The Engineer is a melee class for Torchlight II that has a multitude of playstyles. While the class is meant to tank, it also has the ability to do great damage with a lot of crowd control. How you place your stat and skill points is entirely up to you. This guide will hopefully give you some pointers on how to play a Engineer effectively. We will focus heavily on the use of Emberquake as well as Forcefield and Healing Bot to survive.
Click here[torchlight2armory.com] for the skill tree. (Link updated 7/29/2013)
Please note: I am assuming that you have access to a third-party Torchlight II respeccing program. If not, I would strongly recommend download one. It's an almost necessary utility and will save you unpresidented amounts of time figuring out how you would like to play your Engineer.
There is quite a bit of leeway regarding what skills you can put points into. You can go with a balance of melee and Emberquake (which is what this guide generally utilizes) or a more defensive build with tons of crowd control or a mixture of all of these. I try to make suggestions and recommendations wherever I can, but again it is ultimately up to you how you want to play this class.
I'm hoping to update this guide to cover all of the skills that an Engineer can use, rather than just to focus on a cut-and-dry Emberquake guide. Stay tuned!
Now that is out of the way, let us begin.
Stat-wise, the Engineer utilizes Strength and Focus with some Dexterity.
Strength increases both normal (physical) damage as well as critical strike damage.
Focus increases both your mana pool and the fire damage that Emberquake does. It's very common to see Engineers with this build balancing the same amount of Focus as Strength.
Dexterity, for Engineers, helps negate fumbled attacks (Torchlight II's version of missing an attack). Two-handed weapons are slower than one-handed weapons, so fumbled attacks have a greater detrimental effect on your DPS. Execute chance has no effect on two-handed weapons.
Vitality increases your maximum health and armor (also affects your block chance if you have a shield equipped) However, the amount of hit points you recieve from Vitality is abysmal. You could put enough points into Vitality for equiping gear but overall it is best to skip this stat. Just focus on getting gear and socketables that add to hit points.
One of the big questions that most players have is: how to I allocate my stat points? Your primary goal should be getting your strength as high as you can. For endgame, you want your strength to be at least 1000, by utilizing socketables and Borris[torchlight.wikia.com]. Once that is accomplished, raise your focus to about 1000 as well. Use gear or socketables to raise dexterity to about 53 (for +10% crit/dodge). Whenever possible, utilize +Health gear mods/socketables rather than +Vitality.
You can view one helpful reference about raising strength versus focus by clicking here[forums.runicgames.com]. Another reference regarding stats can be found by clicking here[forums.runicgames.com].
This guide utilizes several skills during gameplay:
This is your primary damaging skill (read: spam ability). Eight radiating magma fissures seek out enemies, dealing 35%+2X% (X being the skill rank) weapon DPS damage as well as a chance to burn your enemy. Should you be attacking one enemy, all eight magma fissures seek out that single enemy, each fissure striking for 35%+2X% damage. Comes with a slightly hefty mana cost, so keep those potions handy -- although your Healing Bot shouldn't have a problem keeping your mana up. This attack also does not consume Charges, which you will use for your Forcefield. One source to definitely check out regarding Emberquake versus Flame Hammer is: FH vs EQ: an analysis [v2.0][forums.runicgames.com]
Originally posted by Kardfogu:
Emberquake does 2 different types of damage with every fissure. One weapon DPS part, affected by strength and one magic damage part, affected by Focus. Strength increases the critical damage done by both, while Focus increases elemental damage, thus, using a fully elemental weapon increases the damage output sharply.
This is your opening attack. You leap into battle, dealing some weapon damage as well as reducing nearby enemies' attack, movement, and cast speeds. This ability lets you get close to the action or can get your out of trouble. In that regard, it also doubles as sort of a "teleport" ability.
Healing Bot 15/15
Along with Forcefield, this skill is essential to an Engineer to survive. The healing amount may seem like piddly squat early on, but once you hit tier 1 you'll see it's full potential. That mana regen will prove invaluable while mowing down waves of enemies. Just remember to cast it each time you zone into an area. Max this skill out.
No Engineer should be without this. It will seem weak early on, but you will see its benefits very quickly. Save all of your Charges for this ability, as each charge will increase the amount of damage absorption by 50% per Charge. Early in a battle, if may difficult to gain enough charges to warrant an effective Forcefield without taking massive damage, but once this ability is up, you don't have to worry about dying. Keep this up as much as possible. Max this skill out immediately.
Dynamo Field 10/15 or 15/15
This spammable AoE skill is used to gain Charge very rapidly, depending on how many enemies are close to you. The range is very short (starting at five meters), but you can gain up to one Charge per second at 1/15 rank if five enemies are around you. However, as you level up this skill the range is increased by two meters for each tier. It is best to find a small group of enemies, cast Forcefield, and spam Dynamo Field until you gain five charges. It should only take a brief moment to fully fill your Charge bar so you can cast another Forcefield. As you unlock tiers one and two, you will find that you will gain Charges with very little effort. 10/15 should be sufficent enough but you can always max it out if you want that extra two meter buffer (making it 11 meters with tier 3). In Elite difficulty, this skill can be utilized to gain Charges on champion or boss monsters with little to no minions.
Tremor is an HUGE range, high utility AoE with great tier bonuses (at least tiers 2 and 3). It also comes with a fairly hefty mana cost. It knockbacks and interrupts enemies as well as increases the physical damage you do to them. Tiers 2 and 3 weakens foes (dealing 20% less physical damage) and stuns enemies for 2 seconds, respectively. In all, this skill is very versatile for many situations (although on lower difficulties you'll most likely use this ability against champions and bosses). It does consume ONE charge if you have it but it only affects the damage dealt by this ability.
Immobilization Copter 5/15
A crowd control ability. With five ranks into it, you will be able to affect a maximum of five enemies at once. Like Healing Bot, cast this spell at the beginning of every dungeon and watch it go to work. It's essentially a non-damaging constant Onslaught.
The Engineer has many passives that are great and it is ultimately up to you and how you play which determines what you invest your points in. As far as these skills go, I would recommend the following:
Heavy Lifting 15/15
Passive attack speed% increase as well as a stun chance%. Faster weapon = More damage. The stun chance% is icing on the cake. This skill syncs well with Supercharge and Coup de Grace.
Supercharge 7/15 or 15/15
This is a lovely skill, no doubt. Each time you hit enemies with a melee weapon, you have a .5X% chance of supercharging your weapon, which deals (25+(5X))% of your weapon's DPS over the next ten seconds. Supercharge essentially increases your DPS 1.3 times at 7/15 when it procs. With help from Heavy Lifting, you can be sure that this will proc quite a bit during battle. Oh, and it helps you gain Charge whilst supercharged. Bonus!
Coup de Grace 1/15
I wish this skill could of been stronger. It can become very strong but your other skills will make the damage from Coup de Grace feel insignificant. With +Electric Damage% and Fire and Spark it may be viable to place a few more points into it. Still, throw at least one point into it for that touch of extra damage.
A pure tank passive. Forcefield + Healing Bot + Gear (namely Damage Reduction% skulls) will be more than enough to negate any damage done to your Engineer. While a great skill, you don't need to put any points into it.
Fire and Spark 15/15
Deals +5% extra Fire and Electric Damage per rank up to +75%. You'll be putting any extra skill points you have into this. Affects Emberquake, Onslaught and Coup de Grace namely. Don't worry about maxing this skill right off the bat -- prioritize your skill points into other damaging abilities first.
Charge Domination 15/15
This is the second most important skill in the Construction tree for this spec. The whole point of this build is to build five charges as soon as you can to cast a powerful Forcefield. Charge Domination gives you a .5% chance per rank to fully fill your charge bar up to +10%. With this skill, you'll most likely gain a full charge bar within five seconds of the start of a battle.
You will be putting no points into any of the passive skills in this tree. Charge Reconstitution may be the only viable passive in this tree, in my opinion. There are other places you can distribute your skill points to.
This is your primary damaging skill early on in the game. It is essentially a baby Emberquake. One of the big things that makes this skill inferior (besides being obsolete when you gain Emberquake) is that it consumes charges. You need all the charges you can get for your Forcefield. Sure, you can let Charge Domination proc, use Forcefield, and then let Charge Domination proc again before using Flame Hammer but that is way too much work and is still inferior to Emberquake.
Ember Hammer 0/15 or 1/15
Deals up to 124% weapon damage (with 15/15 rank) but its primary function is to break through enemy shields. This skill has great utility early on but later you shouldn't have a problem breaking through enemy shields with other means.
Seismic Slam 0/15 or 1/15
Seismic Slam is a short range AoE early game ability that you probably won't use later on. The stun and interrupt chances are fantastic but you will have other skills that will suit those needs (i.e., Tremor). If you have a respeccing program, I would recommend using this ability for damage and crowd control early on, then respec those points later on probably around level 40+. You can save a point into it if you want a tiny bit more utility.
Gun Bot 0/15 or 5/15
Unlike Healing Bot and Immobilization Copter, Gun Bot only lasts a short period of time before it disappears. It deals fairly solid damage and is pretty capable of handling small enemies by itself. The tooltip for this skill is a bit misleading as the +All Damage% only applies to the Gun Bot. It may help while leveling but I haven't found much use for it end game. Higher levels into this ability ups its damage and reduces the cooldown.
Overload 0/15 or 1+/15
It may be worth investing a point into this ability for the added bit of crowd control early on while leveling your Engineer but the fact it consumes all available charges makes this skill quite a gamble, especially if Charge Domination is procced (although Dynamo Field can make up for lost charges). I personally do not use this skill but I have met several Engineers that utilize it quite often.
Armor and Weapons (and Spells!)
Something that you will notice with Torchlight 2 is that you will constantly be upgrading your armor and weapons. Endgame-wise there are many different possible armor and weapon combinations that you can utilize.
Pertaining to weapons, this build utilizes greatswords, greataxes, greathammers, and polearms. What you use is up to you, just keep in mind the damage of the weapons versus the speed of which you swing it. Greathammers, while slow, deal frightening amounts of damage. With Heavy Lifting, you can swing your 2H weapons up to +30% faster. So, a greathammer with a 1.44 attack speed will swing at around 1.01 with Heavy Lifting maxed. Emberquake, however, is not affected by attack speed but instead cast speed (which makes sense as it is a castable ability). For gems and skulls, anything that increases Charge rates, decreases Charge decay, +Physical Damage +All Damage%, +Interrupt/Stun Chance%, +Mana Steal/Regen%, and +Cast Speed% are all great choices.
For armor, it is important to acquire all the +Damage Reduction% socketables you can (such as The Eye of Grell[torchlight2armory.com] early on or Skull of Limoany[torchlight2armory.com] later on in the game), as well as +Health socketables (Skull of Riechliu[torchlight2armory.com]). Especially for Elite, you will want +50% Damage Reduction (which I believe is the most you can get) and all the health you can get. The Engineer is lucky in the fact that quite a few Engineer uniques come with Damage Reduction bonuses gear in Torchlight 2 seems to focus more on +Strength/Vitality/Health/Physical Damage Reflected/etc., so focus on those socketables!
Essentially, focus your gear towards building Charges (at least early on, once you get Dynamo Field/Charge Reconstruction charge is ridiciously easy to build), reducing all damage done to you, +Strength/Focus, +Health, and maybe +Mana/Mana regen if you feel the need.
Regarding spells (the ones you find when killing monsters and/or finding from vendors), focus more on the passives such as Weapons Expertise (+Melee%,-Martial Equipment Requirements) and Critical Strikes (+Bonus to Crit Damage, +Critical Chance%). For active spells, Haste (+Attack Speed%,+Movement Speed%) and Dervish (+Attack/Cast Speed%) are good choices.
Don't forget that your pets can cast spells too! Give them your Summon X and Frost spells for crowd control, and perhaps a Heal All or Silence spell if you have it.
Strategy and Tactics
I will go ahead and give the tl;dr first. For most battles you will:
Forcefield (with five charges) + Onslaught + Tremor (if you wish) + Emberquake until you win.
Starting from the beginning of a dungeon, you want to cast your Healing Bot, Immobilization Copter (if you have it), and then your Forcefield. By the time you reach the first group of enemies, first use Onslaught, then either melee or Emberquake until Charge Domination procs, giving you a full stack of charges. You can also use Dynamo Field to gain charges very quickly. Use these charges on your next Forcefield (which should be off cooldown at this time). Proceed to Onslaught and Tremor as necessary and then use Emberquake to your heart's desire.
As long as your Forcefield is up, you can pretty much watch TV or play on your phone until everyone is dead. Most of the time (easily 99.9% of the time in lower difficulties) your fully charged Forcefield will be impenetratable.
For higher difficulties (i.e., Veteran and Elite), your strategy will be similiar. Although Forcefield can take a ton of damage, you're not invincible. Onslaught in and out of battle when necessary, keep your enemies in as tight as a group as you can, and crowd control whenever it's needed. Also, be sure to utilize Dynamo Field on weaker groups of mobs to build charge quickly!
If you're a lower level Engineer and do not have some of these abilities (like Emberquake, Immobilization Copter, or Tremor), just utilize Seismic Slam and Fire/Ember Hammer as you would above. It's simple as controlling your enemies, keeping your Forcefield up, and crushing your enemies with your hilariously large monkey wrench.
In this section, I'll go through the jist of what this build entails:
Statwise, get your Strength to 1000 and the rest into Focus (up to around 1000). Dexterity should be at around 53 for +10% Critical Chance and Dodge. Disregard Vitality. Enchants and socketables are absolutely vital to raising your stats.
Skillwise, don't forget to cast Healing Bot and Immobilization Copter at the beginning of every floor. Start with your Forcefield, open with Onslaught, Dynamo Field, Tremor, and Emberquake. Once you gain five charges (should be early on in the battle), recast Forcefield and Emberquake until everything is dead. Hit and run and use crowd control when needed.
Gearwise, greathammers do more physical damage and with Heavy Lifting, you can crank out significant amounts of physical damage. Any elemental damage on your weapon does significantly help out the magic damage that Emberquake produces. For your armor, focus on +Damage Reduction%, and +Health/Strength/Focus.
For spells, any +Physical Attack Damage%, %Attack Speed% or +Mana Regen% is fine. Give your pet any Summon X, Heal All, and Silence Spells you can.
As mentioned, the Engineer is a high utility, high damaging tank that is flexible for many situations. How you play your Engineer is up to you. There is really no cut-and-dry (definitive) way to play this class, as long as you have fun doing it! If you do want to research on min-maxing your stats, feel free to do so although it is not necessary with this build.
I hope this guide serves you well. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me directly or add me on Torchlight II (mwsioux). If you wish to add anything to the guide, simply do so in the comments and I will be more than happy to give you credit for it.
With that said, grab your wrench and get to wrecking!
8/5/2013 v1.3 - Updated the introduction, stats, primary skills, and conclusion. Added some helpful links regarding Emberquake vs. Flame Hammer and Strength vs. Focus.
8/2/2013 v1.2 - Minor updates all around. Hoping to do a major update later to correct some consistency issues.
7/29/2013 v1.2 - Updated stat point allocation section regarding Focus. Updated information about Emberquake, Dynamo Field and Flame Hammer. Also updated the Conclusion. Added Kardfogu as a contributor. Again updated link to the Engineer build.
7/27/2013 v1.1 - Updated stat point allocation section regarding Vitality. Also updated link to the Engineer build.
7/23/2013 v1.0 - First version of this guide is published.