Earlier today, ArenaNet released the details about the upcoming engineer elite specialization: the scrapper. The blog post, written by developer Irenio Calmon-Huang, covers several of the specialization’s new skills and traits, as well as its additional weapon, the hammer. For a profession that lacks a lot of melee competence like the engineer, the hammer seems a decent choice for an additional weapon. Furthermore, this specialization truly provides yet another layer of versatility to one of the game’s most versatile professions, surpassed in this regard only (and arguably) by the elementalist.
Before we discuss the scrapper’s ins-and-outs, let’s take a look at the overall picture. What is the point of the scrapper? From the looks of today’s blog post, as well as yesterday’s article/interview with MMORPG.com, the scrapper is meant to be an up-close-and-personal melee combatant, dishing out damage and control in equal measure. Unless the damage output on hammer is particularly spectacular, the control aspect, traits, and accessible combo fields will likely make or break the scrapper both in PvE and PvP. However, that isn’t to say that the hammer is a negligible detail. Far from it…
As of today’s blog post, ArenaNet has seen fit to showcase three of the hammer’s abilities: Rocket Charge, Shock Shield, and Thunderclap. Let’s dissect these abilities a bit while we try to get a better picture of what this profession will be capable of.
Rocket Charge, confirmed in MMORPG’s interview with Calmon-Huang to be the number three skill on the hammer, is the scrapper’s obligatory gap-closer. According to Calmon-Huang’s post, this ability will allow the player to “bound three times to your target.” I find this description interesting. If we are to get three leaps out of this skill, it brings up some questions: What will the total range be? Does each leap culminate in a damaging strike? What will the range on each individual leap be? I imagine the total range will be a bit longer than your average gap-closer (they tend to hover around the 600 range mark), as the skill will likely feel lethargic if three leaps are squeezed into a 600 range area or less. Also, I would be willing to go out on a limb and say that each leap will damage foes on impact due to the fact that players will inevitably use this ability at closer than the maximum range, resulting in fewer leaps. Each leap will need to feel purposeful and quick. With that in mind, I think 300 range is a perfect sweet spot for each leap. It would provide the skill with 900 range overall, which is quite a bit for a gap-closer, but still low enough to be considered mid-range. Undoubtedly, Rocket Charge will make scrappers difficult to elude, and PvPers will have to keep that in mind when tangling with them.
Shock Shield, another of the hammer’s abilities, will work very similarly to Static Shield on the engineer’s shield. Shock Shield will block incoming attacks and apply vulnerability to the enemy whose attack was blocked. Static Shield works the same way, the only difference being that it inflicts a stun on block. Unless Shock Shield inflicts an inordinate amount of vulnerability, its primary usefulness will be in the block, as hard mitigation such as blocking serves as the game’s primarily sought method of support and sustain.
Finally, we have Thunderclap. Thunderclap is interesting, if anything because it is set to be the third instance of a skill of that name to be put into the game (thank you Wooden Potatoes for that little bit of trivia!). The ranger and elementalist both have access to skills called Thunderclap, the ranger via downed state and the elementalist via Lightning Hammer. Despite this small discrepancy, the scrapper’s Thunderclap looks to be quite the force to be reckoned with. When triggered, Thunderclap causes the player to “ionize the area, bringing down the power of lightning to stun and damage enemies over its duration.” I rather like that skill description, as it provides scientific context to an otherwise out-of-place skill for a profession like the engineer. Needless to say, this skill is going to be a favorite among scrappers. AoE damage, stuns, and a lightning field? Yes, please! This skill also synergizes well with Orbital Strike, already a favorite among engineers. It also synergizes with Rocket Charge, as Rocket Charge’s leap combined with Thunderclap’s lightning field will daze enemies.
The scrapper’s hammer abilities are looking pretty formidable, but weapons only account for half a skill bar! As with all other elite specializations, the scrapper will come with a brand new set of utility skills, and like the berserker, the scrapper has been given a completely new skill type to play with: gyros. Gyros are small, airborne, drones that do the scrapper’s bidding. They have a certain amount of fuel and will explode when they run out, effectively providing a set duration for their services. Apart from just serving as utility skills, however, gyros will also serve a completely unique purpose in the world of Guild Wars 2 gameplay. When a scrapper approaches a downed foe or ally, rather than being presented with the usual prompts to revive or finish the other player, the scrapper will instead hit “f” to summon a gyro to perform those tasks for them, enabling the scrapper to reenter the fray almost immediately! Honestly, I believe that this ability above all others will make the scrapper a viable specialization, particularly in sPvP. Reviving in sPvP is something that must be considered carefully before attempting, creating a dilemma for teams with downed players during a battle. With a scrapper in the picture, however, a team can attempt a revive without having to sacrifice the attention of that much-needed player, potentially swinging the fight back into their favor.
Gyro utility skills also have plenty to bring to the table. The Purge Gyro will follow you around, removing conditions from allies. This gyro was included to supposedly “cover the engineer’s weakness to conditions,” a conception that I somewhat disagree with. While Purge Gyro will no doubt be enormously helpful, the idea that engineers are “weak” to conditions is a bit silly. Those of us who trait fully into alchemy, for instance, don’t even think about conditions because they’ll likely be turned into boons before they can do so much as tickle us. Engineers actually have very powerful anti-condition abilities, players simply have to build correctly for them. I know, crazy, right?
Calmon-Huang also provided details on the scrapper’s elite skill: Sneak Gyro. Sneak Gyro will provide a “pulsing cloak field around it veiling you and your allies from enemies…” This description leads me to believe that the stealth field provided by this skill will function similarly to Shadow Refuge in that the duration of each pulse will stack with that of the last, providing a long period of stealth. The viability of this skill remains debatable, as Calmon-Huang also reminds us that while players will be stealthed, the gyro itself will remain visible. Since Calmon-Huang’s description states the field will center around the gyro itself, Sneak Gyro will likely suffer from the same kryptonite that Shadow Refuge does: Enemies will know exactly where stealthed players are despite their invisibility. Of course, that problem can be partially solved by grabbing a few pulses of stealth and moving out. I hope Sneak Gyro is not a gyro that follows the scrapper around like Purge Gyro. That would completely negate the entire purpose of stealth, making it a useless ability.
In addition to their initial effects, each gyro will also have an attached toolbelt skill, as with all engineer utility skills. Purge Gyro’s Chemical Field will create a pulsing poison field that can be also be used for combos. Sneak Gyro will feature Detection Pulse in the toolbelt slot to “remove stealth from enemies in a large area,” which is a very cool skill. Essentially, activate this right after an enemy stealths, and they’ll be right back at square one!
Finally, the scrapper’s traits were designed to follow three distinct paths: sustainable survivability, concentrated lockdown, and mobile stability. You can find a full list of the traits in the blog post, but suffice it to say that they look extremely good. The minor traits provide more functionality for the function gyro, which revives fallen allies and can finish downed opponents. There is also a great deal of stability that can be mined from these traits, and while engineers are not devoid of stability, they don’t necessarily have it in spades either, so more stability-savvy traits are welcome. Also featuring increased toughness and reduced damage taken from conditions, the scrapper’s traits cement their ideal role as the, dare I say it, “tank.” Not a tank in the traditional, holy trinity sense, but a tank in that the scrapper is a bastion upon the battlefield, providing great support to allies while simultaneously able to hold its own in toe-to-toe combat. While pretty much any build can be made viable in PvE, I definitely see the scrapper coming into play in sPvP as a powerful bunker and party-wide support specialist.
The scrapper certainly provides engineer with melee functionality that has been sorely missing. On top of that, it provides engineers with the tools to sustain a melee presence through supportive traits and utilities. The idea behind the scrapper is very clear, and its application is very likely to follow the developers’ original vision for it: a tanky front-liner able to hold down the fort and nullify enemies’ trickier aspects. I have a feeling these abilities will come in handy more than ever in Heart of Thorns, particularly in raid content. Be sure to check out tomorrow’s episode of Points of Interest at noon PST on the Guild Wars 2 Twitch channel for more information on the scrapper!