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[Mechanist][PvE] My feedback, perceived issues and some proposals.


Wielder Of Magic.3950

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Introduction

I hereby present my feedback on the Mechanist elite spec for the Engineer class. I will divide my feedback into several sections and will try to look at things from mainly a PvE perspective.

The Mechanist pleasantly surprised me. It is a lot better and a lot more fun than I thought it would be, especially when you consider that the spec is centered around an AI companion. The support role only needs a few tiny adjustments for it to become an absolute monster of a top-tier build. Condition damage is also fine, it is mainly the way of reaching the numbers that could use some shaking up. The biggest problem for the Mechanist are the extremely underpowered Power DPS role, the Mech AI and the almost complete lack of traits that boost the Mechanist (and not just the mech). This spec is probably going to get there in the end, and it will probably be glorious once it does, but there is still some work to be done before that is going to happen!

 

Possible issue with the theme:

I was a bit skeptical after seeing the reveal. Engineer getting another AI spec? Haven’t they learned from the Scrapper gyro fiasco? But fair is fair: The mech looks beautiful, and it is something that thematically fits the engineer beautifully. No complaints, a surprisingly appropriate theme, and after seeing a bit too many mecha anime I cannot wait to see a bunch of Gundams, EVA’s, Strelizia’s or Tsugumori’s hit the field.

 

Possible issue with the mechanic(s):


Jade Mech:

I actually like it. The traits really enhance the mech its roles (but not the Mechanist unfortunately, I will talk more about that later), and the customisable F skills are an interesting take on toolbelt skills while the mech is out. I would even like to see the mech get a bit more support from core engineer traitlines and kits however. You already have a grandmaster that gives the Mech bonuses from Explosions and the traitline of the same name, would it be possible to allow the mech to also enerit some of the trait bonuses for maybe turrets or toolkit (with the toolkit auto attack being able to repair the mech)?

 

Something that could potentially be very hurtful to the mech is the long cooldown on if the mech dies or gets recalled while badly damaged. Such a vital part of the spec should not be something you could potentially be locked out of for 100 seconds ( that is not a fair trade-off at all, not even if you run the elite signet to get around it the first time it happens). I understood that this part is not set in stone, but I felt that it should be addressed all the same. 100 possible seconds is way too long, as is 60 or 45. I feel like the maximum penalty should be 25 seconds or even less considering how 99% of your spec is the Mech, so without you are pretty much nothing. I also noticed that as you call the mech down you cannot do anything else. If we could activate the mech while on the move/doing other things/not be rooted that would be awesome.

 

The AI itself is another thing. It has to be perfect and specifically written for the mech. If the AI is bad, the spec will be bad. Right now the mech AI is...erratic. There are times where it does the job, and there are also times where it wanders off to the next continent. Shorten the leash range outside of combat, and perhaps give it some more movement speed or a movement skill while in combat.

 

Enemy targeting could use similar improvements. It would be great if we could somehow tell the mech to ‘lock on’ to a single target and having the mech only attack that target ( this would make its positioning a lot more predictable as well for buff purposes.

 

Something that I could not really figure out how it happened were ‘random deaths’. In higher end PvE I sometimes found my mech almost instantly dying. I believe it has something to do with special mechanics ( green circles from the Vale Guardian, Sabetha Flamethrower, things like that). It would be great if the mech becomes either immune or take drastically decreased damage from mechanics like these.

 

Some Proposals:

 

1. The mech looks like a solid concept, adding even more interaction with core engineer design like turret traits or the toolkit would be the cherry on top for me personally.

 

2. I would keep an eye on the cooldown on the mech summon when it dies or is recalled with heavy damage, a massive recharge time on something so vital to the spec would severely hamper or potentially even kill its viability ( that includes the option of using the elite signet to circumvent the cooldown).

 

3. Pleasure update the Mech summon skill to no longer root you in place.

 

4. I would also continue to refine the mech AI. A start would be to shorten the leash range, so it teleports towards the players location more often. Code this to be a true teleport and not movement/shadowstepping, because if there is elevation in the terrain the mech will often NOT teleport towards you, but opt for taking the long walk around.

 

5. Consider giving the mech a movement skill or simply increased movement in combat, at times it has a hard time to keep up or reposition itself, meaning all of that is time lost where your spec mechanic is kitten out.


Mech Commands:

I like their customizability. I will take a closer look at them in the trait section, but overall its a solid idea, with one big but: As the mech does its thing I found it sometimes hard to get it to use a mech command as it was doing something else. This caused mech commands to fire with a noticable delay or even not fire at all.

 

Proposal:
It would do wonders for the responsiveness of the mech if the mech commands force the mech to cancel any current action (including any AI activated skills it automatically gets from some traits) and directly start using the mech command skill instead. This way we might get rid of awkward delayed skill usage or skills even not firing/being cancelled. If that is not possible, consider to massively decrease the cast-times on mech skills and commands instead.
Another thing I would like to see is a better way to see the cooldowns on my mech commands. Right now I have a hard time seeing when things are still on CD or not ( some mech commands showed me a cooldown, others didnt. Please make all of them show a cooldown timer).

 

Trade-off: No more ordinary toolbelt skills:
While I think this is fair when the Mech is present, I feel it is overly punishing when the Mech is not around for whatever reason, weakening the Machinist and also severely reducing the usefulness of core engineer utility skills, considering the toolbelt skills give engineer so much value. It also means that the support side of the Mechanist hampers itself if it tries a healing role, because of how reliant that role is on the Medkit and several of the on-heal effects activating on Medkit’s toolbelt skill, which you now no longer have.

 

Proposal:  
 Consider giving the Mechanist access to its usual (even if they are nerfed a bit as a trade-off)  toolbelt skills when the mech is not present.

 

Possible issue with the Mace skills:  

 

Mace Strike/Smash/Barrier Blast:
It looks okay, but the mace unfortunately only works in full-on healing/support builds currently. For power and condi you are better off spamming bomb kit or grenade kit as it currently stands. For power the Mace needs more damage on its skills so it can outDPS bombs and grenades, for condi the same story, meaning buffing the amounts of confusion or adding other conditions on top.

Energizing Slam:  
Some mobility and Vigor on a low cooldown is always appreciated. But outside of support builds you are unlikely to see this.

Rocket Fist Prototype:
A low cooldown AoE stun with range? I like it (and has cc synergies with offhand shield).

 

Proposals:
 
1. Buff the power damage from the Mace so it can be used in a power Mechanist build. This requires the Mace auto-attack to do better damage than skill 1 from the Bomb kit, and ideally the damage on mace 2+3 should be made worth it as well. Don’t force us into full kit-plays for another 5 years.

 

2. Buff the condition damage from the mace as well. The theme of the conditions on mace is confusion, so give it more confusion, some of it on each attack at the very least, with possibly some burning on the final attack. Remove the burning from Rocket fist if that would overdo the total amount of burning.

 

3. Considering one of the grandmasters already plays around with inheriting trait bonuses from the Explosives traitline, give the mace attacks synergy with explosives as well. Make the 3rd auto attack and mace 2+3 count as explosions might go a long way, buffing both Power AND condition damage options.

 

Possible issues with the roles this spec can fill in PvE:

 

Power DPS Mechanist

Benchmarks put the power DPS of the Mechanist around 30-31k. If Anet wants power Mechanist to be a serious option, the power side of pretty much everything will have to be buffed. Mech attacks, mech commands, and also mace attacks if they want power to use it (unless they want for power Mechanist to be stuck using bombkit for auto attacks). The problem here will be that you cannot Overbuff the Mech or you risk that an overpowered AI starts playing the game for you. Power Mech buffs should probably be added by buffing the Mech Commands mostly, with the main chunk coming from Mace and trait buffs. You could also consider to scrap power entirely and only focus on Condi+Support options (which would free up some trait slots), but I would actually be against that solution in this case (for the simple reason it would not make sense that a mech could smack a bazillion-pound mech arm in your face and you shrugging it off like it was a gentle touch). So buffing it is.

 

Proposal: 
Consider buffs to the power value from things like the Mace, power-based Mech Commands and some of the utilities.


Condi DPS Mechanist
Benchmarks put the condi DPS of the Mechanist at 39-44k which is an extremely respectable number. Unfortunately  we use the same 4 kits that we have been using since before HoT, ignoring pretty much all the new stuff that the Mechanist brings. Condi signet?  Not used, DPS loss. Confusion on mace? DPS loss, better off with bombs or grenades. Elite signet? DPS loss, better to use the Mortar. The number is there, but you pretty much do the exact same piano thing engineer has been doing since forever.

If anet wants to make condi Mechanist play drastically different than core condi engineer, Mace needs to be buffed so mace attacks are better than grenade auto attacks, the condi+elite signet need to be better than Mortar and either bomb kit or flamethrower. The numbers are fine, it’s just about the way to reach it. I feel it would be a letdown if the best way to play condi Mechanist would be to play the same core 4-kit condi engineer build we have been playing since before HoT with the only change being we press 3 new toolbelt skills in the form of condi Mech commands.

 

Proposal: 
The benchmark number is great,keep it around there! But it would be even better if we could reach that number without having to resort to the exact 4-kit gameplay that condi engineer has been playing since the dawn of time. Buffs to the condition damage of the Mace and some of the utility skills and mech commands could go a long way.

 

Support Mechanist  
Support Mechanist is in an interesting and strong spot currently. With high boon duration and the right build it gives out 100% uptime on 5 man alacrity, fury, vigor, regeneration, 25 might, pretty strong protection uptime and an absolutely massive amount of barrier.

 

So...what’s the catch?

The first catch is that your mech needs to be present for boon support Mechanist to function well. No mech (or a dead mech) means your support potential is hampered. You can partially circumvent this with the signet elite that forcibly summons the Mech even if its down/dead, but do keep this in mind as one of your limiting factors.

 

The second catch is that if people want to get the most out of their Mechanist support buddies, they need to position near both Mechanist AND the mech (the range on the boons are 240-360). If you are only near one of them you will lose out on either a lot of alacrity, a lot of fury and might, or even both. While this is less of a problem when everyone stacks, the fact that you sometimes need to spread out ( and the mech being an AI lacking a way to instantly force its movement unless you sacrifice another utility slot for the shadowstep signet) might become another limiting factor. Not to mention you will be guarantueed to get into situations where boon coverage suffers because "lol AI doing its own thing".

 

Still, these are things we can learn to adapt to, unlike the third and imo biggest catch:  Every boon you or your mech put out is 5 man only. That means that a supportive Mechanist may fare well in fractals (potentially being able to compete with Alacrigade for a spot) and dungeons, 5 man content, but it will be severely limited in raids, where your alacrigade for example can hit 10 targets. While it may be possible that the Mechanist overcaps Alacrity by such a massive amount that it might be able to give it out to 10 man with clever positioning of both itself and the mech (I mean who knows, someone might find a way, way to early to exclude this possibility!), it is still an extremely limiting factor for this type of build that also harshly punishes you if you mess it up. Meanwhile your Renegade selects the 10 man grandmaster and proceeds to press F4 on recharge.

 

If the Mechanist could get a trait option to extend its boons (or at least its alacrity) from 5 to 10 targets it will become a very strong support. If not, it will most likely be confined to dungeons and fractals UNLESS it severely overcaps on at least the Alacrity boon. The same goes for the barrier application, 10 man barrier (so it can compete with scourge carry potential) would make it into a top-tier support. I would even take a nerf to our barrier-value generation to compensate (more but lower barriers, just so the barriers are weaker but you still apply them all the same. This way this would not mess around with alacrity generation).

 

Proposal:
Consider giving the Mechanist an option to extend its boons or at least alacrity and barrier from 5 to 10 man. Doing so would give it a way better chance of being able to fill a support role in a landscape dominated by Chronomancers, Druids, Scourges and especially Renegades and Firebrands.

 

Possible issues with the Signet utility skills:

 

Rectifier Signet:  
Healing Signet for engineer and mech, but with an active heal that doesnt suck. If there aren’t many conditions present this is a very good heal. But I do think this should make the mech do something upon activation as well.

 

Proposal:
Consider making the mech do something on top of healing itself when this signet is activated.


Barrier Signet:   
Good skill, obvious synergy with alacrity and boon support builds, and being projectile defense on top. Don’t think this needs any changes, appears to be great!

 

Force Signet:  
Stunbreak is always nice, and AoE knockback is strong. But outside of perhaps power Mechanist nobody will use this, and on power you may never activate the skill unless you also have the elite signet so you keep the passive.

 

Proposal:
It would be great if it could be more more interesting to use this skill’s active effect. At the very least it could get a very significant buff for its damage.


Shift Signet:  
May be mandatory depending on how controllable and/or bad the mech and mech AI is. If mech AI is good and this isnt needed to reposition it: This becomes niche. If mech AI is meh and this is a bandaid that can force it to be where it needs to be, this becomes mandatory. If the mech AI is bad...this won’t save it.

 

Proposal: 
I am honestly not sure what to think off this skill, for the simple reason that it is only great if the mech positioning is consistently awful, and it sucks if the mech happens to be great at positioning, meaning it probably won’t see use. Depending on which of these two scenario's happens to come true on release-day, either refine the mech AI or give this signet additional functionality.

 

Super Conducting Signet:
This could be a very strong skill for Condi Mechanists in theory...if only it was better than any of the core engineer kits. Please buff this!

 

Proposal:
Consider to give the confusion this signet gives to have a significantly longer duration, perhaps even double. Consider to change the functionality to when the mech is present both mech and mechanist create the confusion field (so effectively 2 fields). That could create either some AoE condi application or a tactical confusion burst if player and mech are near the same target. If that does not make it a better pick over bomb/grenade/flamethrower consider to give this some burning applications with each pulse as well.  If that makes it an OP skill, consider lowering the power damage pulse and vulnerability application to compensate for it.

 

Overclock Signet:
The passive effect helps all build variants that use signets (and it is not like you have a lot of choice when it comes to great engineer elite skills).  The forced mech summon regardless of its cooldown may be the true gem, allowing your mech to “cheat death” once. Unfortunately that is about all it’s good for, considering the active effect ( the ‘charging mah lazor’ attack) hits like a wet noodle.

 

Proposal:
Make the elite signet its active effect worth using in both power and condition Mechanist builds. For power this means massively upping the power damage, for condi it could mean adding multiple stacks of long lasting burning.

 

Possible issues with the Mechanist traits in general:
The traits really feel like they have been built while keeping Holosmith in mind. Where Holosmith traits came down to “build your own Forge”, the Mechanist comes down to “Build your own mech”.
First of all: That feels awesome. The idea of building a battle mech feels great. However, if your mech is not present, you lose almost everything you have traited for. Without the Mech the Mechanist becomes a weak sitting duck.

 

It would go a long way if  the mech traits did not just affect the mech, but also gave effects to the Mechanist. Channeling Conduits and J-drive are examples of traits that currently do this, the Mechanist could benefit from more traits with this particular approach. This way the Mechanist will still be weaker when the Mech is not present, but it will no longer be a sitting duck/be locked out of the majority of its trait bonuses (I am also surprised there are no Mace related traits). I would even take some toning down on the mech half of the traits to make this change happen if needed.

I also cannot help but shake the feeling that a lot of trait effect-spots are ‘wasted’ because they make the mech inherit player stats. If this is such an important part of making the mech useable, it should be made baseline, or at least partly. That way we can add some more original bonuses.

 

Proposal:
Consider giving more traits bonuses or effects that apply to the Mechanist itself as well, Channeling Conduits and J-drive are good examples. Giving up a lot of trait-room for stat-sharing with the mech feels restrictive. If it is so important, consider making the stat share baseline or through the master traits/a select few traits only, so you free up some options in your trait slots. It may be needed, but "your mech gains X% of your own A B and C stat" does not feel overly exciting.

 

Possible issues with Mechanist specific traits:

 

Mech Arms: Single Edge Cutters:
The preferred option for condi builds. 8 bleeding from the toolbelt attack is better than nothing, but I suppose the true value is in the mech auto’s applying bleeds, since the mech can attack alongside with the mechanist. The value of this will depend on the attack speed of the mech. Misses an effect for the mechanist.

 

Proposal:
Make this trait do something for the Mechanist as well, perhaps additional ways to inflict confusion (ways that do not include the mech) and/or increase confusion damage?

 

Mech Arms: High Impact Drivers:
Probably the preferred support option. Might generation in a 600 radius is great. But it sucks that this once again has no effect on the Mechanist, and that the might is only for 5 targets. Explosive knuckle seems a bit dull, I am not sure if weakness and counting as an explosion is enough.

 

Proposal:
Make this trait do something for the Mechanist as well, and keep an eye on if Explosive Knuckle is good enough in its current state. Perhaps this could make Mech commands and toolbelt skills( in case the mech isn’t around) give some short duration AoE stability ( ‘you got used to high impact events, things don’t shake you that much anymore’)?

 

Mech Arms: Jade Cannons:  
This is the power DPS option. Vulnerability helps, attacks becoming ranged helps with wonky AI pathing, but the Spark revolver mech command might do with better damage. This also misses a bonus for the mechanist, so once again:  

 

Proposal:
Make this trait do something for the Mechanist as well and make Spark Revolver hit harder, the power Mechanist could use it.

 

Mech Fighter:
Rocket punch is okay, but it sucks that we have no control over when the mech is going to use it. The fact that it counts as an explosion is nice however, I like the interaction with other traitlines.
The stat inheritance from the mechanist feels a bit dull. This and Energy Siphoning give the same type of bonus, and both are minor traits so you get them anyway.

 

Proposal:
If the mech needs 50% toughness and vit from this and another 100% from Energy Siphoning, then just roll it into a single 150% trait and give either this or Siphoning another bonus. And also, give that poor Mechanist something as well.

 

Mech Frame:Conductive Alloys:
The condi option. Getting condi stats from the Mechanist is huge albeit mechanically boring, and the Discharge array seems good as well. But this trait also misses a little bit of extra for the Mechanist. At times the array also seems to miss the target because of the mech its hitbox. I do wonder if we cannot roll all of the stat share into a single trait and free up some space for more original bonuses.

 

Proposal:
Make this trait do something for the Mechanist as well. As for the mech, consider to increase the range on the mech command a little bit to make it hit its target more reliably. Also consider to just roll all the stat conversions into just a select few traits, freeing up room for something more interesting in those slots.

 

Mech Frame: Channeling Conduits:  
This is an example of what I mean. This has a good supportive effect, a good mech command, AND it also gives a bonus to something the Mechanist does, on top of giving it good access to Alacrity. More of this please.

 

Proposal:
The only thing I would add is to consider making the alacrity 10 man, if needed through another trait in the grandmasters. or maybe add some stability here if it doesnt fit in the High Impact Drivers trait.

 

Mech Frame: Variable Mass Distributor:  
The power option. I do wonder, is there a reason the mech can get 100% from the condi stats, but only 50% from the power stats? Is it because this trait converts 3 stats and the condi one just 2?
The mech command is whatever. Damage and CC.  Could probably do with a bit more. But once again all bonuses for the mech, none for the Mechanist.

 

Proposal:
Make this trait do something for the Mechanist as well. On top of that, consider both the power stats that the Mechanist shares with the mech and see if that is enough. Take a look at the damage from the mech command and ask the same question. Damage for power Mechanist has to come from somewhere, and we cannot load all of it on Mace attacks.

 

Energy Siphoning:
The attack seems okay. Mostly power focused however, so a condi Mechanist gets less of a deal out of this minor. The stat inheritance from the mechanist feels a bit dull. This and Mech Fighter  give the same type of bonus, and both are minor traits so you get them anyway. This could maybe deal with some condition clearing/transfer for the mech?

 

Proposal:
If the mech needs 100% toughness and vit from this and another 50% from Mech Fighter, then just roll it into a single 150% trait and give either this or Mech Fighter another bonus. Perhaps this attack could make the mech transfer a few conditions to its target. And also, give that poor Mechanist something as well.


Mech Core: Jade Dynamo:
Seems to be the condi option, with the Jade Mortar’s burning feeling as a way to compensate for losing Incendiary Ammo from the flamethrower kit. Inheriting stuff from the explosions traitline is cool, I wish the other traits did something similar! Shame that the Mechanist is once again left with nothing and the fact that only mech attack skills count for explosion bonuses.

 

Proposal: 
Make the mech auto-attacks also able to trigger explosions and make this trait do something for the Mechanist as well.


Mech Core: Barrier Engine:
Very strong support trait. Perhaps this could be the place to make certain boons hit 10 man, so you need to invest your grandmaster into it?  Seems fair, considering the Renegade has a similar deal.
But...Mechanist bonus...where?

 

Proposal:
Make this trait do something for the Mechanist as well. Consider allowing this trait to make the alacrity and barrier target cap to increase to 10 man (if it doesnt fit anywhere else), or possibly all boons if you want to go completely overboard (this would likely put it over the top). The Mechanist has the potential to be brokenly strong support, but some target caps hinder it by a lot ( renegade alacrity = 10 man, big chunk of scourge barrier = 10 man).

 

Mech Core: J-Drive:
This one has an effect that supports the Mechanist itself, which is a good thing! But the active command (Sky Circus) currently doesn’t do enough. As for the bombardment: fun, but if the mech is dead, the Mechanist will follow shortly after.

 

Proposal: 
Heavily buff both the damage and CC from Sky Circus and consider some changes for the bombardment skill to make it more enticing. Perhaps it could also bombard periodically while the mech is active, but bombard a lot more frequently when the mech is down (carpet bomb feeling)?

 

Closing statement

I feel like the Mechanist is in a good  spot for support, adding 1 or 2 changes and that baby is ready for release as a top-tier build, no questions asked. But Condi and especially Power Mechanist have some issues to work through.

While condi Mechanist is strong, aside from the mech commands it does the exact same thing core condi engi has been doing for years, being cycling through grenade kit, bomb kit, flamethrower and mortar. It would be great if both mace and the signets could be made into stronger options, just so the engineer is not forced to play with the same 4 kit-lay-out it has been forced to use since forever if it wanted to run a condi-focused build.

 

Meanwhile Power Mechanist is pretty weak and in need of big buffs. The challenge will be to do this in a way that does not overload the damage from the mech. This actually goes for both power AND condi. The balancing will have to be done very delicately, considering you want the mech to be useful and not useless, but also not end up completely overpowered ( and at times the mech can sometimes feel a bit like this in the open world).

 

The support side could really use that allied target cap extension to 10 man, at least for the alacrity and barrier. No 10 man target caps and the fact that almost none of your traits give any bonuses to the Mechanist itself are what I see as potential two flaws in the spec design as it currently is. Luckily I think both can be fixed without much trouble, considering the Mechanist bonuses from traits can be modest in nature (to compensate for the fact your Mech gets the big goodies), but every trait should at least give SOMETHING.

 

That leaves the AI. This spec will always hinge on how well the AI is going to perform. And it is erratic. It can be decent when it works, but often does it do nothing, the wrong thing, or fly off to nowhere land. Numbers can be fixed, but a significant effort should go into further refining the mech AI.

 

Does the Mechanist have some rough edges?  Yes it does. Is it fixable? Also yes, I think this spec is close to being ready for release for the most part, it just needs those final changes/adjustments.
If anything this is a spec with massive potential, even with an AI that sometimes has a mind of its own.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

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This is somewhat that i wouldve written if i wouldnt be so lazy, thank you. xD

 

21 hours ago, Wielder Of Magic.3950 said:

Something that could potentially be very hurtful to the mech is the long cooldown on if the mech dies or gets recalled while badly damaged. Such a vital part of the spec should not be something you could potentially be locked out of for 100 seconds ( that is not a fair trade-off at all, not even if you run the elite signet to get around it the first time it happens). I understood that this part is not set in stone, but I felt that it should be addressed all the same. 100 possible seconds is way too long, as is 60 or 45. I feel like the maximum penalty should be 25 seconds or even less considering how 99% of your spec is the Mech, so without you are pretty much nothing. I also noticed that as you call the mech down you cannot do anything else. If we could activate the mech while on the move/doing other things/not be rooted that would be awesome.

This is the solution to the elite signet too tbh.
The elite signets high cooldown comes from the summon of the mech that it does. If basic mech summon is reduced to 25 seconds or something like that, the mech summon on the elite signet could possibly go away and leaves room for a lower cooldown on the elite signet which would make it usable over mortar kit.

This is also what I said in the mechanist feedback thread already but it drowned in the 1000 other comments I guess xD
Found it:
 

 

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