The three-way battle for Auraxis is an ever-turning war machine, and the Engineers of each faction are the grease that keeps the cogs turning smoothly. Vehicles and MAXes need repairs, choke points need to be mined, and guns need ammo. The Engineer is a good class for newbies, as it allows them to get accustomed to the chaos and start gathering important early certs without having to leap directly into the firing line against seasoned veterans who’ve been playing the game for close to a year.
This isn’t to say the Engineer isn’t expected to fight. You have access to carbines, SMGs, shotguns, and even battle rifles, but in the middle of a big fight there’s plenty going on to keep a good Engineer busy.
Ammo is the primary reason a friendly player will seek out an Engineer. You may have noticed that the soldiers of Auraxis don’t carry much ammo on them by default; this is a deliberate design choice that makes your presence on the field essential. During the bigger fights, it can not be overstated that this is the most important job you have as an Engineer. Countless times groups have to pull back or are overrun simply because the fighters ran critically low on ammunition without an Engineer in sight or, even worse, with an Engineer that is too busy shooting to drop down ammo packs.
Always keep an ear out for those calls for more ammo and be quick to give it. This doesn’t mean you have to run to every single call, of course, as placing down a pack near a group of allies should be sufficient for them to step over and all pull from the same source.
But what about those players who aren’t paying attention and just constantly spamming the ‘need ammo’ emote over and over, not realizing a pack is a short distance behind them? One very useful and underused method to draw attention is to put your cursor over a friendly soldier and hold the spot key down (Q by default) to bring up the context menu. You should see an option at the top called “offer ammo,” at which point your character will cheerfully announce that you have supplied a box of goodies for the team.
Ammo location is also very important, especially in fights where holding a position behind cover is essential. Observe the image below.
In this case, the hallway entrance is small enough that the engineer can remain behind half cover while still pulling from the ammo pack. However, placing packs behind hard cover where troops can resupply in safety is a much better idea. Ammo is supplied in pulses that add one clip at a time, and rockets take even longer to individually tick back into a soldier’s inventory. During that time, players have to remain in close proximity to the pack, and a poor location can unnecessarily expose them to enemy fire during this time of vulnerability.
One very important thing that anyone should know is that you can drop ammo even if you are carrying mines, C4, or health packs. Simply switch over to your deployable MANA turret and hit the fire mode key (B by default). This will convert the turret device into its secondary mode, allowing you to put down an ammo pack. Note that this pack will not benefit from any ammo pack upgrades, so if you’ve been sinking certs into that tree you’re going to need to bring along the default utility pack to make use of them.
The other signature ability of the Engineer makes them vital when operating in or alongside vehicles, base turrets, and especially MAX suits in the field. Fixing damaged or destroyed equipment is as easy as equipping your repair gun, pointing it at the object in question, and letting the nanites go to work. This ability alone makes Engineers the most popular class for operating vehicles, as they are capable of patching up any battle damage by hopping out and going to work. As simple as this may seem, there are still some important things to keep in mind.
Repairing vehicles isn’t limited to just fixing a deployed Sunderer after it has come under attack. A tank’s lifespan can be dramatically increased by repairing it while it is engaged in a duel with enemy armor. Likewise, the Harasser buggy has the unique ability of allowing an engineer to repair it from the rear rumble seat while it is moving, which can make it very difficult to destroy when combined with skillful evasive driving. Flak Armor will go a long way to protecting Engineers who repair vehicles or turrets while under fire, as the biggest danger isn’t from small arms fire but rather the explosive ordinance constantly landing nearby.
Be cautious when near friendly vehicles, as their field of view is limited and crouching behind a tank to repair it can quickly turn you into road paste if the driver has to suddenly reverse to get out of danger. Vanu Engineers must be especially alert when repairing Magriders, given that the hover tanks are liable to move side to side as well as forward and backward, and the lack of a turret makes the driver unable to look behind them or to the sides.
MAXes are unique infantry units that are powerful and vulnerable at the same time. Being large targets, they will almost always take some sort of damage in every fight no matter how small, necessitating them to be topped off on health regularly. Even if equipped with Nanite Auto Repair, it is far quicker for an Engineer to repair their battle damage and much more efficient. MAX weapons are often very ammo hungry as well, quickly running low after a few engagements and requiring a nearby ammo pack. What this means is that MAXes need Engineers nearby to act at their full potential. Think of yourself as a force multiplier to dramatically the combat ability of a nearby MAX. Well-coordinated MAX/Engineer teams can be extremely difficult to deal with. Always keep an eye out for friendly MAXes and take care of them. They will appreciate you for it.
Being able to carry C4, anti-personnel, or anti-tank mines, you can be well equipped to blow something up. C4 is most often utilized by Light Assaults, but can be every bit as effective when employed on static targets like turrets, deployed Sunderers, or unsuspecting enemy tanks that you manage to sneak up behind.
Infiltrators can use anti-personnel mines, but Engineers can add them to their bag of tricks for a much smaller investment in certs (250 as opposed to 600). These can be very effective when placed in areas where you expect enemy infantry to come running through, around corners, or just beside open doorways. Even the TR Claymore, which is more visible and can only be detonated from one direction, can be very effective; it just requires a little more creative placement (and consequently can allow for some even sneakier uses than the other empire AP mines).
One problem with anti personnel mines is that they won’t instant kill someone who is at the edge of the blast radius, is wearing flak armor, or is in a MAX unit. Do you want to make them have a bigger bang for their buck? Plunk down an anti-tank mine (or C4 but tank mines are cheaper) next to the AP mine and you dramatically increased its destructive potential through chain reactions.
Tank mines used to be one of the most heavily used pieces of Engineer equipment until they made much easier for vehicles to spot before they run over them. This has caused them to fall out of favor with a lot of the player base, but don’t fool yourself into thinking they are useless. Tank mines can still be very effective tools if used intelligently.
Placing a mine in the middle of a road will pretty much guarantee that some watchful driver will spot it long before they make contact and simply shoot it to set it off.
Using bushes is an excellent way to make tank mines less obvious, but has the drawback that you must specifically find places that vehicles are likely to drive across that also have foliage. However, the best sort of camouflage for tank mines comes in the form of a player’s own tendency to develop tunnel vision when in the middle of combat. Have a bunch of bushes that you mined, and want to drag a Vanguard over them? Offer him a tempting target such as a Skyguard or a Sunderer without any nearby protection. Shoot him to get his attention, then retreat back behind cover, ensuring that the most direct path he must take to get to you will take him over those bushes. He’ll never know what hit him.
The Engineer’s anti-vehicle MANA turret is a very powerful weapon when used to its fullest potential. At close range, you will be very vulnerable, as a single tank round or rocket can destroy the turret and you along with it. This means that it is only good for one or two shots in an ambush before you need to quickly move away. At long range, however, this weapon is extremely effective at killing enemy vehicles when combined with wire guidance and the fact that the projectiles can be very difficult to see. Many complaints still rise on the forums about the anti-vehicle turret, but whether SOE will see it as enough to warrant a future nerf remains to be seen. As it stands, two Engineers with anti-vehicle turrets working in tandem from long range and focusing the same targets can single handedly wipe out entire armor columns.
If you are dealing with an especially troublesome Sunderer that is deployed in a difficult to reach place with a lot of infantry guarding it, there is a trick that Engineers can pull off that can almost guarantee its destruction.
With deployed tank mines being much easier to see nowadays, almost every Sunderer runs with Blockade Armor instead of Mineguard, meaning that they are much more resistant to C4, rockets, and other forms of traditional damage. While this makes them incredibly resilient to normal explosives, it also leaves them very, very vulnerable to tank mines. If you are an Engineer and part of a squad, you can have your squad leader get relatively close to the enemy Sunderer’s position or place a Spawn Beacon down nearby to allow you to deploy in a drop pod. Using a pre-set waypoint on the enemy’s location, you can steer your drop pod and smash down right next to the target. During the few seconds of disorientation as the enemy frantically try to find you, you should have enough time to get both tank mines deployed underneath the vehicle and then set them off by either throwing a grenade or shooting them at point blank range. You will very likely die in the attack, but the Sunderer will be destroyed if it is not running with Mineguard (and if it is, it is vulnerable to Light Assaults with C4 anyway).
Keep in mind that this is a controversial tactic and may very well draw you some ire from the opposing players. On the other side of the coin, people in the other factions can and will use this trick on you, so unless SOE does something to prevent this from being used in the future, one dirty trick may deserve another.
Support Your Side to Victory
The most important aspect to keep in mind if you play Engineer is that you are a support class first and a combat class second. You and the Combat Medic are the classes that strengthen your allies and keep the momentum of a fight going in your favor. Don’t be the first to rush in to attack: That’s the job of the Heavy Assault and the MAX. Keep yourself back and strengthen them as best you can, and offer fire support wherever it’s needed.
Keep that in mind the next time you hear someone calling for an Engineer. They’ll be singing your song.
This article originally appeared on TheMittani.com, written by TTex.