounded sexy.  It also sounded painful.

The Lore:

I didn't care enough to pay any attention to it.

The Gameplay:

More importantly, however, the thing that makes the Engineer stand out so much for me is just how much fun it was to play one.  Sure, the turrets did next to nothing and two of your mastery trees felt like garbage (I last played at release, so don't judge me if things have changed a bit).  But beyond that, you were a damage producing, area-of-effecting, damage-over-timing god.

Look, I am not a huge DPS player.  I like to effect a fight in more subtle ways.  As an Engineer, despite often topping the scenario charts in damage done, I never felt like a DPS.  Instead, I felt like a master of softening up everyone to get finished off by my friendly neighborhood Bright Wizard.  For some people, that might not be enough, but for me, it was everything.

Combine the numbers with just how it felt to kite, launch grenade after grenade from a deadly medium range,  and the perfect combination of skill and exhilaration was born.  While playing an Engineer was not the most complicated MMO class I have ever run, it was definitely always a class that required my full attention.


I may have forgotten everything else about Warhammer Online, but I will never forget the fun I had playing the Engineer.  Though the PvP and PvE I had to play him in quickly got tired and boring, it was always a blast to spam those grenades, drop those turrets, and shoot my rifle straight and true.  By praising the past, I salute you Dwarven Engineer.

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