Alright, I know I’m late to the party and all, and that holosmith was already considered extremely powerful, if not overpowered. This thread was more or less made so that I can gather my thoughts and hear what people have to say about it.
First off, even core engineersrs are surprisely bulky. This is thanks to healing turret, which is perhaps one of the best heals in the game thanks to its cleanses, water combo field, and blast combo finisher. This can be combined with several other combo finishers for very high healing, even if no healing power was invested. Their tool belt skill is also a water combo field too. On top of this is the alchemy trait line, which auto cleanses, grants barrier, and gives a high boon uptime (which can either make you a tank with iron blood, or be a spammable lifesaver with BGH).
Second, engineers is inherently a ranged class. Their only choices at core is a pistol and rifle, and both are not suited for extended durations of melee ranged combat. Rifle is more versatile, capable of spacing/keeping a distance with skill 2, 4 and 5. Those same skills can also be used to create combos, albeit at the risk of losing those options when it really matters. Their engineering kits are also mostly ranged weapons, with the exception of tool kit, which is a meh melee kit with little practicality. However, these kits are often... slightly underwhelming. Bomb is easily avoided, flamethrower is a midranged weapon that’s more about autoattacks, mortar is too slow to be a threat, and the elixir gun is rather unorthodox. Grenade is probably their best kit, with AOE damage, and a strong tool belt burst skill, which has a rather long cooldown. Regardless, the rifle remains as one of their best weapons thanks to its vesatility.
Lastly, despite their boon uptime and bulkiness, they lack multiple consistent burst damage option. Warrior has GS 2 + Arcing slice. Necros can easily stack condi upon condi. Mesmers can shatter with... something. Rangers can rapid fire, and deal hard hitting pokes. In PvP, sustained, but morderate damage usually doesn’t mean much, especially with the healing monster called Firebrand and the amount of escape/mitigation options available. This is what keeps core engineer from being widely used: they can’t really kill someone quickly at all times, only sometimes.
Overall, their strengths lies in high boon uptime, bulkiness, which is used in conjunction to their okay burst options and moderate CCs, while their weaknesses includes having few burst options, and problems with certain melee attackers.
But of course, there’s holosmith, who throws these weaknesses out of the window. The forge kit is undoubtedly one of, if not the strongest melee weapon set out there. A high damage autoattack, a 2 sec cool down leap, AOE damage + stability through Corona Burst, a bursty ranged attack with blitz, and a strong CC with holographic shockwave. Not a single one of these moves can be considered niche, or bad. Because of this overwhelming strength, they no longer need to care much about melee power attackers. In fact, they would LOVE to fight them. The only real exception would be condi builds, but even then holos have an auto cleanse, a heal cleanse, and an exit forge cleanse as well. Heat isn’t even hard to manage, with rolls that can reduce that heat and having the ability to turn it off at will (something that Berserker lacks). They even get additional sustain through heat therapy.
And what did they need to sacrifice? Only one thing: their often times niche elite tool belt skill, which is obviously makes this photon forge a straight up buff. Scrapper on the other hand, need to sacrifice their elite tool belt skill AND their single weapon slot for a hammer if they want to go melee.